Prairie Road barn and thereabouts


old barn on prairie road

The camera is level, the barn is not. Someday soon, an ill wind, a rotting structural member losing its final strength, a termite banquet, or other untoward circumstances will spell the endgame for this fine old barn. There will probably be no human witnesses. And passers-by may not notice the collapse until weeks later. What was once pride and joy will be a pile of rubble.

large catalpa tree

See the start of the story at Corndancer dot-com

At a sharp bend in Prairie Road in Cleveland County, Arkansas I spied this old barn coming close to losing its extended battle with gravity and age. Had the builders done less of their jobs, we might be looking at a pile of barn boards instead of a precariously surviving structure. There’s still enough left for an impromptu glimpse of rural history in an agricultural community.

Before we pursue this tale further, may I suggest that you take a look at the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where the story started. You’ll see an old home place with some interesting trees less than a mile from this barn.

The old barn was no doubt built in stages. The idea was basic utility first, add on as soon as you have a good year and then expand your capabilities to support a growing family. A family’s barn was the epicenter of subsistence and production for income. There are probably a few remnants of a home nearby that did not grab my attention. At the time of this structure, absentee farm ownership was not yet in vogue.

detail of old barn

This is a horse or mule barn with a door tall enough to accommodate a man on a horse or mule. The loft stored hay for the winter and according to legend, was a place for some friendly encounters. They say.

The rough-hewn looks of the lumber means the owner operated or hired someone to run  a temporary sawmill close by  to produce lumber from trees felled close by. It was a common practice since trips to town for lumber took days not hours.

I was not far from New Edinburg, Arkansas, home of the McClellan’s Country Store, the proprietors of which will build you a fine sandwich. It was early afternoon and my Cheerios and yogurt breakfast was a long time back. Stephen McClellan did the honors. The ham-turkey sandwich laced with home-grown tomatoes plus the other traditional sandwich decorations met my wildest dreams in size and palate-pleasing yumminess. I washed it down with a Barq’s Root Beer in a long-neck bottle. Before I left, I bought a few home-grown tomatoes as well.

See more pictures from Prairie Road and thereabouts at our Weekly Grist Gallery.

sandwich and Barq's Root Beer

A Barq's and a great sandwich with a bite missing are the signs of a great lunch in progress. In the backgound, (left to right) Kristin Skelton and Stephen McClellan are looking at a previous Weekly Grist post while I am munching out.

 One cannot help but snicker occasionally as you travel about. Just south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas on U.S. Highway 63 is a store at which the proprietors display some of the merchandise in the front yard 24/7 /365. If I ever pass it when it is open, I will probably satisfy my curiosity and peruse the innards of the establishment, but for the time being, external observation is my limit.

See more pictures from Prairie Road and thereabouts at our Weekly Grist Gallery.

country junk store

The sign says "Just country junk and more." I can see the junk, but not the more.

The way home from Prairie Road takes me north on U.S. Highway 79. As of this writing, for more than a week, a couch has been sitting on the shoulder of the highway south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, my home town. I posted a picture of the couch on Facebook and of course it has drawn the wit expected on such a post. Here for your viewing pleasure is the couch on the side of the road. Or should I call it a divan?

couch on the roadside

This old sofa just barely off the shoulder and in the right-of-way on the north-bound side of U.S. Highway 79 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas has been sitting there now for more than a week. Wonder how the highway department people have missed it? It's not camouflaged.

red barn

See this barn and more in our Weekly Grist gallery

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

See more pictures from Prairie Road and our recent meanderings through the hinterlands in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

See an old store, another view of the big catalpa tree, a big woodpile and more.

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

Once is not enough


Small waterfall at Lake Catherine AR

This intermittent fall, a gossamer statement of natural beauty, is for the most part ignored by viewers who are concentrating on the nearby larger falls at Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. Until this visit, I was guilty in not noticing it as well. It was worth the wait.

The skinny falls you see above are intermittent. They only have significant water during periods of heavy rainfall. A few days before this picture was shot, it could have been a raging torrent. Intermittent falls are like that. Years ago in the film days, I photographed some intermittent falls in the Ozarks that were in the raging torrent stage.

Lake Catherine State Park falls

See more Lake Catherine falls at Corndancer dot com

I caught these falls after visiting the close by Lake Catherine State Park falls on and off since the late sixties and finding these intermittent falls are lurking in the shadows less than 20 feet from the “main” falls.

I should have my head examined for decades of missing this picture. Other than the therapeutic advantages of re-visiting waterfalls, I suppose this discovery is another good reason one should frequent these natural wonders.

Speaking of Lake Catherine falls, may I suggest that you digress and go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com and see the larger falls and get in on how this whole story started. We’ll wait here.

Falls at Lake Catherine State Park

These are the "main attraction" falls at Lake Catherine State Park. The intermittent falls are just behind the foliage in the left side of this picture.

Lake Catherine falls are immensely popular with good reason. There is almost always water over the falls and unlike many falls are easily accessible. Lake Catherine State Park is minutes from I-30. Once you are at the park, a short hike is required to reach the falls. The trail is well-worn and is more like an earthen sidewalk in most places than a trail. It is suitable for all ages. I suppose this is not my last trip unless the higher power determines that it is. All the more reason to have enjoyed it.

Taking the back roads

I generally take the “back” roads when traveling. Returning to my home from Hot Springs is no exception. My back route takes me over Arkansas State Highway 190 which passes through Bookman. Bookman is a rare bird. Google can’t find it. I would not have noticed were it not for the signs.

Bookman sign

There are two Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department signs emblazoned with "Bookman" about a mile or so apart on Highway 190. The most noticeable thing between the signs is the "dark lagoon" in the foreground. (The backlit picture is a cheesy attempt by me to add some visual mystique to my contention of the possible inhabitant).

 There’s not much between the signs. When traveling west, the sign is on a bridge approach. The bridge goes over a stream I call “The Black Hole of Bookman,” whose highest use, I have determined from my visual reconnaissance, may be to serve as a residential area for the legendary “boogerman” we all feared as children. I’m serious. It’s spooky.

Home of the boogerman

Just past the bridge at Bookman, the Black Hole, which could be the home of the legendary boogerman, the ultimate villain we all feared as children.

At this point there may be some semantic conflict. In certain parts of the South, many of us were adults, or nearing adulthood when we learned that in the outside world, this ultimate apparition was known as “the bogeyman.”  Being one who more or less adheres to how I was brought up, I’m sticking with “boogerman” thank you very much.

Elvis on a fire truck

You can't make this stuff up!

The King and his fire truck

Up in northeast Arkansas on a recent trip, I ran across one of the “you can’t make this stuff up” photo opportunities. Seems Dickey Tree Service of Portia AR, uses a retired hook and ladder fire truck in the pursuit of their business. When the truck is idle, the folks at Dickey park the truck beside US Highway 63 and  put a full-sized fiberglass Elvis atop the truck cab. It does grab your attention. For the pièce de résistance they install a smaller Elvis at the top of the ladder. We will follow this story in more depth in future editions of Corndancer and Weekly Grist.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Weekly Grist Gallery

See more pictures in our Weekly Grist gallery.

Be sure and check out our Weekly Grist Gallery for more waterfall pictures, Lake Catherine area pictures,  including a tree across the trail, and closer to home, what you might think is an approach from the veldt to the jungle, but isn’t by any stretch of the imagination.

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

Two dam falls and more


Waterfall at Mammoth Spring Arkansas

You can walk over the falls at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. Few waterfalls can make this claim. Furthermore you are welcome and encouraged to make the stroll. A long-of-tooth dam (1887) makes the falls,

Dams make these fine falls, thus “Two dam falls.” You can still show this article to your Momma without fear of retribution.

Falls at Rockbridge, Missouri.

Falls at Rockbridge, Missouri created by a mill pond dam completed c. 1868.

fly fisherman at rockbridge falls

See more falls at Cordancer dot-com,

Before we venture further with the falls, I suggest you take a look at the Photo of  the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story had its beginning, You will see different views of  the falls and a neat country road. Take a look. We’ll wait here for your return.

Waterfalls do not necessarily have to be naturally occurring to be cool, make nice sounds, and elicit  “OOO” and “AHH” from enthralled onlookers. I was in the presence a couple of man-made falls weekend last which neatly support that theory. The other upside to man-made falls is that man had to get in there to make what ever it is that makes the falls, so it is generally a lot easier, with substantially lower exposure to chiggers, ticks, snakes,  and grievous slips and falls, to sally forth and see the falls.

Barn in the rain

How to shoot a barn in the rain: Step inside an adjacent barn, out of the rain and fire away. Both structures are on the Mackey Place, part of the Rockbridge Trout Ranch at Rockbridge, Missouri.

Around a quarter mile or so from, the Rockbridge falls, you will find the Mackey Place barns along with residential facilities for guests of the Rockbridge Trout Ranch. Not every place you stay offers you a fine old red barn in your yard.

Bluffs near Rockbridge Missouri

Bluffs near Rockbridge Missouri. Not long after I shot this image, a couple of anglers were casting flies which a few unsuspecting trout grabbed up. Tasty catches.

The waterfalls, the barns, and the bluff scene, (the dam controls the flow upstream), are prima-facie evidence that man can successfully interact with mother nature and live in harmony. Keep in mind that each of these aforementioned relationships began more than 100 years ago. If we could do it then, surely we can do it now.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Old gas pump

See more pictures in the Weekly Grist gallery

See an old store and station with a 35 cent per gallon gas pump, high-resolution pictures of the falls, an old house, a low water bridge, an old house and high resolution pictures of the falls on our Weekly Grist gallery.

Non-fattening, rated G and high in natural content. You will not be tested on the content you observe. Click here if you missed the other links.

Also, see “A great gravel road,” a  previous Weekly Grist post from the same area.

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

Winter is wearing out


Tulip magnolias

These tulip magnolia blooms grace a tree in the back yard of my across the street neighbors. While I was shooting some jonquils in her front yard, she informed me that she had a tulip magnolia tree in her backyard. Being the horticultural deprived and misinformed citizen that I am, I nodded in agreement. Later I discovered that it was what I have always incorrectly called a tulip tree.

red camellia

See more pictures at Corndancer dot com

Some harbingers of our early spring are fading fast. The jonquils, called daffodils by some, have reached their peak and are beginning to wind down. My camellia is already dropping petals. And there were a few floppy flowers on the tulip magnolia tree you see above. These posies were fooled by a few unseasonably warm days in January and February.

Before we delve further into this epistle, I should advise you that it had its beginnings on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot Com. Go there to see more flower pictures and learn about attendant seasonal grumbles. We’ll patiently wait here for your return.

Spring beauties

No spring is complete without 'em: Spring Beauties. These blooms are no more than 3/8" inch in diameter.Thousands of these tiny flowers populate most southern yards.

One of the sure signs of spring, are Spring Beauties, a tiny white flower with gossamer purple variegation. No self-respecting yard is complete without a few. Some are blessed with many. My neighbor to the west has one of those yards.

My dogs who favor his turf for their business may contribute to this healthy growth of spring beauties. It is hard to argue with the results. Other dogs in the neighborhood, sometimes even his,  exact proper revenge with similar deposits on my premises. But his flowers are still better.

jonquils from ground level

Jonquils from ground level, a cat-level view. My cats like this flower bed.

Our bare deciduous trees are clearly visible behind these jonquils shot from ground level. They are building up a head of steam to inundate us with pollen, our annual reminder that the shade trees we love in the summer come at a price. Sometimes the pollen is so thick you have to turn on wipers to knock it off your windshield. How quickly we forget while sitting in the shade of a half-dozen towering oak trees that we endured a bit of prior inconvenience. That forgetting mechanism also works well for other temporary hiccups.

SEE MORE COOL FLOWERS

red camellia

See more flowers in our Weekly Grist gallery

This week we are featuring 18 posy pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery. We usually shoot more than we can use so we put ’em in a handy gallery for you to ogle.

See more jonquils, some pansies, another camellia, more spring beauties, forsythia, tulip magnolias, and more. And, this is an on-line gallery that you can show your Momma. Click here if you missed the other links. Lo-carb and stress relieving.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/

Meandering through the Piney Woods


Jonquils on Cross road north of Kingsland Arkansas

My first jonquil sighting of 2011. This is the earliest sighting in several years. The yellow posies are on Cross Road, north of Kingsland, Arkansas.

old service station

See more pictures at Corndancer dot-com

Cross Road north of Kingsland, Arkansas looked promising on the map and lived up to my fondest expectations for Nikon fodder. I had not gone far when I spied my first jonquils of the year. Considering that these flowers were covered with snow not long ago, they are tougher than they look.

Before we go down Cross Road further, you may want to check out how this story started by going to the Photo of the Week page on Corndancer dot-com. You will see a couple of old buildings in Kingsland.

I followed Cross Road and came to Cross Roads Cemetery. It appeared that some patriotic-minded relatives and/or friends had seen fit to decorate a family plot with a short flag pole from which Old Glory was happily flying in the afternoon breeze. The decorators also festooned the plot with weather-proof flowers. The overall cemetery was cared for much like the fairways of a pro-tour golf course. These country folks are serious about their cemeteries.

Grave site with American flag

The Robinson family plot at Cross Roads Cemetery on Cross Road north of Kingsland Arkansas. The flag pole is wrapped in tinsel. This site called for a salute,

old fire tower

Old fire tower on Arkansas Highway 229 north of Fordyce near the Bunn community. The discolored part of the Pine trees is light from the setting sun.

If you resist the temptation to turn off Cross Road and continue, the road eventually swings due west and butts into US Highway 167 just north of Fordyce, Arkansas. Turn south go a quarter mile or so and turn west on Bunn-McGriff Road and the territory looks about the same, but nothing spectacular. The road eventually butts into Arkansas Highway 229 where I found a couple of good shots.

The first find was an old church which would be on the ground were it not for the Divine intervention of the trees surrounding the building. See a picture of this old church on our Weekly Grist Gallery. As I was preparing to shoot the church, back in the woods 25 yards or so from the highway, a truck pulled up behind my truck and a man got out and began to write down my license plate number.

When I saw him pull up, I reverted to a former life and stood still. Movement is usually what gives up your position. I finally hailed him and asked if he knew anything about the church, not mentioning his note taking procedure. He remembered the church and some animated revival services from his childhood, but not the church name.  Not surprising since the last services were probably in the fifties.

As our conversation continued, I noticed that he wearing a side-arm and his truck had blue lights embedded in the grill. Turns out he was a deputy in training, unusual for a guy with possum-blond hair like mine. Seems some miscreants have been raiding old home sites along the road and I suppose when he stopped he figured he would catch one. We parted on friendly terms.

The second find was the old fire tower you see at the right. At one time there was a large network of these towers spanning the forests of Arkansas which were manned by people you probably did not want to mess with since they regularly climbed what appeared to be a ten story building. Satellite imagery made these a thing of the past.

Before the towers there was a network of “Look-see” trees. These were tall trees on high points which afforded rangers a view nearly as good as the towers. And it was probably more fun to climb a tree than a tower. And – not nearly so far to climb.

There is more to discover.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

fire tower house

Weekly Grist Gallery - More pictures

See a close-up of the old tower-top “house,” another look at the flowers, and see the old church where the law and I had our friendly conversation. It’s all on our Weekly Grist Gallery. You’ll also see larger versions of the Corndancer pictures and the ones you’ve seen here, plus another old home site,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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

Tooling down 28


Creek crossing Arkansas Highway 28

The Fourche La Fave River and many small creeks and tributaries to the river cross Arkansas Highway 28 West of Rover, Arkansas. I caught a peripheral glimpse of this small stream and had to do a turn around to come back and get the picture.

This picture is a clear demonstration that the Almighty is in charge. In a perfect world, the flotsam and jetsam in the center of the picture would not be there and you would see a perfect transition from reflecting trees to reflecting skies. In a photo exhibition the judges would verbally beat the photographer severely about the head, face, and shoulders for foisting this on their sensitive selves. However, it’s us and no judges and the picture reminds us that we live in an imperfect world. Therein is the value.

Arkansas Highway 28 from Rover west to the Cedar Creek community is a long string of scenic beauty and historic sites. I can’t find it showing up in travel literature or a catalog of historic sites, but that only means the mainstream has yet to stumble across it and the traffic is low. Neither of which are bad if you are visiting.

Landmark Missionary Baptist Church Onyx Arkansas

Click on the church to see the church

I approached this stretch from the south on Arkansas Highway 27 and happened across a fine old church at Oynx, Arkansas.

Before we go further, may I suggest that you digress for a moment and see this old church, its historic signs, and the low-water bridge one must cross to get there, on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer do-com. Click here to go there. We’ll be here when you get back.

The next stop was a lunch break at Rover, Arkansas. If you are hungry and in the neighborhood of Rover, stop at the Exxon Station (also a store, deli, cafe, etc., etc.) and grab a sandwich. The country store is a rarity, they actually asked me if I wanted the sandwich on wheat bread. In other country stores, such a statement would be close to a Class D Misdemeanor. The sandwich was a culinary masterpiece. I savored each bite. Smoky ham, turkey, pepper-jack cheese, lettuce, ‘maters, pickles and onions.

Wing Community Church Wing Arkansas

The Wing Community Church, Wing, Arkansas.

Tiny Wing, Arkansas was the next stop. They have a church, a Christian Center, and a big store. From the looks of the church, they also have a good attitude.

Bluffton, Arkansas and Gravelly, Arkansas were next stops. Old buildings are scattered through both. Time was a factor when I was in Gravelly and I did not shoot four, (count ’em, four) old store buildings in good condition. Two of them appeared to house viable businesses.

Old barn at Gravelly Arkansas

Look fast and hard, this old barn at Gravelly Arkansas is on its last legs. Weather and the trees are winning and the barn is coming in second best.

Just on the outskirts of Gravelly, we found a pair of old buildings in the collapsing mode. One is the remnants of a barn and the other a lower utility building of some type. The barn is the building you see above, see the pair in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Old house at Bluffton AR

The old house at Mad Dog Hill Lane and Highway 28 has some Victorian charm left. Notice the decorations on the roof peaks and eaves.

Not far from Gravelly, you come to Bluffton where there is an old favorite photo target, a house at Highway 28 and Mad Dog Hill Lane. The first time we were there, the Mad Dog Hill Lane sign was in place. This time the sign was gone, probably to a dorm room or a den wall. As my late father, Peyton Dempsey used to say, “The only reason you don’t call some people thieves is because they don’t steal a hot stove.”

With that sage observation, I bid you adieu for this week.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

See more pictures

See our Weekly Grist Gallery with more pictures from this foray down good ol’ Highway 28. See an old mule hay rake, more creek pictures, a pasture house, and some other good stuff.

Click here to go there and marvel at the imagery.

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

Meandering through the mountains (again)


Roasting Ear Creek Stone County AR

Where Roasting Ear (properly pronounced rohsn'ear and spelled roasn'ear) Creek crosses Mitchell Road in Stone County, Arkansas there is a nice low water bridge downstream from which is this vista of winter-bare-bones-pristine boondocks beauty.

My forays to the mountains are not normally as closely spaced as the one week before last, and this one. However it did lend the opportunity to observe the big difference a couple of weeks can make in the boondocks when winter is closing in. Most of the trees were bare this time. Not a bad thing mind you. Now we can see more of what Mother Nature has to offer. Speaking of which, this adventure started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Click here to go there and see a closer upper of the tree on the creek you see above and a couple of other wild territory shots.

Old barn near Woodward Arkansas

The election is history, but not the signs. This old barn stands on Arkansas Highway 263 near Woodward in Stone County, Arkansas. Note to candidates. Come get your signs.

On the way to the mountain snippets of coolness, one always passes the omnipresent old barns and commercial structures which stand as silent witnesses to times which were simpler and less cluttered with “conveniences.” I say that with my tongue firmly ensconced in my bewhiskered cheek because were it not for several of these conveniences, namely digital cameras, butt-kicking computers and software, and high-speed internet, I could not send nor could you receive this dispatch. And we would not want that.

fifty six arkansas

Fifty Six Arkansas, population 163. It is the nearest town to Blanchard Springs Caverns, one of the nations premier underground cavern attractions.

My friend, Frank Girolami, creator of  the fine blog A Frank Angle, asked that in my wandering around my home state if I had the opportunity to post something about the town of Fifty-Six, Arkansas, would I?  Well Frank, I was in the neighborhood so here it is.

old store at almond arkansas

This old store and a cross roads are about the crop at Almond, Arkansas. At one time this was probably the epicenter of what was happening in the community.

On the way back to my weekend temporary headquarters at a friend’s lake house on Greers Ferry Lake, I took a wrong turn (imagine that!). As a net result, I happened across the old store above. Methinks that one more time Providence steered me toward a worthy target I would have missed otherwise. And who is one to question Providence. Certainly not I.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

See our weekly picture only gallery with all of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures plus some that are not published elsewhere. See some big ol’ truck ruts where some poor soul drove a bit to far, a lake cliff and more. Click here go to there.

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

You belong in a zoo II


bears having a spat in a pond

This pair of grizzlies in the new Memphis Zoo Teton Track exhibit were feeling frisky. The huge enclosure area looks like more area than a football field to me. It has rocks, streams, a pond, and miscellaneous other appurtenances to make grizzlies feel right at home. This bear family, there are three, like a lot of other families, was showing a difference of opinion on some thorny matter.

A great day for bears

Memphis Zoo panda

See panda pictures >>>

Per chance it was something in the water or air, but It was a great day for bears at the Memphis Zoo. Much to the delight of a respectable size crowd, a rare panda, three grizzlies, and a polar bear were all strutting their stuff on a steamy mid-south afternoon. A short rainfall also invigorated some otherwise sleepy critters.

You can see a couple of panda pictures, a shaking polar bear, and a big tiger “making a face,” all on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com, where this story started. Click here to go there, a very cool thing to do. We’ll wait while you look. The click is worth the trip.

Support your local meerkat

Much less ferocious and high on the “… awwwwww … ” scale, the Memphis Meerkat family was on its best behavior, calmly standing for endless portraits. Social in nature, if you see one, others are certain to be nearby.

Meerkats at Memphis Zoo

These small critters were welcomed to the Memphis Zoo with giant city-wide fanfare in the early nineties. The meerkat display continues to be one of the most popular exhibits in the zoo.

Unlike his cousin at the Little Rock Zoo who has shown a profound personal dislike for me, this lowland gorilla was gracious enough to strike a good pose. His generosity was short lived. A few seconds after this shot, he turned his back to me. Must be a karma thing.

lowland gorilla at memphis zoo

This big boy is king of all he sees. It’s a good thing to be the 800 pound gorilla.

After the short rain which interrupted this trip to the zoo, several of the critters showed renewed vigor and movement. Though this tiger remained where he (or she) was, he (or she) showed a great deal of interest watching the other tiger in the enclosure cavort and show off. You can see the tiger making a face on the Corndancer Photo of the Weekpage or in our consolidated weekly gallery.

Memphis zoo tiger

This huge kitty looks a bit disgusted observing the other tiger in the enclosure emit a substantial roar and then “make a face” at surprised onlookers.

The Memphis Zoo has a pair of good looking Cheetahs. They were at rest for the most part during my visit. As I arrived at the Cheetah enclosure, the Cheetah below was pacing and showing off her body made for speed. It was just after the rain and by the time I had removed the Nikon from the bag, the cat had showed her catness, and taken her place of rest. As a long-time cat owner, I am painfully experienced at seeing photo ops instantly vanish once the camera is in hand.

reclining cheetah

The speed demon rests. Seconds before I brought the camera to bear, she was strolling the Cheetah stroll. Typical cat. Wait until the camera is in hand and stop doing what you are doing!

Despite a persnickety cat, a great visit to the zoo. This zoo points out that recent surveys place it as the nation’s number one zoo in popularity. They’ve got me convinced. Tired and sweaty, I still did not want to leave. Finally temporal needs overwhelmed unsatisfied curiosity and quite simply, “I split for the crib.”

BUT WAIT, THERE IS MUCH MORE!

Mother duck and ducklings

Click on the ducks for more critters

Every week we shoot more than there is room to display on this blog and the Corndancer Photo of the Week page. This week there is a bumper crop of additional 17 panda pictures, 11 more grizzly pictures, a couple of ape, polar bears, and ducks. Click here to see those cool shots. You’ll see larger, higher quality pictures of everything. Some not published any where else.

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
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/grist-june5-10/index.html


Kirksey Country


Fendley Store, Fendley AR

Fendley Store was opened by Kirksey family members in 1907 and closed in the forties. The Kirkseys have kept it in serviceable condition since its closing. Seemed like the right thing to do.

When you pull into Fendley, Arkansas it’s hard to miss Fendley Store. There’s not much else from an urban development viewpoint and that’s not a drawback if you happen to be a Kirksey. As a matter of fact, it’s close to ideal.

See the old Kirksey house at Corndancer dot com

The family has lived on this real estate since around 1874. Across the road from the store in one direction is the home of one of the original Kirkseys, still in use by a Kirksey.

To see the house (complete with tire swing and a neat little stone bench),  click here and go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot com where this story started, a very cool thing to do. Also see one of the Spring Creek Nursery greenhouses and three generations of Kirkseys.  Take your time, we’ll wait here while you look around a bit.

Across the road in another direction is Spring Creek Nursery operated by Brian Kirksey and his family. The nursery is just part of what the Kirkseys do. They also raise cattle, build greenhouses and are in the timber business as well.

Spring Creek Nursery Greenhouse

Spring Creek Nursery greenhouses are designed and built by the proprietor, Brian Kirksey. They are good stewards of the environment. Diligent recycling is a part of their business.

The Spring Creek Nursery is a sophisticated operation in a rural setting. Low traffic. Low noise. Low hassle and a zero mileage commute. The family has five dogs, four of which are normally part and parcel of the daily “work-flow.” What is commonplace at Fendley is spectacular to those of us who see far too much asphalt and traffic. Take Moorman Road for example. The road runs through the Kirksey Farm. Not far from one of the greenhouses, the summer foliage of trees lining the road form a verdant tunnel. Not too shabby for less than a block and a half from Main Street.

Moorman Road

Moorman Road running through Spring Creek Nursery forms this living tunnel.

Just a few miles west of Fendley, on Still Creek Road, you will see the perfectly restored Loy Kirksey “dog-trot” house restored by relatives of Brian Kirksey. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a perfect example of this popular style of 19th and early 20th century rural architecture.  Sometimes you hear of these houses being referred to as “shotgun”house, which is a misnomer.

Loy Kirksey house

The Loy Kirksey House, originally built prior to 1874 is on Still Creek Road northwest of Fendley. Dog trot houses got their name from the style of two living spaces separated by a breezeway, through which one's dog could and would trot.

But wait, there’s more

More pictures

More pictures

Each week, we post all of the “keepers” of the shoot or shoots for Corndancer and Grist posts in an on-line picture-only gallery. There is normally not room to publish all we shoot and like. The pictures are high-resolution and larger that the posts.

This week the additional shots include some more green house, dog-trot, tunnel and tire swing shots in color and good ol’ black and white.  Click here and take a good look.

Thanks for dropping by and taking a look at how things are in a completely rural setting. I’m giving it a dozen thumbs up.

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

Woolly Hollow


Woolly Hollow Falls
I would guess Woolly Hollow Falls drop around 40 or 50 feet from top to bottom, but not in a straight line. The stair-stepped falls make for good eye candy.

Few things command ones undivided attention better than a waterfall. You don’t have to turn it on and you can’t turn it down, or off. And, in all likelihood you are viewing its magnificence voluntarily. Since it has your undivided attention, you might as well take advantage of the therapeutic benefits accrued while standing in awe of one of Mother Nature’s most powerful creations. Even better, it will not attack or bite and unless you decide to personally sample its turbulence, surviving the experience is a virtual lock.

Waterfall therapy techniques are addressed along with some other pictures of the falls on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Get in on these revelations and photos by clicking here, a very cool thing to do.

We are visiting the falls below the dam which makes 40 acre Lake Bennett at Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier, Arkansas. The falls are easily accessible from a trail near the entrance to the park. The park is very popular. There is an office and gift shop in the park which freely dispenses information about the premises.

dam forming Lake Bennett

The top of the dam forming Lake Bennett. While the vegetation may look a bit unkempt, it is nature’s way and a good thing, adding its tendrils to the overall strength of the dam, which was built by the CCC in 1935. This is one of the few places were you see rip-rap embedded in concrete, pointy-side up. One presumes to prevent using the dam as a playground.

While accessing the falls from the bottom is no trick due to the well constructed and tended trail, seeing if from the top at water level is another story all together. One descends from an impromptu parking place on the entrance road near the dam to the lake’s edge. From there follow the lake’s edge until you are even with the dam. At this water level, that required a small wade, not a big deal.

bluff just below the Lake Bennett dam

This bluff is just below and past the east end of the dam, and above the falls.

From there, it would be better if you had the sure footedness of a mountain goat because the top of the dam is laced with rip-rap. You gingerly walk across the top of the dam and wind up near the small bluff you see above. Traipsing across small rip-rap is not my strongest point, but the visual reward at the end of the walk was worth it. Not recommended for anyone with mobility limitations.

above Woolly Hollow Falls

Further downstream from the dam, this is the last stretch before the falls begin to drop. I decided here to curtail my southerly trek along the creek and return to the truck. It looked a tad woolier than I wanted to deal with, if you will forgive the pun.

I followed the stream about another 75 yards or so. The trail was visible, but not well-worn. Not recommended if you take exception to wading and breaking your way through some underbrush. Since I have absolutely no objections to any of the above, I crashed on through like a bull in a china shop. When I got to the stretch of creek above, I shot and turned back, believing at my age that discretion indeed may be the better part of valor. The drop of the falls was not far ahead, but substantially more easily accessible from the bottom.

But wait, there is definitely more

See high resolution versions of all Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures in our weekly high-resolution gallery. Click here to go there. This week we are including a black and white version of all pictures in this gallery.

A good hike along a wet, rocky, and overgrown trail is one you walk away from in one piece. Thank goodness for small favors and thank you 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