Water woes again


rice irrigation in Arkansas

Thirsty rice requires a lot of water. Here in LA, most of the water for rice comes from wells. Those wells are pumping like crazy now, just like they were in June 2009 when I first shot this picture. Click on the picture to see the original “Water Woes” article and pictures.

Here in LA (lower Arkansas), in the early months of the summer of 2009, many of us were convinced that the heat and drying conditions were experiencing were world class, off-the-chart, bad. Little did we know what was lying in store for us three years later in the summer of 2012, so this week we are sending you back to our June 28, 2009 post to compare notes. You may also want to peruse the original Corndancer Photo of the Week treatise and pictures on the same subject.

Our current conditions of day after day of 100 degree plus temperatures, sparse, if any rain, and blistering sun make those days in 2009 seem like a minor inconvenience. The truth be known, many of us observe these untoward phenomena from air conditioned comfort with our fingers crossed that the faithful old a/c, however burdened, will hold on.

Despite our griping, our exposure to the elements usually consists of a sweaty traipse through a torrid parking lot to a vehicle, the interior of which could be temporarily leased to a local bakery. We open the door, mutter naughty mutterings regarding the oven-like conditions and shortly thereafter whisper a small thank you to the Almighty for letting the air conditioner blow a north wind in our grateful faces. Things could be worse.

Oh, and by the way, just in case you did not notice the new page on this site in the main menu above, see our new page on Photo Manipulation.

Thanks for dropping by,

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

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Family tree redux


Bois d' arc tree

Despite what you may think, you are looking at the trunk of a healthy Bois d’ Arc tree. The tree is more than 140 years old and looking forward to more.

A bodacious Bois d’ Arc

We’re going to archives this week, returning to a fine fall day in 2009 near Greenwood, Arkansas. On that day, the paths of me and Gerald Ware crossed. The results of this fortuitous encounter were mutually beneficial.

Had either of us deviated from what we were doing that morning by more than a few minutes, we would probably have never met. Which would be a pity for me since I would have never seen his remarkable Bois d’ Arc tree. Gerald sees it every day.

See the original story and more pictures of the remarkable tree in our original October 4, 2009 post, a guaranteed good read. See the start of the story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com,

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

“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

A Wet Woolly


falls at woolly hollow state park

These falls are easily accessible for folks who aren't up to a big hike. Click on the pic for the original post.

Woolly redux: wet, but not so wild

A couple of years ago about this time, the bottom dropped out all over Arkansas and particularly in Central Arkansas including the area around Woolly Hollow State Park. While the griping was rampant during the storms, the aftermath was rewarding.

The crown jewel of the park is Lake Bennett, a man-made lake held in place by a massive earthen dam built by our grandfathers and uncles in the CCC in the 30s. The spillway feeds the falls below nicely.

The top of the dam is fortified with large sharp riprap rocks with the pointy ends up. Think 300-foot tyrannosaurus rex mandible. Probably discourages horse-play on the top of the dam.

woolly hollow falls

Click on the pic for the original Corndancer story

Though the lake is small compared to other man-man lakes, its scenic index is among the best. The outflow from the dam spillway cascades and snakes through a rugged descent making for easily accessible falls looking.

It’s a good place to go for people who do not feel comfortable hiking a long way and want to see some nice falls. See the original story at Corndancer dot-com and click here for the original Weekly Grist post. Then take a look at this Woolly Hollow gallery of bigger pictures.

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

Critters and climate


Remember film? The stuff in the little round cans?

tiger at little rock zoom

Click on the tiger for the original post

Continuing our recent pattern of taking second looks, this week we are looking at some images shot in the early nineties on transparency film (slides).

We first posted these images in August, 2010. On our original post, we eschewed our normal location focus in favor of a media focus, to wit: stuff shot on film.

Click here to see the original Weekly Grist post, Two tigers-two sunsets. You’ll see a couple of tiger shots — and a pair of sunset shots which will never be duplicated since there is now a building in the middle of the former scene.

jaguar at little rock zoo

Click on the jaguar for the original Corndancer Photo of the Week story and pictures.

I shot the sunsets at Saracen Lake, nee Lake Pine Bluff, around the same time. The sky is big there. Late spring and summer thunder storms love to develop in the west close to sundown, making for unique opportunities

Saracen Lake Sunset

Lake Pine Bluff, now Saracen Lake.

The original story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancerdot-com featured a fine jaguar at the Little Rock Zoo. Since they are more than wary, even in captivity, it was a fortuitous, one-time opportunity. You had to be there right then.

I’m wondering now, given the warp-speed advances in digital technology, if the format of the digital images I’m shooting now can be easily accessed in the future. Already, I have grabbed some archive DVDs and gotten the dreaded “cannot read media” message. I suppose it is the electronic weevil version of mould and mildew which love old film so much.

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

Geese at the granary


hunter calling geese

Goose hunter Mike Goodwin, hunkered down in brush, takes a short pause to watch approaching geese he has convinced to come his way. The hunt was west of Humphrey, Arkansas off Arkansas Highway 13 near Crooked Creek. I was unexpectedly invited to be the guest photographer.

Old granary

Click on the old granary for the the start of the story.

Garnering an invitation to photograph a Grand Prairie goose hunt was the last thing I expected when I set out to photograph the old granary where Crooked Creek crosses Arkansas Highway 13, west of Humphrey, Arkansas. But then one does not question the favors of fate. Find out how this story started and see pictures of the old granary on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here.

After shooting the old building, I drove to a field full of geese nearby, dismounted, approached them, spooked them to rise, and photographed them. As I left the field, I noticed a truck pulling up at the old granary. Believing I might have a source of information about the building, I approached the driver, explained what I was doing and asked about the old building. He did not reveal a lot about the building, but did invite me to be a part of the goose hunt he was supervising. Without hesitation, I agreed.

hunter and dog along irrigation canal

Goose hunter Mike Goodwin and his Labrador Retriever, Star. We joined Mike and Star as they pursued the hunt. They are facing the general direction of approaching geese. To their rear is a field where Mike has placed a dozen or so very realistic goose decoys.

See more pictures of the goose hunt in our Weekly Grist Gallery

hunters watching approaching geese

Megan Kerr (center) watches as Mike Goodwin (right) calls geese in. Megan's friend Lee Anne Woodall (left) joined the group. She had no camouflage, so she is doing her best to hide behind the brush. Geese have wary eyes for humans.

Mike called in two groups of geese. The first group of geese won and flew on their way. Most of the time the geese win. That’s why there are so many geese. When the second group came in, Megan bagged her first goose. Star, the lab retriever did her duty and brought the felled goose back to Mike. After that, the geese began to make their way back to their roosting areas for the night. They have an early bed time.

Loading game to four wheeler

Steve who invited me to the hunt, loads geese onto the four wheeler which will carry us back to our trucks, which are specks on the horizon.

See more pictures of the goose hunt in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Geese flying to their roosting areas

As afternoon turns to early evening, geese head for their roosting areas for the night, well out of the range of hunters. Smart birds.

 We were privileged to be the guests in the practice of a time-honored outdoor sport in which hunters ply their learned skills against wary natural instincts eons in the making. Most of the time the instincts win. That’s the sport.

dog retrieving goose

Click on "Star" the lab for more pictures

SEE OUR Weekly Grist Gallery
for more pictures

We’ve posted 29 pictures of the hunt and granary in our Weekly Grist Gallery including Star retrieving the goose, the four wheeler ride, calling geese, geese in formation flight, and geese on the water. It gives us goose-bumps just to think about it.

The pictures are larger and easier to see than the pictures on this page. Click and look.

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