Meandering through the mountains, again

Barn below the highway grade

This old barn at the crook of a right angle turn sits well below the grade of Arkansas Highway 9 south of Mountain View, Arkansas. A slight telephoto effect sucks it a little closer to the road for your eyes only. This barn is a “been-gone,” as in: “I been-gone shoot this booger for a long time.” Now I finally have. Another “been-gone” bites the dust.

Though 48 years of residence in L.A., (lower Arkansas), has revamped my genetic code to become an altered denizen of the Delta, there is a nagging sub-dominant gene, implanted at birth in the shadow of the Ozarks, which still floats around in my little pea brain. Occasionally, that gene can take no more of the beloved flat lands and seizes control of the behavior module.

Large cat

Click on the kitty to see the Country cathouse

A country cathouse

When that happens, I find myself in the midst of the Ozarks, the nearest and coolest mountains to L.A. — preferably on a remote gravel road. Such was the case when I discovered the “Country cathouse.”

If this peaks your interest, go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com to see the cathouse and nearby barn. You’ll get in on the start of the story as we meander through the mountains one more time. We’ll wait here.

The big kitty at the cathouse seemed to be well fed. I could not figure whether she was playing hooky from home or was fattened by the rodent grazing through what has to be a rodent smörgåsbord in the old barn across the road from the cathouse.

Big country cat

I was shooting the windows in the uninhabited house under which this cat resides when she decided to become the center of attention. Just like a cat! She patiently watched me shoot and scurried under the house when I got too close for her comfort.

See more of the cat in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

 Bluffs on County Road 22 in Stone County, Arkansas.

County Road 22 is not without other natural aesthetics. As you leave the cat neighborhood and head east to Highway 9 on the left you will find these rugged bluffs. On the right, for a good part of the way,Turkey Creek, a fine mountain stream gurgles by. It’s a good idea to stop and look lest you become an accidental part of the landscape while attempting to look both ways.

A cluster of photo opportunities

Occasionally, you stumble across a wad of things to shoot nicely clustered and in plain sight. This old barn was the first in the lucky cluster on highway 9.

Barn with corrugated roofing sides

This old barn on Arkansas Highway 9 south of Mountain View is sided with corrugated roofing metal, better known in these parts and other American environs, as “roofin arn.” The original zinc galvanized coating has long since faded.  Note to the candidate: The election is over.

Cows in pasture

As I was photographing the barn, a bevy of bovines gathered across the highway to observe the shoot. These were the first two on the scene.

See more shots from the cluster in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

old log cabin on Arkansas Highway 9

Just past the cow pasture is this nicely preserved log cabin. On this one, the builders squared the logs. I reckon this was the “uptown” cabin in the neighborhood.

 We shot a few more mountain scenes and then began to head south with more serious intent. As the land flattened the truck velocity increased. We were headed home to four dogs with their legs crossed. The errant gene was temporarily satiated again. In a month or so, it will stir again. The mountain mystique will well, mount, with predictable results. May you answer your own siren call as well.

crumbling wall

Click the wall for our Weekly Grtist Gallery

SEE MORE of the cat, the cows, the cluster and this old house where the wall came tumblin’ down in our Weekly Grist Gallery. You will also find an old country church and a closeup of the church belfry, a low water bridge crossing and some other stuff.

You’ll also see all of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures in a larger format. Click and see. All natural content. May contain nuts. Non fattening. Shoes and shirt not required to view.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

A mud-chinked cabin

log cabin

Finding this cabin was another of those blind hog finds acorn, the Lord takes care of fools and drunks moments. Here was a mud-chinked log cabin with no electric service. Yeah buddy!


August 1, 2010 – UPDATE – “Killin’ House”

While shooting another story in the general vicinity, a couple local guys stopped by to chat. Eventually the conversation got around to the cabin you see above. One of my visitors said he knew of the cabin near Grapevine and that it was on “Killin’ House Road.” Further conversation revealed that some years back, a person was killed at the cabin. After that untoward event, the cabin became known as the “Killin’ House” and the road became known as, you guessed it, “Killin’ House Road.”

Had I blinked at the wrong time or had less peripheral vision, I would have missed this fine log cabin in the boondocks near Grapevine, Arkansas. In fact, the glimpse was so fleeting, I had to back up and confirm the sighting.

I happened on the cabin after shooting an old and decrepit country store in nearby Grapevine. See the store and read the store story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to go there.  We’ll wait here.


back of cabin

The windowless cabin is showing some signs of wear, but for the most part, is in good condition. The tin roof is pulling loose in a couple of places and there's a bit of rot here and there along the bottom logs, but judging by the "any port in a storm," standard, the old structure would be a welcome respite in untoward weather conditions. And four walls between you and hungry critters.

The cabin is receiving some attention since the encroaching woods have not completely devoured it. Trees and underbrush have a voracious appetite for real estate, so someone is keeping the clearing, well, clear. Would that I could meet this soul and learn the rest of the story. And oh yes, the front door, about shoulder height to me is also the emergency exit.


Mud chinked

Mud chinked logs are a traditional and effective method of keeping the weather outside where it should be kept. It also has the benefit of offering dirt daubers a condo location. The wasps are generally benevolent in their deportment toward mankind. Even better, they look on Black Widow Spiders as their preferred snack. What a friend we have in dirt daubers.

If you are not familiar with the term, “chinking,” it is the process of filling the horizontal gaps between logs with some sort of material to seal the wall. Mud was the traditional medium for this process. Modern versions of log cabins, use more sophisticated materials. While I suspect this is a twentieth century structure, the building methods were traditional, including chinking with good ol’ mud. And the dirt daubers love it.

tree falls on roof

While we have determined that the cabin does get some attention, it hasn't been lately, or the attention giver was not up to moving this small tree across the roof. Bet that tree made a hair-raising retort when it crashed onto that tin roof. The gravel road is in the background.

The cabin was a great discovery, but only if you think finding an intact log cabin in the boondocks is a good thing. If you don’t, get counseling.

Been there, shot that

Mean time, to add a bit of spice to life, I have included probably one of  the most well-shot locations in the lower 48, to wit: St. Louis Cathedral on Chartres Street off Jackson Square in NOLA, New Orleans, Louisiana. This was snapped in April 2009 while the city was still stretching and yawning.

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

Andy Jackson and St. Louis Cathedral are one of the most familiar visual combinations of modern times. This setup is a favorite of newsmen and politicians.


But wait, there’s more.

See all of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures in glorious high resolution, including a black and white version of each picture. Click here to go there!

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

Family tree

This a live tree, not an attack by alien mutants. The tree is a 139 year old Bois d' arc, one of Mother Natures toughest children.

The ceramic chicken is in no danger. Despite what you may think, this a live tree, not an attack by alien mutants. The tree is a 139 year old Bois d’ arc, one of Mother Nature’s toughest children.

Gerald Ware

Click on the tree’s keeper for more info

This Bois d’ arc tree, with a mind of its own and a genetic urge to survive, decided to grow horizontally instead of vertically.

You can see more pictures of the tree and a picture of its caretaker, Gerald Ware, where this story started on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to see the pictures and original story. It is a tale of happenstance where fate played a good hand in both our lives on a fine day in the fall of 2009.

The horizontal tree.

The giant horizontal bois d’ arc tree, a prominent fixture and point of pride in the yard of Gerald and Candi Ware of Greenwood, Arkansas was probably planted by original homesteaders who settled their place around 1870 or so. Bois d’ arc trees produce a tough and hard wood. Indians prized the wood for making the best bows.

The tree has a good place go grow. Its roots are close by the natural spring which provides water for the Ware household. Given those favorable growing conditions, the tree probably outgrew its ability to support itself and given the genetic trait of these trees to survive decided that horizontal growth would be just fine, thank you very much. At least, this is Gerald Ware’s theory. And since he is a retired biology teacher, his thoughts are probably right on target.

December 30, 2009 Update

bois d' arc in snow

Since I missed the snow on the “Ware Bois d’ arc” at Greenwood AR, I am grateful to Gerald Ware’s granddaughter for getting this shot and am equally grateful to Gerald for sending it to me. The tree is toughing out it’s 140th winter or so. A testimonial to staying power.

This barn, a 1947 model, is now 62 years old.

Cochran barn, a 1947 model, is now 62 years old.

A bit further down the road, still close enough to be in the neighborhood, Gary Cochran was chomping on a fine cigar and mowing the large yard of his ancestral home, if a 1947 birth date and construction of the home can be considered ancestral. I asked if I could photograph his old barn on the premises. He quickly and cheerfully granted this boon. Gary said the home had not been occupied in ten years. It did not have that appearance. Gary takes care of the place. “It would make my mother happy,” he said, and happily continued his labors. Gary is one of the good guys.

Cabin with a carport?

Log cabin with a carport?  Hmmmm?

Not far from Booneville, Arkansas, I came across this log cabin, which appears to be the real thing. I’m betting the metal roof was added later in its life. You can see an entrance door in the middle, and a small door to the right. One reader suggested in an earlier post that a similar small door on an older structure might have been to an interior wood shed. The cabin almost looks like it has a carport. Maybe an add on as well. It’s too low and small for horse-drawn carriages. Your guess is as good as mine. If you like log cabins, you’ll love log barns, check these out.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

PS: If you have friends whom you believe will enjoy these weekly adventures, contact me at one of the links above and I will be happy to add them to the links list. Conversely, if you want to be removed from our list, let me know and we will drop you like a hot potato.