photo of the week

View from Afar

After a circuitous route winding through sparsely inhabited farmlands took me south from Pettus, Arkansas, on Arkansas Highway 31, my peripheral vision captured this old farm home, largely intact, but hearing hints of the fat lady getting her pipes in tune.  I made this shot from the highway with a long lens, probably four-to-five-hundred yards away.  When I got closer, I discovered that in addition to the old house, two out buildings, apparently built at the same time, were still standing.


Sunday, March 30, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas

North of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, my home stomping grounds, is a three-county area, actually a sub-region of “The Delta,” known as the “Grand Prairie.”  The biggest difference between the Grand Prairie and the rest of the Delta is that the Grand Prairie holds water, whereas the rest of the Delta soaks up water like a sponge in a swimming pool.  The old house we see was south of Pettus, Arkansas, which is on the fringe of the Grand Prairie, but close enough to count.  Our adventures today are in the Grand Prairie.


Built to Last

Long since devoid of human inhabitants, the old house was built well or else it would not be standing, given what I have observed of similarly aged structures.  I am also certain that there was an “outhouse,” but saw no evidence to substantiate my suspicions.


Behind the Green Door

The front door ajar gives us a glimpse of the “front” room, the moniker for what most of us now call a “living room,” a term which could not be further from the truth in most contemporary homes.  We see an old sofa, what may be wallpaper, and a door frame similar to the entrance door.  You can also see some rudimentary wiring.  So in its latter years, the house had electrical service.  You can rest assured that convenience was not part of the original equipment list.


Unusual but Typical

It is unusual to find similarly constructed outbuildings surviving with an old farm house like this.  Typical of old farms, an enterprising individual added a shed to the side of the right building.


Underground Tank

Near a small barn in back of the house is a farm equipment fueling station.  It is significant to note that the fuel was stored in an underground tank, an expensive option.  The red thing that looks like a small “gas pump” is exactly that, shy of retail accoutrements.  The short pipe to the left of the pump is the filling pipe for the underground tank and the tall galvanized pipe is the vent tube for the tank.


A Smile from the Saints

After wrapping up at the old farm, I headed toward Slovak, Arkansas, which is a good story in and unto itself.  Click here to discover more about Slovak.  The agricultural community revolves around the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, a.k.a. the Apostles of the Slavs.  The sun was dropping fast.  As I drove past the old Saints Cyril and Methodius School, the Saints smiled in my direction and pointed golden light in the back door of the school while I was shooting through the front.  Not everyone gets this luck!

March 29, 2014, was a beautiful early spring day with a nip in the air early, a warm-up in the day, and a return of the nip at sundown.  This is a glimpse of the hardscrabble cultural foundation which undergirds what most of us consider to be what’s decent about our Nation.

Spring is late this year, so we captured a winter look.  Much of what these pictures show will be different in a few weeks, which may or may not be an improvement.  It is always a good day when you venture forth with no images, sally into some new territory, and return with finds like these.  Some days you just get lucky.  I hope this luck extends to you.

Photo Notes

Nikon D7100, tripod mount. ISO 100, all. Old house with rows, AF VR-Nikkor 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 D, 1/800 @ f5; Old house closer up, AF-S VR Nikkor 18-200 G ED, 1/400 @ f10; Front porch, same lens, 1/250 @ f8; Out buildings with rows, AF VR-Nikkor 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 D, 1/500 @ f5.3; Gas pump; AF-S VR Nikkor 18-200 G ED, 1/320 @ f7.1; Old school doors, same lens, 1/30 @ f3.8 basic with other exposures for composite. Post processed with Adobe Photoshop® CC.


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See the Wow! sunset at Slovak,
plus more of the old house,
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