Back to the pumpkin hill dog-trot

Dog-trot house near Rison Arkansas

Click on the house to see our original Nov. 25, 2012 Weekly Grist post.

In 2010, against all odds of success and a plethora of “it can’t be done” advice, my friend Bob Abbott decided to have his grandfather’s old dogtrot house at Smead, Arkansas jacked up and moved 47 miles to his property on Pumpkin Hill Road near Rison, Arkansas.

Once the parts were in place expert “forensic” carpenters would reassemble and restore the old structure.  It should be mentioned here that failure is never an option with Bob. Given that qualifier, there were certain of his friends, yours truly included, who believed that it was just a matter of time until the old structure was indeed restored and standing proud on Pumpkin Hill Road.

Sure enough, a couple of years later, the job was done. The new dog-trot accurately resembles the old dogtrot with its original breezeway open to permit, well, breeze – and light. Like many dogtrots, in later life, the original breezeway was closed to make another room. Replete with fence and a well structure in the front yard, the new one is a dead ringer for the old one back in its glory days.

The new dogtrot gives us a good glimpse of dogtrot living. See our original Nov. 25, 2012 post and look at detailed pictures of rooms in the house and the dog trot breezeway plus an outside view.

dog-trot house on pumpkin hill road

Click on the house to see more pictures and detailed info at

Also be sure and see our original Corndancer Photo of the Week page for two more outside views of the house and other features of the property including an executive rail car permanently relocated on the same property and a neat pond reflection.

Just shows what can be done when a good person makes up his mind.

Pumpkin Hill Gallery

We have created a special gallery of 19 pictures with other views of the place on Pumpkin Hill Road plus the pics you see here with larger and better resolution than normal web presentation.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind





Rock houses and more (again)

Rock structures at Hickory Plains Arkansas

Click on the old rock houses to see our original Oct. 208, 2012 post.

Back in October of 2012, with a bit of time on my hands, I made a foray into the foothills of the Ozarks where I found some nice examples of rock structures, aka buildings made of “native stone.”

As a building material in the foothills, rocks are rampant. Just about any creek bed at some juncture or another will yield enough to build a fence, residence, well house or what ever else one’s imagination can dredge up.

In these areas you will find a few business that specialize as purveyors of these rocks. These merchants of hardness sort and stack rocks in various sizes, colors, shapes and other criteria that will probably mystify  those unschooled or inexperienced in the rock trade. Bring your lunch when you get ready to unload your weighty purchases.

Dog trot house at Cleveland Arkansas

Click on the old house for the story and pictures.

While I was in the neighborhood, I ran across a reasonably well preserved dog-trot house that had been vacant for a while. Fortunately, there was a neighbor who was willing and able to provide information on the old structure.

See the old house on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. There’s a lot of detail in the pictures and story including a favorite community joke from the early part of the last century.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind



Nine months later redux

camel at New Orleans Zoo

We had high hopes that perhaps this camel at the New Orleans Zoo had survived Katrina, if old age had not made its claim first. Click on the camel to see our original post.

Back in April, 2006, nine months after Katrina hit New Orleans with her malevolent pass-through and subsequent flooding, a couple of friends and me, Dick Warriner and the late Dick DeWoody hit the road for New Orleans.

It was a road trip we had made for several years. We would land in the Crescent City, volunteer in the French Quarter Fest for four hours and spend the rest of the stay poking around the French Quarter.

This year was somewhat different but not as much as we expected.  The festival went on.The crowds were more than we expected.

The merriment at the festival did not dim or seem diminished. After what the city had been through, one would suppose a weekend of revelry would be in order to help get things pointed in the right direction.

man eating po' boy sandwich

Click on the sandwich dude for more of this ‘Nawlins trip.

Most of the festival is conducted in the French Quarter which the original settlers in the area found be the highest ground in many a mile. Turns out it still was and despite Katrina’s hammering, the ‘quarter’ took the least lick in the city. Those original folks were on to something that later developers apparently ignored.

On the way out of town, we made a photo swing through the lower ninth ward which took the worst licks from Katrina. It was not pretty, but it is reality. Take a look at our April 2006 trip to see what we saw. Also be sure to check out our Corndancer Photo of the Week page for that trip to see even more of what we saw.

katrina storm damage

Here’s one look at Katrina damage in the Ninth Ward. Click on the picture to see more in our original post.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Let’s hear it for the flugelhorn section

flugelhorn player

This flugelhorn player is belting it out during half-time at a University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football game.

During half-time while on assignment to photograph a football game between the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Southern University I benched myself and watched the great big UAPB band march onto the field and make its fine, equally great big sounds.

flugelhorn players

Some music aficionados say that flugelhorns have a sound somewhere between a trumpet and a French horn. What ever it is, it’s a nice sound.

After a few seconds, I naturally picked up the camera and started firing away. Without too much forethought I aimed at the band then reviewed the snaps in the camera monitor. What I saw was a neat flugelhorn section. Flugelwhat you say? Flugel horn. Kind of a big trumpet. In the mid-seventies, Chuck Mangione made a name for himself with the tune Feels so Good, he played on a flugelhorn.

flugelhorn players

These three players were my targets of choice.

flugelhorn player looking around horn

See more of the flugelhorns at Corndancer dot-com

Speaking of which, you can see more of the flugelhorn section and a video of Chuck Mangione tune on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Take a gander and we’ll wait right here.

Temporary insanity

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I developed a temporary obsession to make images of the flugelhorn section and since these weekly intrusions into life come at my whims, that’s where we go this week. I’m thinking that such a noble instrument deserves some additional exposure since its last blaze of glory was in the seventies. It’s not like Weekly Grist will make the impact that Chuck Mangione did, but then every little bit helps.

Trombone players

Trombonists marching in formation with sousaphones and a flugelhorn and a trumpet in the background.

flugelhorn player

And finally our favorite flugelhorn player. She looks like she means business.

Who’da’ thunk that one would run across a pictorial exploration of flugelhorns for your personal entertainment and edification? Could an ocarina and a wet sponge be next?

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

The underbelly of fall

changing leaves

These trees in my back yard cannot make their minds up. I’m ready for some nice fall colors and these ungrateful giants come forth with pale green and crummy brown. It’s a sign of pseudo-fall.

On this, a severely overcast, muggy pseudo-fall day (November 1, 20115), being stir crazy, I had an uncontrollable urge to photograph something and then whack out a few word to accompany the pictures. On a day like today, there was precious little beauty and a lot of the “underbelly of fall” as I call days like these. Nevertheless, there are only two satisfactory ways to scratch those itches, so away I went. Here’s what I got.

Hummingbird feeder

Another sure sign of psuedo-fall is the hummingbird feeder in the carport awaiting storage, its hungry little friends long gone.

dead tree washed up on riverbank

Click on the tree to see the big picture at Corndancer dot-com

Also, be sure and see the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where you’ll find some dramatic flotsam, more crummy leaves, an old cemetery, an abandoned old church and a bit more around LA.

The trees are getting a bit scraggly and interspersed not with dazzling fall colors but brownish looking leaves. There are a few flowers left, making their last stand. Bags full of leaves from the roof gutters (which will be quickly replaced). The humming bird feeder is down and in the carport waiting to be squirreled away until next spring.

Indoor plants which have really enjoyed being outside are about to be relegated to their climate-controlled indoor phase which they will barely survive. The grill is covered.

indoor plant outside

Our indoor plants which really dig the back yard can forget it. Back to the den and meager light until late next spring. Hopefully the covered grill behind the plant might get a little winter use (slurp).

Yessir, yessir, three bags full. Fresh leaves from the roof gutters. Soon to be replaced. It's a vicious cycle.

Yessir, yessir, three bags full already. Fresh leaves from the roof gutters. Soon to be replaced. It’s a vicious cycle.

I went to Lake Saracen to see if some of the winter birds have arrived. Just a few. But I did see a couple of good-ol’-boys setting out a trot line with detergent bottle floats.

Fishermen setting out a trot line

Crummy day or not, these good ol’ boys are setting out their trot line in Saracen Lake.

I saw a poor dog chained to a big tree. He seemed to accept his fate. I cursed under my breath at the treatment of the critter and moved on.

Dog chained to tree

This dog can wander only as long as the heavy chain padlocked to the dog and tree will let him go. The dog seems resigned to his fate, I wonder why people do this to an animal who is a loyal companion by nature.

Then I found a rice field that had been harvested before the rains came. Also found a cotton field that had been harvested. Modern cotton harvesting does not get all the lint. That which is left shows as white specks on the fields until they are plowed under or burned. The green, golden, and white unto harvest fields are long gone with the aftermath of harvest “now showing.” Call it anf ugly necessity.

rice field stubble

Next I found rice stubble. The emerald green, then golden ripened fields are long gone until next spring.

harvested cotton field

This once “white unto harvest” cotton field is now stubble. Next spring the cycle will start again.

Cotton stubble closeup

Not all cotton lint is picked up by the mechanical picker. What’s left will nourish the next crop. This is somewhat exaggerated since it is a the end of a row.

Though I did not see much of anything of beauty save a flower in my back yard, taking a look at what goes on around us serves as a reminder that despite our habits and daily pursuits, things good and bad continue without our assistance and/or interference. And now there are pictures and words, which was the whole idea in the first place.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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