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

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

Sign of life revisited


Old window from the inside

Click on the picture for the original 2010 post.

I finally got around to shooting an old house I’d been eying for a while back in December of 2010. In so doing, I made a couple of discoveries. One was a large fat snake in the abandoned kitchen — both of us wisely ignored each other — and a spindly plant in front of a well lit window. The scene broadcast two messages, one from the inside, and one from the outside

The window scene had an additional bonus, a mouse hole harkening back to the Tom and Jerry days. I made the first shot from inside looking out. The room was dingy, mostly dark inside and I’m certain sported a plethora of mold spores.

spindly shrub in front of old window

Click on the window for the outside look.

Despite these less than ideal conditions, the view was rewarding and the message was clear. Sometimes the wall between good and not-so-good is thin. The original Sign of Life post, gives you more details and pictures. Check it out.

Also see the how the window looks from the outside at Corndancer dot-com on or original Photo of the Week story from December, 2010. See more pictures from the old home place 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

The canines of Christmas


Santa with German Shepherd

"Good dog," we all said as this fine German Shepherd was on his best behavior for his portrait with the Jolly Olde Elf. This calm demeanor came after a requisite round of investigatory sniffing to become familiar with his temporary surroundings.

Girl and dog in Santa's lap

Click on the pic to see more dogs

Shortly before I left to set up and photograph a number of dogs and to some extent, their two-legged companions, I advised my friends on Facebook that I was headed to Margland Bed and Breakfast to “shoot dogs.” About a half-dozen of my smart-aleck friends took me to task for my choice of verbiage.

Being a smart-aleck myself (I am eschewing another, more descriptive and colorful phrase, to preserve my G-Rating), I would have not let the opportunity slide either. Nevertheless, as a photographer I was indeed shooting dogs, several of who seemed to enjoy the process.

The event was the annual get-your-dog-photographed-with-Santa-benefit sponsored by the Humane Society of Jefferson County (Arkansas). The procedure was simple, I shoot the dogs, Humane Society volunteers print the pictures and collect ten bucks from the dog’s two-legged escort. The 501 c3 non-profit organization is completely dependent on donations and operates with a 100% volunteer staff. Before we go much further, we invite you to visit the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started. We’ll wait here.

Santa and Patagonian Water Dog

Dogs of all sizes and stripes came to the event. I guess you could call this girl a medium. She shows definitive evidence of one or more fence-jumping Labrador Retrievers in her ancestral history.

 See more dog pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Santa, woman, and dogs

No family is complete without one or more dogs. I should know. We have four. And two cats.

While this event is fun and smiles abound, the job at hand for the Humane Society of Jefferson County is serious. For every happy dog you see on these pages, dozens are confined to shelters from which there is no good ending unless they are adopted. The money raised from events like this and from generous donors keeps the work going on for local Humane Society organizations. The need never stops or takes a break.

Santa and Yorkies

Click on the pic for more dog pictures

SEE MORE DOG PICTURES

In our Weekly Grist gallery. You’ll see 21 high-resolution pictures from the get-your-dog-photographed-with-Santa-benefit. The cute factor in a couple of cases is off the chart.

The gallery includes the Corndancer and pictures on this page plus 15 others in a larger, high-resolution format. Nuther-words, they’re “clearer.” Click here.

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

Once is not enough


Small waterfall at Lake Catherine AR

This intermittent fall, a gossamer statement of natural beauty, is for the most part ignored by viewers who are concentrating on the nearby larger falls at Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. Until this visit, I was guilty in not noticing it as well. It was worth the wait.

The skinny falls you see above are intermittent. They only have significant water during periods of heavy rainfall. A few days before this picture was shot, it could have been a raging torrent. Intermittent falls are like that. Years ago in the film days, I photographed some intermittent falls in the Ozarks that were in the raging torrent stage.

Lake Catherine State Park falls

See more Lake Catherine falls at Corndancer dot com

I caught these falls after visiting the close by Lake Catherine State Park falls on and off since the late sixties and finding these intermittent falls are lurking in the shadows less than 20 feet from the “main” falls.

I should have my head examined for decades of missing this picture. Other than the therapeutic advantages of re-visiting waterfalls, I suppose this discovery is another good reason one should frequent these natural wonders.

Speaking of Lake Catherine falls, may I suggest that you digress and go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com and see the larger falls and get in on how this whole story started. We’ll wait here.

Falls at Lake Catherine State Park

These are the "main attraction" falls at Lake Catherine State Park. The intermittent falls are just behind the foliage in the left side of this picture.

Lake Catherine falls are immensely popular with good reason. There is almost always water over the falls and unlike many falls are easily accessible. Lake Catherine State Park is minutes from I-30. Once you are at the park, a short hike is required to reach the falls. The trail is well-worn and is more like an earthen sidewalk in most places than a trail. It is suitable for all ages. I suppose this is not my last trip unless the higher power determines that it is. All the more reason to have enjoyed it.

Taking the back roads

I generally take the “back” roads when traveling. Returning to my home from Hot Springs is no exception. My back route takes me over Arkansas State Highway 190 which passes through Bookman. Bookman is a rare bird. Google can’t find it. I would not have noticed were it not for the signs.

Bookman sign

There are two Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department signs emblazoned with "Bookman" about a mile or so apart on Highway 190. The most noticeable thing between the signs is the "dark lagoon" in the foreground. (The backlit picture is a cheesy attempt by me to add some visual mystique to my contention of the possible inhabitant).

 There’s not much between the signs. When traveling west, the sign is on a bridge approach. The bridge goes over a stream I call “The Black Hole of Bookman,” whose highest use, I have determined from my visual reconnaissance, may be to serve as a residential area for the legendary “boogerman” we all feared as children. I’m serious. It’s spooky.

Home of the boogerman

Just past the bridge at Bookman, the Black Hole, which could be the home of the legendary boogerman, the ultimate villain we all feared as children.

At this point there may be some semantic conflict. In certain parts of the South, many of us were adults, or nearing adulthood when we learned that in the outside world, this ultimate apparition was known as “the bogeyman.”  Being one who more or less adheres to how I was brought up, I’m sticking with “boogerman” thank you very much.

Elvis on a fire truck

You can't make this stuff up!

The King and his fire truck

Up in northeast Arkansas on a recent trip, I ran across one of the “you can’t make this stuff up” photo opportunities. Seems Dickey Tree Service of Portia AR, uses a retired hook and ladder fire truck in the pursuit of their business. When the truck is idle, the folks at Dickey park the truck beside US Highway 63 and  put a full-sized fiberglass Elvis atop the truck cab. It does grab your attention. For the pièce de résistance they install a smaller Elvis at the top of the ladder. We will follow this story in more depth in future editions of Corndancer and Weekly Grist.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Weekly Grist Gallery

See more pictures in our Weekly Grist gallery.

Be sure and check out our Weekly Grist Gallery for more waterfall pictures, Lake Catherine area pictures,  including a tree across the trail, and closer to home, what you might think is an approach from the veldt to the jungle, but isn’t by any stretch of the imagination.

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

Two dam falls and more


Waterfall at Mammoth Spring Arkansas

You can walk over the falls at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. Few waterfalls can make this claim. Furthermore you are welcome and encouraged to make the stroll. A long-of-tooth dam (1887) makes the falls,

Dams make these fine falls, thus “Two dam falls.” You can still show this article to your Momma without fear of retribution.

Falls at Rockbridge, Missouri.

Falls at Rockbridge, Missouri created by a mill pond dam completed c. 1868.

fly fisherman at rockbridge falls

See more falls at Cordancer dot-com,

Before we venture further with the falls, I suggest you take a look at the Photo of  the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story had its beginning, You will see different views of  the falls and a neat country road. Take a look. We’ll wait here for your return.

Waterfalls do not necessarily have to be naturally occurring to be cool, make nice sounds, and elicit  “OOO” and “AHH” from enthralled onlookers. I was in the presence a couple of man-made falls weekend last which neatly support that theory. The other upside to man-made falls is that man had to get in there to make what ever it is that makes the falls, so it is generally a lot easier, with substantially lower exposure to chiggers, ticks, snakes,  and grievous slips and falls, to sally forth and see the falls.

Barn in the rain

How to shoot a barn in the rain: Step inside an adjacent barn, out of the rain and fire away. Both structures are on the Mackey Place, part of the Rockbridge Trout Ranch at Rockbridge, Missouri.

Around a quarter mile or so from, the Rockbridge falls, you will find the Mackey Place barns along with residential facilities for guests of the Rockbridge Trout Ranch. Not every place you stay offers you a fine old red barn in your yard.

Bluffs near Rockbridge Missouri

Bluffs near Rockbridge Missouri. Not long after I shot this image, a couple of anglers were casting flies which a few unsuspecting trout grabbed up. Tasty catches.

The waterfalls, the barns, and the bluff scene, (the dam controls the flow upstream), are prima-facie evidence that man can successfully interact with mother nature and live in harmony. Keep in mind that each of these aforementioned relationships began more than 100 years ago. If we could do it then, surely we can do it now.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Old gas pump

See more pictures in the Weekly Grist gallery

See an old store and station with a 35 cent per gallon gas pump, high-resolution pictures of the falls, an old house, a low water bridge, an old house and high resolution pictures of the falls on our Weekly Grist gallery.

Non-fattening, rated G and high in natural content. You will not be tested on the content you observe. Click here if you missed the other links.

Also, see “A great gravel road,” a  previous Weekly Grist post from the same area.

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

The Crain Loop calamities


Old yellow house on Crain Loop Road in Cleveland County, Arkanas

A collapsed storage building in the front yard of this home is a harbinger of things to come. This one has been abandoned for a while. The particle board on the left window is already grayed.

Old house on Crain Loop in Cleveland County Arkansas

Click for more Crain Loop pictures

Crain Loop in Cleveland County, Arkansas is a pristine country road. You can almost hear the music. Gentle curves and an idyllic environment make the drive worth the trip regardless of the season.

Along the way, we encountered four old homes in stages of disrepair from nearly at the point of no return to near collapse. Before we continue, check out the beginning of this story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Click here to go there. We’ll wait here while you peruse that content.

The old home in the top picture shows signs that someone still has a sentimental attachment and cares about the old place. The grass has been cut and there is no litter or trash in the yard. The other three former homes we found on Crain Loop do not enjoy a fan club like this one does.

Tar paper cabin

A structure like this is frequently the butt of the colloquial moniker, "tar-paper shack." There is a ladder barely visible next to the tree. It provides access to a platform wedged between the lower branches of the tree.

The next of four abandoned home places, an old tar-paper covered structure was where I encountered the only other human being on the shoot. As I was banging around on the truck while loading my ladder this individual appeared out of the woods with a curious look on his face. I came forth with “Howdy,” the most disarming rejoinder that immediately came to mind. He returned the gesture and said my noise peaked his curiosity. During deer season, I normally like to make lots of non-deer noise. We mutually explained each others presence. He said he was camping with his son and I told him I was photographing the house. I know the truth and veracity of my end of the conversation and I presume his was as well. But I don’t know for sure.

old crumbling house on Crain Road in Cleveland County Arkansas

This is the back of this house. The underbrush was thick around the front. You can catch a glimpse of Crain Loop through the doors.

From the number of jettisoned glass containers in the trash pile behind the crumbling house above, the place may have briefly enjoyed the lofty status of  “deer club” after it ceased to be a family residence. If not, the last residents had a terrible thirst.

I suppose there are more pleasant pursuits than puttering around old houses. The redeeming value, one would presume, of such structure stalking is that we gain or increase appreciation for what we have. Or did not formerly have. Or formerly had and no longer do.

 

Old house on Crain Loop

Click for the Weekly Grist Gallery

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Every week, we publish our Weekly Grist Gallery with larger pictures of all of our weekly “keepers,” some of which are not published in Corndancer or Weekly Grist. If you missed the other two links to the gallery, it’s not too late: Click here.

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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