Shaggy cattle, firetrucks and a dog


Scottish Highland Cattle

Bambi, a Scottish Highland cow leads Clint, a bull, and Blondie, a cow toward the camera. Clint and Blondie are also of the Scottish Highland ilk. They are residents of Jimmy MIchael's Farm on County Road 77 in Grant County, Arkansas. Despite threatening looks, these are friendly critters.

Scottish Highland Cattle

See more pictures, get more info.

You do not see a lot of commercially raised cattle with horns these days. Except for Scottish Highland cattle. According to Jimmy Michael who raises Scottish Highland cattle on his 127 acre farm on County Road 77 in Grant County, Arkansas, it’s traditional. Breeders don’t mess with their horns.

The hardy breed is noted for its even temperament . In any case, they are shaggy, friendly, and legendary for their endurance. Their following is small but enthusiastic. The story of Jimmy and his cattle started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Click here to go there and get in on more pictures and Jimmy’s story. We’ll wait here while you look.

Upon departing Jimmy Michael’s farm, I headed north on Stage Coach Road which runs through the Grant County boondocks. It is mostly gravel. I saw some smoke ahead and in a few minutes came upon a group of water tanker trucks on the side of the road. Ahead of those a few hundred yards was a real, live fire truck with its red lights blazing. I stopped, but the firefighters waved me through. I stopped again to chat, naturally, and discovered that there had been a serious brush fire, but the intrepid Cane Creek Volunteer Fire Department fire fighters had about whipped it to a standstill.

Fire truck and fire fighers

Members of the Cane Creek Volunteer Fire Department are departing the scene after bringing a serious brush fire under control.

As I continued the conversation, I discovered that I was not talking to a fire fighter but an official of the Arkansas Forestry Commission, James Wagner,  in attendance at the scene. Once the fire conversation died down, since I figured rare trees rang his bell,  I told him about Gerald Ware’s venerable Bois d’ Arc tree on his place near Greenwood, Arkansas. Check the tree out here and here. It is amazing.

James Wagner, Cocoa and James Henry

James Wagner, Cocoa, and James Henry waxing eloquent about dogs, fires, and the weather while the remnants of the fire smolder in the background.

In the middle of the bois d’ arc conversation, a guy drives up in on a four-wheeler with a dog in his lap. He and the dog look like this is not the first four-wheeler ride for either. The rider is James Henry who lives nearby. Fortunately his property escaped the recent blaze. His dog, Cocoa, was abandoned and James was the dog’s rescuer. According to James, the dog has more than reciprocated his kindness. “There’s not a better dog on the face of the earth,” he says.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

donkeys

See more pictures including these critters and more

Take a look at our Weekly Gallery and see more of what we shot on this trip. More cows. More dog and four-wheeler, some donkeys, and another shot of ol’ Jimmy Michael. These pictures are not available anywhere else. Click here.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Hiding in plain sight


trees in pool with sunset light

Trees reflect in a pool of rainwater as the setting sun illuminates the scene. The sun angle splashes reds and yellows on the background and throws a shadow on the foreground.

x trees

See the "x" trees at a nearby creek.

Mother Nature in her contrariness puts a lot of stuff out there for us to see. Much of it, like the imagery above, is fleeting. It its entirety, it is temporary at best and is never the same from day to day. The differences may be subtle, but they are there.  And she hides stuff. This time it was on Monticello Road, which runs north from Junet, off  U.S. HIghway 270. Google maps calls Monticello Road County Road 75, if you clicked on the Junet link.

This story actually started a mile or so down the road from this scene and on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Check out the start of the story and picture of the “X” trees on this same road. Click here to go there. We’ll wait here.

On the image above, the light will be different tomorrow. The water level will likely drop. Or if it rains, the water level will go up, all depending on circumstances and control far above our collective pay grades. So what we are seeing today is unique, never to be exactly duplicated. If you miss it, you miss it forever. Barring natural or man-made catastrophes or modification, you will see something similar again, but not this exact scene.

Being a stern parent, Mother Nature could be sending us a message. We’ve all heard it before. Live life like this is your last day. Dance like it is your last dance. Hug like it is your last hug, you get the drift. She hides the things of value and changes them daily, sights, sounds, smells, wind, water, and light. Like the rest of life, it is our bounden calling to seek out the good stuff and enjoy what we find.

Old barn on Monticello Road

The light was nearly perfect for this old barn on Monticello Road not far from the trees you see above. It is the real thing, in use as, well, a barn.

For dessert, the old barn came into view. I visited with the owner and his dogs. The barn was there when he bought the place in 1963. He figures it was built sometime after World War II. He has maintained the barn and it is being put to its highest and best use −  as a barn. This trip gives us pause to think: What we miss today is gone forever. It will not be the same tomorrow. But never fear, it could be better.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Weekly Grist Gallery

Weekly Grist Gallery

Every week, we publish a gallery of our photos of the week, some of which did not appear on Corndancer or Weekly Grist. These pictures are larger and generally will reveal more detail than what you see on this blog. There are only five shots this week. My sojurn in the boondocks was shortened by my participation in my spousal unit’s surprise birthday party.

Had to get my priorities in order.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

UPDATE: One week later, same place, earlier in the day

trees in water

One week later (Jan. 29, 2011), the scene is completely different earlier in the afternoon. It's the same place with different makeup. Now sunny, formerly sultry.

The Crain Loop calamities


Old yellow house on Crain Loop Road in Cleveland County, Arkanas

A collapsed storage building in the front yard of this home is a harbinger of things to come. This one has been abandoned for a while. The particle board on the left window is already grayed.

Old house on Crain Loop in Cleveland County Arkansas

Click for more Crain Loop pictures

Crain Loop in Cleveland County, Arkansas is a pristine country road. You can almost hear the music. Gentle curves and an idyllic environment make the drive worth the trip regardless of the season.

Along the way, we encountered four old homes in stages of disrepair from nearly at the point of no return to near collapse. Before we continue, check out the beginning of this story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Click here to go there. We’ll wait here while you peruse that content.

The old home in the top picture shows signs that someone still has a sentimental attachment and cares about the old place. The grass has been cut and there is no litter or trash in the yard. The other three former homes we found on Crain Loop do not enjoy a fan club like this one does.

Tar paper cabin

A structure like this is frequently the butt of the colloquial moniker, "tar-paper shack." There is a ladder barely visible next to the tree. It provides access to a platform wedged between the lower branches of the tree.

The next of four abandoned home places, an old tar-paper covered structure was where I encountered the only other human being on the shoot. As I was banging around on the truck while loading my ladder this individual appeared out of the woods with a curious look on his face. I came forth with “Howdy,” the most disarming rejoinder that immediately came to mind. He returned the gesture and said my noise peaked his curiosity. During deer season, I normally like to make lots of non-deer noise. We mutually explained each others presence. He said he was camping with his son and I told him I was photographing the house. I know the truth and veracity of my end of the conversation and I presume his was as well. But I don’t know for sure.

old crumbling house on Crain Road in Cleveland County Arkansas

This is the back of this house. The underbrush was thick around the front. You can catch a glimpse of Crain Loop through the doors.

From the number of jettisoned glass containers in the trash pile behind the crumbling house above, the place may have briefly enjoyed the lofty status of  “deer club” after it ceased to be a family residence. If not, the last residents had a terrible thirst.

I suppose there are more pleasant pursuits than puttering around old houses. The redeeming value, one would presume, of such structure stalking is that we gain or increase appreciation for what we have. Or did not formerly have. Or formerly had and no longer do.

 

Old house on Crain Loop

Click for the Weekly Grist Gallery

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Every week, we publish our Weekly Grist Gallery with larger pictures of all of our weekly “keepers,” some of which are not published in Corndancer or Weekly Grist. If you missed the other two links to the gallery, it’s not too late: Click here.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html



Tooling down 28


Creek crossing Arkansas Highway 28

The Fourche La Fave River and many small creeks and tributaries to the river cross Arkansas Highway 28 West of Rover, Arkansas. I caught a peripheral glimpse of this small stream and had to do a turn around to come back and get the picture.

This picture is a clear demonstration that the Almighty is in charge. In a perfect world, the flotsam and jetsam in the center of the picture would not be there and you would see a perfect transition from reflecting trees to reflecting skies. In a photo exhibition the judges would verbally beat the photographer severely about the head, face, and shoulders for foisting this on their sensitive selves. However, it’s us and no judges and the picture reminds us that we live in an imperfect world. Therein is the value.

Arkansas Highway 28 from Rover west to the Cedar Creek community is a long string of scenic beauty and historic sites. I can’t find it showing up in travel literature or a catalog of historic sites, but that only means the mainstream has yet to stumble across it and the traffic is low. Neither of which are bad if you are visiting.

Landmark Missionary Baptist Church Onyx Arkansas

See the church at Corndancer.com

I approached this stretch from the south on Arkansas Highway 27 and happened across a fine old church at Oynx, Arkansas.

Before we go further, may I suggest that you digress for a moment and see this old church, its historic signs, and the low-water bridge one must cross to get there, on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer do-com. Click here to go there. We’ll be here when you get back.

The next stop was a lunch break at Rover, Arkansas. If you are hungry and in the neighborhood of Rover, stop at the Exxon Station (also a store, deli, cafe, etc., etc.) and grab a sandwich. The country store is a rarity, they actually asked me if I wanted the sandwich on wheat bread. In other country stores, such a statement would be close to a Class D Misdemeanor. The sandwich was a culinary masterpiece. I savored each bite. Smoky ham, turkey, pepper-jack cheese, lettuce, ‘maters, pickles and onions.

Wing Community Church Wing Arkansas

The Wing Community Church, Wing, Arkansas.

Tiny Wing, Arkansas was the next stop. They have a church, a Christian Center, and a big store. From the looks of the church, they also have a good attitude.

Bluffton, Arkansas and Gravelly, Arkansas were next stops. Old buildings are scattered through both. Time was a factor when I was in Gravelly and I did not shoot four, (count ‘em, four) old store buildings in good condition. Two of them appeared to house viable businesses.

Old barn at Gravelly Arkansas

Look fast and hard, this old barn at Gravelly Arkansas is on its last legs. Weather and the trees are winning and the barn is coming in second best.

Just on the outskirts of Gravelly, we found a pair of old buildings in the collapsing mode. One is the remnants of a barn and the other a lower utility building of some type. The barn is the building you see above, see the pair in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Old house at Bluffton AR

The old house at Mad Dog Hill Lane and Highway 28 has some Victorian charm left. Notice the decorations on the roof peaks and eaves.

Not far from Gravelly, you come to Bluffton where there is an old favorite photo target, a house at Highway 28 and Mad Dog Hill Lane. The first time we were there, the Mad Dog Hill Lane sign was in place. This time the sign was gone, probably to a dorm room or a den wall. As my late father, Peyton Dempsey used to say, “The only reason you don’t call some people thieves is because they don’t steal a hot stove.”

With that sage observation, I bid you adieu for this week.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

See more pictures

See more pictures

See our Weekly Grist Gallery with more pictures from this foray down good ol’ Highway 28. See an old mule hay rake, more creek pictures, a pasture house, and some other good stuff.

Click here to go there and marvel at the imagery.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Baring it in the winter


Old red bard

This old barn, resplendent in its winter mode is a familiar sight to the legion of kayaking, canoeing, swimming, picnicking, and hiking enthusiasts who frequent the Long Pool Recreation area, my destination for the day, on Big Piney Creek north of Dover, Arkansas. You can't miss it.

From the looks of things you are figuring this is a story about barns. You are partially correct.  Actually we are talking about what you see in the winter, when most people are staying home versus what you see in the warmer months when the folks who will venture out, well, venture out. It is my contention that there is more to see in the winter.

Old Arkansas Barn

Click on the barn for a full size picture.

Before we pursue that argument further, take a look at where this story started on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. You will see another old barn and a close up of a remote intermittent water fall. Click here to go there. We’ll be here when you get back.

I had high hopes of catching a couple of waterfalls in a mid-winter display of their might a few miles from this barn east of the Long Pool Recreation Area on Big Piney Creek north of Dover, Arkansas. There had been plenty of rain in the general vicinity, but Mother Nature, in her fickle mode, chose to steer her latest deluge in the wrong direction to satisfy my hopes. Whom am I to question?

Never the less, the trip was worth it. The falls, one about 10-12 feet tall, and one towering to 44 feet, are ensconced in a huge hollow which is nothing short of spectacular. Boulders as big as a pickup truck line the outflow of the falls. The waterfalls are accessible only by a hike of nearly a mile in each direction and are not frequently visited.

waterfall near Long Pool Recreation area on Big Piney Creek

This is the smaller of two falls at this destination. This one is 10-12 feet tall. The larger one, which I did not have time to shoot properly is 44 feet tall. Just a trickle was coming over it.

There are two trails to the falls, one of which is close to treacherous. The trail, only a foot and a half wide in some places,  follows Big Piney Creek on the side of a steep hill which bottoms out in the creek. The other trail is an old road which leads to and from the recreational area. It is benign, but steep in places. I took the scenic route in and the safer route out.

Small falls near Long Pool Recreation Area

You see a great deal of detail in these pictures due to the even light on the falls. In summer months the difference between the bright and dark spots due to foliage makes a detailed shot such as this nearly impossible.

Listening to the trickle of the falls in their diminished intermittent mode was good therapy and I did not want to leave. However, I was covering new ground and believed it prudent to allow plenty of time to return to the trusty pickup. That being so, I did not capture as many images as I would have liked. However, I will have a keen eye out for reports of big rains in the area and then beat a path back.

white trees

These poplar trees south of Russellville AR on U.S. Highway 64 are a dramatic presence in this field. "Golden Hour" sun splashes over the scene.

If you have an opportunity, or conversely you have nothing better to do and want to do something different, make an opportunity and sally forth to see some winter magnificence. It awaits you.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

waterfall closeup

Click here for more waterfall and barn pictures

See our weekly photo-only gallery which has all of the weekly Corndancer and Grist pictures, plus some cool ones which are not displayed on either site.

This week there are nine pictures. See more angles on  the Corndancer barn and views the waterfall you’ve observed on this page. Click to here to go there.

Thanks for dropping by

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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