Sam I Am Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Abesville Missouri

Coconuts And Corn — Photos for American Farmers Wade Martin and Jeff Parrish — Photography Patrol

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Coconuts And Corn

Photos for American Farmers Wade Martin

and Jeff Parrish 

Coconuts and Corn – Photo One – Photo for American Farmers Wade Martin and Jeff Parish. Walking through the Leyte landscape with my Nikon camera, I stopped and looked at the rows of corn and the coconut tree. In the United States, acres of corn stretch out across the horizon in states like Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa. Actually, Corn is a grain that, according to my old Future Farmers of America manual is grown in ALL 50 states and is the reason that the corn grain is used on the FFA Crest. Once I stood looking at the corn and the coconut tree I wondered if American Farmer Wade Martin, of Abesville, Missouri or American Farmer Jeff Parrish of El Dorado Springs, Missouri, near Nevada, Missouri, would believe their eyes. You can grow “sweet corn” in the Philippines, but, I doubt, Missouri winters and the seasonal tornadoes will allow coconut trees to grow in southwest Missouri. Nikon photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Weekend Plans in southwest Missouri ? Summer Photo Feature

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Weekend Plans in southwest Missouri ?

Into James River

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Fisherman carries his catch of blue gill from the James River. “Galena, MIssouri – Float Fishing Capitol Of The World” – Before Table Rock Dam became famous for water sports, anglers came to Galena and the James River to go “float fishing” from the 1930s through the mid 1960s. In 2011, visitors and tourist still journey to the waters of the James River around Galena to canoe and kayak. Still some people bring their fishing pole and fish from a boat, one of the banks or wade out into James River. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

One of those weeks. Everything that can go wrong – Did.

The temperatures have been through the roof – and you felt like you were sweating in the shade. How many more hours until the week end ? You can’t wait to kick your shoes off and just kick back and relax. Have you already made your plans for the weekend ?

A Chair To Relax In On A Bank Of The James River – One local landowner has the right idea. Pull up a chair and watch the canoes float by. Bring your chairs to the gravel bars of the James River and relax. But, please, leave this man’s chair alone. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Grocery prices seem to keep rising. And, gas prices are out of this world with no end in sight. The TV news and

Secluded Cabin on a bank of the James River at Galena. The heavy rural foilage and vegetation in and around Galena make it a paradise for people who want to get back to “The Great Outdoors.” The James River weaves in and around the countryside, which is still home to deer, raccoons, wild turkeys and foxes. The massive bluffs ov Horse Creek that look down on James River will amaze tourists and inspire photographers. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

the news stories that show up on your computer make it seem as if the “Whole World Is Going Nuts !” Thank God for the Week end.

How many hours until the week end ?

If you are looking for an idea to relax. Consider James River. If you live in northern Arkansas or southwest Missouri, then, one way to relax and get away from the cares of the world is to kick your shoes off and wiggle your toes in the waters of James River.


Bring a fishing pole and fish off the banks of the James River or relax on one of the gravel bars and just watch children playing in the river.

Galena. Missouri is a small town of under 500 people, in southwest Missouri, near Springfield, Republic, Nixa, and Branson on the banks of the James River.

You can spend the day on the James River and should still be able to drive into Branson for an evening music show.

Sitting In The James River – Sometimes a writer and photographer has to leap into a subject with both feet. On this day, I waded into the James River and found a shallow spot to sit in the river and let the water flow around me.I also promised myself if I ever win the Missouri Lottery that I would buy one of those waterproof housings for my camera. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In The James River – In the Spring and Summer, there are shallow places in the river by Galena, Missouri, where you can wade into the river or relax on a gravel bar. If you pay attention to the current, you can sit in James River and lean forward with your camera and get a photograph of the water flowing under the Y Bridge. Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr.

If you have a short canoe trip in mind, then, you might consider putting in at Horse Creek, which is basically about

Man’s Best Friend Stands Guard On A Gravel Bar In James River. One pet owner brought his dog to allow the animal to be able to “dog paddle” and swim in the river. Later the dog, got comfortable and stretched out to enjoy the afternoon sun. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

half-way between Abesville and Galena, Missouri.

Time To Shove Off – Weekends and days off, during the Spring and Summer, are times when you can put a boat, bass boat, canoe or kayak into Missouri’s James River at different points along the 130-mile waterway and enjoy a day of boating or fishing. This boat rests on a rock on a bank of the James River, near Galena, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

Joplin Tornado Aftermath Reconstruction Underway Photos

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Joplin Tornado Aftermath

Reconstruction Underway Photos

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sunday, May 22, 20 11 – An EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri and left 154 people dead.and more than 900 injured. Some reports cite that the EF-5 tornado ranged from one half to three quarters of a mile in length as it moved through the city of 50,150 citizens and left a path of destruction that has been reported as 16 to 22 miles in length with one third of the city destroyed.

As of Friday, June 17, 2011, people in southwest Missouri are still talking about the devastating tornado that reportedly has, “at least two semi tractor trailer trucks leaving every minute through the day to simply haul away all the debris left by the tornado.” Friday afternoon, Christy, my wife and I had the opportunity to see the unimaginable destruction.

Reconstruction Underway - Joplin, Missouri - The May 22, 2011 tornado that stuck Joplin , Missouri is currently credited with killing 154 people and destorying at least one third of this major metropolitan southwest Missouri city. Friday, June 17, 2011, when this photograph was taken, Joplin citizens were still working to clear away the rubble and city crews could be seen working to clear away the massive mountains of debris. This American flag is only one of many that waves from within the barren landscape of destruction. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Back Story

Friday, June 17, 2011 – Ken Sexton and my cousin, Donna, invited my wife, Christy, and I to go with them on an afternoon road trip. Donna had mentioned that we would drive through Joplin to show us the destruction from the Joplin Tornado.

Ken and Donna were two of the many people who had volunteered time on a couple of weekends to help the Joplin survivors to help clear away the construction rubble left by the deadly tornado.

I tossed the camera bag in the car. Ken drove. Donna explained the devastation that they had witnessed only a few days after the tornado. Christy and I listened. I took photographs of the devastation.

Photographic Procedure

We drove through Joplin. While Ken drove, I shot photos. The photos were shot by me using a Canon EOS 40D digital camera. Since the vehicle was moving there is obvious picture blur and camera shake in some of the photographs which were shot through the vehicle windows.

I sat on the left side of the vehicle and my wife, Christy, sat on the right side. I aimed the camera at virtually all the windows at some point to take a photograph. All of the photos were shot by me from inside the moving vehicle.

Since I alternated between shooting out the right and left side windows as well as some shots taken through the windshield, essentially these photos are a series of sequence shots.

Photographic Processing

Back home in Stone County, Missouri, I downloaded the photographs to my laptop to examine. I used the programs, Irfanview and Photoscape to edit the photos. I had shot 133 photos. Some were automatically deleted because of motion blur and camera shake. Since I approach every photography situation like a news photographer, I looked at the information in each photo. The actual shooting situation meant I had to make quick decisions of what to shoot and what to pass on. One deleted photo had a pickup passing through the photo as I clicked the shutter.

Editorial Considerations

As a military newspaper editor, I would always look at a photo for quality and to make sure it supported the story.

In this situation, as the writer, photographer and editor of my personal blog, I wanted photographs that showed not only the obvious destruction, but, also the cleanup underway in the aftermath of the Joplin Tornado to post to my blog.

While I don’t have the financial and human resources of the “Washington Post, “ “New York Times.” or “Time” magazine, I believe, Uncle Sam drove home those basic journalism ethics about the importance of news photos.

None of these photographs are set up, staged or posed. The photographs here are what was captured by the camera. Editing was done on a case by case basis to eliminate distracting elements from the photo or to lighten the photo to keep it from becoming a silhouette. Some photos were left “full frame” and not edited.

Radical Cropped Photos

Some of these photos, I had to “radically crop” to eliminate distracting elements like the outline of the vehicle window and save the basic photo. Since the later photos were shot as evening was approaching, I used Photoscape’s 100 percent Backlight function to add light to the foreground of the photo.

Example Photo - In this photo, my wife, Christy Warren points at some of the destruction from the Joplin Tornado of Sunday, May 22, 2011. Since all of my photos of the aftermath of the Joplin Tornado were shot from a moving vehicle, I had to edit out any elements that might be distracting to the overall photo like the natural framing of the automobile window. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

Some of the photos are essentially “full frame” because I did not see any distracting elements in the photo. While Backlight might of improved the visual quality of a couple of these photos, I chose not to use that function to pass on the actual condition of the afternoon sky.

One photo of a building with an American flag was almost a silhouette and contained an obvious solar lens flare at the edge of the photo. I did not crop out the lens flare because I had shot the photo through a car window. I did use Photoscape’s Contrast Enhancement and 100 percent Backlight function to keep the photo from becoming a silhouette.

I held back on the urge to edit photos. The majority of the editing was to crop out the natural framing of the subject by the moving automobile window.

Criticism, Critique, Comments Appreciated

I’m an old retired military newsman, who loves to write and shoot photos. If the photos that I have published in my blog serve to increase the awareness of students, teachers, civilian officials and people in the public about the real threat of tornadoes and that knowledge helps to save lives, then, these photos have succeeded in presenting the information.

People who wish to criticize, critique or comment on any of the photos are welcome to use the comment form on my blog. I’m one of those people who usually gets tons of email spam and advertisements from mindless Internet programming robots, so usually I just periodically delete emails without reading them.

I do read and usually respond to comments on my blog because I like to hear from readers, who take the time to read the articles and look at the photos on my blog. To my readers, I say Thank you for taking the time to read the articles and look at the photos.

Foto Fact File

Not everyone will be able to visit Joplin, Missouri and look at the destruction with their own two eyes. I would like to think the readers of my blog will have the opportunity to look at these pictures and get a sense of the destruction for themselves. Readers, I would hope will also notice that the citizens of Joplin, Missouri are rebuilding despite the immense level of destruction.

This building was one of the first signs of destruction by the Joplin Tornado of May 22, 2011 that we noticed as we entered into Joplin. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

These photos represent the first twenty of the more than 100 photographs of the Joplin Tornado damage seen on June 17, 2011.  Once I have all the photographs finished then I will post a gallery or a slideshow of the photographs of the damage.

Sam

Wikipedia 2011 Joplin Tornado http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Joplin_tornado

Wikipedia Joplin, Missouri http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joplin,_Missouri

 

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Sam I Am Blog Newsflash Update !!!  —

Thursday, June 23,2011—-

GALENA, MISSOURI — I now have more than one hundred photo of the cleanup and reconstruction underway in Joplin, Missouri after the May 22 EF-5 Tornado.

St. John's Mercy Hospital - Joplin, Missouri - The night that the tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, my wife, Christy and I were listening to the storm coverage on KTTS-FM, broadcasting out of Springfield, Missouri, in Greene County. In our home, in Stone County, near Galena, Missouri, Christy and I listened to the storm coverage while the winds grew outside our home. This hospital was one of the first reports of major damage to Joplin that was aired, while the tornado was still moving through the city. Initial broadcast reports stated that the staff had begun to move patients to other local hospitals before the tornado hit. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. Joplin Tornado Hospital Damage Photo 2 of 14

There are 20 photos on my blog, but I now have an album on imgpur that readers can go to and see for themselves what it looks like to “Stand Inside The Center Ring Of Hell” and know there is a world beyond the Apocalpytic destruction.

Here is the link: http://samwarren55.imgur.com

Sam

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My Recollection of Old Spanish Cave

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My Recollection

of

Old Spanish Cave

by Junior Warren

Tales of the Spanish Conquistadors making their way through Stone County, Missouri. They carried treasure chests of gold doubloons and rare jewels. This childhood folk tale has a real physical location: The Old Spanish Cave, near Reeds Spring, in Stone County, Missouri.

Old Spanish Cave is NOT an urban legend or Ozarks folklore.

The treasure of Old Spanish Cave ? Will have to be found to be proven.

Childhood Visit

I visited the cave as a child in the 1960s.

I was in the 3rd, 4th or 5th grade at Abesville Elementary. Thus, the years would have been 1964, 1965 or 1966.

My mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren, a farmer, and I went one afternoon to visit the man, who happily mentioned that the land he owned had a cave. As I remember the events, it seems the previous owner had told him about the cave, but had apparently never had any intention of opening the cave to the public.

My mother had went to see the couple about some farming matter and the cave owner brought up the topic of his new cave.

Southwest Missouri’s Famous Caves

At the time, southwest Missouri’s Famous Caves totaled two: Fantastic Caverns, near Springfield, Missouri. Fantastic Caverns gained fame with their ride through jeep tours of this amazing cave.

http://www.fantasticcaverns.com/

Silver Dollar City had only been up and running as a tourist attraction for a few years. Marvel Cave, which for a time was known as “Talking Rocks,” near Silver Dollar City, was beginning to attract visitors and became the other major southwest Missouri cave that attracted bus loads of tourists each year. (For information on Silver Dollar City visit the website http://www.silverdollarcity.com/ and to find data on Marvel Cave, check out Wikipedia’s article on Stone County, Missouri’s famous Marvel Cave http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Cave )

Branson, Missouri had the Baldknobbers musicians and there was talk that people like Buck Owens and Roy Clark might open music theaters in Branson. It was the early -1960s and Taney County’s business optimism was leaking across the county line into Stone County.

Suspicious Stone County Folk Tales

Stone County, Missouri has a wealth of folklore. When I was a child there was the tale that famous Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon journey through southwest Missouri, in search of the Fountain of Youth and thus, Ponce de Leon, Missouri was named in his honor.

There was also the tale that Abraham Lincoln had once journeyed through southwest Missouri. Thus, Abesville, Missouri was named in Lincoln’s honor.

As a child, Old Spanish Cave and the tale of the vanishing conquistadors was told like the Ponce de Leon and Abesville tales – but, Old Spanish Cave had a real physical location to back up it’s story.

Coming Tourist Attraction ?

The man, who talked to us about his cave, mentioned his desire to try and open the cave to the public. The story, we were told is, essentially that Spanish conquistadors took refuge in the cave either from the weather or Native Americans. The story claimed the conquistadors had either one or three treasure chests of coins or jewels.

Mystery takes over and at that point, it seemed people weren’t certain what happened to the soldiers or their wealth. Naturally, Old Spanish Cave was the last supposedly confirmed sighting of the soldiers and the treasure. Folklore suggests that either the soldiers buried the wealth and never came back for it or left the wealth there with the intention to return.

Although it was late in the afternoon, my mother and I did have the opportunity to step inside Old Spanish Cave. There was no grand public entrance. Literally, it was a rough arch shape opening in the side of a rock hillside. To a farmer walking by, the opening would of looked just like a large hole at the base of a moss covered limestone cliff.

There was a small black yard gate at the entrance that the owner used to keep trespassers out. Traditionally, Stone County farmers usually didn’t talk about caves on their property to keep out trespassers and fortune hunters as well as not having to worry about liability issues of someone roaming around their property and falling into a cave by accident.

Unlike southwest Missouri’s famous caves, at this point, in the 1960s, the cave had not been as thoroughly explored or developed. There was still some sunlight, so the owner, momma and I stepped inside the first chamber.

Inside Old Spanish Cave in the 1960s

About 10 feet inside the opening there was a nice deep hole. When you are eight, nine or ten years old a 10 foot hole can look like it is 100 feet deep. My “knee high to a grasshopper “ mind measured the hole at about 20 to 30 feet across and probably about 10 to 20 feet deep – keep in mind – these were the measurements of an excited grade school kid looking down into a really deep hole, with the story of Spanish Conquistadors hiding their doubloons away in the Missouri hills.

I remember to the left of the massive hole in that center chamber was a pool of water about three feet wide and probably about two feet deep. The pool of water, supposedly kept the relative cool temperature throughout the year.

There were some tool shaped pieces of wood that could be seen in the bottom of the big hole, which could suggest someone might have at one time been digging in the cave.

My mother and I only went into the first chamber, while the landowner serving as the proud tour guide told us the story about the cave and explained that he had hopes to explore and open all the cave to the public. The entrance and chamber of the cave, actually seemed spacious. It had no lights, so the setting sun served as the persistent indicator that our time would be limited to look around the cave.

Missouri The Cave State”

Treasure hunters surfing the web and trying to find the location of Old Spanish Cave will be confused by other reported or suspected locations of this cave. One possible reason for the confusion on the location of the cave could come from the amount of caves in Missouri.

Around the late 1960s one of the popular tourism slogans stated: “Missouri The Cave State.” Growing up in Stone County I knew several kids and landowners who mentioned that they had caves on their property. Supposedly the entrances of some caves were wide enough you could easily walk into, while others were holes in the ground that a small dog would have problems going into or out of.

I remember Old Spanish Cave, was on private land, near Reeds Spring. The cave is near the Coon Ridge Coffee Shop before you reach a sign for the city limits to the City of Reeds Spring, as I remember.

Old Spanish Cave – A Tourist Attraction ?

In looking through my Galena Bears yearbooks from 1962 through 1976, I found there were advertisements for Old Spanish Cave for the years 1969, 1971 and 1972, which suggests the cave was open for a time to the public.

Photograph of the Old Spanish Cave ad in the 1969 Galena Bears yearbook

I found stories on Ancestry.com by people that also recount visits to the legendary southwest Missouri cave.

Could there be gold doubloons and Spanish jewels in Old Spanish Cave ?

The end of this tale will have to wait until some adventurous treasure hunter gets permission to venture inside the earth and see what lies hidden in the regions of Old Spanish Cave.

Me, I love to think the forgotten conquistadors are resting comfortably alongside their full treasure chest in the seclusion of Old Spanish Cave.

Warren Land Spring Cleaning

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WARREN LAND

SPRING CLEANING

by Samuel Warren

The December sun created a beautiful day. There was no bone chilling nip in the air, which is normal for this time of year in southwest Missouri.

Sipping my coffee, I looked out the picture window at my blue U.S. Air Force flag flicking at the slight breeze.

Today would be a great day for Spring Cleaning.

I bundled up like I was embarking for an expedition to the Artic Circle. In Missouri, Old Timers say: “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes; it will change.” It might be a sunny day, but, it is December and Mother Nature enjoys messing with Missouri’s weather, especially in the winter..


I grabbed my camera and my rake. My two loyal cannine assistants, Sarge and Goldie raced past me and did a low crawl under the gate.. I stroll into the pasture trying to decide, which trail should I follow down into the holler. The dogs and I walk past the pond. The perimeter fence surrounds Warren Land.

It is a woven wire fence with a strand of barbed wire to keep the cattle inside.  The Fence Line Tree represents the boundary of Warren Land. The land beyond is DeLong Land that is now owned by a neighbor. Uncle Richard had owned the DeLong Land that rests on this side of State Highway 176.

The holler on DeLong Land flows under the perimeter fence on to Warren Land. The uniform blanket of leaves hides any hint of a vein of water.

At least, a half century worth ‘s  of leaves lie in the holler and conceal the spring from sight.

Photo by Samuel Warren

I rake away at the leaves beneath the fence line  . Raking back the dead brown dry leaves, I discover the saturated black leaves that have clogged and absorbed the spring’s water like a sponge.

A small wet patch of earth under the tree root indicates the

presence of the spring.  Photo by Samuel Warren

Sarge hears something in the distance and rushes off to investigate. Goldie sits down on the trail to watch me.

Goldie sits on the trail and watches me rake leaves.

Photo by Samuel Warren

I feel a slight breeze and hear two different chain saws buzzing in different directions beyond the horizon. I uncover the black damp leaves and once again sunlight reaches down and finds the puddle of water that flows over the rocks and underneath the leaves.

The Spring flows under the leaf bed, which burns giving off a thick column of

white smoke that flows along and up the holler.

Photo by Samuel Warren

I rake a grave-size mound of leaves into a leaf bed on top of the concealed spring. I hunker down with my cigarette lighter.. The flame catches like a rumor and spreads just as quickly.


Whoosh ! The flames ignite the leaves as quickly as a working man’s

paycheck on payday.

Photo by Samuel Warren

Like a losing politician on election day, in a matter of minutes the dry leaves are gone. Smoke flows along and up the holler. The large black mound of wet rotting leaves are left to smolder in the sunlight on the spring bed.

I go up the hillside and rake more leaves down into the stream to burn. Left behind on the hillside is the naked earth showing her exposed flesh of topsoil. The rich black soil has been hidden from the sunlight by years accumulation of leaves clinging to the hillside.


Rake away the leaves and you see rich, black topsoil on the hillside.

Photo by Samuel Warren

Over time, a great deal of time, the leaves would of rot away. The Catch 22 situation ,of course, is before the leaves can rot away, the trees will shed even more leaves,which stack layer upon layer of leaves on the landscape.

I’ve played in these hills and hollers as a kid, so I’m aware of the changes that have occurred to the land over the years. The leaves that I raked into the spring bed have been lying on the hillside since the 1960s,that’s a half century’s worth of leaves that had their decaying process abruptly sped up.


The decaying leaves have added ingredients to enrich the topsoil.

Photo by Samuel Warren

I spend a couple of hours in the holler raking and burning the leaves. Now, the spring can carry away the ashes and the cattle will have another source of water readily available.

This section of burnt, smoldering leaves in the holler only represents a small step along the course of this spring’s bed. Whether Spring Cleaning is done in April or December: it takes times. The challenge of Spring Cleaning the spring beds on Warren Land is it involves more than dusting or moving furniture.

My overall plan is to continue to try and clean away decades of leaves along the spring beds. Cattle like people drink a lot of water.

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