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

Late bird, early spring


Robin with worm

It was late in the day when when this fat robin, flying in the face of tradition, once and for all proved that the early bird is not the only one to get the worm.

I start looking for the yellow presence of Jonquils at the tail-end of February and the first week in March. Last year, I found my first ones on February 20, this year, I saw fully developed and happy Jonquils on February 7. In that condition, one can safely presume they have been there a few days.

robin on stump

Click on the bird for another picture of him at Corndancer dot-com

Here in LA, it’s been an anemic, puny winter with days topping out in the high 60 and low 70 degree range. That makes for severe weather, sinus trouble, and plants with their schedule out of whack. Which is why I found the bird.

Earlier in the week, on the way to jury duty, I saw the Jonquils but could not stop to shoot. When I returned late one afternoon a few days later to shoot the flowers, Cock Robin was sitting on the broken stump of a tree which had earlier succumbed to a big wind.

I was able to shoot from the truck so he did not spook as soon as most wild critters do. Since the lot is about two feet higher than the street, I got him eyeball to eyeball in the Nikon glass.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

In fact when I arrived, he was on the stump without the worm, took a dive, grabbed the worm and returned to his perch most of which I captured. It is always better to be lucky than good. See the first shot of the robin and the early jonquils I was after where this story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We will wait here while you look.

Early spring volunteer jonquils

The target jonquils, despite their lack of human attention, were doing quite well thank you very much. Originally planted by former residents of the long since demolished house, the plants continue to follow the genetic instructions imbued by the Almighty. Some things are best left alone.

Anytime one discusses spring flowers, my across-the-street-neighbor’s yard cannot be overlooked. She is a master gardener and her yard and flower beds are silent witness to her considerable skills. Her horticultural efforts offset the lack of same in my yard. I suppose it is some sort of vegetative equation if there is such a thing.

yellow and black pansy

This stout little pansy at my neigbhors is tougher than it looks. It has survived a couple of sub-freezing nights.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Large jonquil

This is a large Jonquil in my neighbor's yard. This one looks like a bloom on steroids compared to others. Must be the green thumb.

robin on ground

Click on the bird for our Weekly Grist Gallery

Mother Nature is messing with us and it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. We simply are not in charge. But we can enjoy birds and flowers without too many foot pounds of energy expended.

In fact, with a mere click, you can see more of them in our Weekly Grist Gallery. Click here and take a gander.

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

The surviving barn


old barn at Arkadelphia Arkansas

This old barn is alive, well and functional. It serves as the central storage facility and conversation piece for the Open Banks Hunting Club in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The club is so named because the main facility is situated high on a cleared section of the banks of the Ouachita River, affording a clean look at the stream below, unfettered by normal river bank underbrush

The prognosis for this old barn is good. It is well used by my friend Eddie Snider and his cohorts in the Open Banks Hunting Club near Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The barn as you see it, is in its third permutation. It started out with only the breezeway and the enclosed section to the right sometime in the early 1900s, so we are told. The first addition was the near breezeway to the left, then the second to the left and finally the breezeway to the right. It’s a dead giveaway because you can see where the new roof joists were attached to the old ones. The originators were adding functionality before the word was invented.

A bike in the barn

old bike hanging in barn

An old bike hangs in the old barn. See it at Corndancer dot Com.

The story of this barn started on the photo of the week page at Corndancer dot Com. To see other pictures of the barn and see an old bicycle hanging in the barn, click here to go there, a cool thing to do. We’ll wait while you check it out.

The barn was originally a horse and mule barn. You can tell by the height of the big doors which will accommodate a man on a horse without bumping his noggin or knocking his hat off.

As you look at the front of the barn, there is a nondescript  notch cut in the top of front opening. The back opening is as it should be. Seems one of the members had a motorhome to park in the breezeway. While said breezeway would handily admit a man on a horse, a motorhome was wont to fit. A chainsaw solved the problem resulting in the snaggle-tooth notch in the front door.

Fifty years or so ago, the land on which this barn is located was under cultivation for row-crops. Changing agricultural trends being what they are, the land is now dedicated to timber and is selectively harvested from time to time.

In the meantime, critters, not giving a tinkerer’s damn about business trends do have a deep and abiding appreciation for favorable habitat. That being so, the timber habitat has the appeal of a pleasure palace and smorgasbord to God’s creatures, so the woods are full of ‘em, including a couple of alligators in one of the ponds. Life is good when it is harmonious.

Barn down

old barn remnants

Not quite Stonehenge on the Ouachita, a couple of old cross-ties used for structural members in the barn that fell stand as a memorial to the crumbled structure.

There were (were being the operative word) two barns on the property until an untoward wind several years ago put one of them on the ground. Some remnants survive in stacks to remind one of where it was. Only the strongest survive, even in barns.

Another barn, complete with Ford-Ferguson tractor

The old tractor holed up in this precariously leaning barn looks like a Model 9n Ford-Ferguson tractor, which unbeknown to most, was a turning point in the tractor business. The Ford-Ferguson was the first tractor to offer a three-point hitch, invented by Harry Ferguson, and recognized by Henry Ford as something he had to have for his line of tractors.

Ferguson Ford tractor in old barn

Ferguson Ford tractor in an old barn not far from the barn with the bike.

Before the three point hitch was invented, connecting implements to a tractor was a pain in the keaster at best, requiring a lift device or several full grown men helped by a half-troop of Boy Scouts, grunting and groaning to get stuff hitched. With the three point hitch, the tractor operator backed up to the implement, attached it and went about his business. Easy hookup, less hernias. Such a deal.

Urban volunteers

Meanwhile, back home in LA (Lower Arkansas), spring has served notice that like it or not, it is here. My windshield as covered with the first gossamer film of pollen day before yesterday. This will be replaced in a couple of weeks by an onslaught of yellow powder that would have worked well as one of Pharaoh’s plagues.  Today, blooming jonquils confirmed the seasonal shift.

volunteer jonquils

These jonquils are "volunteer." They appear annually in the same place. They are not attended to, fertilized, molly-coddled or otherwise taken care of. They, being urban posies have the toughness of the hood, if that's possible in a flower. Since they survive nicely, one can only suppose that they do.

Thanks to my friend Eddie Snider for ferrying me about the boondocks on his four wheeler. We are 6-2 and 6-3 respectively. Neither of us is in marathon condition so the little Kawasaki was toting a fearsome load. It did well as we are here to bear witness.

There’s more

See a collection of better quality pictures from this trip, including some not posted otherwise,  in a high-resolution 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

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