Home territory barns


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Old barn on US HIghway 63 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Just off U.S. Highway 63 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, this old barn was high on my list of requests to shoot. It is in good condition and sits in a well maintained pasture alongside the highway. There is a tad of lean to the right side.

A big benefit of residing in a not-to-terribly-large metro area is that you are still close to the last vestiges of the former predominantly rural society experienced by our parents and grandparents, to wit: old barns. The barns you see on this post are prima-facie evidence of that benefit. They are no further than 10 or 15 minutes from my humble abode.

old barn on I-530 near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Click to see another L.A. barn

Though many  of our remaining barns are crumbling and/or on the verge of collapse, for a lot of folks, these old structures exude a certain panache and charm not otherwise available. I am one of those so infected.

A goodly number of my similarly afflicted friends asked me to shoot the one you see above and one you will find on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com.  The one you will see at Corndancer has deteriorated far past the one you see above, so get a good look. The next warhorse storm could convert it to kindling wood.

old red barn on us highway 63 near pine bluff arkansas

Taking a closer look at the old barn on Highway 63, it appears to be in better condition than many of the old barns I have photographed. The remaining red is makes for a great old barn patina — just the thing that makes barn aficionados salivate.

Barn on Mount Harmony Road south of Pine Bluff Arkansas

Just a hop, skip, and jump south on Highway 63 from our red barn, turn right on Mount Harmony Road. It won’t be long before you see this barn. It is in good condition and was apparently in place before the neighborhood which has built up around it.

Old barn on Mount Harmony Church Road near PIne Bluff AR

Stay on Mount Harmony Road for a mile or so and you will come across this leaning barn. It is near a residence and sits in a large well-tended yard. This view is available from your vehicle. In fact, I did not leave the truck to get this shot.

And now my friends, I am giving you the bird!

Bird perched  on a pasture gate

When I arrived at the red barn, I noticed a bevy of birds perched on the entrance gate. The birds  kept a wary eye on me but did not fly while I snapped the long lens to Mr. Nikon. They even stayed in place while I shot out the window.  As soon as I stepped out the pickup door, they launched. This critter was the most intriguing of the bunch. I’m not certain, but I’m thinking the bird is a immature Purple Martin. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Remember, as much as you may enjoy seeing old barns, the pleasure is fleeting. Enjoy now before it’s too late. That’s meaningful for other things too.

See larger pictures of all of the barns (and the bird) from Corndancer and Weekly Grist in our Weekly Grist gallery

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

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Late bird, early spring


Robin with worm

It was late in the day when when this fat robin, flying in the face of tradition, once and for all proved that the early bird is not the only one to get the worm.

I start looking for the yellow presence of Jonquils at the tail-end of February and the first week in March. Last year, I found my first ones on February 20, this year, I saw fully developed and happy Jonquils on February 7. In that condition, one can safely presume they have been there a few days.

robin on stump

Click on the bird for another picture of him at Corndancer dot-com

Here in LA, it’s been an anemic, puny winter with days topping out in the high 60 and low 70 degree range. That makes for severe weather, sinus trouble, and plants with their schedule out of whack. Which is why I found the bird.

Earlier in the week, on the way to jury duty, I saw the Jonquils but could not stop to shoot. When I returned late one afternoon a few days later to shoot the flowers, Cock Robin was sitting on the broken stump of a tree which had earlier succumbed to a big wind.

I was able to shoot from the truck so he did not spook as soon as most wild critters do. Since the lot is about two feet higher than the street, I got him eyeball to eyeball in the Nikon glass.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

In fact when I arrived, he was on the stump without the worm, took a dive, grabbed the worm and returned to his perch most of which I captured. It is always better to be lucky than good. See the first shot of the robin and the early jonquils I was after where this story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We will wait here while you look.

Early spring volunteer jonquils

The target jonquils, despite their lack of human attention, were doing quite well thank you very much. Originally planted by former residents of the long since demolished house, the plants continue to follow the genetic instructions imbued by the Almighty. Some things are best left alone.

Anytime one discusses spring flowers, my across-the-street-neighbor’s yard cannot be overlooked. She is a master gardener and her yard and flower beds are silent witness to her considerable skills. Her horticultural efforts offset the lack of same in my yard. I suppose it is some sort of vegetative equation if there is such a thing.

yellow and black pansy

This stout little pansy at my neigbhors is tougher than it looks. It has survived a couple of sub-freezing nights.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Large jonquil

This is a large Jonquil in my neighbor's yard. This one looks like a bloom on steroids compared to others. Must be the green thumb.

robin on ground

Click on the bird for our Weekly Grist Gallery

Mother Nature is messing with us and it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. We simply are not in charge. But we can enjoy birds and flowers without too many foot pounds of energy expended.

In fact, with a mere click, you can see more of them in our Weekly Grist Gallery. Click here and take a gander.

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

Geese at the granary


hunter calling geese

Goose hunter Mike Goodwin, hunkered down in brush, takes a short pause to watch approaching geese he has convinced to come his way. The hunt was west of Humphrey, Arkansas off Arkansas Highway 13 near Crooked Creek. I was unexpectedly invited to be the guest photographer.

Old granary

Click on the old granary for the the start of the story.

Garnering an invitation to photograph a Grand Prairie goose hunt was the last thing I expected when I set out to photograph the old granary where Crooked Creek crosses Arkansas Highway 13, west of Humphrey, Arkansas. But then one does not question the favors of fate. Find out how this story started and see pictures of the old granary on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here.

After shooting the old building, I drove to a field full of geese nearby, dismounted, approached them, spooked them to rise, and photographed them. As I left the field, I noticed a truck pulling up at the old granary. Believing I might have a source of information about the building, I approached the driver, explained what I was doing and asked about the old building. He did not reveal a lot about the building, but did invite me to be a part of the goose hunt he was supervising. Without hesitation, I agreed.

hunter and dog along irrigation canal

Goose hunter Mike Goodwin and his Labrador Retriever, Star. We joined Mike and Star as they pursued the hunt. They are facing the general direction of approaching geese. To their rear is a field where Mike has placed a dozen or so very realistic goose decoys.

See more pictures of the goose hunt in our Weekly Grist Gallery

hunters watching approaching geese

Megan Kerr (center) watches as Mike Goodwin (right) calls geese in. Megan's friend Lee Anne Woodall (left) joined the group. She had no camouflage, so she is doing her best to hide behind the brush. Geese have wary eyes for humans.

Mike called in two groups of geese. The first group of geese won and flew on their way. Most of the time the geese win. That’s why there are so many geese. When the second group came in, Megan bagged her first goose. Star, the lab retriever did her duty and brought the felled goose back to Mike. After that, the geese began to make their way back to their roosting areas for the night. They have an early bed time.

Loading game to four wheeler

Steve who invited me to the hunt, loads geese onto the four wheeler which will carry us back to our trucks, which are specks on the horizon.

See more pictures of the goose hunt in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Geese flying to their roosting areas

As afternoon turns to early evening, geese head for their roosting areas for the night, well out of the range of hunters. Smart birds.

 We were privileged to be the guests in the practice of a time-honored outdoor sport in which hunters ply their learned skills against wary natural instincts eons in the making. Most of the time the instincts win. That’s the sport.

dog retrieving goose

Click on "Star" the lab for more pictures

SEE OUR Weekly Grist Gallery
for more pictures

We’ve posted 29 pictures of the hunt and granary in our Weekly Grist Gallery including Star retrieving the goose, the four wheeler ride, calling geese, geese in formation flight, and geese on the water. It gives us goose-bumps just to think about it.

The pictures are larger and easier to see than the pictures on this page. Click and look.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Snowbirds


female cardinal at birdfeeder

Mrs. Cardinal flares as she is about to land and join Mr. Cardinal for a bite of lunch during a recent snow storm. Our bird feeder, frequently replenished by Pat Dempsey, my spousal unit and roommate, was the most popular game in town.
cardinal on limb in snow storm

cardinal on limb in snow storm

For the price of a pound or so of bird seed and the kinetic energy to deliver said seed to our bird feeder during a recent snow storm, we were witness to a bird feeding frenzy second to none. Cardinals who like our neighborhood were the main players. These “redbirds” were joined by sparrows and a woodpecker, plus some interloping blackbirds who were uninvited guests. Find out how this story started and see more bird pictures on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com .Click here to go there.

Sparrow and cardinal on bird feeder in snow

After a few anxious moments of awkward glances and body, the cardinal and sparrow finally buried the hatchet and got on with lunch. Survival finally took precedence over ego.

Though the feathery critters joined some territorial spats, these disagreements seemed to be less frequent and intense than we observe under more favorable weather conditions. Perhaps swallowing one’s pride along with one’s food is more acceptable when the latter is scarcer.

Cardinal on bird feeder in snow storm

Mr. Cardinal gives us the eye and quickly returned to the task at hand. Munching out.

See more bird pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Even our friendly local Red Bellied Woodpecker made a showing. He is bigger than everyone else and nobody messes with him. We don’t see much of Mr. Woodpecker in the winter months so his visit was welcome. Despite his size, he was not overly aggressive and grabbed what he could. See him in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

female cardinal on limb during snow storm

Sometimes, a girl just needs a little time to herself. This female cardinal hopped on a limb close to the window for this shot. She is probably as regular at the feeder and has a lower fear threshold.

The feeding frenzy continued until dark when the birds went wherever they go to roost. They returned the next day and started where they left off. The storm was long gone and eastern sun back-lighted the scene which eliminated the shooting opportunity of the day before.  So, a cold, overcast, stormy day was preferable. You take what you get.

cardinal and red bellied woodpecker

See more bird pictures

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
Birds that is!

See more birds including our friendly local woodpecker. There are 19 high resolution pictures of this feeding frenzy in our Weekly Grist Gallery. These are our “keepers” that we did not publish in Weekly Grist or Corndancer, plus those we did. Click here and see these cool pictures.

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