Sign of life


Looking out old windows

Inside this old house, other than the large snake in the kitchen, I am the only noticeable occupant and I am temporary. The last residents of this place bailed out years ago. Afternoon sun makes a valiant effort to light the room and gives us a glimpse of what the residents saw outside their home. In this instance, a farm field and a huge pecan tree. We can be sure the mouse hole came after the folks left and before the snake arrived. From a philosophic standpoint, we can readily see that sometimes the wall between good, and not-so-good is very thin. One more thing, anyone remember Tom & Jerry?

Mother Nature and her faithful sidekick gravity have ways of dealing with abandoned structures upon which deferred maintenance has been thrust. This old home now under management by the aforementioned pair and following their procedure is self-destructing right on schedule. Remarkably, the floor handled my 230 pounds with aplomb for which I am grateful. Having ones feet on the ground with the floor at knee level is inconvenient at best.

shrub and old window

See the window outside

Before we venture further, we would be remiss if we did not invite you to see how the story of this old dwelling place started.

You can do that by clicking here, which will take you to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer Dot Com where you can find out how the window looks from the outside and see other views of the old house and tree. We’ll patiently wait here while you look.

Home improvement

Many, perhaps most older southern rural homes have add-ons. The family got larger, momma or aunt whatsername came to live with her progeny and/or nieces and nephews necessitating more floor space. Most of the time, little attention was paid to aesthetically matching the original construction. This home was true to that form. The original outside planking was vertical, the new, horizontal. Well, they did make the porch overhang vertical. Score one for aesthetics.

old house with add on

The add-on, a typical southern configuration accommodates the needs of growing families either by birth or in-migration of relatives. The large front porch appeared to have been screened in. In pleasant months, it could have well been a sleeping porch. The porch is not long for this world.

As with most country homes, this one had an out building, the use of which escapes us. I’m betting there was a barn as well, but I see no evidence. Perhaps a fire dispatched it, or heaven forbid, perhaps there wasn’t a barn. The outbuildings, other than “comfort stations,” were smoke houses, chicken houses, or storage of some sort. See the out building in our Weekly Grist Gallery here.

Big tree and old broken window

This picture was shot December 5, 2010. The other pictures were shot in March of 2009. There is not much difference. The shrub outside the window is taller and one more pane is missing. Unseen deterioration continues.

The pecan tree is huge, as we pointed out in our Corndancer article. I am generally reluctant to subject you to images of myself, but since I am a known height and width, I serve as a good comparison to establish the size of this immense pecan tree. I am 6′-3″ tall x 46 xl. As you can see, I am dwarfed by the tree.

Joe Dempsey in front of tree

This gives you an idea of the size of the tree. Yours truly is 6'-3."

As Mother Nature and her minion gravity stay in business, our glances at these old structures are fleeting opportunities. At a recent visit to this place, a neighbor hinted that this location is scheduled for razing. Better look fast.

But wait, there’s more

old outbuilding

See more pictures

Every week we shoot more than we have room to show on this page and Corndancer. So we put all of our weekly pictures, including some not seen anywhere else on our Weekly Grist Gallery. The pictures are higher resolution and bigger.

This week we have more pictures of the house, the out buildings and tree. Click here to see the pictures. You will like what you see.

Thanks for dropping by,

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 “Wow!” stuff: seek and ye shall find


These falls at Lake Catherine State Park, near Hot Springs, Arkansas are about midway in a relatively easy hiking trail that loops from a camping area along the lake shore. A healthy rain the day before this shot gave the falls a bit more oomph, a plus for the

These falls at Lake Catherine State Park, near Hot Springs, Arkansas are about midway in a relatively easy hiking trail that loops from a camping area along the lake shore. A healthy rain the day before this shot gave the falls a bit more oomph, a plus for the “WOW!” factor.

The “WOW!” stuff we encounter in our lives is analogous to life’s desserts. Sure we can live without ’em, but why? As a dessert, these experiences are non-fattening, low cholesterol and may, as in the case of the waterfall above, offer an opportunity for a tad of exercise. We actually started this “WOW!” exploration on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot Com. To see some more pictures from “WOW!” experiences and get in on the start of the story, click here, a very cool thing to do.

Water rushes over a low water bridge on an abandoned road off Arkansas Highway 171 west of Lake Catherine State Park. When the water is not up, you would probably miss it.

Water rushes over a low water bridge on an abandoned road off Arkansas Highway 171 west of Lake Catherine State Park. When the water is not up, you would probably miss it.

Granted, you do not have to take a trip to a waterfall or other special location to experience a “WOW!”, but for the most part, you exponentially increase the odds of being WOWED, if you put yourself in position to be WOWED. This means that occasionally one must cut the umbilical to daily or even weekend routines and nose about for something new. You may not know where you are going. A discovery is even more delicious if it is uncovered due to a random act of deciding which way to turn. Sally forth in a new direction and see what can be discovered. You never know what you will see. As an example, take a gander at the road sign below:

Lick Skillet Road

Lick Skillet Road off Arkansas Highway 80 east of Waldron, Arkansas.

When I saw the sign, I, in the words of W. C. Fields, ” … was compelled … ” to turn and drive down the road. This was not the first Lick Skillet Road sign I saw, but was the most skewed, so it made the cut to be published. I encountered a friendly young man in a pickup and asked if he knew how the road got its name. He allowed as how he understood that around the turn of the 20th century, a woman operated an eatery on the road. The good ol’ boys of the time observed that the food there was so good, you wanted to lick the skillet. And thus the name.

Further investigation by Googling the term indicated that this appellation, Lick Skillet, at the time, was popular. Turns out there are a bunch of Lick Skillet places and other Lick Skillet roads promiscuously scattered around the nation. There is indeed precious little new under the sun. Sooner or later, someone will claim to be “The Original Lick Skillet.” Or perhaps that claim has already been made.

Mad Dog Road

Abandoned house on Mad Dog Hill Lane near Bluffton, Arkansas on state highway 28.

After having followed Lick Skillet Road until it terminated on Arkansas Highway 80 east of Waldron, I more or less folded the tent with the idea of beating a path back home. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an abandoned house with some Victorian trappings on the confluence of highway 28 and  “Mad Dog Hill Lane.”  In my time, I’ve known a few people, who will remain unidentified, the address of whom would appropriately contain such a street — you know who you are.

No one came forth with an explanation for the name, so I folded the tent again and headed south. Our imagination can fill in the blanks on Mad Dog Hill Lane until something better comes along.

Thanks for dropping by,

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