The Meadow Creek Valley is especially lush and beautiful this spring. We are reaping the benefit of almost thirty years of protection and appreciation. An official of the Nature Conservancy recently said, “If there is a more beautiful valley in Arkansas, I do not know it.”
Protection comes from a long standing mission to preserve habitat for wildlife and letting nature have its own way in certain parts of the valley. Appreciation comes from generations of Meadowcreek people with a strong compassion for nature and the environment. We all hold that in common today.
The organization Meadowcreek, Inc. is thriving with new energy. Buildings are under renovation, all the houses have been occupied this spring and we anticipate a period of growth. As usual, we are cash poor mostly due to all of the construction activity. In true rural fashion we are trading rent for work in four of our structures. The Spring House is occupied with refurbished rooms, plumbing, and electrical systems. Jim and Stacy Smith along with Jimbo and Emma have done an incredible job bringing this heritage home back into use after many people felt we should tear it down. They anticipate finishing the outside work this summer. Stacy and Jim work out of the home with a computer business that allows them to stay home with their family and to work on their home instead of a long commute every day.
Aliza and Tim continue working on the Market House converting the lower floor into a food bank that serves the local community. They use all of the main Meadowcreek garden to grow products for various markets as well as their herb business. They have struggled all spring to get approval for some of their products such as soup and sauces. The Arkansas official in charge of food certification resigned and has not been replaced. They have recently approached the Oklahoma inspection service and hope to gain approval that way although it is expensive for out of state producers. The Gathering Place is a great example of what we want to do at Meadowcreek. Tim and Aliza demonstrate how to make a living in a rural location.
Amy and James Smith have done an incredible job renovating the lower dormitory that we are now calling the Meadowcreek Retreat and Learning Center. Thanks to major donations from the Wyndham properties at Fairfield Bay and Amy’s keen eye for a bargain we have comfortable clean furniture, plenty of chairs, new curtains, queen size beds and fresh paint. They are also upgrading the upper dormitory with three beautiful and fully furnished guest rooms for Airbnb use. The dining room and hallways have new carpet. Meadowcreek is now prepared to offer quality housing for our guests.
Alesha Henson and her daughter Ava are working on the K2 residence. They have painted almost the entire house providing a fresh look. They had to tear out the entire kitchen cupboard system and replace it due to moisture damage and the resulting mold smell. They now have a great kitchen. They have started a vegetable garden south of the house and they are raising chickens that poke around the house all day searching for all the good things an Ozark forest provides.
We have had to end the lease for the couple in K1 and there is quite a bit of clean up to complete. Amy, James, Jim and Joe will handle that when they can. We hope to have it fixed up for rent by early summer.
The Linville pastured cattle operation continues in the fields in the bottom ground next to Meadow Creek. They were able to give the hay fields a rest last summer due to the abundance of hay and the fields look great this spring. Josh and Jr. keep busy with their sale barn in Clinton, Arkansas. We have had a long and productive relationship with these gentlemen and we appreciate how they care for our pastures and hay ground.
One of the most astonishing events for the Meadowcreek community this spring is the birth of two filly mules by one of Shirley Rosenbaum’s rescued mares. This is a miracle event. Shirley rescued the mare, Sarah, last fall and quickly found out she had a broken pelvis and could barely walk. Then came the shocking discovery that she was pregnant. The prognosis was not good due to her pelvis. There was some talk that she could not survive a birth. Shirley decided not to take any changes and hauled her to the Oklahoma State where there is a best in the nation equine hospital. With expert care Sarah gave birth to twin filly mules, one brown and the other white. The white one was weaker than her sister and that took even more expert care to help her survive. The good news is that they are all back in the barn at Meadowcreek. The board got the full experience of playful frolicking mules under the cautious eye of both Shirley and mother Sarah. The white one gave a playful kick to me after several passes in the exuberance of play. She let me know already she has no respect for authority. I am not the only president to be kicked around this spring.
We are pleased to announce that David Smith has joined the board. He is a long neighbor of Meadowcreek looking down on our valley from his off the grid home, farm and studio just above Bear Pen. David brings a lot of expertise to the Meadowcreek operation and our desire to be a strong part of the Fox and Stone County community.
Jim Worstell resigned from the board and is focused on his agriculture projects and overseas consulting assignments.
Bob Gee serves as the Executive Director of the Meadowcreek Retreat and Learning Center with a special assignment to find clients to use our facilities, raise money for our projects, and make vital connections with people in Little Rock and the state. He is also helping us envision our future using his experience working with other organizations.
My special thanks to my longtime colleague and friend, Peter Mann, for hanging in with us all these years as our New York representative. Vice President Bev Dunaway is making strong contacts for us in the state and is playing a major role on our executive committee. She is joined by Treasurer Bo Bennett who attended this meeting with a lively computer connection from Florida.
Meadowcreek brings surprises every year. People come and go and we always wonder what the weather will be like from one day to the next. One thing for sure we are improving our infrasture and the valley itself is lush and teaming with wildlife. Meadowcreek serves its purpose even when we strive to find a way to invite others to join us in our efforts.