A great gravel road

The road running west from Rockbridge Missouri is a virtual honey hole of neat stuff and good folks. First you see the Mackey Place barn, which you’ll find on the photo of the week page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to see the photo of the week page. Back on the road, ford a couple of low-water bridges, curl around some steep hills and the barn below pops up.

Russell's barn

Gary Russell's barn was built in 1923 with lumber made from trees felled while clearing the land.

Gary Russell and his wife welcomed me to their property to shoot the barn. They explained that the builder and original owner cleared the land with a team of oxen and a couple of Jacks. He made lumber from the trees he felled and built the barn and the house where the Russells now live.  I  found out a short way down the road that this is in the Souder, Missouri community.

Souder Store

Souder Store, a fine country establishment. They stock RC Colas and Moon Pies.

Liz Macmillan, proprietress of Souder Store, Souder, Missouri is every bit as gracious as Gary Russell. Liz and her daughters Katy and Chelsea comprise the entire population of Souder. The population was temporarily at five while I was there, including a friendly neighbor, the driver of the four wheeler out front, Glenn Plaster. Well, six counting Glenn’s dog. Liz allowed as how she was the mayor, city council, and  the chamber of commerce for Souder. I asked if she was also the parade marshall and all agreed. That too. She’s operated the store two years now and appears to enjoy a decent business. She has her merchandising act together, stocking both RC Colas and Moon Pies. Katy and Chelsea attend school in Gainsville, Missouri, a daily hour-and-a-half ride both ways on dirt roads. They take it in stride. The flag out front is the “Don’t tread on me” flag. I like her style.

Souder MO Church of Christ

Souder Church of Christ. The original building (the right side) was built in 1909.

Not far from the Souder Store, is the Souder Church of Christ. As I was shooting, I wondered when the church was built. While pondering this question, Glen Plaster rolled up on his four wheeler (with dog) and gave me the particulars, 1909. Turns out, there are some Indian graves in the cemetery. Speaks well of early settlers.

Old barn

Unexplained barn.

Within sight of Souder Church of Christ is this old barn. It shows signs of age but is hanging in there well. Not a soul was in sight so I have no explanation or information for the barn other than this: Since the days of it’s highest and best use are long gone, its new job is to sit there and look cool. It is doing a great job.

Souder School

Souder School. Home of the three Rs for many, I'm certain, well educated and well-informed students.

The last stop on this odyssey was the Souder School. It stands there replete with an outside hand water pump in the front and off to the rear, an outhouse. Neither of which degraded the three R’s I strongly suspect. The odd looking arrangement to the left of the porch is a shower installed when the now completely abandoned school was used for a while as a hunting camp and/or club.

Many would have been entertained as I contorted my somewhat aged 6′-3″ frame between a fence and a tree to get the proper angle for the shot. You had to be there. But if you were within a mile or two, probably heard the joints creaking and snapping.

The parting shot

mud encrusted tractor

Oh #!**#??%$##!!

On our return trip from the rolling hills of southern MIssouri back to the flat lands of the Delta, we came across this tractor between Hoxie and Tuckerman, Arkansas. This condition clearly demonstrates the propensity of gumbo soil, AKA “buckshot,” to stick to anything. The goo has a particular affinity for high dollar tractors.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


The Tip of the Gooseberg

Thousands of geese object to my presence by taking to the air. They are south of Sherrill AR.

Thousands of geese object to my presence by taking to the air. They are south of Sherrill AR.

We’re taking a look at Snow Geese in Arkansas. The story started on Corndancer Dot Com’s picture of the week page. If you want to check out the beginnings of this tale, a very cool thing to do, click here. The numbers of geese here in the midsouth are staggering. This is probably a medium sized flock. The larger ones can go upwards to hundreds of thousands of geese.

Geese, unlike ducks, prefer sloppy, muddy locations, with an apparent preference for soybean fields. I say this, having observed a lot of geese so located. If there is scientific evidence to the contrary, I stand corrected.

Geese in and above a "buckshot" field near Sherrill AR.

Mostly snow and blue geese in and above a "buckshot" field near Sherrill AR.

The dreaded Delta ooze

This particular field was composed of “buckshot” or “gumbo,” two terms used to describe the most onery dirt on the planet. When this dark umber soil is dry, it is as hard as a brick. When it is wet, it is a gooey, slimey, sticky mess, the  nature of which one would expect to encounter in the worst, over the top,  “ooze” horror flick. When you walk on wet buckshot, your size 12s become size 32 extra wides after a few steps. That is if you manage to lift your feet from the sticky mess. You also become taller. I need this condition like Andy Rooney needs more eyebrows.

I say all this, because if you expect to shoot the geese in a rise and/or in the air, you must walk toward them. Otherwise they will, for the most part, sit and look at you and continue to honk, eat and defecate, not necessarily in that order.

As I walked to get the above shot, I missed the biggest part of the “rise,” because the gumbo soil was trying to eat my left shoe. I was trying to extricate by lower extremity with one hand and shoot with the other, else I would have wound up face down in the slime. To make matters worse, the geese had been there before me, if you get my drift.

I managed to slog out of the field, then removed my now 10 pound each shoes, and pitch them in the bed of the truck. I drove home in my sock feet. It took two applications of quarters at a car wash to get the shoes clean. The car wash drain may never be the same.

The mystery barn. Why the diagonal cut walls. Stay tuned. I know a guy who lives nearby. I'll find out.

The mystery barn. Why the diagonal cut walls? I know a guy who lives nearby. I'll find out.

The Mystery Barn

On the way home, I encountered this barn. I’ve driven by it at least a jillion times. In a former life, my livelihood required that I be in the neighborhood frequently. It finally dawned on me that the door is awkwardly shaped, or the walls are cut diagonally, or perhaps all of the above. Inquiring minds, at least this one, want to know why. As luck would have it, a friend of mine lives close by. Certainly, surely, he can explain. Stay tuned next week.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

%d bloggers like this: