A Delta sampler

Producers Rice Mill elevator DeWitt Arkansas

One of the few traffic jams seen in small Delta communities is a long line of semi-trailers full of freshly harvested rice and soybeans waiting at the local elevator to be unloaded. There are only three trucks here now, but you can bet the farm that before now and later on there were and will be a bunch more. Turning space becomes a premium commodity. This particular installation is the Producers Rice Mill elevator at DeWitt, Arkansas.

Driving through the Delta is like bank fishing on the river: you never know what you are going to catch (and or see). My most recent swing started at the International Headquarters in Pine Bluff and snaked generally northeast to the outskirts of Helena, Arkansas and back to Hqs. by a slightly, but not completely different route. In that end of the world, for some destinations, there is not a plethora of roads from which one may make a selection. (Therein lies some of the charm).

Field burn off fire in the Delta

I spied this field burn-off fire on the horizon, but my trip plan took me in the opposite direction. Turns out, I found and even bigger field fire and made a lot of shots. See them on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com

Center pivot in field fire

Click the pic for more field fire pictures

The afore-mentioned trip takes one through pockets of civilization; wild, wooly, and critter-filled boondocks; and lots of farmland, all of which offer fertile opportunities to burn pixels. The resulting pictures in this report are presented in the order in which I encountered the circumstances which made them possible. One of the phenomena I stumbled across was a large field burn-off southwest of Helena, Arkansas. I have posted 14 pictures of the fire with a few words of commentary on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Egret at DeWitt Arkansas

Right in the big middle of DeWitt, Arkansas, across from a school, I found a large flock of egrets. Of course, the nearby, freshly-harvested cornfield might have had something to do with their presence. This big boy decided to break from the flock and pose.

egret flock flying

Shooting from the truck window when egrets are close is normally necessary since they immediately spook the minute the door comes open. To get this picture, I drove toward them a few feet and then starting shooting.

1954 Chevy Truck in DeWitt Arkansas

If you follow this blog, you have seen this poor old ’54 Chevy truck before. It is on one of the main highways out of DeWitt, Arkansas. I shoot it every time I pass it.

1935 Chevy truck in St. Charles Arkansas

Up the road a piece from DeWitt in St. Charles, Arkansas I discovered a predecessor to the ’54 Chevy in DeWitt — this one is a 1935 model Chevy.

Cotton field ready for harvest

This cotton near the junction of Highways 1 and 318 northeast of St. Charles appears ready to pick.

Old gin at Watkins Corner

This old gin at Watkins Corner near the junction of Arkansas Highways 316 and 318 reminds us of the days when cotton was king in the Delta.

Old gin at Watkins Corner

Here’s a closer look at the gin. Farmers would bring picked cotton to the gin in a trailer like you see in the picture. A gin worker would climb in the trailer and maneuver a large metal vacuum tube descending from the overhang through the cotton to suck the crop into the gin.

Delta gumbo soil clods

Let’s talk dirty. You may remember me mentioning the famous “Gumbo,” aka “Buckshot” Delta soil. Well these clods are the real thing, dry as the desert, and hard as a brick. When this soil is wet it is gummy, sticky, and generally a pain in the nether regions. On the upside, as crop land, it is so good it could probably get a marble to sprout provided it was properly planted.

Dripping water faucet in sunset

I am not certain why anyone would leave this water valve running. Perhaps there is a good engineering reason which eludes me. One thing of which I am certain: They did not leave it leaking because it looks neat when back lit by setting Delta sun. Despite lack of intent, I still appreciate the opportunity. Back lit stuff is fun to shoot.

Abandoned Delta home at sunset in Arkansas

There are a lot of abandoned homes in the Delta. Despite the lack of residents, this one still enjoys attention from someone with a mower (or bush hog). The setting sun behind it was a fortuitous circumstance. Thank goodness for fortuitous circumstances.”

Abandoned Delta gin

Not far from the old home is this abandoned gin glowing nicely in the Delta Sunset. The grass grows green in memory of better days.

Downtown in Elaine Arkansas at sunset

Though we posted a version of this picture last week, it is appropriate this week as well since it was among the last shot on this foray through the Delta. The light went away fast not long after this click.

There you have it, an afternoon swing through the Delta. Though you never know quite what to expect, you are never disappointed. And, you are close enough to Mississippi to catch some good blues on their public radio station.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind



3 Responses

  1. Will you ever go back to Arkansas City? Kevin from Osceola Mill in Va

  2. […] These two photos feature Joe’s own captions. To view the rest of the fifteen photos and Joe’s commentary on them, go to https://weeklygrist.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/a-delta-sampler/. […]

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