Fall arrives in LA (lower Arkansas)


Jefferson County Courthouse Pine Bluff Arkansas

The Jefferson County Courthouse in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The original, in this location, was built prior to the War Between the States. A fire nearly destroyed it in the mid-seventies. After the fire, this part of the courthouse was reconstructed to the previous 19th century specifications. Some but not all of this part of the building is original. In the foreground is a Bradford Pear tree just about to peak out before dropping its leaves.

After a hot, dry and far-too-long summer, most of our trees here in LA have long since thrown in the towel on upholding their long-standing tradition of showing off with their best and brightest fall plumage. The two exceptions to this disappointing vegetative misanthropy are the Hickory trees, the Crepe Myrtles, and Bradford Pears. The former bright yellow and the latter two, screaming red.

Giant honey comb in tree

Giant honey comb

Before we go much further, my original idea to shoot leaves was fortuitously interrupted by my neighbor who advised me of a giant honeycomb in a tree in his former backyard. At first glance, you might have thought you were seeing an apparition in the process of eating the tree. Fortunately, it was benign.

It is a sight to behold, and you may behold it where this adventure started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to go there. We’ll wait here while you look.

Fortunately, a concentration of exceptions to this year’s generally anemic fall colors populates our neighborhood. Several crepe myrtles performed as programmed as well as all of our homeboy hickory trees. The former are screaming red and the latter are brilliant yellow. They rock!

crepe myrtles with fall colors

Spindly crepe myrtles in the spring and summer are almost incognito amongst our giant neighborhood pine and hardwood trees. The tables turn when crepe myrtles blast forth their fall colors. In this picture, you are looking at two. Mine in the foreground, and my neighbor's crepe myrtle across the street in yellow orange in the background.

When it comes to fall leaves, I am the neighborhood pariah. Most of my neighbors boast shiny garden tractors with leaf vacuum attachments. Like busy bees, they religiously suck up their share of the six-gillion cubic feet of leaves which annually fall in our neighborhood almost as they drop.  But not I.

crepe myrtle and hickory tree in fall colors

In the foreground a blazing Crepe Myrtle is backed up by a large Hickory tree. Both are in my neighbor's yard (the one who turned me on to the honeycomb in the tree). I see this every time I pull out of my driveway.

Personally, it is my belief that falling leaves belong where they fall. I like how they look. I like how they crunch under your feet. Our cats love to play and frolic in the leaves. Our dogs love the same. So I am always the last hold out with the leaves. Last year, I set a new record. The leaves stayed in place until after the new year before they were ground to smithereens by my good friends who provide us with lawn service. Some will say that being a pariah comes naturally to me. Perhaps it is true.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

See larger versions of all the the Weekly Grist and Corndancer pictures for this week including the view from my office/studio on our weekly picture only gallery. Click here to go 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

A Cross tree


This lone tree stands as a memorial to Frank Cross who was murdered in the mid-eignties.

This lone tree stands as a memorial to Frank Cross who was murdered in the mid-eighties.

This story started on the Photo of the Week Page at  corndancer.com Click on the link to see the first part of the story, a very cool thing to do.

Frank Cross, an invalid confined to his bed,  was murdered in the mid-eighties at his home which formerly stood behind the tree. The family had the house demolished, but left the fine cedar tree standing as a memorial to Frank, who was an admired member of his community in southeast Arkansas.

Close inspection of the tree base reveals some artifacts which were probably part and parcel of the old home.

historical artifacts under old tree

Apparently, some items and materials which were not removed during the house demolition were left under the tree.This also included a wire wreath holder.

old farm artifacts under tree

Items left under the tree appear to include part of an andiron, which, we presume, was almost certainly used in a fireplace in the old Cross home.

Note in the picture above how flat the grass is laying. The wind was whipping across the Delta fields in the 15 knot neighborhood. It was December 21, the alleged first day of winter. As if programmed to be true, the  temperature was below 30 degrees in that afternoon. The wind chill factor was polar.

In the picture to the left, you see items left under the tree. For the uninitiated, the piece with the spring attached appears to be part of  a cultivator, a tractor towed implement. The object to the right of the cultivator part is probably part of an andiron set. There are some bricks in the foreground, probably from the house.

Human nature being what it is, there was other detritus, probably not a part of the household leftovers. It seems that we humans have some sort of genetic bent to deposit trash where we find other (perceived) trash. There was an old hydraulic hose, some water valve parts and other bits and pieces, not endemic to a house which was probably 75 or 80 years old, when it met its demise. Also a few wrappers and bottles. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how those got there. In the hot summer, this tree provides best shade for miles, a good place for working people to take a break.

Information for our original story on corndancer.com was generously provided by Chuck and Pam Taylor and Chuck’s mother. Like a dummy, I did not write her name down. Family operates Taylors, a store and restaurant west of Dumas AR. While I did not sample the fare, I have now inspected the menu provided to me by Chuck. I’ll be back.

Click here to see nine additional pictures of the tree.

a Yellowjacket nest in the tree.

Mother Nature has assigned tree guard duty to some of her pesky critters, to wit: a Yellowjacket nest in the tree. Interlopers beware.

Thanks for dropping by and Merry Christmas,
Joe

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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