Signs gone bad, well nearly

Sign that says Things for sale

If they have “things,” check it out, they might have a good supply of “stuff. ” Who knows? You might find a new supplier for your “stuff” needs.

Parking sign

Click the pic and check out the  analysis of the “VIOLATORS” parking sign. Hmm?

We’ve all seen signs that perhaps could have been salted with a few more shakes of forethought. Then, again on a day when you can let your mind wander, you might drill down a bit further. Such as: Things. What things already? Large things? Small things? Double-barreled things? Purple things? Pointy things? Dull things? Used things? Repossessed things? Slightly rusty things? It just boggles the mind.

Then add the possibility that they also have a nice inventory of “stuff.” Does that include Moon Pie and RC Colas. That’s some of the best stuff you could find. You will also find some more signs which should bring about a grin or two on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Take a gander. We’ll wait here

No parking sign at closed business

Methinks one would park here only under extreme duress or realistic threats of serious bodily harm. Perhaps had they been more generous with parking spaces they might still be in business. Perhaps they should put a “For Sale” sign on the tire. Then someone would steal it and save one the trouble of disposing of it.

Pota 2 sign on building

Must have been a short crop on ‘taters this year. Makes one wonder how they did on cor, collar, turn, carro, cabba, and rutaba.

Abandoned gas pumps

Fortunately, this ain’t the only gas station in its town. Given the state of what is considered art in this day and time, the Tourism Commission might promote it as the “Great Leaning Stone Henge Gas Pumps of LA” (lower Arkansas). Stranger things have happened. Remember the “pet rock.”

I would be remiss if I did not include this late 60s tune:

I have high hopes that this investigation has added a grin to your day. Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

One of the roads less traveled and a bit more

On the advice of my iPhone GPS, I decided to drive the “walking” route it recommended for one to make the distance between Pine Bluff, and Arkadelphia, Arkansas for a college reunion event. Some of the route was old hat, but the western end of the trip was new to me. For a bit of fun, I made one shallow ford and had a couple of 4-wheel drive engagements.

Arkansas Hwy 46 dips into the Saline River bottoms
On the way you go south of Sheridan, Arkansas to Leola on Arkansas Highway 46. On that route, you learn the true definition of the term “river-bottoms.” A few miles north of Leola highway 46 takes about a 30 foot-or-so-drop into the Saline River bottoms. The road remains more or less level until it makes a about a 30 foot climb out of the bottoms.

There are several east and west access roads leaving Highway 46 along the way. They are all either timber access roads or access roads to deer camps – or both and are secured by “pole-gates.” When the river is up, they are under water. Since most of our non-LA readers have never seen a pole gate under water, it is incumbent upon us to make that revelation.

Flooded access road

This old access road shows some lingering signs of pavement. The water at the gate is at least two feet deep by my best guess

Flooded road

This well-constructed road leads to another semi-submerged pole gate. The gentle sloping crown of this road tells us that for whom-so-ever built it – it was not his first rodeo.

Flooded pole gate

This nearly submerged pole gate made for an artsy-craftsy scene. A Freudian leaning psychologist might see it as something else.

Fillin' station dog

I made a pit stop in Leola, Arkanss and found a friendly fillin’ station dog who appeared to be a Bassett-Redbone or Redbone-Basset mix. He was curious and friendly. Here he came by to bid me farewell as I departed the premises.

Old house and abandoned pickup

I found another dog several miles down the gravel road section of the trip. He was hanging around this abandoned house accompanied by and abandoned Ford F150 of several years back. You can see more of this old house and the nearby barn on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com along with other pictures from this trip.

Dog in gravel road

Not quite as friendly but with a good streak of curious, this pooch who was babysitting the old house and truck came out to see me off.  He appears to have a .22 head mounted on a .357 magnum frame. Mayhaps his name is bullet?

As a parting shot, I’m showing you a couple of signs that gave me a grin. Hopefully you will react in the same way. Lord knows we need all the grins we can get.

Sign-eating tree

And if you do happen to dump, this tree will eat you. Don’t say we did not warn you.

Road closed sign

Noooooo problemo!

I have high hopes that this diversion into attempted levity has lighted your day.

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Back to the birds

Click on the Chinese Swan Goose to see more and ready our original  June 2013 story.

Click on the Chinese Swan Goose to see more goose pix and read our original June 2013 story.

Back in June of 2013, our Weekly Grist and Corndancer combo was headlined by a couple of big birds, a big ol’ goose here on Weekly Grist and a big ol’ osprey at Corndancer. We are sending you back to take a second look at our fine feathered friends. In our Corndancer article you’ll see several pictures of the osprey. In our original Weekly Grist article you get several goose glimpses plus a look at a dragon fly, a squirrel, a dog and a small aggregation of curious Black Angus cattle.

Osprey guarding its nest

Click on the osprey to see in-flight pictures and menacing osprey stares.

While all we had to do was show up and aim for our goose pictures, the images of the osprey we show on our Corndancer Photo of the Week page were pure luck. But then I always maintain that I would rather be lucky than good any day of the week.

Though we were in a boat, we wandered a tad closer to the osprey’s nest than the osprey thought was proper which spurred the big bird to action.

The bird’s answer to our unwelcome intrusion was to become airborne and give us nasty stares, a condition we relished. You can relish the same on our June 23, 2013 Corndancer Photo of the Week page.

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Avian academy award redux

Mother Killdeer and eggs

See the picture story of Mom and Dad Killdeer as they protect their progeny. Click on the picture.

During mid-July in 2013, I had an encounter with a Killdeer couple who were determined to lead me away from their nest which happened to be in a flower bed near a well-traveled sidewalk and driveway.

The ground was close to ideal for a Killdeer nest, I’m not too sure about the environment. After a few days of observation, I began shooting the nest and mother.

Dad did not show up until later, but I do believe I was always in his cross-

Killdeer closeup

Click on the bird to see more Killdeer pix and information.

hairs. As the story unfolded, the birds went into their best “draw-the-bad-guy-away-from-the-eggs routine. They had several strategies in case their favored acts did not work.

I bugged ‘em enough that they could have gone through their entire litany of charades, but I doubt it. Click here to see our original July 2013 post where you’ll see a good collection of their thespian deeds. Be sure to see some up close and personal pix of the mamma bird and her eggs on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

Purple hulled fun

Roto Tiller Racer

Click the picture and and go to our original 2013 World Championship Roto Tiller race story

Every year on the last weekend in June, the purple hull pea faithful descend on Emerson, Arkansas to enjoy the Annual Purple Hull Pea Festival.

If you are from the south, chances are the thought of a choice piece of smoked pork seasoning a pot of purple hull peas sends your olfactory sensors into system overload.

If you have not consumed this delicacy, take the necessary steps to obviate this sin of omission at your earliest opportunity.

I have attended two Purple Hull Pea Festivals and have had more fun than a litter of lab pups with a can of tennis balls.  See the 2o13 trip also on our Corndancer Photo of the Week Page. Also see our 2010 Corndancer article and pictures.  Also see our 2010 Weekly Grist article and pix.

The World Champion Rotary Tiller Races are a highlight. What you see there is unique in the world of motor sports. You must see it to believe it, so we are giving you a glimpse We are taking you back to the 2013 festival visit. If care to peruse our observations on our initial visit in 2010, click here. You can also check out these galleries of PHPF pictures:

Thanks for looking at this short history lesson of fun on the ground in LA (lower Arkansas). As the song says: “Let it all hang out!”

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Valhalla for Mustangs redux

Restored 68 Mustang

Click on the Mustang to see our original post with a bunch of pictures of Mustang and the “yard.”

Back in November, 2012, I stumbled across what may well be the best and best-kept collection of wrecked Mustangs on the planet. James Matthews, the proprietor thereof was good enough to grant me the privilege of photographing his yard collection.

Then he took me inside his premises to show me his crown jewel, a pristine restored ’66 Mustang which had also been converted to a pick-up configuration. It’s a big-time head-turner where ever it goes.

He did a lot of the work himself. The John Deere green and yellow trim sets everything off just right. Click here and see or our original 2012 post. Get a look at the engine, the interior, the famous “Bullitt” car chase video, and a vintage ’68 Mustang TV Commercial. Also a link to a panorama shot of the yard.

And absolutely, positively see the Corndancer dot-com Photo of the Week page for pix of the cars in the yard plus some more of the Mustang.

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

A different kind of snow day

Yellow Volkswagen bug

One cannot but help to think of the “yellow snow” joke upon seeing this yellow bug in the snow. The car appears to not have been driven lately and sits on the banks of Atkins Lake near Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

It is a rare time in LA (lower Arkansas) when one has sufficient material to write two snow day stories in a row, but the Almighty saw fit to send us snow storms in domino sequence. My normal approach is to do my snow pix during the storm. Since all of the snow fell while I was in the land of nod, I had to activate plan B. Since the internet is rife with idyllic snow scenes, plan B headed on a different track: to capture the underbelly effects of the weather rather than the artistic gifts.

18  wheeler stuck on road side

Click on the “stuck truck” for more snow pictures and stories.

Before we go much further with this epistle, we exhort you to click and go to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com and see 11 other snow pictures captured on this trip including the “stuck truck” you see in the thumbnail to the left. This is where our story started.

On to the levee

After we left the yellow bug, we climbed the levee in four-wheel drive. We weren’t the first, but from the looks of the tracks we were second. We came across one of the small cattle herds one normally finds around LA levees.

Black angus calf at pasture fence

As we approached the herd, this yearling had to check us out since her food normally arrives via truck. She is giving us the eye waiting for the action that did not come.

Herd of cattle on levee

A few yards away, the balance of the herd was in the final throes of decimating a round bale of hay. When I stopped to shoot, they all stopped their munching to look my way. The red calf was the first to break away from the herd and come to the fence. The rest followed quickly. They were looking for “Daddy.”

Old tin bulding on levee

Further down the levee we spotted this old “roofin’ arn” building, probably an old feed bin or corn crib. If you look at the picture closely you’ll see that the galvanized roofing tacks are holding their gleam while the “roofin’ arn” is yielding to ferrous oxide (rust). Further examination reveals a previous firearm attack on the building.

Shot gun holes in tin building

Close examination of the gun shot damage to the building leads us to the conclusion that someone was “aggervated” with whomsoever owned the structure. The holes belie a point-blank series of shotgun blasts. The large hole was punched by the wadding and most of the shot, while the small holes were punched by the peripheral pellets of the main charge. The shots IMHO, indicate malevolent intent well implemented.

Cut over corn stalks in field

We descended from the levee and drove through the remnants of a 2014 vintage cornfield. The harvesting combine cuts the stalks, strips the leaves, and separates the detritus from the corn kernels. It spits the stalk, leaves, and cobs out the back and stores the kernels for later unloading. The bottom foot or so of the stalk is left standing. Soon, farmers will turn this field into a giant seed bed ready for 2015 spring planting.

Tree tunnel

We made tracks for US Highway 65 south of Pine Bluff. Along the way, we drove through the “Goatshed” community, an unincorporated hamlet of a few homes, barns, and tractor sheds. As its main aesthetic points, Goatshed can brag on this neat tree tunnel and a nice body of water. I say body of water because I am torn between lake and pond. Seems to me it’s too small to be a lake and too big to be a pond. I’m not losing any sleep over it. Legend has it that back in the day, bootleggers did a healthy business from Goatshed. There’s one way in and one way out. In those days, when a stranger approached, one would mysteriously hear a bell begin to toll.

Calf looking through fence

We weren’t long on US Highway 65 when, from the southbound lane, I spotted a small herd of cattle munching on hay. Going across four lanes, I switched to the long lens and caught this calf who momentarily abandoned the lunch his mom provides to check me out.

Water tower at Tamo, Arkansas

We went south, past Tamo, Arkansas for a mile or so and turned back. I stopped on the south side of town to shoot this picture of Highway 65. The southbound lane, I’m guessing, was 95% covered with snow and ice. Not much better off, the northbound lane was at least 75% covered.

Arkansas Snow plow

Help was on the way. Just north of Grady, Arkansas, an Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department crew was scraping the ice and snow at a rapid clip.

There you have it, the underbelly of a snow day shoot. Now you can go back to the idyllic scenes.

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


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