Sunrise revealed no moat around the motorhome, no standing water anywhere in the campground. The severe thunderstorms, hail and high winds predicted for last night didn’t materialize here on the north side of Harrison.
We watched on radar as narrow bands of heavy rain rolled through quickly. The most threatening cells splitting and passing to the northwest and east. So while we did get a solid eight hours of rain, other than a handful of brief downpours the weather wasn’t terribly impressive.
The Mountain is too wet for work to continue. Septic Tank Day has been pushed back to Thursday.
The Ozarks of northern Arkansas has a character all its own — people, culture, customs and even architecture. Over the months we’ve been here we’ve become accustomed to seeing structures made of stone, from homes to churches to entire town centers.
It’s a rough style, reminding me of the fundamental rule of building survival shelters: Use what you have a lot of. And in The Ozarks, one thing we have in abundance is rocks.
We pass close to one such building every time we go to The Mountain, on the north side of the county road about halfway between Yellville and our homesite. It’s a small farmhouse, uninhabitable and crumbling except for its sturdy stone walls. The architecture is typical of what we’ve seen throughout the northern tier of the state.
Only recently did I learn that the quirky aesthetic has a name — giraffe.
The classic Ozarks Giraffe is constructed of sandstone, split into slabs and then mortared together. The hodgepodge of shades and shapes, separated by wide strips of mortar, gives the outward impression of giraffe hide.
The farmhouse we pass qualifies as a giraffe, even though its mortaring isn’t quite as generous as others. Some stonemasons chose to forego the slab method and simply build from natural native stones, producing a similar result. Either way, it was cheap and efficient.
It’s said that the first example of giraffe architecture goes back to 1910, though (for obvious reasons) it became more prevalent during The Great Depression. The style had waned by the 1960s due to a lack of skilled stonemasons.
I love this stuff — the giraffes, sure, but more important the hardiness and simple utility they represent. Now that I know the story behind the style I’ll be on the lookout for it wherever we go. Expect to see photos, perhaps with commentary, in future posts.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.