Two barns and a wreck


Old vine covered Delta barn

This old barn harkens back to the Delta days when mules were the power behind the plow and farm hands hand-hoed and hand-picked cotton. Hmh. Guess that’s why they called ‘em “hands.” The barn’s tall entrance door and large loft door are the giveaways. One admits a man on a horse and the other is for convenient hay storage.

This old barn has a lot of eye appeal for barn aficionados. The only problem, few if any of these barn enthusiasts ever see the old structure. It lives just off a well traveled road, but is put in defilade by a thick line of trees between the barn and the road.

tow boat and new orleans bridge

Check  our French Quarter story and pictures at Corndancer dot com

Even when the trees are bare, one has to look hard to catch a glimpse. I decided on this winter shot so viewers can see the structure which is covered with foliage from the vines in warmer weather.

If a more urban environment is to your liking, see some scenes from the French Quarter in New Orleans in our weekly article on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Across a river and further south, a smaller and younger barn, and/or agricultural storage building sits unused. This one is easy to spot from the nearby road. Local readers who see it will probably recognize it immediately. Though it is showing a slight list to port, the old structure will probably last long enough to entertain at least one more barn-loving generation.

old barn south of Pine Bluff Arkansas

Not exactly a barn in the true sense of the word, this old agricultural storage building still has the period schmaltz to raise old barn-lovers pulse a count or two.

The future for bold barn lovers is bleak. The objects of their affections are crumbling on a daily basis. And the last time I looked, “they” ain’t building any new old-barns. As I make my rounds, I take note of old barns I previously photographed which are now piles of broken lumber and debris.  Those numbers are climbing. Look now before it is too late.

Collapsed barn

Here’s where our old barns are headed. Gravity and Mother Nature’s nasty side will eventually win out. When it is Mother Nature versus good maintenance, the playing ground is somewhat leveled – but – fat chance on most old barns.

Parting shot

The picture below is from a commercial shoot several years ago. Analyzing the image from an artsy-craftsy standpoint, it has a lot to offer: interesting composition, nice range of tones and plenty of well-placed complimentary colors plus some interesting textures and lines. Most viewers agree on these observations. Then I confess to the subject matter.

Sewer lagoon

What you see is the secondary impoundment of a system of sewage treatment lagoons. The system consistently receives EPA recognition as the best of its kind in the nation. The effluent from this system is cleaner than the river into which it dumps.

It ain’t always what you think.

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

Tarry at Tarry for a while


Thomas Grocery, Tarry, Arkansas

Probably knocking on the door of a hundred years old, give or take a few, Thomas Grocery still stands in tiny Tarry, Arkansas. It has a plethora of nostalgia appeal and is a local favorite for old-store-oglers. More than a few look at it with ideas for gentrification.

Clowers Gin, Tarry Arkansas

Click on the old gin to see more of Tarry

Thomas Grocery was one of four fully operational stores in Tarry, a small but once bustling community between Pine Bluff and Star City, Arkansas. One other of the original stores is still standing, West Grocery, about a quarter mile from Thomas Grocery.

See an earlier Weekly Grist story relating to West Grocery here. While you are in the mood to click around, may we suggest that you go to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started and see some additional pictures of the store and other Tarry scenes.

For many years, Thomas Grocery housed the U.S. Post Office for the community. It was also a school bus stop. Few if any general stores of  that era were without a bench of some sort on the front porch. And a couple of dogs under the porch.  Thomas Grocery fits nicely into that genre.

The store was an important part of the social and economic fabric of the community, a nice way of saying that probably millions of juicy tidbits of gossip and rumors floated in and around the premises. Especially in election years.

I featured the store with a couple of winter pictures in our June 17 Weekly Grist post. I shot those pictures in 2009, so the old store is holding up nicely. We have high hopes this is a continuing trend.

Gills Barn, Tarry Arkansas

Looking at the hay barn from the east during midday sunlight. There is a chair in the loft at this end of the barn which I suspect is a deer stand.

An old barn and corn crib, off the beaten track, behind the store a few hundred yards offered some unusual photo ops not available without an invitation. The owner and I are friends and he graciously steered me in the right direction. The old barn was built to store hay, tack, and feed. It was completely floored. The floor stands off ground level more than a foot. It does, however, have large overhangs which could offer shelter to livestock.

The hay barn from the west end

The west end of the hay barn in late afternoon light. The angular device under the overhang is a hay feeder for cattle with the munchies. And they always have the munchies.

interior of old hay barn

The barn is tall and gives one the feeling of a rustic open air cathedral. All we need is a boom-box holding forth with “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” and/or some Purcell trumpet voluntaries.

Just a few yards from the old barn is an old corn crib. It is bigger than a lot of barns I have photographed. The north end is reasonably clear of weeds and trees, but the south end is cluttered with interloping trees and saplings. We have visited the subject of the hardy Bois D, Arc tree before on these pages. And now we have seen another one with a penchant for survival. Another reclining Bois D’ Arc.

Old corn crib at Tarry Arkansas

The north end of the corn crib is intact for the most part.

Bois D' Arc tree under corn crib

The hardy Bois D’ Arc tree, I believe, is genetically programmed with a superior survivability gene. The Bois D’ Arc is the Dick Butkus of trees. This one decided to take root in the moist, fertile soil under the corn crib, then stretch its branches to the sun to turbocharge its photosynthesis. While laying on its back. This is the south end of the corn crib which is in the process of collapsing. The corrugated metal roofing (aka “roofin’ arn”), leaning on the tree was deposited where it is by a tornado which whistled through a few years back.

While age and the elements have beaten away the the Tarry infrastructure, the great spring-fed fishing pond which has been in its back yard for no-tellin’ how long is alive well and producing “slab crappies” in the spring. Looks like the really good part is holding up well.

fishing pond at Tarry Arkansas

The pond is like it was decades ago, except for the cypress elegantly aging. While I was on this shoot, something big broke water in the pond. A good sign.

SEE MORE PICTURES OF TARRY  Visit our Weekly Grist Galley to see more of Thomas Grocery, the tree, the corn crib, and the barn, plus a couple of others. Guaranteed enjoyment.

Thanks for dropping by,

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

Still surviving


Thomas Grocery, Tarry, Arkansas

I first saw Thomas Grocery and bought a Baby Ruth and a root-beer there shortly after I arrived in this neck of the woods in the early sixties. To tell the truth, it doesn’t look much different now.

Tarry, Arkansas is tiny. Size in this case h0wever has nothing to to with treasure. And tiny Tarry has a treasure manifested in Thomas Grocery, which has survived nicely and is still standing tall after a lot of  years. Regrettably.  I have not done my research on Thomas Grocery past admiring it for a number of  years.

Old building

Click on the old building to see some that are now gone.

Unfortunately, a lot of older structures have met their demise while Thomas Grocery has survived. We took a look at a downtown building and an old barn that are now history on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where this story started. And soon.

I did the Thomas Grocery shots in 2009, with the intentions of following up to get more information on the store. Unfortunately, we are all familiar with where the road paved with good intentions heads. That said, now that I have finally published the winter shots which show the front of the store, I will make it a point to go back and get the summer shots and this time get information.

Thomas Grocery, Tarry Arkansas

Looking at Thomas Grocery head-on, an inviting look from days gone by. The bench on the front porch tells us that social pursuits shared importance with merchandise.

Further to the north and east, in the Delta at Hughes, an old store, Zuckerman’s, sits empty along with its neighbors. Hughes, like many small Delta towns at one time was a vibrant community with thriving businesses. Mechanization of agriculture and a whirlwind of cultural and economic changes swept through the Delta like Moses’ plagues on the Pharaoh and when the dust settled, the towns were a shell of their former selves.

Zuckerman's store Hughes ARkansas

The appearance of Zuckerman’s was impressive to me because the lettering and layout of the sign fit well on the structure as if a real designer had a hand in it.

Swinging back closer to home in Cleveland County, Arkansas I happened across this old barn. Turns out the barn is only about 40 years old despite the fact that it looks much older. The owner explained that he built the barn from materials salvaged from an old family home on his property which was built around 1905. About 10 years after he built the barn, he removed himself from raising cattle and the barn was no longer used.

Old barn in Cleveland County, Arkansas

This old barn fooled me. I surmised that it was substantially older than its 40th year. It is however, built with lumber which is about 107 years old.

Though the Arch at St. Louis is alive, well, and non-threatened in the foreseeable future, I was able to grab a good shot of it last week while in St. Louis to watch the Cardinals get creamed by the Chicago White Sox — and since I write the rules here, I’m including the picture. Got the  shot while stalled in traffic, a blessing from a curse.

The St. Louis Arch

Lovers stroll hand-in-hand with the mighty St. Louis Arch in the background. Got lucky. I shot this with a phone camera from through a bus window. Will miracles ever cease?

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

Home territory barns


If you arrived here looking for an article on the Blues Music Awards, scroll down past this new post or click here.

Old barn on US HIghway 63 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Just off U.S. Highway 63 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, this old barn was high on my list of requests to shoot. It is in good condition and sits in a well maintained pasture alongside the highway. There is a tad of lean to the right side.

A big benefit of residing in a not-to-terribly-large metro area is that you are still close to the last vestiges of the former predominantly rural society experienced by our parents and grandparents, to wit: old barns. The barns you see on this post are prima-facie evidence of that benefit. They are no further than 10 or 15 minutes from my humble abode.

old barn on I-530 near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Click to see another L.A. barn

Though many  of our remaining barns are crumbling and/or on the verge of collapse, for a lot of folks, these old structures exude a certain panache and charm not otherwise available. I am one of those so infected.

A goodly number of my similarly afflicted friends asked me to shoot the one you see above and one you will find on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com.  The one you will see at Corndancer has deteriorated far past the one you see above, so get a good look. The next warhorse storm could convert it to kindling wood.

old red barn on us highway 63 near pine bluff arkansas

Taking a closer look at the old barn on Highway 63, it appears to be in better condition than many of the old barns I have photographed. The remaining red is makes for a great old barn patina — just the thing that makes barn aficionados salivate.

Barn on Mount Harmony Road south of Pine Bluff Arkansas

Just a hop, skip, and jump south on Highway 63 from our red barn, turn right on Mount Harmony Road. It won’t be long before you see this barn. It is in good condition and was apparently in place before the neighborhood which has built up around it.

Old barn on Mount Harmony Church Road near PIne Bluff AR

Stay on Mount Harmony Road for a mile or so and you will come across this leaning barn. It is near a residence and sits in a large well-tended yard. This view is available from your vehicle. In fact, I did not leave the truck to get this shot.

And now my friends, I am giving you the bird!

Bird perched  on a pasture gate

When I arrived at the red barn, I noticed a bevy of birds perched on the entrance gate. The birds  kept a wary eye on me but did not fly while I snapped the long lens to Mr. Nikon. They even stayed in place while I shot out the window.  As soon as I stepped out the pickup door, they launched. This critter was the most intriguing of the bunch. I’m not certain, but I’m thinking the bird is a immature Purple Martin. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Remember, as much as you may enjoy seeing old barns, the pleasure is fleeting. Enjoy now before it’s too late. That’s meaningful for other things too.

See larger pictures of all of the barns (and the bird) from Corndancer and Weekly Grist in our Weekly Grist gallery

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

“Been-gone” barns


Red barn

Every thing you ever wanted to see in a barn, including a community of turkeys and guineas. And close to home. Finally got around to it. The shot required a stop half-on-and-off the road. The narrow shoulders mean the truck is slightly in a ditch on the passenger side, the four-way blinkers are on, and prayers headed upstairs for avoiding being center-punched from the rear while the camera is clicking away.

round tuitGetting around to it

During a short day trip to a family affair, I finally got around to a serious shot of a barn that had lingered on my “to-shoot” list for far too long. The shortest A to B distance from our domicile to the event put us right past the deteriorating, ivy-decorated structure, sabatoging any excuse.

Ivy covered barn

Click the pic to see the Hwy. 5 barn

The shot required a stroll down the shoulder of a busy highway and a bit of weed-wading, but was well worth it. See two pictures of the old structure on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started. If you are from Arkansas, it’s one of the Highway 5 barns south of Benton.

Experiencing the “feel-good” feeling after doing something one has long intended to do, I decided to go after two additional barns on the “to-shoot” list once I arrived back in home territory. All three were “been-gones,” that is, “I been-gone shoot ‘em for a long time.” In LA (lower Arkansas), “been-gone” translates to “something you have been going to do.” The first one of these you see above, a classic.

Small red barn

This barn, though younger than most I shoot, has the classic shape and colors that make barn lovers drool.

The next “been-gone” barn I went after is not nearly as old as most of the barns I shoot. However, it has the color and shape folks love to see in barns. With that barn panache, it made the list.

small old barn

I missed this little jewel on all previous reconnoitering trips, but played catch-up ball on this trip. Click on the Weekly Grist gallery below to see an old tractor under the shed.

old barn with tractor under shed

Click on the picture for our Weekly Grist Gallery

Not far from the not-so-old barn, my peripheral vision caught a hint of one that was old. A nearby resident told me the barn was old when the owner moved into the property 50 years ago. It has the gray barn patina relished by die-hard barn lovers and sits in a large manicured yard. Check out our Weekly Grist Gallery to see more pictures of these three barns and the barn we featured on the Corndancer Photo of the Week page. And this week, get around to something lurking on the to-do list. Feels good.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

A cool country barn redux


Old country barn

The man who built this barn was around 10 years old at the end of the War Between the States.. His descendants agreed for me to photograph it and gave me a few details about the structure. Our story includes some detailed pictures of the barn's innards.

We’ve been here before

But some things bear a second look. There has been recent interest expressed in photographing and documenting old barns. It’s nice to know I am no longer alone in this pursuit. Turns out there is a National Barn Alliance too.

I did this story originally in July, 2010. At that time the structure of the original building was sound for the most part. As you can see, you can’t say as much for the add-ons that are omnipresent in most southern barns I see. Let’s hope not much has changed in a couple of years. See our original Cool Country Barn post here.

Be sure and see the original Corndancer Photo of the Week story as well.

Click here for a gallery of 20 pictures of the old barn including inside the structure plus a couple of old churches and a surprise critter.

Click here for a gallery of 42 color and black and white pictures of the barn, plus a churches and critter. This is a flash gallery which Macintosh computers don’t like.

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

The joy of hindsight


Petit Jean Mountain sunset

Looking west from a Petit Jean Mountain overlook late in the afternoon in October of 2008. A few minutes before the view was too bright, a few minutes later, it was too dark. The picture was squirreled away in my archives. A question from my wife stirred up a photo search and this is one of my unintended discoveries as I looked. Shot October 2008.

lightning strike

Click on the lightning to see how the story started.

A question from my wife regarding the identity of a tree in our neighbor’s yard sent me on a trip through the archives. After identifying the tree as one of the “hicker nut,” (hickory to the uninitiated), persuasion, I began a search of my archives to find a particular picture of the tree. I found the picture I wanted: the tree in its bright yellow fall plumage. As a bonus, I also found a picture of a lightning strike with the tree in the foreground — and a number of other shots I previously overlooked — some of which I decided were ready to be shown.

So this week, we are wandering through the archives. See the first three pictures in the search on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. You will see the yellow tree, the lightning strike and a companion picture to the one above — and below.

Looking north from Petit Jean state part overlook

Looking north from the lodge observation area at Petit Jean State Park, near Morrilton, Arkansas. The sun is beginning to set. I shot the picture you see at the top of the page from an observation area near the bluffs you see above. I shot both pictures in October of 2008.

Around 30 minutes or so northeast of Petit Jean Mountain is Scotland, Arkansas. There is an old home place there, right on the main drag, sporting an old barn and a house with a dug well in a well shed. When I was in that neighborhood in 2008, I found a unique home place in the boondocks nearby and featured it that week, to the expense of the place in town. Now I am righting that wrong. The well shed is below. See the house in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Dug well shed and, Scotland Arkansas

This dug well and shed are part of an old home place right on Arkansas Highway 95 in Scotland, Arkansas. It is not necessary to leave your vehicle to see it. The family barn is in the background. Shot October 2008.

 A bit closer to home, just south of Scott, Arkansas on Arkansas Highway 161 is a favorite target of area photographers: A pecan tree tunnel. I like the fall shots best when most of the leaves have dropped and you see the character of the trees. But then, that’s just me.

Pecan tunnel south of Scott Arkansas

Pecan tree tunnel south of Scott, Arkansas on Arkansas Highway 161. November 2009.

 This is not the first time I’ve shot these trees, but this is the first time for this particular picture. See the previous visit, “A tunnel of trees.” The shots are from about the same place as this one in the evening and the next morning.

sailor in tug boat crew chilling in New Orleans

This sailor is pulling crew duty as he watches the proceedings of the 2005 New Orleans French Quarter Fest to his immediate front.

 And finally, way further down south, a crew member of the St. James, a tug boat docked at a jetty on the Mississippi River in New Orleans eyeballed me just as I made this shot. I nodded to him and he nodded approval to me. Just to his front is Waldenberg Park where a big part of the 2005 French Quarter Fest activities are taking place.

Saracen Landing

Click the picture for our Weekly Grist gallery

See our Weekly Grist gallery for more archive pictures

See some flowers, the old house next to the well shed, an old structure that I can’t figure out — old school or old church — which is it? A common place sight that made an uncommon reflection, and a couple of other late evening sunset shots.

Click, go and enjoy.

Thanks for joining me in a trip through the archives.

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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

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