photo of the week

School's Out Forever

According to a hand-etched message in the concrete wall in front of this old “District No. 6” school near Rockbridge, Missouri, the business of educating local children on the premises got underway in the neighborhood of July 13, 1925.  I was unable to determine when the mysteries of the three “R’s” were last laid bare to aspiring scholars at the old school.  From appearances, it was a long time ago.  Nevertheless, some person or persons in the community care enough about it to keep the grass mowed.

Southern Missouri

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas

I have long since decided that remote rural areas are impromptu live museums curated by people who are getting on with living and making a living.  They have no idea they are creating points of interest for people like us who live in the allegedly well-ordered asphalt urban jungles many of us call home.

The displays in our American outdoor museums run the gamut from high dollar to field expedient.  In many cases, when an item or building outlives its usefulness, the protagonists simply abandon their former necessities in place or move them to an outdoor thingajig cemetery, where they succumb to rust and/or Mother Nature’s mission to reclaim the elements of their being.

On my recent trip to southern Missouri, I gathered visual evidence of my thesis and contentions.  The first stop was the old school.  Take a glimpse of the other stuff I found and see if you agree.


Etched in Concrete

In the well-shaped cursive of the time, someone recorded July 13, 1925 on the concrete wall in front of the school.  We can’t be certain of what the date commemorates, but we believe for sure it was the date of the wall construction because the concrete still had to be a bit wet to etch the message.  If not, someone painstakingly chiseled the date later.


Another Glimpse

Here’s another glimpse of the school, looking down the bore from the road.


Not Your Typical Silo Shot

You don’t see very many silos down here in LA (lower Arkansas), so when one pops up on a trip, it is high-time to record pixels.  I decided that the typical silo shot in the asparagus mode was out of the question since the structure was nested in rolling hills and there were other structures present — a pregnant opportunity.

I did a drive by reconnaissance to find the point where the silo, the feeder, and the poles were aligned to my satisfaction.  The road had drop off shoulders, so I had to park on the next turnoff and hoof it back to the shooting point.  Unfortunately, the best point was smack in the middle of the north-bound lane.  The silo and the feeder are probably a football field apart.  The long lens does a nice job of bringing them together.  In the Photo of the Week of 16 October 2014, you can see another picture from this setup over a caption “Anything for a Photo.”


Moving Closer

Here’s a closer look at the feeder and the silo.


Custom Made for a Hereford

Later in the day, I found a public road that ran smack-dab through the middle of a huge Hereford ranch.  I found this structure, which I am thinking is a feeder to keep cattle out of untoward weather while they munch out.  There are evenly spaced wires dangling from the “clothes line” between the two big plastic pipes.  I am presuming those wires are there to discourage departure and/or entrance.  Who and/or what I cannot tell.  You can see a barn from this ranch in the October 16, 2014, Photo of the Week under captions titled “Traditional Lines” and “The Other Side.”  You can see the same barn with a big ol’ Polled Hereford Bull in the foreground in the October 16 Weekly Grist post.


Check Out the Jeep.

Further down the road, I found a similar building with a semi-tricked-out Jeep in attendance.


A Church at Romance

The small community of Romance, Missouri, sits in a creek bottoms.  The residences are scattered, many close enough to see each other, but just barely.  At the epicenter of the community is the well-kept Romance Church, identified on the sign as “General Baptist.”


Souder Store for Sale

Souder Store at Souder, Missouri, was closed when I came by late in the afternoon.  There was a “For Sale” sign in front of the business.  The building is in good condition, but the “POSTED PRIVATE PROPERTY” sign on the front tells me the business may have closed for good.  When I visited the store in 2009, it was alive, well and doing business.  See our Weekly Grist post of October 10, 2009, to see how it was.


Fat, Fine, and Friendly

Two fat, fine, and friendly horses graze in front of an old barn on Souder Road, west of Rockbridge, Missouri.  The original owner of the land built the barn from lumber hewn from the trees he felled to clear the land.  I first visited the current owners and photographed the barn in 2009.  See the 2009 picture and information on our Weekly Grist post of October 10, 2009.


Dapple Gray, Palomino — or Sorrel.

The dapple gray horse takes a look at the photographer, who interrupted supper, while the dark palomino munches uninterrupted — or is it a sorrel?


A Fitting End

Just a few miles east of the store, horses, and barn, you drive through a neat tree-tunnel.  The best time to see this is late afternoon when the tunnel is in deep shadows and the field in the foreground shimmers in “golden hour” sunlight.  From here the road bends to the right, crosses a creek, and climbs a hill following the creek, giving one a reverse vista of “from whence ye came,” a fitting end to the trip.


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But wait, there's more —
at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,
still in southern Missouri (for the most part),
we explore the “likely road” concept
for discovering camera fodder.
The idea is to turn down a road
and see what you get, but some roads are likelier than others. To find out more just click and go.

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