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By Joseph Dempsey An Angle of Mystery

Sunday, December 14, 2008

While I make it a point for each Photo of the Week article to stand on its own, this week I make an exception to my own rule. On the way home from last week’s goose encounter, I passed this barn. I’ve driven by it at least a jillion times. In a former life, my livelihood required that I be in the neighborhood frequently.


It finally dawned
on me that the door is awkwardly shaped, or the walls are cut diagonally, or perhaps all of the above. I could not figure out why. As luck would have it, a friend of mine lives less than a half mile from the barn.... Or is it a shed?

Speaking of sheds, my friend could shed no light on the matter. I discovered this in a second conversation with him after I made my initial inquiry. During our second conversation, it came to light that he and I are bit by the same snake, so to speak. I’ve seen this barn a lot — make that a heckuva lot for him. The diagonal cuts on the doors and walls never registered on either one of us. This lends credence to the concept of hiding in plain sight. He gave me a couple of names and phone numbers of folks who should be good sources of information on the structure. Unfortunately, I could not get in touch with either source, so the mystery of why the doors and sides are diagonal continues.

Apparently, the structure was built in the post-mule era. I say this since no self-respecting mule-skinner would leave his charges to the merciless hammering delivered by vicious winter winds whipping and snapping across this part of the Delta.

The large tank has a “diesel” sticker on it. Diesel as a farm-implement fuel began to make serious inroads into the marketplace in the late sixties. Prior to that, gasoline, propane, and “fuel” satisfied the hydrocarbon appetites of farm machinery.

“Fuel” was a low-grade ... well ... fuel. It was cheap and not taxed. Many of the old tractors had a small gasoline tank, a half-gallon or so. Operators started these fuel engines on gasoline. Once the engine had warmed up a bit, the operator switched over to “fuel.” I say all this because in the smaller picture, you will notice some old concrete and steel structures that would have supported a large tank. Perhaps this was an old “fuel” tank, which was supplanted later by the diesel tank. If that is so, the structure probably dates back to the fifties. Just a guess.

The pictures were shot a week apart about the same time of day. On one of those days, the setting sun blasted a large hole in the cloud cover and liberally sprayed the landscape with golden illumination. No such luck on the second shot. The day was gloomier than the picture shows. I tweaked it a bit to better show details. Oh what a difference a large hole in the clouds makes.

N O T E S:  
Both Shots, Nikon D200 — AFS Nikkor 18-70 f3.5-4.5G ED on tripod / post processed with Photoshop CS3 Extended and Genuine Fractals Print Pro.

See the inside of the structure and more pictures of the premises on our blog, Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Click the jump wings
to see the previous
Photo of the Week.
Click the camera
for an index to every
Photo of the Week.
weekly grist

Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog.  — J. D.


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