Backstories Fireflies

Arkansas Backstories: Lightning Bugs

I cannot imagine a world without lightning bugs (or fireflies for some readers). A summer lacking these little creatures would be like a summer without lemonade, watermelons or homemade ice cream. But recent reports indicate these specially equipped beetles are in trouble.   One problem is familiar: loss of habitat. The larvae of lightning bugs require…

Dogtrot

Arkansas Backstories: Dogtrot

Arkansas Backstories: Dogtrot   Those readers expecting details on a new line dance may be surprised to learn that the term “dogtrot” refers to a classic architectural style of the South. It’s usually associated with poor white culture, be it in the mountains or the Delta lowlands.   Dogtrot houses were almost always built in…

backstories barn in field

Arkansas Backstories: Barns

Arkansas Backstories: Barns   In 1900, Arkansas’ population of horses and mules stood at approximately 500,000, most of which were used to plow land each spring for the next crop. Fifty years later, following the mechanization of agriculture, the number had plummeted to 80,000 – a level more or less maintained today. While nobody will…

Arkansas Backstories: Ozone

Arkansas Backstories: Ozone   You may be a bit wary of this word, but keep reading. This is neither a technical treatise on respiratory hazards nor a scholarly piece on greenhouse gases. Those heavy, academic topics are beyond my expertise, such as it is. No footnotes will be found. No scientific authorities will be quoted.…

Arkansas Backstories: Lost Valley

Arkansas Backstories: Lost Valley   Newton County can claim more than its fair share of Arkansas’ iconic natural features — places such as Hemmed-In Hollow, Big Bluff, Indian Creek, Richland Falls, Whitaker Point and, of course, the Buffalo National River. To that impressive list can be added Lost Valley, a rough-and-tumble canyon southwest of Ponca…