Going for the green


Water tower at Lake Dick Arkansas with approaching storm

July is a good time to look for afternoon thunderstorms. This one cropped up near Lake Dick, Arkansas in July of 2009. It was a perfect set of lighting conditions, strong late afternoon light and turbulent clouds in the background. The image is a study in Mother Nature’s complementary color distribution: Green, gold and blue talking to us.

Our world, on November 24, 2013, here in LA (lower Arkansas), is bitter cold (for us), blustery, and brown. I am not casting aspersions on these conditions, but am merely observing their presence. There is a bit of sticker shock however, as these are the coldest temperatures we have experienced thus far this year. To top that, as winters go, last winter was puny at best, so our systems are far removed from the last bone-chilling experiences in LA.

Hollow cypress tree near Grider Field Pine Bluff AR

Click on the tree to see the start of the story.

Though my duck hunting friends will likely disagree, I believe this is a really good time to be inside watching a football game (or working on a blog).

For those who bemoan these present conditions, I am offering archival selections of warmer and greener circumstances. You can see where this idea germinated on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where you will see, among other things, a hollow cypress tree surrounded by, you guessed it, green.

Storm clouds in sunset at Lake Dick Arkansas

A day earlier from the water tower shot above, across the road from the water tower, with the camera pointing away from the tower, the setting sun is painting the clouds in vibrant pinks and pseudo-oranges supported by grayish blues. Corn is silhouetted in the foreground. Just being there was a privilege from on high.

Water tower in rice field

A year later, in July of 2010, the field was planted with rice. This is about the same time of day as the storm pictures above, less the disturbances, but nevertheless, cool.

remote abandoned stairs hear lake dick arkansas

Not far from the water tower, earlier the same day, I found a stairway to nowhere. It was likely the front yard approach to a family farm which succumbed to economics. The land around the stairs was not cultivated at the time of the shot.

lady bug on winter wheat near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Just a few miles from the water tower, in April of 2011, we found a nearly ripe field of winter wheat. Turns out ladybugs think winter wheat as a home site is cool. I am told they are beneficial to the wheat crop, since nasty aphids are their favorite treat.

Since we are just days from the time to be grateful for what we have and the opportunities afforded by our blessings, please know, dear readers, that you are a blessing to me. Stay warm and well.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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

A day across Arkansas


Carl Blackwell with restored gasoline engines

Carl Blackwell of Wynne, Arkansas proudly stands beside some of his stable of restored gasoline engines at the 37th Annual Grand Prairie Rice Festival at Hazen, Arkansas on October 26, 2013. These engines were popular in the first half of the twentieth century in non-electrified rural areas where they were used to power generators, grist mills, pumps, and just about anything else that need rotary power to work. As electric service spread to rural areas, the engines fell from favor. Restoring these engines has become a popular niche avocation and Mr. Blackwell is one of the finest practitioners of the genre.

Carl Blackwell of Wynne, Arkansas is a master tinkerer, machinist, and restorer. I visited with Carl at the Grand Prairie Rice Festival in Hazen, Arkansas where he displayed several of his collection of old gasoline power units he has personally restored to working order.  It comes naturally to Carl. He is a retired machine shop supervisor and has a precision lathe and milling machine at his place in Wynne, Arkansas.

Restored and operating Star gasoline power unit

When Carl Blackwell starts an engine restoration project and can’t find the parts he needs, he goes to work and makes the parts. This restored Star engine is a prime example of Carl’s expertise. After he started the restoration process, he could not find parts for the cylinder head valve mechanism, (the round thing in front of the silver thing, and most of the parts around it), so he went to work and made the parts. As you can see the engine is fully functional.

St. Mary's Church at St. Vincent Arkansas

Click on the church to see how the story started.

We are chronicling a one-day trip through the heart of Arkansas. The story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com at St. Vincent, Arkansas, where we took a look at fine country church. Take a look to get in on the start of the story.

This was our second visit to St. Vincent. On the first visit, we showed you a barn with an ecclesiastical message, which was down the road from LBJ’s Beer and Groceries. There is a nice distribution of cultural icons in St. Vincent where everyone seems to get along just fine, thank you very much,

Back to the trip

Carl Blackwell was toward the end of the trip, but he was so interesting, I decided to start this epistle with him. After we left St. Vincent, we saw barns and other sights and scenes as we headed toward the Grand Prairie Rice Festival at Hazen where we visited with Carl. Here’s what we saw on the way:

entrance to field with overhead flags

Here, we were trying to figure out if we arrived too early or too late. Those, it seems, were the only choices given that sense of abandonment.

Old horse barn

Not far from the flags, we saw this old barn, which we presume was a horse/mule barn due to the height. Normally the big doors on a horse barn were tall enough to accommodate a human on a horse. Note the abandoned disc harrow in the foreground.

Old rural utility building

After turning down a likely-looking gravel road we found this old utility building. It was probably a small barn that had something to do with livestock. We conjecture that due to the fencing on the property.

old rural utility bulding with blue sky background

More of the same with a different look. The still standing night-watcher light is disconnected.

old school bus with curtains

Here in the mid-south, it is not unusual to see old school busses converted to deer camp shelters or other use. This one has been curtained, and not moved for a while. The lettering on the bus says: “Licking Heights Local School District.” I Googled that name and discovered that Licking Heights Local School District is in Ohio. Folks, it’s quite a stretch between Mid-Ohio and Springfield, Arkansas. No telling how the bus arrived here.

dog

As I was shooting the bus, one of the neighbor’s pups dropped by for a look. Looks like he has some greyhound in his background. He was friendly, but suspicious.

restored 1938 C Model Case Tractor

After the bus and dog, we transitioned to Hazen, Arkansas to barely arrive at the 37th Grand Prairie Rice Festival with a little time to spare before the event closed. We’ve been there before and it was fun. There were a lot of antique tractors including this 1938 Case C Model.

back side of case 1938 c model tractor

This is the back side of the Case C model. In the background, you can catch a glimpse of a gigantic 24-ton antique, fully operational 1919 Fairbanks-Morse Type Y Vertical Oil Engine. You can see the engine in operation at Corndancer dot-com.

case combine harvesting rice

Exhibitors were folding their tents as we left the festival. South of Hazen we found a rice harvest underway. There were three combines in this field. They were trying to beat an incoming storm. If you are into four-wheel drive vehicles, this is the ultimate high-horsepower get-in-the-big-middle-of-it-vehicle. Entry level exceeds 800 grand and you need a lot of level muddy ground.

We digress from the trip

After the combine we made it safely to the carport. We will fast forward from this trip of October 26, 2013 to November 1, 2013 when we saw a tree full of shoes at Sardis, Arkansas. While this is out of the purview of our original trip, due to the shock value of a tree full of shoes, we include the picture below. If you want to see more details, see our Sardis Shoe Tree gallery.

Somehow you simply do not expect to find a tree full of shoes. Except if you are in Sardis, Arkansas. Then, it is an everyday occurrence.

Somehow you simply do not expect to find a tree full of shoes. Except if you are in Sardis, Arkansas. Then, it is an everyday occurrence.

Thanks for joining the trip. We have observed scenes seen by few — and seen by many — but probably not in the same day. That’s the beauty of cyber traveling.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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

All of a sudden,


Pool on Falling Water Creek

This pool is just downstream from a low-water bridge over Falling Water Creek, north of Ben Hur, Arkansas. The location sneaks up on you.

This nice little pool, just upstream from a low-water bridge on Falling Water Creek, north of Ben Hur, Arkansas appears in your windshield nearly all of a sudden. As you round a downhill curve on the rocky road approaching the bridge, there it is — one of the reasons you come to the boondocks. Since traffic is mostly non-existent, I always stop smack-dab in the middle of the bridge — that is — if the water is not up.  In that case, once it reaches a critical height, attempts to cross may be hazardous to your truck, and your person.

Fuzzybutt falls

Click the pic to see the falls and read the story.

Since most of you will never see this delightful site, I considered it to be an obligation and public service to show it to you. This location is smack-dab in the midst of several great waterfalls, most of which are easy to find, approach, and ogle.

The one falls in the neighborhood which requires a little effort to see is “Fuzzybutt Falls,” a mile or so downstream from the low-water bridge. Fortunately, I have caused a story and two pictures of said falls to be  included on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. Go there and see the falls in two permutations. By the way, my name for the falls is “Hidden Hollow.” The rest of the know world disagrees with me.

For a parting shot, I am showing you the diametric opposite of an Ozarks Creek, to wit, a dusty field on a farm in the Delta. What’s happening in the picture is land leveling to make irrigation more efficient. The tractor is dragging a 30 or 40 foot device with leveling blades. The device responds to a laser to achieve “level.”

Tractor pulling land leveler in dust

It was a dusty Delta Day, Billy Joe.

The pictures you’ve seen in this post are from the same state, Arkansas. We gotcha mountains, we gotcha Delta, we gotcha Piney Woods, we gotcha Grand Prairie, we gotcha … oh well you get the drift.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

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

 

Hooker Road redux


Old house on Hooker Road

Click on the old home for our original March. ’09 post. See more angles and details.

By March 2009, I had driven past this old home on Hooker Road off US Highway 425, south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, but it was not until then I stopped for more than a quick snapshot.

After the first day, shooting in the afternoon, I returned the next morning for a 180 on the light from the previous day. Click to see our original Hooker Home post.

Once on the premises, my best guess was,  that in a few years (it has now been a few years), the old structure would have fallen to a pile of kindling. To our good fortune, I could not have been more incorrect in my conjecture. The old structure, as of a few weeks ago,  is still standing, perhaps a little worse for wear given the climatic beating it takes, but still upright.

Old house on hooker road

Click on the house for another picture and more information.

The old home follows the typical rural southern home. It started smaller than it was before final abandonment. The inhabitants added rooms, nooks, and crannies to suit their life style.

Evidence of livestock enclosures and out buildings hint that there was prosperity at some time. You can lay your eyes on another picture of the house and soak up more information and observations on the March 22, 2009 edition of the Photo of  Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Thanks,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

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

 

Looking for buttercups


buttercups surrounding old rusty Ford truck

Click on the truck and see our original post, “Buttercup Attack.”

Spring 2013 is sputtering in the starting blocks here in LA (lower Arkansas). Some jonquils have pushed through Mother Earth, while those expected in other well known locations are biding their time. The net result is a rat-tag looking landscape that borders on pitiful. Blame it on the yo-yo weather we’ve experienced in the last several weeks.

Not every performance, not every picture, not every supper, and not every book knocks your socks off — and now unfortunately — we add “not every spring knocks your socks off” to the list.

buttercup closeup

Click on the flower for more buttercup banter

Fortunately we can rewind to April of 2009 and take a look at a really spectacular onslaught of buttercups as a substitute for a lackluster spring.

Take a look at our 2009 buttercup post, “Buttercup Attack,” and judge for yourself. Also be sure and see the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com for more buttercup banter.

Thanks,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

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

What’s left at Lester. Again.


Old store at Lester Arkansas

There’s not a lot to see in Lester, Arkansas, but if you have this, you don’t really need anything else. Click on the picture to see our original 2009 post.

Occasionally one stumbles across a unique set of visual circumstances that makes one grateful for cameras, reason being that what you see exceeds your command of the English language.

I rarely admit defeat along these lines, but at Lester, Arkansas, I was flabbergasted at what I saw. At the same time I rejoiced.

Since not everyone gets to shoot at Lester and precious few will ever see it in person, we are sending you back our original post to take a gander.

Sutffed deer at Lester AR

Click on the critter to see more of the store.

The welcome wagon was not out at Lester except for a friendly cat who decided to occupy the cab of my truck. Fortunately, human indifference included no objections to my photographing the premises, so I fired away.

This story is in two parts. The other part is on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. See more pictures and descriptions. The click is worth the trip because as a good friend once told me, “I’ve been to a goat ropin,’ two county fairs, a tent healin,’ and a Conway County election and I ain’t never seen nothin’ like this.

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

Dogs, cats, kids, folks


Black kitten with Santa at the Humane Society photo session

This wide-eyed little fur ball’s patience was growing thin as we fired away. This was the lucky shot. His objections prevented further exposures.

Santa holding Schnauzer

Click on Santa and pooch to see more pix and how this story started.

Every year about this time I shoot dogs. Now before you go apoplectic and dial 911, calm down. No firearms are involved and it is all for a good cause.

In fact, cats, kids, parents, grandparents, and perhaps neighbors and friends may also willingly become targets during the annual Humane Society of Jefferson County (Arkansas) Photo Shoot at Margland Bed and Breakfast in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It gets even better. Said participants pay for prints, the proceeds of which go to support the noble work of the Humane Society volunteers.

This being a two-part story, you can see how it all started on the Corndancer Photo of the Page. We’ll wait here while you look.

Santa with rescue dog

This boy is educated. He is a graduate of the Paws in Prison program of the Arkansas Department of Correction. Next week he is headed to his forever home in New Hampshire courtesy of the Humane Society of Jefferson County,

Think local

The Humane Society of Jefferson County, like similar local Humane Societies across the nation, is dependent on local support to do the good work they  do. These volunteer heroes do the grunt work. They take care of dogs and cats who have been summarily rejected, tossed away, and abandoned. They are often the recipients of litters resulting from the inaction of irresponsible owners. They hunt homes for pets. They take them to their homes as foster pets. They relentlessly seek out “forever” homes for their charges. They feed ‘em. They walk ‘em. The genuinely care for them.

Given the depth of service provided by these local Humane Societies, dropping some currency in their coffers is a good idea this time of year.

Grandmother and cat in Santa's lap

It’s never too late to experience one of life’s simple pleasures. sitting in Santa’s lap. Mamma seems to savor the experience, while the cat is ready to cease and desist with the least dispatch.

This family proudly displays their pet pack of two. One home boy and one rescue, both of whom seem to be grateful for the arrangements.

This family proudly displays their pet pack of two. One home boy and one rescue, both of whom seem to be grateful for the arrangements. One of the attending volunteers proudly announced that the “lump” is her grandchild.

Santa with dog

Santa is into the moment and the dog appears to believe he is sitting for an executive portrait. It takes all kinds.

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

Click on Santa and the dog for more pictures

Click on Santa and the dog for more pictures

PS: See more in our Weekly Grist Gallery

 There are more pictures available in our Weekly Grist Gallery if you are inclined to see more dogs and happy people. Click here to see what you have missed.

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