Two barns and a wreck


Old vine covered Delta barn

This old barn harkens back to the Delta days when mules were the power behind the plow and farm hands hand-hoed and hand-picked cotton. Hmh. Guess that’s why they called ‘em “hands.” The barn’s tall entrance door and large loft door are the giveaways. One admits a man on a horse and the other is for convenient hay storage.

This old barn has a lot of eye appeal for barn aficionados. The only problem, few if any of these barn enthusiasts ever see the old structure. It lives just off a well traveled road, but is put in defilade by a thick line of trees between the barn and the road.

tow boat and new orleans bridge

Check  our French Quarter story and pictures at Corndancer dot com

Even when the trees are bare, one has to look hard to catch a glimpse. I decided on this winter shot so viewers can see the structure which is covered with foliage from the vines in warmer weather.

If a more urban environment is to your liking, see some scenes from the French Quarter in New Orleans in our weekly article on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Across a river and further south, a smaller and younger barn, and/or agricultural storage building sits unused. This one is easy to spot from the nearby road. Local readers who see it will probably recognize it immediately. Though it is showing a slight list to port, the old structure will probably last long enough to entertain at least one more barn-loving generation.

old barn south of Pine Bluff Arkansas

Not exactly a barn in the true sense of the word, this old agricultural storage building still has the period schmaltz to raise old barn-lovers pulse a count or two.

The future for bold barn lovers is bleak. The objects of their affections are crumbling on a daily basis. And the last time I looked, “they” ain’t building any new old-barns. As I make my rounds, I take note of old barns I previously photographed which are now piles of broken lumber and debris.  Those numbers are climbing. Look now before it is too late.

Collapsed barn

Here’s where our old barns are headed. Gravity and Mother Nature’s nasty side will eventually win out. When it is Mother Nature versus good maintenance, the playing ground is somewhat leveled – but – fat chance on most old barns.

Parting shot

The picture below is from a commercial shoot several years ago. Analyzing the image from an artsy-craftsy standpoint, it has a lot to offer: interesting composition, nice range of tones and plenty of well-placed complimentary colors plus some interesting textures and lines. Most viewers agree on these observations. Then I confess to the subject matter.

Sewer lagoon

What you see is the secondary impoundment of a system of sewage treatment lagoons. The system consistently receives EPA recognition as the best of its kind in the nation. The effluent from this system is cleaner than the river into which it dumps.

It ain’t always what you think.

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

Winter is circling the drain


Click on the red barn for our original "Baring it all" post.

Click on the red barn for our original “Baring it all in the winter” post.

Jonquils are blooming, the yellow peril from millions of horny oak trees is beginning to present itself for inhalation, and to top that, the TV weather-woman just reminded me that when we wake up Wednesday morning, we will be in the first day of Spring 2013.

All that said, it I am going to get on the stump for seeing Mother Nature’s wonders in winter months, I have to hustle. To illustrate my point I am sending you back to January 2011 when I addressed this issue with a post appropriately entitled: Baring it all in the winter. The weather was a mite airish and the landscape was unadorned by green.

Old barn in winter

Click the little barn to see the big barn

As is usual, with these photo-articles, you get two versions, one here and one on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com, where you will see another winter barn.  This is a result of a plot between me and Ebenezer Bowles, grand-master, big kahuna, and keeper of the candles at Corndancer dot-com.

We want to make sure you get plenty of exercise with your mouse and simultaneously enrich your web-surfing experience. So we figured since the mayor of New York can act in your benefit by telling you how big your sody-water can be, we can benefit you with this additional mind exercise and eye-hand coordination work outs. That’s what friends are for. ??

Thanks,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

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

Back to the Cossatot


Tommy Wingard in rapids on the Cossatot River

World-class kayaker Tommy Wingard negotiates Class-V rapids on the Cossatot River in western Arkansas after hurricane Gustav dumped a plethora of water on the river in September. 2008. Click on the picture to see our original 2008 post and pictures.

After our epistle on Isaac last week,  I recalled another encounter with the tailings of a gulf hurricane, to wit: Gustav in mid-September, 2008. After watching Gustav plod into Arkansas, I watched his progress on radar and noticed that he would dump a deluge on west central Arkansas. That portends well for the Cossatot River’s reputation for it’s Class-V stretch of rapids in periods of high water.

Jason Mellor in rapids in Cossatot River

Click the pic for the original Corndancer story.

This week we revisit that trip. I went in that direction hoping to encounter some canoeists or kayakers. Little did I  know that I would meet my friend, and super-photographer Chuck Haralson, who had made arrangements for three world-class kayakers to shoot the rapids for us. Few get to shoot athletes at this level, so I was very grateful.  Click here for our original post.

Talk about luck. Also be sure and check our our Corndancer Photo of the Week page for that trip.

Thanks for visiting Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html I hope I am not wearing you out on this story since I sent you there in January of this year, but still licking our wounds from Isaac, it seemed like a good recall.

Family tree redux


Bois d' arc tree

Despite what you may think, you are looking at the trunk of a healthy Bois d’ Arc tree. The tree is more than 140 years old and looking forward to more.

A bodacious Bois d’ Arc

We’re going to archives this week, returning to a fine fall day in 2009 near Greenwood, Arkansas. On that day, the paths of me and Gerald Ware crossed. The results of this fortuitous encounter were mutually beneficial.

Had either of us deviated from what we were doing that morning by more than a few minutes, we would probably have never met. Which would be a pity for me since I would have never seen his remarkable Bois d’ Arc tree. Gerald sees it every day.

See the original story and more pictures of the remarkable tree in our original October 4, 2009 post, a guaranteed good read. See the start of the story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com,

Thanks for dropping by,

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

Still surviving


Thomas Grocery, Tarry, Arkansas

I first saw Thomas Grocery and bought a Baby Ruth and a root-beer there shortly after I arrived in this neck of the woods in the early sixties. To tell the truth, it doesn’t look much different now.

Tarry, Arkansas is tiny. Size in this case h0wever has nothing to to with treasure. And tiny Tarry has a treasure manifested in Thomas Grocery, which has survived nicely and is still standing tall after a lot of  years. Regrettably.  I have not done my research on Thomas Grocery past admiring it for a number of  years.

Old building

Click on the old building to see some that are now gone.

Unfortunately, a lot of older structures have met their demise while Thomas Grocery has survived. We took a look at a downtown building and an old barn that are now history on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where this story started. And soon.

I did the Thomas Grocery shots in 2009, with the intentions of following up to get more information on the store. Unfortunately, we are all familiar with where the road paved with good intentions heads. That said, now that I have finally published the winter shots which show the front of the store, I will make it a point to go back and get the summer shots and this time get information.

Thomas Grocery, Tarry Arkansas

Looking at Thomas Grocery head-on, an inviting look from days gone by. The bench on the front porch tells us that social pursuits shared importance with merchandise.

Further to the north and east, in the Delta at Hughes, an old store, Zuckerman’s, sits empty along with its neighbors. Hughes, like many small Delta towns at one time was a vibrant community with thriving businesses. Mechanization of agriculture and a whirlwind of cultural and economic changes swept through the Delta like Moses’ plagues on the Pharaoh and when the dust settled, the towns were a shell of their former selves.

Zuckerman's store Hughes ARkansas

The appearance of Zuckerman’s was impressive to me because the lettering and layout of the sign fit well on the structure as if a real designer had a hand in it.

Swinging back closer to home in Cleveland County, Arkansas I happened across this old barn. Turns out the barn is only about 40 years old despite the fact that it looks much older. The owner explained that he built the barn from materials salvaged from an old family home on his property which was built around 1905. About 10 years after he built the barn, he removed himself from raising cattle and the barn was no longer used.

Old barn in Cleveland County, Arkansas

This old barn fooled me. I surmised that it was substantially older than its 40th year. It is however, built with lumber which is about 107 years old.

Though the Arch at St. Louis is alive, well, and non-threatened in the foreseeable future, I was able to grab a good shot of it last week while in St. Louis to watch the Cardinals get creamed by the Chicago White Sox — and since I write the rules here, I’m including the picture. Got the  shot while stalled in traffic, a blessing from a curse.

The St. Louis Arch

Lovers stroll hand-in-hand with the mighty St. Louis Arch in the background. Got lucky. I shot this with a phone camera from through a bus window. Will miracles ever cease?

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

Home territory barns


If you arrived here looking for an article on the Blues Music Awards, scroll down past this new post or click here.

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

Looking for leaves, finding a dog


concrete blue tick hound

Click on the hound for the original Weekly Grist post.

A nagging itch for mountain air

The last week of October, 2010, I had this terrible itch to breathe some mountain air, so I conjured up the fantasy that I was about to miss some of the best days of the spectacular Ozarks fall leaf display.

Sufficiently armed with this fallacy, and relishing the thoughts of time in the Ozarks, I headed north for an over-niter to Marshall, the epicenter and main place in mountainous Searcy County, Arkansas.

concrete blue tick hound with basket

Click on the dog for the original Corn Dancer story.

Although I beat the peak of the leaves by a week or so, I was not disappointed, having stumbled across some other cool stuff including a couple of blue tick hounds cast in concrete. Now folks, that’s something most souls will never see. Remember, you saw it here first.

The second day, I meandered west and south from Marshall to find Snowball, Arkansas, the last stop before you head into largely uninhabited mountainous bliss. You’ll find former residences and old home places which show evidence of once being populated — places that spur your imagination and are rife with pregnant photo-ops — the underlying reasons for the trip.

See our original Weekly Grist post for gory details and take a short cyber-trip to the original Corndancer Photo of the Week story to find out how it all started. Also see our Weekly Grist Gallery from October 31, for more trip pictures.

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

A Wet Woolly


falls at woolly hollow state park

These falls are easily accessible for folks who aren't up to a big hike. Click on the pic for the original post.

Woolly redux: wet, but not so wild

A couple of years ago about this time, the bottom dropped out all over Arkansas and particularly in Central Arkansas including the area around Woolly Hollow State Park. While the griping was rampant during the storms, the aftermath was rewarding.

The crown jewel of the park is Lake Bennett, a man-made lake held in place by a massive earthen dam built by our grandfathers and uncles in the CCC in the 30s. The spillway feeds the falls below nicely.

The top of the dam is fortified with large sharp riprap rocks with the pointy ends up. Think 300-foot tyrannosaurus rex mandible. Probably discourages horse-play on the top of the dam.

woolly hollow falls

Click on the pic for the original Corndancer story

Though the lake is small compared to other man-man lakes, its scenic index is among the best. The outflow from the dam spillway cascades and snakes through a rugged descent making for easily accessible falls looking.

It’s a good place to go for people who do not feel comfortable hiking a long way and want to see some nice falls. See the original story at Corndancer dot-com and click here for the original Weekly Grist post. Then take a look at this Woolly Hollow gallery of bigger 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

Critters and climate


Remember film? The stuff in the little round cans?

tiger at little rock zoom

Click on the tiger for the original post

Continuing our recent pattern of taking second looks, this week we are looking at some images shot in the early nineties on transparency film (slides).

We first posted these images in August, 2010. On our original post, we eschewed our normal location focus in favor of a media focus, to wit: stuff shot on film.

Click here to see the original Weekly Grist post, Two tigers-two sunsets. You’ll see a couple of tiger shots — and a pair of sunset shots which will never be duplicated since there is now a building in the middle of the former scene.

jaguar at little rock zoo

Click on the jaguar for the original Corndancer Photo of the Week story and pictures.

I shot the sunsets at Saracen Lake, nee Lake Pine Bluff, around the same time. The sky is big there. Late spring and summer thunder storms love to develop in the west close to sundown, making for unique opportunities

Saracen Lake Sunset

Lake Pine Bluff, now Saracen Lake.

The original story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancerdot-com featured a fine jaguar at the Little Rock Zoo. Since they are more than wary, even in captivity, it was a fortuitous, one-time opportunity. You had to be there right then.

I’m wondering now, given the warp-speed advances in digital technology, if the format of the digital images I’m shooting now can be easily accessed in the future. Already, I have grabbed some archive DVDs and gotten the dreaded “cannot read media” message. I suppose it is the electronic weevil version of mould and mildew which love old film so much.

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

St. Boniface again


St. Boniface Church near Bigelow Arkansas

Click on the church for the original story.

Just now recovering from a bout with an undesirable “upper respiratory infection,” and having absolutely no desire to precipitate a self-destructive relapse, I remained confined to quarters when I would normally venture forth to capture new images and their  accompanying stories.

Fortunately back in February 2010, I was in well enough and visited the Dixie community in central Arkansas, home to the outstanding St. Boniface Catholic Church, a favored target of most discerning Arkansas photographers.

Winter is a good time to shoot the historic structure since there is good light unfettered by a lot of tree foliage. So we are sending you to see that story again.

The original story at Corndancer dot-com reveals a lot of details about the church and some additional pictures. The Weekly Grist story for that week shows you the other stuff we usually grab in the neighborhood of a shoot.

The other stuff

After the church shot, we wandered around the area recording other images including another old church, a leaning building, and a cool moon shot over Lake Maumelle, Arkansas, where I raced sailboats in a former life. See all of the pictures plus more from the trip in our photo-only Weekly Grist Gallery last March.

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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