Contrived reluctance


Convenience overwhelms  reluctance

Leaning barn

I have seen this old barn so much, it is tattooed in my memory bank. Even so, I did some serious foot-dragging before I finally got it squarely in my view finder. The lean is real. I leveled the camera which eliminates vertical distortion. Gravity will win this fight. Get more looks at the old barn below.

It was convenience and a crying need for about a dozen pictures or so shot at a nearby source that finally pushed me over the edge to get off my duff and shoot this location. It was ripe with an old car (1950 Chevy), an old tractor, and a precariously leaning barn.

1949 Chevy in extreme disrepair

Click on the old Chevy for more pix and comments

For a person who enjoys photographing relics which have seen better days, it is a honey hole. Despite this strong appeal to my baser nature, I have driven past this location on a regular basis for pushing 14 years.

I finally figured out the underlying reason for this callous disregard which I freely discuss on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. It is, I suppose, a character defect. Imagine that.

As you enter the property, the first display is a rusting 1950 Chevy Fleetline, sans wheels, but well decorated with fallen leaves. Most of the parts are still attached to the engine, the ubiquitous Chevy in-line six that would remain as the only power plant offered until 1955 when Chevrolet introduced its second V8. They introduced their first V8 in 1917, which was in 1917 and 1918 vehicles. Don’t ask me what happened to the first V8 because I do not have a clue.

close up of junker 1950 chevy

A patch or two of blue survives on this 1950 Chevy Fleetline. The old in-line overhead valve six remains relatively unscathed, and probably is fused into one homogeneous chunk of metal.

1950  Chevy junker

There’s not much paint on this side which faces directly into the prevailing path of ill weather.

1950 Chevrolet Fleetline

The shape of the 1950 Chevy Fleet Line leaves no mystery as to how its name was contrived.

Old leaning barn in Grant county Arkansas

Not far from the old Chevy is the easterly leaning barn which has succumbed in part to the nasty weather which generally blows in from west/southwest. It is a sizable structure and at one time was someone’s pride and joy.

old falling barn

Moving around the barn, the light improves and we get a better look at what Mother Nature and her close ally, gravity, have wreaked on the old structure.

collapsing barn in Grant County Arkansas

Continuing the walk-around, we see that the southwest corner has borne the brunt of that which will eventually spell the barn’s demise.

collapsing barn

This is a closer look at the bludgeoned southwest corner of the barn.

front of collapsing barn

The walk-around ends at the front where we see how stress is popping boards loose. There is still “stuff” in the barn, but I doubt anyone would dare an attempt to retrieve it.

When one considers all the photo ops on this location, and the fact that I have known about it for 14 years and am just now shooting it, you may want to question my sanity. But that would be nothing new. That question has been posed for years with no satisfactory answer. We got close on the Photo of the Week  page.

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 day across Arkansas


Carl Blackwell with restored gasoline engines

Carl Blackwell of Wynne, Arkansas proudly stands beside some of his stable of restored gasoline engines at the 37th Annual Grand Prairie Rice Festival at Hazen, Arkansas on October 26, 2013. These engines were popular in the first half of the twentieth century in non-electrified rural areas where they were used to power generators, grist mills, pumps, and just about anything else that need rotary power to work. As electric service spread to rural areas, the engines fell from favor. Restoring these engines has become a popular niche avocation and Mr. Blackwell is one of the finest practitioners of the genre.

Carl Blackwell of Wynne, Arkansas is a master tinkerer, machinist, and restorer. I visited with Carl at the Grand Prairie Rice Festival in Hazen, Arkansas where he displayed several of his collection of old gasoline power units he has personally restored to working order.  It comes naturally to Carl. He is a retired machine shop supervisor and has a precision lathe and milling machine at his place in Wynne, Arkansas.

Restored and operating Star gasoline power unit

When Carl Blackwell starts an engine restoration project and can’t find the parts he needs, he goes to work and makes the parts. This restored Star engine is a prime example of Carl’s expertise. After he started the restoration process, he could not find parts for the cylinder head valve mechanism, (the round thing in front of the silver thing, and most of the parts around it), so he went to work and made the parts. As you can see the engine is fully functional.

St. Mary's Church at St. Vincent Arkansas

Click on the church to see how the story started.

We are chronicling a one-day trip through the heart of Arkansas. The story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com at St. Vincent, Arkansas, where we took a look at fine country church. Take a look to get in on the start of the story.

This was our second visit to St. Vincent. On the first visit, we showed you a barn with an ecclesiastical message, which was down the road from LBJ’s Beer and Groceries. There is a nice distribution of cultural icons in St. Vincent where everyone seems to get along just fine, thank you very much,

Back to the trip

Carl Blackwell was toward the end of the trip, but he was so interesting, I decided to start this epistle with him. After we left St. Vincent, we saw barns and other sights and scenes as we headed toward the Grand Prairie Rice Festival at Hazen where we visited with Carl. Here’s what we saw on the way:

entrance to field with overhead flags

Here, we were trying to figure out if we arrived too early or too late. Those, it seems, were the only choices given that sense of abandonment.

Old horse barn

Not far from the flags, we saw this old barn, which we presume was a horse/mule barn due to the height. Normally the big doors on a horse barn were tall enough to accommodate a human on a horse. Note the abandoned disc harrow in the foreground.

Old rural utility building

After turning down a likely-looking gravel road we found this old utility building. It was probably a small barn that had something to do with livestock. We conjecture that due to the fencing on the property.

old rural utility bulding with blue sky background

More of the same with a different look. The still standing night-watcher light is disconnected.

old school bus with curtains

Here in the mid-south, it is not unusual to see old school busses converted to deer camp shelters or other use. This one has been curtained, and not moved for a while. The lettering on the bus says: “Licking Heights Local School District.” I Googled that name and discovered that Licking Heights Local School District is in Ohio. Folks, it’s quite a stretch between Mid-Ohio and Springfield, Arkansas. No telling how the bus arrived here.

dog

As I was shooting the bus, one of the neighbor’s pups dropped by for a look. Looks like he has some greyhound in his background. He was friendly, but suspicious.

restored 1938 C Model Case Tractor

After the bus and dog, we transitioned to Hazen, Arkansas to barely arrive at the 37th Grand Prairie Rice Festival with a little time to spare before the event closed. We’ve been there before and it was fun. There were a lot of antique tractors including this 1938 Case C Model.

back side of case 1938 c model tractor

This is the back side of the Case C model. In the background, you can catch a glimpse of a gigantic 24-ton antique, fully operational 1919 Fairbanks-Morse Type Y Vertical Oil Engine. You can see the engine in operation at Corndancer dot-com.

case combine harvesting rice

Exhibitors were folding their tents as we left the festival. South of Hazen we found a rice harvest underway. There were three combines in this field. They were trying to beat an incoming storm. If you are into four-wheel drive vehicles, this is the ultimate high-horsepower get-in-the-big-middle-of-it-vehicle. Entry level exceeds 800 grand and you need a lot of level muddy ground.

We digress from the trip

After the combine we made it safely to the carport. We will fast forward from this trip of October 26, 2013 to November 1, 2013 when we saw a tree full of shoes at Sardis, Arkansas. While this is out of the purview of our original trip, due to the shock value of a tree full of shoes, we include the picture below. If you want to see more details, see our Sardis Shoe Tree gallery.

Somehow you simply do not expect to find a tree full of shoes. Except if you are in Sardis, Arkansas. Then, it is an everyday occurrence.

Somehow you simply do not expect to find a tree full of shoes. Except if you are in Sardis, Arkansas. Then, it is an everyday occurrence.

Thanks for joining the trip. We have observed scenes seen by few — and seen by many — but probably not in the same day. That’s the beauty of cyber traveling.

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

Two barns and a wreck


Old vine covered Delta barn

This old barn harkens back to the Delta days when mules were the power behind the plow and farm hands hand-hoed and hand-picked cotton. Hmh. Guess that’s why they called ‘em “hands.” The barn’s tall entrance door and large loft door are the giveaways. One admits a man on a horse and the other is for convenient hay storage.

This old barn has a lot of eye appeal for barn aficionados. The only problem, few if any of these barn enthusiasts ever see the old structure. It lives just off a well traveled road, but is put in defilade by a thick line of trees between the barn and the road.

tow boat and new orleans bridge

Check  our French Quarter story and pictures at Corndancer dot com

Even when the trees are bare, one has to look hard to catch a glimpse. I decided on this winter shot so viewers can see the structure which is covered with foliage from the vines in warmer weather.

If a more urban environment is to your liking, see some scenes from the French Quarter in New Orleans in our weekly article on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Across a river and further south, a smaller and younger barn, and/or agricultural storage building sits unused. This one is easy to spot from the nearby road. Local readers who see it will probably recognize it immediately. Though it is showing a slight list to port, the old structure will probably last long enough to entertain at least one more barn-loving generation.

old barn south of Pine Bluff Arkansas

Not exactly a barn in the true sense of the word, this old agricultural storage building still has the period schmaltz to raise old barn-lovers pulse a count or two.

The future for bold barn lovers is bleak. The objects of their affections are crumbling on a daily basis. And the last time I looked, “they” ain’t building any new old-barns. As I make my rounds, I take note of old barns I previously photographed which are now piles of broken lumber and debris.  Those numbers are climbing. Look now before it is too late.

Collapsed barn

Here’s where our old barns are headed. Gravity and Mother Nature’s nasty side will eventually win out. When it is Mother Nature versus good maintenance, the playing ground is somewhat leveled – but – fat chance on most old barns.

Parting shot

The picture below is from a commercial shoot several years ago. Analyzing the image from an artsy-craftsy standpoint, it has a lot to offer: interesting composition, nice range of tones and plenty of well-placed complimentary colors plus some interesting textures and lines. Most viewers agree on these observations. Then I confess to the subject matter.

Sewer lagoon

What you see is the secondary impoundment of a system of sewage treatment lagoons. The system consistently receives EPA recognition as the best of its kind in the nation. The effluent from this system is cleaner than the river into which it dumps.

It ain’t always what you think.

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

Rock houses and other recent finds


Old rock buildings

I could not find anyone who could give me information on these buildings at Hickory Flat, Arkansas. The larger one strongly resembles some jails I’ve seen. I absolutely haven’t a clue about the smaller building. Hickory Flat was as flat as a pool table but I spied no immediately recognizable hickory trees. So much for batting .500.

Rocks rocked back in the day

Up in the hinterlands of north Arkansas, toward the Ozarks, years ago, rocks (now more fashionably called “native stone”) were a popular building material. You see can still see examples of rock commercial buildings and rock houses in small towns and rural areas up there.

There was a lot to be said for rocks. There were plenty of them and for the most part they were free, depending on where and when you harvested them. Think of the great outdoors in that case, as Home Depot or Lowes with no checkout stands — substituting sweat, grunts, groans, and sore backs as the currency of choice.

Old dog trot house

Click to see more this old dogtrot house

Before we delve further on this rocky road, we suggest you go to the Photo of  the Week page at Corndancer dot com where this trip started to see a fine example of another historically popular residential structure style, a dogtrot house at Cleveland, Arkansas.

There’s enough of it left to give you an idea of how things were. We’ll wait here while you take a look at this old structure from several angles.

older rock buildings at Hickory Flat Arkansas

Here’s a second look at the old Hickory Flat rock buildings. The small window has heavy hardware cloth and no glass. There is a big hole in the hardware cloth. Was someone breaking in — or out?

Further west, I found this no-longer-occupied rock house, north of Hector, Arkansas, way back in the boondocks. The structure appears to be in relatively good condition. After all, short of impact or explosion, what’s going to hurt a rock?

Old rock house in the Arkansas Ozarks

It’s been a while since anyone lived here, but the old house appears to be in pretty good condition. At least from the outside. Looks like a good place for old tires and other unneeded stuff one is not yet ready to finally jettison.

Here’s another rock house, with evidence of an architectural style that emerged in the late forties and fifties, the “picture window.” You don’t see many rock houses with one of those. Notice the cut wires for electrical service at the roof line to the right. The house is on Highway 110 southeast of Heber Springs. It has a big ol’ home-place tree in the back yard.

old rock house on hwy 110 in arkansas

This old house demonstrates a masonry work-around: If you run out of rocks or don’t have the right size or shape, make yourself a rock out of cement. Take a look at the bottom of both sides of the front porch.

Another dogtrot house

I found an old dogtrot house on Highway 110 southwest of Heber Springs, Arkansas. As with most surviving dogtrots, the breezeway was closed to make another room, basically a historical no-brainer if you needed additional enclosed space. This one has a nice old “home-place” tree and an in-ground storm shelter to boot. A great place for spiders and bugs.

old dog trot house with home-place tree

Like most dogtrot houses occupied for the long term, the dogtrot breezeway on this one has been closed to make one or more additional rooms. The old home place tree tells us that both have been around a while.

In the next picture, you see evidence that someone is repairing the old home. There is a concrete form set up on the right hand side of the porch and a couple of QuickCrete bags on the front port bench. And, one of the porch columns has been replaced. Perhaps this house will survive.

Old dog trot house with storm shelter in yard

At a slightly different angle you see the in-ground storm shelter which makes an apparent final resting place for a bicycle skeleton. Also, you can see the add-on at the back of the house. There’s hardly a surviving dogtrot that does not have one or more additions.

This old residence has a storm shelter which looks like a mini-turret from the Maginot Line or the Nazi Atlantic wall of WWII fame and/or infamy (one failed miserably, and the other was a creation of the bad-guys).  The house has long since been unoccupied and there’s no telling what awaits one in the storm shelter.

pill box storm shelter at old house in arkansas

The storm shelter at this long abandoned house on Highway 25 way north of Heber Springs resembles a WWII “pill-box” fortification. Long abandoned, it is probably home to a full compliment of creepy-crawlers.

Old barn and giant canine

Not far from the pill-box storm shelter I spied the sun-illuminated roof of this old barn. I ventured an inquiry to the residents of the property. I parked in the front yard and headed to the back door as any self-respecting Southerner will do. When I exited the truck a large dog rounded the corner headed my way. I believe he is part German Shepherd, part Mastiff, and part Tyrannosaurus  Rex.

Old barn under revnovation

The old barn in Bud’s yard shows some signs of recent attention. Perhaps it is a lofty man-cave under construction. The Red, White, and Blue lets others know where these folks stand. While there are miles to go before they sleep on this renovation, these folks have made a start — which is more than can be said for most of the old barns I see.  The late afternoon October sun lends a nice touch to the scene.

As the giant approached, I extended my time-honored greeting to strange dogs, “Hey Poody-Pood, what’s happenin’?” To our mutual good-fortune, he interpreted my kindly proffered greeting in the spirit in which I extended it. His Louisville Slugger size tail began to flagellate.

Before I could take another step, his front paws were just shy of my shoulders and I received a face-full of his favorite greeting. I made my way to the back door with my requests. The residents gave me the boy’s name as I sought dispensation to photograph their barn. His name is “Bud,” and I got reluctant approval to make my pictures. Unfortunately, Bud was such a moving target, I did not get a picture.

Home place tree

When I Google “Home Place Tree,” the first reference is to that term in a story I wrote earlier. That said, I suppose I can lay claim to the term. Those of you who follow these posts have heard the term more than once. The truth is you see more home place trees all by their lonely than you do with the home to which they supplied shade. In this case, the home is still there, but on its last legs. Sooner or later, you will see only the tree, so take a good look at what’s left of the original arrangement and use your imagination.

Old house with home place tree

Many, many older rural home owners always left a tree or two close to their residence, hence my coined term “home place tree.” Here is the original arrangement. The tree will no doubt outlast the home.

A silo at last

I recently lamented to Ebenezer Bowles, the chief cook and bottle washer at Corndancer dot-com, that I longed to see a silo in my view-finder. The Almighty must have taken notice of the conversation. In His Divine bent to take good care of fools and drunks, He put in front of an unused, but nicely preserved silo in a perfect setting and perfect light. I submit the image as prima-facie evidence that Divine intervention is alive and well.

Silo in pasture

This great silo is west of Highway 16, south of Pangburn, Arkansas.

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

Tarry at Tarry for a while


Thomas Grocery, Tarry, Arkansas

Probably knocking on the door of a hundred years old, give or take a few, Thomas Grocery still stands in tiny Tarry, Arkansas. It has a plethora of nostalgia appeal and is a local favorite for old-store-oglers. More than a few look at it with ideas for gentrification.

Clowers Gin, Tarry Arkansas

Click on the old gin to see more of Tarry

Thomas Grocery was one of four fully operational stores in Tarry, a small but once bustling community between Pine Bluff and Star City, Arkansas. One other of the original stores is still standing, West Grocery, about a quarter mile from Thomas Grocery.

See an earlier Weekly Grist story relating to West Grocery here. While you are in the mood to click around, may we suggest that you go to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started and see some additional pictures of the store and other Tarry scenes.

For many years, Thomas Grocery housed the U.S. Post Office for the community. It was also a school bus stop. Few if any general stores of  that era were without a bench of some sort on the front porch. And a couple of dogs under the porch.  Thomas Grocery fits nicely into that genre.

The store was an important part of the social and economic fabric of the community, a nice way of saying that probably millions of juicy tidbits of gossip and rumors floated in and around the premises. Especially in election years.

I featured the store with a couple of winter pictures in our June 17 Weekly Grist post. I shot those pictures in 2009, so the old store is holding up nicely. We have high hopes this is a continuing trend.

Gills Barn, Tarry Arkansas

Looking at the hay barn from the east during midday sunlight. There is a chair in the loft at this end of the barn which I suspect is a deer stand.

An old barn and corn crib, off the beaten track, behind the store a few hundred yards offered some unusual photo ops not available without an invitation. The owner and I are friends and he graciously steered me in the right direction. The old barn was built to store hay, tack, and feed. It was completely floored. The floor stands off ground level more than a foot. It does, however, have large overhangs which could offer shelter to livestock.

The hay barn from the west end

The west end of the hay barn in late afternoon light. The angular device under the overhang is a hay feeder for cattle with the munchies. And they always have the munchies.

interior of old hay barn

The barn is tall and gives one the feeling of a rustic open air cathedral. All we need is a boom-box holding forth with “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” and/or some Purcell trumpet voluntaries.

Just a few yards from the old barn is an old corn crib. It is bigger than a lot of barns I have photographed. The north end is reasonably clear of weeds and trees, but the south end is cluttered with interloping trees and saplings. We have visited the subject of the hardy Bois D, Arc tree before on these pages. And now we have seen another one with a penchant for survival. Another reclining Bois D’ Arc.

Old corn crib at Tarry Arkansas

The north end of the corn crib is intact for the most part.

Bois D' Arc tree under corn crib

The hardy Bois D’ Arc tree, I believe, is genetically programmed with a superior survivability gene. The Bois D’ Arc is the Dick Butkus of trees. This one decided to take root in the moist, fertile soil under the corn crib, then stretch its branches to the sun to turbocharge its photosynthesis. While laying on its back. This is the south end of the corn crib which is in the process of collapsing. The corrugated metal roofing (aka “roofin’ arn”), leaning on the tree was deposited where it is by a tornado which whistled through a few years back.

While age and the elements have beaten away the the Tarry infrastructure, the great spring-fed fishing pond which has been in its back yard for no-tellin’ how long is alive well and producing “slab crappies” in the spring. Looks like the really good part is holding up well.

fishing pond at Tarry Arkansas

The pond is like it was decades ago, except for the cypress elegantly aging. While I was on this shoot, something big broke water in the pond. A good sign.

SEE MORE PICTURES OF TARRY  Visit our Weekly Grist Galley to see more of Thomas Grocery, the tree, the corn crib, and the barn, plus a couple of others. Guaranteed enjoyment.

Thanks for dropping by,

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

Still surviving


Thomas Grocery, Tarry, Arkansas

I first saw Thomas Grocery and bought a Baby Ruth and a root-beer there shortly after I arrived in this neck of the woods in the early sixties. To tell the truth, it doesn’t look much different now.

Tarry, Arkansas is tiny. Size in this case h0wever has nothing to to with treasure. And tiny Tarry has a treasure manifested in Thomas Grocery, which has survived nicely and is still standing tall after a lot of  years. Regrettably.  I have not done my research on Thomas Grocery past admiring it for a number of  years.

Old building

Click on the old building to see some that are now gone.

Unfortunately, a lot of older structures have met their demise while Thomas Grocery has survived. We took a look at a downtown building and an old barn that are now history on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where this story started. And soon.

I did the Thomas Grocery shots in 2009, with the intentions of following up to get more information on the store. Unfortunately, we are all familiar with where the road paved with good intentions heads. That said, now that I have finally published the winter shots which show the front of the store, I will make it a point to go back and get the summer shots and this time get information.

Thomas Grocery, Tarry Arkansas

Looking at Thomas Grocery head-on, an inviting look from days gone by. The bench on the front porch tells us that social pursuits shared importance with merchandise.

Further to the north and east, in the Delta at Hughes, an old store, Zuckerman’s, sits empty along with its neighbors. Hughes, like many small Delta towns at one time was a vibrant community with thriving businesses. Mechanization of agriculture and a whirlwind of cultural and economic changes swept through the Delta like Moses’ plagues on the Pharaoh and when the dust settled, the towns were a shell of their former selves.

Zuckerman's store Hughes ARkansas

The appearance of Zuckerman’s was impressive to me because the lettering and layout of the sign fit well on the structure as if a real designer had a hand in it.

Swinging back closer to home in Cleveland County, Arkansas I happened across this old barn. Turns out the barn is only about 40 years old despite the fact that it looks much older. The owner explained that he built the barn from materials salvaged from an old family home on his property which was built around 1905. About 10 years after he built the barn, he removed himself from raising cattle and the barn was no longer used.

Old barn in Cleveland County, Arkansas

This old barn fooled me. I surmised that it was substantially older than its 40th year. It is however, built with lumber which is about 107 years old.

Though the Arch at St. Louis is alive, well, and non-threatened in the foreseeable future, I was able to grab a good shot of it last week while in St. Louis to watch the Cardinals get creamed by the Chicago White Sox — and since I write the rules here, I’m including the picture. Got the  shot while stalled in traffic, a blessing from a curse.

The St. Louis Arch

Lovers stroll hand-in-hand with the mighty St. Louis Arch in the background. Got lucky. I shot this with a phone camera from through a bus window. Will miracles ever cease?

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

Home territory barns


If you arrived here looking for an article on the Blues Music Awards, scroll down past this new post or click here.

Old barn on US HIghway 63 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Just off U.S. Highway 63 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, this old barn was high on my list of requests to shoot. It is in good condition and sits in a well maintained pasture alongside the highway. There is a tad of lean to the right side.

A big benefit of residing in a not-to-terribly-large metro area is that you are still close to the last vestiges of the former predominantly rural society experienced by our parents and grandparents, to wit: old barns. The barns you see on this post are prima-facie evidence of that benefit. They are no further than 10 or 15 minutes from my humble abode.

old barn on I-530 near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Click to see another L.A. barn

Though many  of our remaining barns are crumbling and/or on the verge of collapse, for a lot of folks, these old structures exude a certain panache and charm not otherwise available. I am one of those so infected.

A goodly number of my similarly afflicted friends asked me to shoot the one you see above and one you will find on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com.  The one you will see at Corndancer has deteriorated far past the one you see above, so get a good look. The next warhorse storm could convert it to kindling wood.

old red barn on us highway 63 near pine bluff arkansas

Taking a closer look at the old barn on Highway 63, it appears to be in better condition than many of the old barns I have photographed. The remaining red is makes for a great old barn patina — just the thing that makes barn aficionados salivate.

Barn on Mount Harmony Road south of Pine Bluff Arkansas

Just a hop, skip, and jump south on Highway 63 from our red barn, turn right on Mount Harmony Road. It won’t be long before you see this barn. It is in good condition and was apparently in place before the neighborhood which has built up around it.

Old barn on Mount Harmony Church Road near PIne Bluff AR

Stay on Mount Harmony Road for a mile or so and you will come across this leaning barn. It is near a residence and sits in a large well-tended yard. This view is available from your vehicle. In fact, I did not leave the truck to get this shot.

And now my friends, I am giving you the bird!

Bird perched  on a pasture gate

When I arrived at the red barn, I noticed a bevy of birds perched on the entrance gate. The birds  kept a wary eye on me but did not fly while I snapped the long lens to Mr. Nikon. They even stayed in place while I shot out the window.  As soon as I stepped out the pickup door, they launched. This critter was the most intriguing of the bunch. I’m not certain, but I’m thinking the bird is a immature Purple Martin. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Remember, as much as you may enjoy seeing old barns, the pleasure is fleeting. Enjoy now before it’s too late. That’s meaningful for other things too.

See larger pictures of all of the barns (and the bird) from Corndancer and Weekly Grist in our Weekly Grist gallery

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

“Been-gone” barns


Red barn

Every thing you ever wanted to see in a barn, including a community of turkeys and guineas. And close to home. Finally got around to it. The shot required a stop half-on-and-off the road. The narrow shoulders mean the truck is slightly in a ditch on the passenger side, the four-way blinkers are on, and prayers headed upstairs for avoiding being center-punched from the rear while the camera is clicking away.

round tuitGetting around to it

During a short day trip to a family affair, I finally got around to a serious shot of a barn that had lingered on my “to-shoot” list for far too long. The shortest A to B distance from our domicile to the event put us right past the deteriorating, ivy-decorated structure, sabatoging any excuse.

Ivy covered barn

Click the pic to see the Hwy. 5 barn

The shot required a stroll down the shoulder of a busy highway and a bit of weed-wading, but was well worth it. See two pictures of the old structure on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started. If you are from Arkansas, it’s one of the Highway 5 barns south of Benton.

Experiencing the “feel-good” feeling after doing something one has long intended to do, I decided to go after two additional barns on the “to-shoot” list once I arrived back in home territory. All three were “been-gones,” that is, “I been-gone shoot ‘em for a long time.” In LA (lower Arkansas), “been-gone” translates to “something you have been going to do.” The first one of these you see above, a classic.

Small red barn

This barn, though younger than most I shoot, has the classic shape and colors that make barn lovers drool.

The next “been-gone” barn I went after is not nearly as old as most of the barns I shoot. However, it has the color and shape folks love to see in barns. With that barn panache, it made the list.

small old barn

I missed this little jewel on all previous reconnoitering trips, but played catch-up ball on this trip. Click on the Weekly Grist gallery below to see an old tractor under the shed.

old barn with tractor under shed

Click on the picture for our Weekly Grist Gallery

Not far from the not-so-old barn, my peripheral vision caught a hint of one that was old. A nearby resident told me the barn was old when the owner moved into the property 50 years ago. It has the gray barn patina relished by die-hard barn lovers and sits in a large manicured yard. Check out our Weekly Grist Gallery to see more pictures of these three barns and the barn we featured on the Corndancer Photo of the Week page. And this week, get around to something lurking on the to-do list. Feels good.

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


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

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

A drive-thru barn and other eccentricities


Old barn and dogs

This old barn straddles Glenn Squires' driveway just off Cash Mountain Road in Hot Spring County, Arkansas. You can catch a glimpse of his house through the back of the barn. The yellow lab is Glenn's dog. The Boston Terrier relieving himself at the corner of the barn belongs to Linda Hanks, a neighbor from across the road. We think no less of the pooch. When you gotta go, you gotta go. The three of us, plus the dogs made a social event out of the barn shoot.

You  purely and simply do not see a driveway to a residence snaking through an old barn every day. In fact, unless you happen to proceed down Cash Mountain Road in Hot Spring County, Arkansas, the probability of seeing such a phenomenon is slim to none. At least that’s been my experience to date.

Barn with driveway through it

See more of the barn at Corndancer dot-com

The driveway and barn belong to Glenn Squires and his family. He was kind enough to not only allow me to photograph his barn, but accompanied me while I did the deed.

To see more pictures of the barn inside and out — and get in on the story of shoot, may I suggest that you go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started. We’ll wait on you right here. We also are grateful to photographer Fred Garcia, who first shot the barn, for revealing the location.

driveway through barn

As you are driving through the barn to reach the Squires domicile, this is what you see. It is large enough to pass a full-size pickup, but it is a good idea to hold the wheel steady as you do lest you get into a scrape with history. The Boston Terrier decided the gravel was cooler inside the barn than out. Glenn Squires' yellow lab can barely be seen to the left.

I wound through the countryside toward my destination aided by maps and an iPhone with a really cool map function. Replete with my faith that I always stumble on something you don’t see every day, I took Reynolds Creek Road off U.S. Highway 67 north of Malvern as my jumping off place. Sure enough I ran up on a giant wheel in front of an old tree.

dead tree and wheel

At first blush, I could not figure out what the wheel was or why it was there. Further and cautious investigation led me to believe that this is the entrance to an unmanned country junk-yard.

 It was not until I enlarged the pictures that I finally figured out what the wheel was. The moment was one of those slap your head, stoop your shoulders instants of clarity and revelation when you feel dumb.

large wheel agains dead tree

Upon closer examination when I enlarged the picture, I discovered the wheel is part of a pole gate. The wheel rolls and lo, the gate closes. Pole gates, for the uninitiated, consist of a heavy-pipe or pipe framework on some sort of hinge mechanism designed to limit access to roads and driveways. They don't work well where there is man-portable booty behind the gate, but work fine to limit miscreant vehicular access to large, heavy stuff, or to merely deny entry to vehicles. Deer clubs and forestry companies love 'em.

barn and sky

Click on the barn for our Weekly Grist Gallery

Weekly Grist Gallery

To get to Cash Mountain Road, I had to travel up Gourd Neck Valley Road from Old Military Road. You will not be tested on this. At the junction of Old Military and Gourd Neck, I found a younger cousin to the target barn.

It was badly back lit, so I resorted to post-processing skullduggery to get an acceptable image for your review. See the “doctored” barn and more pictures of the barn with the driveway through it in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Name that affiliation

Since political artillery is exploding all around us, it is appropriate that we take a look at how certain natural elements may reveal political proclivities. The tree below could be one of those.

right leaning tree

Can anyone venture a guess as to the political persuasion of this tree?

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

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