A cool country barn


old barn

This is the back side of the old barn. The front side is in substantially better condition.

This old barn in rural Arkansas is well over 100 years old. The man who built it was not yet ten years old when the War Between the States came to an end. See more pictures of the barn and get in on some of the family background where this story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot Com, a very cool thing to do. Click here to go there.

To honor the privacy concerns of the barn owners, we are not disclosing their names or the location of the barn past “a barn in rural Arkansas.”

The barn has some unusual characteristics we haven’t encountered on our previous barn adventures. It has a walkway around the outside of the stable side of the barn. Shirley (a pseudonym) whose grandfather built the barn had no explanation of this feature. There had to be a good reason, because in a day when sweat provided power for construction tools instead of electricity, a lot of extra effort was required to build the walkway.

barn walkway

The barn has a walkway around the stable side of the barn. We have yet to figure out what the benefit was to justify this extra effort. Although the room you see is floored, horse and mule stalls are next to it. The barn was still in use in the early fifties.

In one of the rooms on the corn crib side, I spotted some sort of device with a crank and a couple of pulleys connected with a flat belt. Turns out it is a hand-cranked pea-sheller, or as Shirley called it in correct local vernacular, ” … a pea thrasher.”

pea sheller in barn room

The device you see is a hand-cranked pea-sheller more popularly known as a  “pea-thrasher.” Oddly enough, the machine is about the same size as a modern electric version I observed last week at the Purple Hull Pea Festival in Emerson, Arkansas. Some things change slowly.

Under the shed in the back of the barn, near the walkway, there is a feeding trough crafted from a hollowed log, not an easy task. Perhaps it is a reflection Shirley’s of grandfather’s and father’s mindset. Traditional men, they never bought or used a tractor, always depending on mule power to do their farming. She said they quit the farming business in the early fifties when lighting struck and killed their mules. They apparently decided that was a sign to quit. Good thinking.

feeding trough

This feeding trough is built from a hollowed log. Unless the builder got lucky and found a hollow log, this was not a short job. Note the rough-sawed board above the trough. Chances are good that the planks used in this barn were ripped from logs  right on the site.

On Arkansas Highway 9 near the Dallas-Hot Springs county line you will find the pristine Hunter Chapel Methodist Church, built in 1852. The church has regular services and they still accept the deceased in their cemetery. That my friends is what you call staying power.

Hunter Chapel Methodist Church

Hunter Chapel Methodist Church. Members find it ironic that the only liquor store for miles in any direction is directly across the highway from the 158 year old church.

Taking the long way home on Dallas County Road 74 (a long, long, long, and winding gravel road),  a bunch of miles south of Hunters Chapel, you will find Old Cypress Methodist Church, founded in 1886, it is younger than Hunter Chapel by 36 years. The 1800s were good for John Wesley’s folks in these parts it seems.

Old Cypress Methodist Church

Old Cypress Methodist Church, founded in 1886, can be found on Dallas County Road 72. On that road, the church is probably outnumbered by 20 to 1 or better by deer camps.

A few miles from Highway 9 on the aforementioned County Road 74, I ran into a real ass. She had some friends, but they were all camera shy. So look at my beautiful ass.

my beautiful ass

My beautiful Arkansas ass.

Inside of old barn

Click on the picture to see the inside of the barn

But wait, there’s more! More barn pictures, inside and out

Each week, we shoot more than we have room to show, so we post them on our handy high-resolution picture galleries. In these galleries you will see more views of the barn inside and out.

The pictures are bigger and they are better. See everything we shot for this story in color and glorious black and white in gallery one: Click here to go there (This is a flash gallery, so MACs don’t like it). Click here for gallery two which MACs will like. There are 42 pictures in gallery one and 20 in gallery two.

Thanks for dropping by,

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

Rainy day solutions


What to do on a rainy day? Go out and see wet things, but first adjust your attitude. We covered a way to do that and we show you a couple of other rainy day pictures on Photo of the Week page at Corndancer  dot com. That’s where this whole thing started. Check it out here, a very cool thing to do.

Ud’n, ud’n!

Spray squirts from the truck as we hit the water covered gravel road at about 30 mph. Wow! Yippee! Ud'n, Ud'n!

Spray squirts from the truck as we hit the water covered gravel road at about 30 mph. Wow! Yippee! Ud'n, Ud'n!

Our trip took a turn down Lincoln County AR Road 2, a good gravel road. During a healthy rain, some of the road is covered by a few inches of water in places. If you have a pickup relatively impervious to water, a lead foot and a good attitude, you can make some spray about three times taller than the truck. I did it, grinning from ear to ear. You grow older, but you don’t have to grow up!

Someone’s ass is wet

This jenny (a mamma donkey) seems unfazed and could care less about being soaked.

This jenny (a mamma donkey) seems unfazed and could care less about being soaked. She may also think we're full of it for thinking that.

After the spray exercise, I came across a donkey, a jenny (the mamma kind). She was drenched. Thus, someone’s ass was all wet. She seemed to be taking being thoroughly soaked in stride. Some critters will head for shelter in a rain if it is available and some just don’t care. I like their attitude.

Ramshackled

If you blink, you'll miss this now well camouflaged former dwelling on Mabry Road in souther Jefferson County AR.
If you blink, you’ll miss this now well camouflaged former dwelling on Mabry Road in southern Jefferson County AR.

A bit further north on Mabry Road in Jefferson County AR, backed up to a cypress-lined bayou, is this old cabin and/or house. If conditions were the same when it was occupied as it is now, one could probably have fished off the back porch … or at least a few steps from it. The rain and wetness add some drama to the appearance and the greens are much greener.

Man your paint cans!

These rail cars were obviously in one place too long and the grafitti artists made good their spray-can attack. Being an old art director (among other things), I can see some takented handiwork here along with some applied forethought as to appearance.

These rail cars were obviously in one place too long and the graffiti artists made good their spray-can attack. Being an old art director (among other things), I can see some talented handiwork here along with some applied forethought as to appearance.

The reflections you see are in a “borrow pit” beside the railroad. The term comes from borrowing earth from the pit to build the road bet for the rail line. The common terminology has long since deteriorated to “bar pit.” I thought it was an epiphany the day I discovered what a “bar pit” really was.  For this image, the rain has stopped, but not before it filled the bar pit for these great reflective images, not available without, you guessed it, a rainy day.

Still yet, more sign perforations

One more in our continuing coverage of well ventilated stop signs in southern Arkansas. This one was smacked with a couple of big bore shots.

One more in our continuing coverage of well ventilated stop signs in southern Arkansas. This one was smacked with a couple of big bore shots.

Boys will still be boys. As the inimitable Flip Wilson would have said, ” … the devil made me do it.”

Thanks for dropping by for a dripping trip.
Joe Dempsey

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