Tooling down 28


Creek crossing Arkansas Highway 28

The Fourche La Fave River and many small creeks and tributaries to the river cross Arkansas Highway 28 West of Rover, Arkansas. I caught a peripheral glimpse of this small stream and had to do a turn around to come back and get the picture.

This picture is a clear demonstration that the Almighty is in charge. In a perfect world, the flotsam and jetsam in the center of the picture would not be there and you would see a perfect transition from reflecting trees to reflecting skies. In a photo exhibition the judges would verbally beat the photographer severely about the head, face, and shoulders for foisting this on their sensitive selves. However, it’s us and no judges and the picture reminds us that we live in an imperfect world. Therein is the value.

Arkansas Highway 28 from Rover west to the Cedar Creek community is a long string of scenic beauty and historic sites. I can’t find it showing up in travel literature or a catalog of historic sites, but that only means the mainstream has yet to stumble across it and the traffic is low. Neither of which are bad if you are visiting.

Landmark Missionary Baptist Church Onyx Arkansas

Click on the church to see the church

I approached this stretch from the south on Arkansas Highway 27 and happened across a fine old church at Oynx, Arkansas.

Before we go further, may I suggest that you digress for a moment and see this old church, its historic signs, and the low-water bridge one must cross to get there, on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer do-com. Click here to go there. We’ll be here when you get back.

The next stop was a lunch break at Rover, Arkansas. If you are hungry and in the neighborhood of Rover, stop at the Exxon Station (also a store, deli, cafe, etc., etc.) and grab a sandwich. The country store is a rarity, they actually asked me if I wanted the sandwich on wheat bread. In other country stores, such a statement would be close to a Class D Misdemeanor. The sandwich was a culinary masterpiece. I savored each bite. Smoky ham, turkey, pepper-jack cheese, lettuce, ‘maters, pickles and onions.

Wing Community Church Wing Arkansas

The Wing Community Church, Wing, Arkansas.

Tiny Wing, Arkansas was the next stop. They have a church, a Christian Center, and a big store. From the looks of the church, they also have a good attitude.

Bluffton, Arkansas and Gravelly, Arkansas were next stops. Old buildings are scattered through both. Time was a factor when I was in Gravelly and I did not shoot four, (count ’em, four) old store buildings in good condition. Two of them appeared to house viable businesses.

Old barn at Gravelly Arkansas

Look fast and hard, this old barn at Gravelly Arkansas is on its last legs. Weather and the trees are winning and the barn is coming in second best.

Just on the outskirts of Gravelly, we found a pair of old buildings in the collapsing mode. One is the remnants of a barn and the other a lower utility building of some type. The barn is the building you see above, see the pair in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Old house at Bluffton AR

The old house at Mad Dog Hill Lane and Highway 28 has some Victorian charm left. Notice the decorations on the roof peaks and eaves.

Not far from Gravelly, you come to Bluffton where there is an old favorite photo target, a house at Highway 28 and Mad Dog Hill Lane. The first time we were there, the Mad Dog Hill Lane sign was in place. This time the sign was gone, probably to a dorm room or a den wall. As my late father, Peyton Dempsey used to say, “The only reason you don’t call some people thieves is because they don’t steal a hot stove.”

With that sage observation, I bid you adieu for this week.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

See more pictures

See our Weekly Grist Gallery with more pictures from this foray down good ol’ Highway 28. See an old mule hay rake, more creek pictures, a pasture house, and some other good stuff.

Click here to go there and marvel at the imagery.

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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Baring it in the winter


Old red bard

This old barn, resplendent in its winter mode is a familiar sight to the legion of kayaking, canoeing, swimming, picnicking, and hiking enthusiasts who frequent the Long Pool Recreation area, my destination for the day, on Big Piney Creek north of Dover, Arkansas. You can't miss it.

From the looks of things you are figuring this is a story about barns. You are partially correct.  Actually we are talking about what you see in the winter, when most people are staying home versus what you see in the warmer months when the folks who will venture out, well, venture out. It is my contention that there is more to see in the winter.

Old Arkansas Barn

Click on the barn for a full size picture.

Before we pursue that argument further, take a look at where this story started on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. You will see another old barn and a close up of a remote intermittent water fall. Click here to go there. We’ll be here when you get back.

I had high hopes of catching a couple of waterfalls in a mid-winter display of their might a few miles from this barn east of the Long Pool Recreation Area on Big Piney Creek north of Dover, Arkansas. There had been plenty of rain in the general vicinity, but Mother Nature, in her fickle mode, chose to steer her latest deluge in the wrong direction to satisfy my hopes. Whom am I to question?

Never the less, the trip was worth it. The falls, one about 10-12 feet tall, and one towering to 44 feet, are ensconced in a huge hollow which is nothing short of spectacular. Boulders as big as a pickup truck line the outflow of the falls. The waterfalls are accessible only by a hike of nearly a mile in each direction and are not frequently visited.

waterfall near Long Pool Recreation area on Big Piney Creek

This is the smaller of two falls at this destination. This one is 10-12 feet tall. The larger one, which I did not have time to shoot properly is 44 feet tall. Just a trickle was coming over it.

There are two trails to the falls, one of which is close to treacherous. The trail, only a foot and a half wide in some places,  follows Big Piney Creek on the side of a steep hill which bottoms out in the creek. The other trail is an old road which leads to and from the recreational area. It is benign, but steep in places. I took the scenic route in and the safer route out.

Small falls near Long Pool Recreation Area

You see a great deal of detail in these pictures due to the even light on the falls. In summer months the difference between the bright and dark spots due to foliage makes a detailed shot such as this nearly impossible.

Listening to the trickle of the falls in their diminished intermittent mode was good therapy and I did not want to leave. However, I was covering new ground and believed it prudent to allow plenty of time to return to the trusty pickup. That being so, I did not capture as many images as I would have liked. However, I will have a keen eye out for reports of big rains in the area and then beat a path back.

white trees

These poplar trees south of Russellville AR on U.S. Highway 64 are a dramatic presence in this field. "Golden Hour" sun splashes over the scene.

If you have an opportunity, or conversely you have nothing better to do and want to do something different, make an opportunity and sally forth to see some winter magnificence. It awaits you.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

waterfall closeup

Click here for more waterfall and barn pictures

See our weekly photo-only gallery which has all of the weekly Corndancer and Grist pictures, plus some cool ones which are not displayed on either site.

This week there are nine pictures. See more angles on  the Corndancer barn and views the waterfall you’ve observed on this page. Click to 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

Two tigers, two sunsets


tiger at little rock zoo

Thank goodness for long lenses. You can look the tiger in the eye and successfully retain life and limb regardless of how the tiger sizes you up

This week we are looking at critters and scenes from our film archives.  All of these pictures are scanned from 35mm transparencies, AKA slides. We started this adventure on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com with a Jaguar, an African Crowned Crane and a gorilla mother and child. Click here to go there and see the critters.

This particular tiger was a resident of the Little Rock Zoo. I say “was” because this shot is from ’94 archives. Tigers in captivity make shooting easy. They develop a routine for sauntering around their enclosure, so you know pretty well where they are going to be and when they will arrive.  In one case, I put the camera on a tripod, focused on a blade of Johnson grass in the enlosure which the tiger always passed and then concentrated in starting the motor drive when he came even with the grass. Worked like a charm.

tiger at little rock zoon

Same tiger, a bit farther back. Look at the markings over the eyes. They are the same, but are different on every tiger. The tiger is wet, having just taken a dip in the handy pool in the tiger enclosure. Unlike most cats, tigers dig dipping.

The picture below shows Lake Pine Bluff which has since been renamed Saracen Lake (Google still calls it Lake Pine Bluff).  Even though no two sunsets are every exactly the same, the probability of this sunset view and the one below repeating are even more remote since a structure has been built on the west side of the fishing pier. That is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a good thing. The structure is Saracen Landing, a first class over-the-water public pavilion. The shot below was my first serious shot of a sunset on this lake, I have since shot dozens, some recently. This is one of the best locations on the planet for great sunsets, free for the looking.

sunset over lake

I chased these clouds for about 30 miles and finally wound up at what was then called Lake Pine Bluff. This was my first serious shot of a sunset on this lake, I have since shot dozens, some recently. This is one of the best locations on the planet for great sunsets.

As a part of downtown Pine Bluff, the lake is a popular fishing spot and a great place to take a lunch if you happen to work down town.

lake sunset

Turns out, money can't buy one of the best parts of my home town, to wit: a sunset at Saracen Lake. Almost every time I go to the lake to shoot a sunset, I run into people who are witnessing the phenomenon for the first time. "I never knew ... " are normally the first thing out of their wondering mouths. A great place to fish at sunset. If your catching luck is down, the scenery will help you forget it.

Isn’t amazing what we find in our own back yards. The first requirement is you have to go look. My I be presumptuous and suggest that you do just that.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

See all of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures plus a couple of surprises in our weekly high resolution gallery. Click here to go there. Takes just a couple of minutes and well worth the click.

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

Woolly Hollow


Woolly Hollow Falls
I would guess Woolly Hollow Falls drop around 40 or 50 feet from top to bottom, but not in a straight line. The stair-stepped falls make for good eye candy.

Few things command ones undivided attention better than a waterfall. You don’t have to turn it on and you can’t turn it down, or off. And, in all likelihood you are viewing its magnificence voluntarily. Since it has your undivided attention, you might as well take advantage of the therapeutic benefits accrued while standing in awe of one of Mother Nature’s most powerful creations. Even better, it will not attack or bite and unless you decide to personally sample its turbulence, surviving the experience is a virtual lock.

Waterfall therapy techniques are addressed along with some other pictures of the falls on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Get in on these revelations and photos by clicking here, a very cool thing to do.

We are visiting the falls below the dam which makes 40 acre Lake Bennett at Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier, Arkansas. The falls are easily accessible from a trail near the entrance to the park. The park is very popular. There is an office and gift shop in the park which freely dispenses information about the premises.

dam forming Lake Bennett

The top of the dam forming Lake Bennett. While the vegetation may look a bit unkempt, it is nature’s way and a good thing, adding its tendrils to the overall strength of the dam, which was built by the CCC in 1935. This is one of the few places were you see rip-rap embedded in concrete, pointy-side up. One presumes to prevent using the dam as a playground.

While accessing the falls from the bottom is no trick due to the well constructed and tended trail, seeing if from the top at water level is another story all together. One descends from an impromptu parking place on the entrance road near the dam to the lake’s edge. From there follow the lake’s edge until you are even with the dam. At this water level, that required a small wade, not a big deal.

bluff just below the Lake Bennett dam

This bluff is just below and past the east end of the dam, and above the falls.

From there, it would be better if you had the sure footedness of a mountain goat because the top of the dam is laced with rip-rap. You gingerly walk across the top of the dam and wind up near the small bluff you see above. Traipsing across small rip-rap is not my strongest point, but the visual reward at the end of the walk was worth it. Not recommended for anyone with mobility limitations.

above Woolly Hollow Falls

Further downstream from the dam, this is the last stretch before the falls begin to drop. I decided here to curtail my southerly trek along the creek and return to the truck. It looked a tad woolier than I wanted to deal with, if you will forgive the pun.

I followed the stream about another 75 yards or so. The trail was visible, but not well-worn. Not recommended if you take exception to wading and breaking your way through some underbrush. Since I have absolutely no objections to any of the above, I crashed on through like a bull in a china shop. When I got to the stretch of creek above, I shot and turned back, believing at my age that discretion indeed may be the better part of valor. The drop of the falls was not far ahead, but substantially more easily accessible from the bottom.

But wait, there is definitely more

See high resolution versions of all Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures in our weekly high-resolution gallery. Click here to go there. This week we are including a black and white version of all pictures in this gallery.

A good hike along a wet, rocky, and overgrown trail is one you walk away from in one piece. Thank goodness for small favors and thank you 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

On the way from Houston (Arkansas that is)


Old barn near Houston AR

In spring and summer months leaves from trees and shrubs will make this view virtually impossible. Another example of stuff you can see in the winter and no other time.

A backward glance

In late February (2010), Jon Phillipi and I, tooling west toward Houston, (Arkansas) on Arkansas Highway 113,  noticed an old house on the south side of the road. Long since abandoned, and basking well in late afternoon sun, the house appeared to be a good prospect for a Weekly Grist picture.

We passed it and I ventured one more backward glance and noticed a large barn south of the house. We duly noted the location as a prime prospect and continued west to Houston where we would shoot the former Houston Methodist Church, a popular target for photographers.

It isn’t a barn

old gin at ladd ar

It's not a old barn. It's an old gin.

Before we venture too much further, we need to tell you this barn story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where we visited what we thought was an old barn at Ladd, Arkansas. Turns out, it is not an old barn, but an old gin. A last minute infusion of facts saved our bacon from the embarrassment of publishing a falsehood. Nothing like the facts to clear the air. Like the barn at Houston the gin has seen better days but still is very interesting. See the old gin at Ladd here, outside and inside.

Do it now

Back to Houston. With a sufficient amount of pixels “in the can” from the church at Houston, we headed back east toward the Delta, our home. By the time we saw the house and barn again, the late evening illumination was nearing perfection. Coming back to shoot the barn ceased to be an option. The light was right and the time was now.

I ventured to the nearest neighbor’s domicile and asked if the barn was on their property. A friendly young man informed me that it was not their property and belonged to unknown persons who “ … lived up north,“ meaning north of the Mason Dixon line.

Tall barn

The barn is one of the tallest we've seen. In all likelihood, with this large capacity loft to store hay, the barn was part of a large livestock operation.

Shoot with abandon

This of course is music to a trespassing photographer’s ear. The owner ain’t gonna show, so fire away with reckless abandon. That was the good news. The bad news is we know little about the old barn except for the fact that it looks really great in late afternoon February sun.

etched in concrete

There may be some clue as to when the barn was either built or was improved. Hieroglyphics we interpret to be 4-48 were carefully scratched into wet concrete at the west entrance to the barn.

Spring is well, springing

In the final throes of a winter somewhat colder than normal, the southeast Arkansas landscape still carries its winter mantle of gravy brown. Paying little attention to these environmental conditions, the flowers which announce spring will wait no longer.

white flowers

A flowering bush an/or stunted tree seems healthy enough on a bleak roadside. A bare field to the left and a construction project in the background lie in contrast to the rites of spring.

Jonquils, Bradford Pear trees and miscellaneous and sundry fruit-bearing trees now generously dot the landscape, portending quick relief for denizens of these whereabouts who have had all the winter they can abide. Friends to the north, take heed. We are sending these favorable conditions your way.

ugly sign, nice flowers

I've heard it said that it takes two uglies to make a uugly (pronounced "you-glee"). These signs are the manifestation of that rumor. These jonquils (or are they narcissus?) are providing a modicum of temporary relief. When they're gone, it's back to uugly.

More (and better) pictures

The blog picture processing procedure somewhat degrades pictures rather than being neutral or enhancing them, so to show you the best pictures, we make a weekly post to a higher resolution gallery. In this gallery, you’ll see all the pictures on Corndancer and Weekly Grist, plus those we closely considered, but did not publish. This week, there are 18 cool shots to see. Click here to go there.

Thanks for dropping by,

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

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

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.

TNX,

JPD

Traveler’s rest


The Traveler, opulence on wheels

Now 104 years old, the Traveler, once the personal rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad permanently resides on Pumpkin Hill Road south of Rison, Arkansas,

Now 104 years old, the Traveler, once the personal rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad, now permanently resides on Bob Abbott's place down Pumpkin Hill Road south of Rison, Arkansas,

Though her paint is a bit faded, for her age, the Traveler, formerly the private rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad is holding up well. She left active service in 1960 and has been here on Pumpkin Hill Road, south of Rison, Arkansas since. This story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. To see more pictures of the Traveler, click here, visit the Photo of the Week page and get in on the start of the story.

What you saw as the Traveler pulled away from you. The door is open to the observation parlor. You see reflections in a large oval mirror over the rear facing parlor settee.

What you saw as the Traveler pulled away from you. The door is open to the observation parlor. You see reflections in a large oval mirror over the rear facing parlor settee.

At the back of the car, there is an observation parlor with the door opening to the rear platform. See a picture of the parlor here. If you think you see water in the background of the picture above, you are correct. It’s a toss up  as to whether is a big pond or a small lake, but it is a beautiful impoundment, brimming with large catfish, bass and hand-size bream. Those who wet a hook there are normally not disappointed according to Bob Abbott, the owner.

The mahogany main parlor at the front of the car has a writing desk, a large table with six chairs and very comfortable aisle seating. The windows are large. The carpet, though aged, is lush.

The spacious main parlor served as a dining room, a place for business meetings, and for friendly card games as is evidenced by cards and other necessities in the open drawer,

The spacious main parlor served as a dining room, a place for business meetings, and for friendly card games as is evidenced by cards and other necessities in the open drawer.

Detai of the writing desk. Note the fine joinings and finish of the cabinetry, all in original condition.

Detail of the writing desk. Note the fine joinings and finish of the cabinetry, all in original condition. Notice the charcoal in the pan under the desk. It absorbs moisture and untoward odors.

The hallway would not be a comfortable fit for the average NCAA Division I or NFL defensive tackle. I wear a 46 long suit and when I stood squarely in it, my shoulders scraped the sides of the door.

The parlor pictures above were shot with flash. The picture below was shot from further toward the front of the car and shows more of the mahogany cabinetry in the upper foreground. The color has a different cast brought about by using only available light.

The main parlor from closer to the front of the car. Note the overhead storage and richly upholstered seats.

The main parlor from closer to the front of the car. Note the overhead storage and richly upholstered seats. Also notice my pickup in the left window, a no-no, but I did it anyway.

Though the Traveler is the star of the show on Bob Abbott’s Pumpkin Hill Road place, it is not the only attraction. In 2007, Bob had a small chapel built on the banks of the lake/pond(?). (your guess is as good as mine). Since then it has become popular for weddings and other church related events. Bob, being who he is, does not charge for its use.

The Traveler's new neighbor, the chapel, has proven to be nearly as popular as the Traveler. It could be Divine intervention.

The Traveler's new neighbor, the chapel, has proven to be nearly as popular as the Traveler. It could be Divine intervention. The chapel is particularly impressive in the early spring as Dogwood trees generously bloom.

Signs, signs, Joe Webb’s signs …

A Buick sign from "back in the day."

A Buick sign from "back in the day."

As promised on the Corndancer Photo of the Week page and in last week’s Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind, I am showing another of Joe’s signs. On this one, the Buick folks tout their valve-in-head engine configuration. In the mid fifties, Buick added a variable pitch impeller in their automatic transmissions which supposedly gave you neck snapping power on the low end and more economy on the high end. Such cerebral appeals have long since given away to more visceral appeals in this day and time. The facts are now, proper cup holder configuration is higher on the pecking order of consumer concern and awareness than valve configuration. And so it goes.

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