We began the drive toward Madison County right after church, which is usually the time we journey no further than a nearby restaurant. However, I was hopeful there would be a fabulous little country eatery somewhere in the vicinity of where we were going. There wasn't. Three grumpy children and a hungry husband does not make for pleasant conversation and a convivial time.
Still, I enjoyed the beautiful drive along the gently winding roads, with the Fall colors just beginning to show, and the audio book playing softly in the background.
The directions seemed to be quite clear, but as the gravel road became more overgrown, muddy and narrow, and as we passed an increasing amount of men in camouflage, riding in pick up trucks and on four wheelers and carrying what I assumed were loaded guns, I became progressively uneasy. The deer strung up at the side of the road did nothing to alleviate my fear.
Just as we began to think we would never find it, the green gate we had been looking for, came into view, and it was with great relief and excitement that I exchanged my heels for "hiking shoes", and we climbed out of the car to take a look around.
|Mushroom on a log, Red Star, Arkansas|
|Trees on the property we were looking at|
We came across a crumbling foundation, and hornets, that, disturbed at being disturbed, attacked our family nature lover. Disenchanted, we made our way back to the safety of the car, accompanied by the symphony of my daughters sobs, and began the hour and a half drive home. Back past the Head Water School, the boarded up restaurants still displaying faded signs, and the extremely large rattle snake sprawled lazily across the road.
Thirsty, hungry and disheartened, we stopped at the only viable place for food for miles around, a dilapidated, dusty, grocery store. As my family, instantly refreshed, stockpiled beef jerky, apples, ham, cheese, chips and cold drinks, I was horrified with the knowledge this was the finest the area had to offer. After backtracking down the somewhat less beautiful-looking roads, I was thrilled to provide my family with some good home cooking. Needless to say, we will not be investing in land in Red Star, Ar!
GOLDEN APPLE BARS
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup peeled, cored, chopped raw apples
Heat oven to 350F.
Mix ingredients in order as listed, excluding powdered sugar.
Spread in a greased 7 by 11 pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars and dust with powdered sugar.
Recipe adapted from Recipes From the Kitchen of Family and Friends, 2005