A break in the soaking and a compendum of critters

This "free-range" rooster gave me a wary look. I stayed in the truck and grabbed him with a long lens. Back in the day, we would have called him a "yardbird," in lieu of the yuppified "free range chicken" designation.

This “free-range” rooster gave me a wary look reserved for interlopers who threaten his hens. I stayed in the truck and grabbed him with a long lens. Back in the day, we would have called him a “yard-bird,” in lieu of the yuppified “free range chicken” designation.

rain soaked camellia

Click the soaked camellia for  more pix and comments.

The drought conditions we groused about several months ago are now reversed here in LA (lower Arkansas). My friend Michael Stubblefield, a transmogrified Arky residing in Seattle would feel right at home. That is, once he made the adjustment to the fact that here one sees a plethora of service stations peddling fried chicken versus the plethora of Starbucks one observes in Seattle.

All that said, this last Saturday was generally a Seattle soaker. Even so, I found some lurking visual opportunities here on the Dempsey premises between cloud bursts. You can see these and peruse the attendant commentary on the Photo of The Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

A break in the soaker came in the afternoon, so bitten with a bad case of cabin fever, I ventured out to see what I could see. Turns out, a few critters had the same idea. One round trip down a short stretch of country road at the outskirts of my fair city yielded unexpected and welcome results manifested as chickens, cows, and horses.

Free range rooster

This rooster was in the same location as the rooster above. He gave me the same suspicious look. I stayed in the truck.

Just across the road from the chickens, cattle were chowing down on a convenient hay smorgasbord in the middle of their pasture. The diners included a Texas longhorn, but unfortunately he was on the far side of the feeding station so we only got a glimpse of his impressive horns.

Cows at hay feeding station.

Across the road from the chickens, cattle munch out on hay. The calf probably probably still visits his mother’s milk supply. Notice the horn on the Texas longhorn on the far side of the feeding station.

Not long after I left the cattle, I was beginning to think I was going to run out of critters when I noticed a some horses grazing in a pasture a couple of hundred yards off the road. I kept going and noticed that the batteries in one camera were running low so I stopped to make the change. While I was fiddle-faddling with the batteries, unbeknown to me, the horses began to demonstrate a tendency shared by most pampered horses. They came to a stopped pickup. As a result, I would up with a close shot of a friendly pony.

I think this horse would have stuck his or her head in the truck had not the gate been closed between us. The horse came a long way to make the visit while I was changing batteries in one of my cameras.

I think this horse would have stuck his or her head in the truck had not the gate been closed between us. The horse came a long way to make the visit while I was changing batteries in one of my cameras.

Some days, you just get lucky. The idea is to let those days outnumber the others. I’m still working on that. I suspect you are doing the same.

Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.



A requiem for the stockyards

stockyards dock house

You are looking inside the "Dock House," of the soon-to-be-no-more stockyards in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The "Dock House" was a gathering place for cattlemen, drivers, and interlopers who always enjoy spinning or hearing a good tale. My source tells me the BS inside the "Dock House," was probably thicker than it was in the cattle pens. Now, one can only imagine.

stock yards building

See more pictures at Corndancer dot-com

There is irony in the language on the wall poster above which says, “You can only borrow what you are worth today,” a corollary to “what have you done for me today?.”  The “Dock House” where the poster hangs is part and parcel of “the stockyards” in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Today’s worth of the stockyards is diminished in the face of “progress.”

The stockyards are being demolished by dis-assembly to make room for a new structure to be erected by the new owners of the property, Central Moloney, Inc., the next-door neighbor to the stockyards. Get in on the start of this interesting story and see more pictures on the Photo of  the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here while you look.

Pine Bluff stockyards

What formerly transpired at the stockyards now commonly takes place on the internet and closed circuit TV, leaving thousands of local stockyards similar to this one,  in the lurch.

Once a bustling hub of business, this 69-year-old stock yard in Pine Bluff, Arkansas owned by the Glover Livestock Commission Company is no longer active, although the company is. It is not alone in its dilemma, hundreds of other local stockyards have met a similar fate.

Formerly cattle sellers and buyers would congregate at stockyards like this and do business on “sale-days.” Participants in the process forged long-term face-to-face friendships and business relationships. Lounges like the abandoned “Dock House” above vibrated with tall tales and down-home humor. Now the same business transactions are being made over the internet and closed circuit TV. The participants probably don’t know each other from Adam’s Off-Ox.

Office building at stockyards

This building at the Pine Bluff Stock Yards once housed offices, a popular restaurant and "The Rancher," a successful western store. The structure is more than 70 years old.

stock yards loading ramp

The back of the old office building as seen though a loading ramp in the stock yards building.

Every time we scratch our heads and wonder “what else could possibly be invented,” up jumps a radical new idea which grabs our collective imagination and forces a shift in business practice. This is not to castigate the new process, far from it, because this story reaches you with in the same venue that spelled disaster for the stockyards. Our point is to remember and respect what got us where we are. It is the eternal conundrum. We ride the wave of new means, methods, and technology, but decry some, but not all of the results. It’s called reality. Welcome to the global marketplace, have a nice day.


Without stepping in, well … you know. See all-new pictures of the stockyards inside and out in our Weekly Grist Gallery. You’ll see pictures not available anywhere else, plus all of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures, bigger and in high resolution. Neat stuff and low-carb, low-calorie, and your mamma will approve of it.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


%d bloggers like this: