July 26, 2010

Ozarks sunset
Photo by Sue Weaver

I didn’t know what to write about this week, so I asked Mom.

She said, “Why don’t you write about where you live?”

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Uzzi and I looked at each other. We live in a buck pen and a Port-a-Hut. What’s to say about that?

No, Mom said, talk about the Ozarks. So we thought a bit and looked around.

Here’s what it’s like on our farm:

We live on the Salem Plateau of the Ozark Mountains. The Ozarks cover the southern half of Missouri and a big part of northwest and north-central Arkansas. They aren’t real mountains but they are big hills.

Our house is on the highest ridge in all of the surrounding townships, so we can see a long, long way from the top of our Port-a-Hut.

Ozark is a corruption of the French “aux Arks,” which is short for “aux Arkansas.” Early French traders called the Quapaw people the Arcansas tribe but later on someone spelled it Arkansas.

There are lots and lots of trees in the Ozark Mountains. Most of them are oaks (yum!) and hickories. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, less than one-quarter of the Ozark region has been cleared for pasture and cropland.

Like all the land around us, our farm is strewn with thousands of rocks. Not much grass grows on our farm, especially in the summertime, and we have to eat hay. We lie around in the shade and chew our cud in the afternoons when it’s super hot (it was 103 degrees yesterday, so we chewed a lot of cud), and we come out in the cool of the evening to play.

Mom misses Minnesota but she says she likes it here too, especially when she watches the sun set above the distant hills. Uzzi and Tank and I have never lived anyplace else but at Emily’s farm and it’s in the Ozarks too. Hot and rocky or not, we love the Ozarks. It’s our home!

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