The answer to Lotus deprivation


American Lotus bloom

This American Lotus bloom in 2013, from my favorite Lotus laden pond, was one among many. The 2014 and 2015 Lotus blooming seasons in said pond have not been as prolific, leaving yours truly with a serious case of Lotus deprivation.  Click here or on the picture to see our original 2013 post.

Way back to August 2013

The late spring and summer of 2015 is the second such season in a row that I have experienced disappointment with Mother Nature’s quirky behavior.

During the same months of 2013, my favorite colony of American Lotus (AKA Water Lily) held forth with an abundance of of blooms, followed by Lotus baby-making pods. Click here to see the 2013 pictures.

FYI, the colony sits in a pond in the southeast corner of the junction of I-530 and South Hazel Street in Pine Bluff. Arkansas in full view of passing motorists whom I suspect barely notice the blooms in a good year and not at all in the poor years of our most recent experience.

Click the pic to see more blooms and seed pods at Corndancer dot-com

Click the pic to see more blooms and seed pods at Corndancer dot-com

During the 2014 season, there was a decided lack of precipitation leading to a puny pond which proffered only a pitiful performance by the colony. I watched with eager anticipation as the frequent and voluminous of 2015 maxed out the water level in the pond – all to no avail, Lotus wise. The rub was, the conditions also maxed out some sort of evil water weed which apparently all but choked out the Lotus performance. I saw a couple of blooms only.

So, suffering extreme Lotus deprivation, I am winging us back to August 2013 to see the waning moments of that fine season. Also be sure and see t the comments and pictures for this story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Thanks for dropping by,

Thanks for looking,

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 rain-delay gallery


People dancing in the aisles

During the rain delay the the announcer invited women and girls to dance in the aisles for a prize. These participants are having at it.

Well, there was not much else to do

Action at home plate

Click the picture to see action pictures from the tournament

While on assignment to photograph the championship game of the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, I was forced from the field to the stands by an untoward, but fortunately short-lived, thunderstorm.

So here is a photographer-writer thrust into a rain-delay with a long-lens camera, with nothing else to do but record my fellow residents of the stands. Take a gander.

But first, I strongly suspect that you also want to see some baseball action from the tournament. You can scratch that itch for action by going to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where you can see plenty of action shots. We’ll wait here while you look.

Evelyn Horton wins the prize

Ms. Evelyn Horton was the prize winner.

A woman seriously considers the display content of her smart phone

A woman seriously considers the display content of her smart phone

A man watches the rain

This fan watches the rain with hopes of a hasty ending to the precipitation.

Baseball fan in the rain

Rain does not matter to this baseball fan.

Fans in stands

One looks at the phone, the other at the rain.

Smiling girl

A smiling tournament team-ambassador

Smiling woman

She has seen someone, something or a set of circumstances she likes.

Woman looking doubtful.

Well, maybe not.

Man yawning

Well, watching rain can become a tad boring.

Baseball team in the stands

One of the teams waits out the rain in the stands.

Girls in the stands

These girls in the stands don’t seem to mind the inconvenience.

Grandparents at ball game

Five will get you ten their grandson is a player.

New Jersey Photographer

This New Jersey photographer has the same idea as me.

Man with camera

The man behind the camera.

Boy in stands

Hey, look at my football!

Boy showing off football

See?

Duke Fakouri

Duke Fakouri flashes a grin.

Man and boy in stands

It’s bird, it’s a plane, it’s …

Daughter and mother

Dixon women.

Dale Dixon

Dale Dixon

The rain ended shortly after I shot the last image for this gallery. The Atlantic Shore team hailing from the Atlantic City, New Jersey went on to win the tournament in a hair-raising finish. Our congratulations to them, to the other teams and to the hundreds of local volunteers working with the Babe Ruth Baseball staff for making this tournament a huge success.

Thanks for looking,

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 not necessarily greatest moments in sports


Catcher and runner at home plate

One of life’s most embarrassing moments is when a runner scores totally unimpeded by accurate and timely defensive efforts. This only if you are not the runner.

At athletic events, there are two media types, those who sit in the heated and/or nicely cooled press box and then the rest of us who are down among the gladiators in either blazing sun, freezing wind, untoward precipitation, and/or on rare occasions, a moderation which is none of the above.

Runner at second base

Click on dusty guy to see more sports pix.

That said, most of us downstairs are recording imagery of one sort or another and we leave with said images in hand. Most of the sports images you see depict the dramatic moments of sports. Rarely do you see the oops moments, but most of us hang on to ’em.

Today we reveal what is not normally seen – or a frame or two away from what was seen. At this point we encourage you to wander over to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com and see similar imagery. We’ll wait here while you look.

Outfielders with a loose ball

Another moment of introspection — when no one seems to know what to do with the ball.

Third baseman and runner

And finally, that moment of reality when the runner realizes that stealing third base was not such a cool idea after all.

Today, you have taken a peek at the underbelly of sports photography. Hope you enjoyed the brief sojurn.

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 tale of two cats


russian blue cat

This is Katy, our reluctantly friendly nearly Russian Blue. There’s a very friendly little cat lurking behind a finely tuned instinct for survival beneath that fine gray coat. The nick in her ear probably comes from a territorial or defensive conflict with another one of Gods’ critters.

American long-hair cat

Click on the kitty to see more about him.

Katie adapts, nearly

Despite the name of this treatise you only get a tale of one cat here. The other is available on our sister story-site The Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Click and go look.

Here at the Chez Dempsey, we are cat people. I came by in naturally since Dempsey men are imbued with a cat-loving gene. Patricia Ann, my spousal unit, fortunately bought into the cat deal lock, stock and yo-yo. She is now a certifiable cat-nut just like her spousal unit.

All that said, the object of our affection today is Katy, our nearly Russian Blue. Several years ago after we lost our beloved Grits Dempsey, a big ol’ super friendly Rag Doll cat, we did an internet search targeting a Russian Blue or nearly Russian Blue who get along with other cats and contemporaneously with the dogs who resided with the subject cats.

We found a “male Russian Blue about a year old who gets along with other cats and dogs.” Bingo. Perfection. We made arrangements to pick up the kitty at a nearby veterinarians. I began to suspect the description was lacking in the truth and veracity categories when I first laid eyes on a squirming little gray cat barely past the kitten stage.

When we attempted the transfer, she (not he) broke loose. The ensuing chase around the vet’s reception room made the Haymarket Square riot look like an octogenarian afternoon tea party. It was tantamount to a marathon confined to fifty square feet programmed like a pin ball machine on steroids. After we manage to catch the screaming meemie and get her into the carrier, she voices her objections for most of the 25 minute ride back to headquarters.

When turned her out she scampered to a closet in the back of the house and refused to leave. I could hear occasional movement in the closet but could not lay eyes on the little gray beast. We set a water and food bowls outside the closet door along with a cat box and hoped for the best. As the days went by we observed the food and water bowls diminishing and tell-tale signs of other bodily functions in the cat box.

After five days, we were sitting in the den and the reclusive little feline shocked us by hopping up into Pat’s lap. She stayed for a while and then repaired by to her (my) closet. Little by little she made peace with her surroundings.

We discovered that when we picked her up she goes berserk, which means that sometime in the past, someone picked her up and did some mean things to her. I continue to hope I can meet this sorry piece of humanity sometime and that on the occasion of the meeting the Almighty will see fit to put a table leg or Louisville Slugger in my hand at the same time. The results will not be pretty.

Now, though she is acclimated, she is no one’s cat in particular, but prefers me above all other humans. She comes to greet me in the yard. She sits on my chest at night when I am attempting to read in bed. She comes to nose me around when I wake up. She usually comes in to visit when I mount the porcelain throne. She also loves laptop keyboard as a place to recline.

She is still very suspicious of people standing up including me. My observation is that she wants to be friendly but her survival instincts set boundaries. Now that we understand that, she and I get along very well.

It is worth the effort.

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 stop at Caddo Gap


statue of caddo indian

The statue of the Caddo Indian is not immediately visible in Caddo Gap unless you leave the main highway and drive through the east part of the town. It is more than “well-worth” the slight detour.

Look off the beaten path

During my recent meanderings about west central Arkansas in the foothills of the Ouachita (pronounced wash-eh-taw – emphasis on the first syllable) Mountains, I had occasion to pass through Caddo Gap, Arkansas. The first time I breezed through with peripheral glances only.

The second time, I drove through what one presumes was the former epicenter of the way-back-when formerly thriving community. I discovered that Caddo Gap is steeped in history all the way back to Hernando DeSoto. The third time was the charm as I stopped frequently to engage the Nikon.

Barn near Oden Arkansas

Click on the barn for more pictures from “The Road to Oden.”

Before we get knee-deep in the Caddo Gap story, I suggest that you take a glance at the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where we explore “the road to Oden.” Oden is in the same geographic neighborhood as Caddo Gap.

The drive to Oden from also-nearby Black Springs  was a great country road trip after we left Caddo Gap. The road did not have as many afternoon photo ops as I had hoped, but the ones it afforded were good discoveries which made the trip very much worthwhile.

Into Caddo Gap

native stone building in Caddo GAp Arkansas

I’m not certain that this old structure started out in life as the local hoosegow, but it sure looks like it was at some point before it fell to disuse. It looks to be in good condition.

side view of stone building in Caddo Gap Arkansas

Here’s a slightly different view of the building showing more local environment.

Old restoted store in Caddo Gap Arkansas

Up the the street from the stone structure is this nicely restored store building. I am derelict that I did not get closer to retrieve the message on the sign in the door. It even complies with ADA requirements (we think).

History to go

Caddo Gap is indeed steeped in recorded history notably with a 1541 visit from hisself Hernando DeSoto and his band of swarthy soldiers. They met more resistance than expected at Caddo Gap. The story, though in brevity, is revealed with markers and plaques around and on the Caddo Indian statue. See them in gory detail below:

Plaque on Caddo Indian stature pedestal

The short version of DeSoto’s visit is engraved on the pedestal of the statue.

Caddo people historical marker

This historical marker tells of the Caddo people who once inhabited this locale.

Desoto historical market

Here’s more on Bro. Desoto and his adventures in these parts.

Caddo River Narrows historical marker

The Caddo River narrows apparently gave rise to the monicker “Caddo Gap.”

Caddo Gap historical marker

Suspicions confirmed.

Bronze plaques on statue base

Here’s some info on how the markers and statue came to be and were later restored to the state you see in the pictures. Hope your screen permits reading.

For history nuts, these are tidbits to broaden your base of knowledge. For non-history nuts, we hope you found a bit of interesting information. In any case thanks for looking.

‘Preciate the glances,

Joe Dempsey

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

Buttermilk Springs Road


Buttermilk Springs Road Spring

I got lucky when I made the right turn east off Arkansas Highway 8 while traveling north bound to Norman, Arkansas. This the namesake spring on Buttermilk Springs Road near Caddo Gap north of Glenwood, Arkansas

Cool clear water

Norman Arkansas library

Click the pic to see the Norman, Arkansas in all its homespun glory.

Call it fate, blind hog finds acorn, and/or Divine guidance but sometimes you just get lucky and frankly, I’d rather be lucky than good any day of the week. I had returned to the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in the neighborhood of Glenwood AR Friday afternoon to be in nearby Norman in morning hours to photograph the front of the Norman library. I got the afternoon light the previous Saturday. See what I got last week at Weekly Grist, July 19, 2015. And see what I got this week on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com.

Cool clear water “on the charts”

In 1947, the Sons of the Pioneers recorded Cool Clear Water, a ballad that reached number four on the country charts that year. The tune and lyrics conjured up thoughts of two men struggling in the desert to reach “Cool clear water.”

Back to getting lucky

I had decided to take a gander at the Norman library, my main target for the next morning, in early evening light. I struck out from Glenwood late Friday afternoon on the short trek to Norman. On the way, the little voice said “turn right dummy,” after he picked up the visual signal my big browns had sent to the receptor system upon personal observation of a street sign that said “Buttermilk Springs Road” — which headed east from Arkansas Highway 8, the route from Glenwood to Norman.

The first few miles were nice, but nothing to write home about, and then all of a sudden on my right was a craggy-face near-vertical cliff grounding out less than 15 yards or so from the road bed. I could barely make out the top of the cliff being physically impeded by a fence and visually impeded by a growth of trees. Despite these interferences, the cliff appeared to be about six stories tall give or take a few randomly scattered standard deviations.

Rock cliff on Buttermilk Springs Road

Before I arrived at the spring, I happened across this, I’m guessing 60-foot-high-plus cliff grounding not far from the road bed. You look to the right and all of a sudden, there’s a cliff.

Not far from from the cliff, I found the spring. Some good soul had run a pipe into the spring output to direct the steady stream of cool, clean H2O to be conveniently caught by thirsty visitors. And yes, it had a good taste.

Rock cliff on Buttermilk Springs Road

Forklift pallets create a makeshift walkway from the roadside to the outflow of the spring. I walked with extreme caution. The cool clear water was a sweltering afternoon natural treat.

I happened across a local resident a mile or so past the spring. He takes care of the premises by weeding and picking trash droppings left by unappreciative visitors. To the best of his knowledge, local legend has it that the spring has been flowing steadily for more than 200 years. He said the water had been analyzed and was brimming with beneficial minerals. He also told a story of a man whose diabetes was allegedly cured by quaffing the spring outflow for several weeks.

Barn on Liberty Road

I eventually made my way back to Highway 8 via Liberty Road where I found this neat old barn broadside to the road.

Elderberry field

This is a holdover from last week. At the time I did not know what the crop was. A number of friends on facebook informed me that I was looking at an Elderberry field, my first such exposure. Since it may be your first look at a field of Elderberry, I included it this week. No extra charge.

There you have it. Blind hog roots out an acorn or two one more time. Ain’t life grand!

Thanks for looking,

Joe Dempsey

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

Meandering about the Ouachitas


The Norman Arkansas Library

The small library at Norman, Arkansas is a favorite target of Arkansas photographers. This is the nicely lit back which means that the favored front view was pitifully in the shadows. So here you were able to see the other side.

This may come as a surprise to many non-Arkansans, but our state has two, count-em, two mountain ranges. Almost everyone has heard of the Ozarks, few have heard of the Ouachita Mountains and national forest. The latter is southwest of the former and is and are the settings for our exploration today. I set out from the intergalactic headquarters of the Dempsey operations in Pine Bluff to an area west of Hot Springs, Arkansas with the small town of Amity as my jumping off place.

Red barn

Click on the barn for more pictures and the starting point for this story.

I proceeded from there to Norman to photograph their miniscule library, a favorite target of Arkansas photographers. From there, I made the short trip to to Black Springs and from thence into the boondocks, eventually emerging at Big Fork. Between Black Springs and Big Fork I found an isolated country church and cemetery and a small bridge which were great picture fodder. Let’s pause here and send you to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com to see a nice red barn, the aforementioned country church cemetery, cool cattle, and more. We’ll wait here for your return.

Small bridge south of Big Fork Arkansas

Just before breaking out of the woods at Big Fork, I came across this small single truss bridge. I had never seen anything quite like it.

Joe Dempsey on a bridge

It’s not often that you find a bridge, the trusses of which,  are not much taller than you. I am at my truncated height of 6′-3″ so the trusses of the bridge are around eight feet tall. You don’t see that a whole heckuvalot.

From Big Fork, I made my way through Mena, Arkansas, and drove north on US Highway 71 to Arkansas Highway 28 and turned east.  Highway 28 is rife with neat barns and nice old stores at Bluffton and Gravelly,  I also found some cattle coolin’ it the best way they could.

Not in the cards

Mad Dog Hill Lane road sign

I had expected to see an old abandoned house behind this sign.

It’s what I didn’t find that was not in the cards. Normally on trips like this, you never know what you will find, but having traveled Highway 28 before, I had some expectations. They were not to be.

Old house on Arkansas Hwy 28

Here’s what I expected to see. The old house, probably a little worse off than this last picture I shot in 2011.

I was tooling east on 28, listening to some good ol’ foot-stompin’ southern Gospel music and looking forward to another photo encounter with the old house at the junction of 28 and Mad Dog Hill Lane.

Adorned with some fine Victorian roof décor, I’m certain at one time it was the pride and joy of its owners. When I arrived at the junction I blinked twice. The site was level. No old house. The lot is completely overgrown with knee-high grass.

Old house on Arkansas Highway 28

Here it is without bushes or signs obliterating the view. That is, there it was.

I photographed it first in 2009 and again in 2011. I was not the only one. The old house was a favored target for many photographers. Goodbye old house. Even in your most decrepit condition, you provided pleasure to thousands.

Movin’ right along

Having completed our requiem for the old house, here are a few more of the observations we made on our swing through the Ouachita hinterlands.

Capped off water well

This is an old dug well, capped off to prevent, children, pets, idiots, and drunks from plunging to the bottom. The shelter is a hold-over from the days of its usefulness.

Possum Hollow street sign

You’ve probably heard countless hillbilly jokes about places like this. Now you know they really exist. There’s a problem. They missspelt “holler.”

Nola, Arkansas

Nola, Arkansas reminds me of a childhood friend Nola Caudle Slack who is now a Facebook friend. This Nola is on HIghway 28 in Arkansas. The other resides in Texas with her family.

This trip was a reflection of our lives more or less. We expect the unexpected and get our way. We expect the expected and strike out. Go figure.

Thanks for looking,

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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