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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