Getting there is half the fun


old sharecropper house

Our trip this week was to photograph this old sharecropper house near Lake View, Arkansas. The trip was two hours each way so there were plenty of photo-ops along the way.

old share cropper house

See more pix of the old house at Corndancer dot-com

Long and winding road

After receiving a timely tip as to the existence and location of this old sharecropper house, I set out to shoot it early Saturday afternoon. Well, not too early, it was nearly 3:00 p.m. The route from the Dempsey domicile to the target is far less than direct due to non-negotiable wetlands, at several junctures, betwixt and between the starting and ending points.

The trip figured at two hours each way, not counting stops for shooting. Not a bad thing considering the mother lode of photo-fodder one normally encounters in the Delta. See some more pictures and read astute observations of this rare old sharecropper house on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where this story started. We’ll wait here.

See more pictures of the old sharecropper house in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

tree trimmed for power line right of way

At more than 100° in the shade, it’s hard to image ice-encrusted tree limbs, but that’s why this tree is trimmed the way it is. Falling limbs zap the lights. Note the burned lower trunk. (My apologies, this picture has some bad faults).

 This old tree like many in these environs has been trimmed to prevent it dropping limbs during the ice storms we endure occasionally in rough winters. One does simply does not want the TV to falter at the crux of a serious football game or pickup truck commercial. Regarding the tree, to add injury to insult, its lower trunk has sustained fire damage.

burned tree trunk

Despite fire damage, the old tree seems to be holding its own. The fire which charred the truck killed some foliage, but the old oak seems to be oblivious to the damage. Good luck tree!

You will see all sorts of things on a swing through the Delta and abandoned houses may lead the charge. As farming becomes more automated and less labor intensive, people are moving into more populated areas for employment. If it lasts that long, the house below will eventually be in the same condition as the one above.

abandoned house

“Will the person who knocked the front porch off the house please report to Mama!”

 It’s same song, second verse here in the Delta. In 2010 it rained like a monsoon, then turned as dry as the Gobi Desert. Welcome to 2011. The only difference is the extra 1. The good news is, the farmers are cranking up the center pivot irrigation systems and that always makes for good pictures. These mechanical quarter-mile-long monsters crawl in half-mile circles refreshing thirsty cotton and beans as they go. I must add that my farmer friends will castigate me for saying cranking up center pivots is good news, but they do make for some cool pix.

center pivot irrigation system

This huge center pivot irrigation system is providing life-sustaining water to a growing cotton crop a few miles from the old share cropper house you saw above.

 As you cruise through the Delta, you will cross hundreds of creeks, “brainches,” and irrigation ditches. Some are civilized and some are about as inviting as an equatorial swamp. The one below fits that category. The critters in and around it will strenuously object to your presence. Some will manifest their displeasure by departing the scene. Others will come at you with malice. Enjoy these wild snippets of nature at a comfortable distance.

See more pictures of this trip in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

a small creek in the Delta

Observe and enjoy this sanctuary for untoward critters from a respectable distance.

 I was burning daylight and rushing to get home before dark, but saw another center pivot with back-lighting from a setting sun. It was worth the stop. Things have to be just right for images like that, so it was voluntary delay.

back-lit center pivot irrigation system

The sun behind the spray gives a gossamer look to an industrial application. Not bad for a bunch of good ol’ boys.

When I rolled in the dogs were waiting, to administer a slobbery welcome. It’s nice to have friends who jump for joy every time they see you.

pickup abandoned on weeds

Click on the truck for our Weekly Grist Gallery

SEE MORE OF THIS TRIP IN
OUR WEEKLY GRIST GALLERY

Take a gander at more shots of the old sharecropper house, some vehicles garaged in a weed bed, another center pivot shot, and a eatery with great personally unfulfilled promise in our Weekly Grist Gallery, this week with 25, count ’em 25 pictures.

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

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Water woes and meandering through the Delta


Mother Nature has dealt many farmers here in the Delta a lousy hand. Never-ending spring rains delayed planting or drowned what had been planted. Now that the deluge is over the dry spell has begun. We started this story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Click here and find out how this all started … and see a couple of additional pictures.

While this center pivot irrigation device has the appearance of a turbocharged praying mantis ready to pounce on you, its purpose is much more kind.

While this center pivot irrigation device has the appearance of a turbocharged praying mantis ready to pounce on you, its purpose is beneficial. It is making certain that the young cotton plants at its feet survive to become your next shirt, sheets or “drawers.”

It’s not as if irrigation is not an expected and  predictable function of the process. It’s just that the requirements for it have started earlier. Most of these fields have been prepared in the non-growing seasons to accommodate irrigation. The landscape is sloped to allow irrigation water to flow where it is needed.

Your future pilaf in the making —  a rice field is being topped off. It is necessary to flood these fields. Nothing new there. The rub is, planting is way off schedule due to the relentless spring rains.

Your future pilaf in the making — a rice field is being topped off. It is necessary to flood these fields. Nothing new there. The rub is, planting is way off schedule due to the relentless spring rains which pummeled us a few weeks back. The well  is powered by electricity. Many other irrigation wells are powered by internal combustion engines.

A non-rigid plastic pipe (below) is attached to the rice well above. The pipe snakes out through the field. Where water is needed, operators punch holes in the pipe to get the results you see above and below.

rice irrigation

Flexible plastic pipe has mostly replaced rigid metal pipe as conduit for irrigation waters. Plastic pipe is less expensive, deploys faster and is reusable and/or recyclable.

The communities in this agricultural area are old. In some cases, not much is left to give evidence of the early inhabitants. The exceptions to that rule are the churches and cemeteries. The grave below is marked with a “Woodmen of the World Memorial” tombstone. It wasn’t long ago that I saw a TV commercial touting the benefits of that organization. The stone almost looks like it could have been an ancestor to R2D2.

wood men

The Methodist Church in the background, has no cornerstone or other evidence of its age, but the graves tell the story. Mr. C.W. Barner lies under this stone. He was born April 15, 1888 and died April 18, 1919.  A number of graves in the cemetery are much older than this one.

Giving you the bird

 I leave you this week by giving you the bird. The redwinged blackbird was perched in a healthy stand of corn near Cornerstone, Arkansas. I stopped to look at the corn and the bird. He staid put until I got the shot and then departed.

I leave you this week by giving you the bird. The redwinged blackbird was perched in a healthy stand of corn near Cornerstone, Arkansas. I stopped to look at the corn and the bird. He stayed put until I got the shot and then departed.

Thanks for dropping by. Pray for rain.

Joe