Friday, November 14, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
AND THE BEAT GOES ON--
We spent last Friday night and Saturday enjoying the Crow Geo-Trail, newly established by the Coshocton County Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
About 20 geocaches were sprinkled around the county, most located at historical or commercial establishments popular for local tourism.
Two, for example, were located within Roscoe Village, arguably the area's prime tourist attraction.
Bill and Diane (Lighthouse Nuts) joined Greg and Leslie (GOC+me) and the Skagways, (Sue and me) for this thoroughly enjoyable assault.
Most cachers treasure being the first to find (FTF) of newly established caches. At this event which included more than 50 serious cachers, our humble team scored 5 FTFs; nominally 1/4 of the total on the new trail.
Can you see my smile?
The team reconvened Monday in Mansfield for some munching and some card playing and some more geocaching, of course.
We shared the caches Sue and I have established then aimed them at the very challenging hide on Lexington Ave., which boasts a difficulty of 5, the highest in our sport. Our guests made fairly short work of that one then we were off to the Stoller Trail along the north side of the Clear Fork Reservoir for a mile hike to an elusive cache named "Over the River and Through the Woods".
This rascal was near the site of an old cabin, long gone, with only the masonary and stone chimney (below) still standing sentinel in the woods.
We wound up the day's caching activity at a very enchanting hide named "Gnome Sweet Gnome". It's nestled in a wooded clearing near a pond and populated by a collection of Gnomes challenging visitors to find the hide among them.
This dandy is the creation of Nancy Meinzer (Frogdog10) who, along with her hubby (Kemosabe48), are responsible for introducing Sue and me to this marvelous activity.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
7 REALMS OF DARKNESS!
My favorite geocache
With over 2,600 found caches to-date this one leaped into first place on my personal favorites list Just a few weeks ago. That's my partner Skagway071 (Sue Brooks) front left above with GOC+me (Leslie Cornett being the '+me' of that duo) front center and Mrs. Lighthouse Nut (Diane Niehoff) front right. Back, from left are GOC (Greg Cornett) and yours truly, Skagway330.
Real names are in parentheses and the funny sounding thingys like "Skagway" are the names we are known by in geocaching circles. Bill Niehoff, the other half of the Lighhouse Nuts, took the picture.
You notice, of course, the absolute blackness surrounding us. That's because this was taken well after dark, deep in the woods, illuminated only by our personal flashlights at the site of this geocache. The cache container was an ammo can lurking behind the large, fallen tree trunk we are sitting upon and standing behind.
Here's how I described our experience in my log on this cache site:
"WOW! My first night caching experience and it was a dandy. It is hard to imagine the work it took to create and install this masterpiece. Thanks also to GOC+me and Mr. Lighthouse Nut for lending their experience to our expedition of six. Without them I would not have even considered attempting this hide. Did I say WOW! Two hours and 33 minutes of stumbling through the woods as darkness smothered us, of great relief when that next little reflector revealed itself, of great disappointment when wandering into a very diabolical dead end.
Up hills and down hills and over logs and tip-toeing, amazingly, with dry feet across small streams or wondering if this was doable, the subconscious wondering if we could beat the park closure deadline and the conscious wondering what would happen if we didn't, and finally, WOW, that marvelous, funny, and oh so deeply appreciated smiley on the log. Hallelujah!
As the tingles of victory wore off, now what? Ahhhh, there's the first orange reflector, an essential find to lead us out. And then the second, and third, then--nothing. Flashlights blazed through the woods like spotlights on a Hollywood opening night. We knew there was a problem with disappearing orange reflectors. I stood there silently regarding that as a felony of the first degree. Thankfully, a combination of GOC+me and Lighthouse Nuts' experience, and tracking technology, saved the day. WOW!
I hoped my partner Skagway071 really did sign the log as I sagged against a tree fearing my body might choose at that minute to discover how old it was. Bouquets Kelinore! Bushels of them."
In that final sentence I threw a bouquet to Kelinore, the cache creator.
For our 2 hours and 33 minutes of hiking in the dark over 2 and a half miles of sometimes trail and sometimes not we must sign the container's log and our reward is simply a tiny smiley face in our on-line record of caches found plus, of course, a huge sense of accomplishment.
The "smiley on the log" which evoked my "Hallelujah" above was, in fact, a human-sized smiley shaped face on the downed log created with the same reflectors which guided us to it's location. When Greg's powerful flashlight beam struck the "Smiley" in the coal-dark woods, we newbies collectively gasped that prayer of relief.
Greg, Leslie and Bill had experienced this exulted punishment before. Sue, Diane and I were undergoing that night's initiation.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Thinking about lunch
Grandson Dane harvested his first whitetail deer ever, a nine point buck, while hunting from a stand in my woods last evening. He did it with his modern compound bow. Hunters field dress their deer and leave the offal in the woods much to the delight of these birds.
They come from miles around on such occasions and will leave their wooded dinner plates completely free of any evidence of the harvest.
Years ago I stumbled on a deer carcase in the woods where we then lived. It evidently was wounded and escaped being located by the hunter, or, it could have been the victim of being hit by a car, or, died of natural causes even.
Just days later there was absolutely no evidence of the deer's remains. No hide, no bones, nothing!
It's not something city-folks often ponder but the carrion eaters provide a very necessary service indeed.
Dane's deer was immediately on the way to a processor where it was butchered and packaged for many future meals.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I launched this blog with that word of greeting (Hello) on January 15, 2007. Today's humble offering is 1,375 pieces later.
But, I was getting tired.
That spans about 400 weeks so 1,375 pieces over that period averages about 3 1/2 stories per week.
The last piece that ran was September 13th and it rolled through production quite effortlessly.
However, the tank was empty and, after all, I am retired. I had no stories pending and nothing on the horizon. In fact, it had gotten to be a struggle to find stories.
So I took a vacation...and waited for the next story or photo to come along. That did not happen until Sunday, October 12th when I was moved to do the above 1st Frost of the Season photo.
Yes, life was as busy as usual but it was with things I had written about many times earlier. No new slant to boost a story into production.
Meanwhile, some prostrate cancer showed up. Nothing that was likely to kill me but it needed attention. I had radium pellets installed in late July and my stamina has been in the dumpster ever since. Not fun but certainly better than the alternative.
That's no excuse either. It just happened to happen.
As a consequence to all of the above--and the brief, restful interlude--I think I have found my blog scheduling niche. Rather than punishing my way to a story or more each week, I am going to cruise along and see what appears naturally.
I like to think it may be quality rather than quantity.
So, please tolerate a more casual publishing schedule.
I certainly will be grateful for your patience.
Oh. Almost forgot to explain the top photo. That's my driveway looking West as the rising sun, behind me, clears the East woods and splashes its autumnal palate through the trees. The light color stripes to the far left are the limestone tracks of my driveway. The next one to the right is *Gasp* frost. That's me, right, being amused by the little sign I found on my lap after snoozing in the recovery room. Photo by son Craig.
Ironically, it was me hauling Craig home from the ER just a few days ago after he tried to bulldoze a new road through some local woods with his VW bus. The ER folks patched him up and sent him on his way. The vehicle coroner may be in the bus's future. It's looking a little like failed steering could have been the culprit.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Geocaching takes us to some extraordinary places like this one Sue is enjoying near a geocache called Jonathan's Gully at an abandoned quarry on the north end of Kelly's Island. Of the two major US touristy islands in Lake Erie, Kelley's is by far the most tranquil. We spent a very enjoyable day there after Labor Day with the crowds gone until next season.
If you are noticing extremely vibrant colors in this photo--your eyes are okay. Feeling a little whimsical while processing pictures in Photoshop sometimes has this effect on me. This snappy color is largely the result of pushing saturation far above normal. I spent a day before our Kelley's Island outing bicycling and geocaching the trail between Norwalk and Monroeville. For this photo I am standing on an overlook created by the local Kiwanis group.
Sue Corbin, a square dancing friend of ours from Marion, OH, was inquiring about cell phone cameras at a recent wedding we had attended. Later I was moved to try this hand-held available light photo with my Galaxy S3 phone. It's hardly photo contest quality but is a fairly remarkable sample of the camera's capability under far less than normal shooting conditions.
Finally, Sue's grand daughter Mackenna Curtis-Collins glides around a hair-pin turn on the Ashland cross-country course while an exuberant grandma (behind her left shoulder) cheers her on. Mackenna placed second in this recent race behind a teammate, already has helped hoist herself and her team into state rankings--all this and she is early in her sophomore year of high school.
There! Geocaching, hiking, biking, square dancing, cross country race spectating, a little fussing with photography and the wedding of William and Amy Tenover all wrapped into our schedule of late summer activities. Mercy!
Saturday, September 6, 2014
THE MALABAR INN--
Sue had never been to this acclaimed eating establishment so we decided to make that our stop for celebrating her birthday dinner in late August.
We will not make that mistake again.
It's 1850s, historical ambiance is marvelously restored into two modest sized dining rooms with an "L" shaped perimeter deck for outside dining under the not so adequate cover of table umbrellas.
Sue ordered a small salad ($5) with an entree of pasta in an Alfredo sauce and shrimp (about $20). It was advertised with a bacon garnish which she asked to be withheld. Our classy waiter assured her that would be done.
Seemingly in keeping with my hypothesis that "Mediocrity is today's standard of excellence," her meal with its not so generous (size or quantity of shrimp), arrived with a liberal garnishment of bacon.
Back it went for another try.
Meanwhile my beef filet ($27) was ordered, sans salad, cooked medium. A warm, pink center, the waiter assured me. It arrived as a very generous cut of meat but had absolutely no evidence of pink--anywhere. Ditto for the juice like that of a steak cooked correctly.
It was a tender cut of meat but the flavor went the same place the cook hid the pink.
Naturally, waiting for her corrected meal left us eating in shifts, hardly conducive to our celebratory mood. I chose not to send my steak back, having already lost any confidence my second steak would arrive any better than the first one.
We passed when the waiter did the obligatory advertisement for their dessert. We already had touched the stove twice with both her meal and mine and didn't want to make that mistake a third time.