Monday, July 25, 2016

The Service on Baptismal Sunday, July 24

After the church service congregants streamed as a body to the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River adjacent to the church for the baptism of over 100 celebrants.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

A caching day at Put-In-Bay

Caching partner Sue Brooks (left) and friend Rosa Hatfield--at the encouragement of the photographer-- (me) "pout" their disappointment at our failure to find a geocache near the glacial grooves at Ohio's South Bass Island State Park recently.  That's Rosa's hubby Rich (middle) tolerating our foolishness.  We logged 15 finds out of 17 attempts for our day's visit.

The camera in my Samsung Galaxy 3 cellphone never ceases to amaze me.  I own two Canon Rebel DSLR cameras and several expensive lenses.  They are bulky and heavy to carry on our caching adventures so I bought a shirt-pocket-sized, point and shoot, digital camera to carry in my caching kit.
The big cameras and lenses now live in my fire safe and the little pocket camera gathers dust in my backpack ever since I discovered the picture quality of which the cell phone camera is capable.

I used the cellphone to do the photo above in Perry's Cave on the island.  The photo was done without a tripod (hand-held) and available light (no flash).  Simply hold the camera steady, touch the shutter release and bingo!

The shiny, gray foreground is simply wet rock on the floor and ceiling of the cave lit by bluish-cast flood lighting.  The orange-like background was created by tungsten lighting of a warmer nature--color temperature wise.  Fortunately, the people stood relatively still while our guide discussed the geology of the cave.

Glowing rays from the setting sun smile across the cloud-speckled evening sky as we slice our way toward Port Clinton on the popular Jet Express ferry.

With photos ranging from a typical, snapshot (top) to a technically challenging cave photo to the splendor of nature's artistic pallet, the cell phone camera showed its capability on this sunny, summer day.  

Monday, July 4, 2016


*            *            *


Once again it appears we are deep in a forest, but, this day we are caching in the village of Milan, OH (birthplace of Thomas Edison). That village has wrapped itself nicely around the Galpin Nature Preserve, adjacent to the Milan Cemetery whose cemetery association apparently manages the preserve's trails with the doctrine of letting nature take its course.

The preserve is comparatively minuscule as such things go in Ohio but it sizzles with beauty and a geological oddity or two.  I noted one ravine in the woods that simply--began.  Yup, level, now heavily wooded land, plunged into a rapidly deepening ravine that meandered around a curve and joined what surely, some long-ago-time, was an energetic watercourse.  Today, it is just--there, dry as a bone with a zero to 100 foot deep slice gouged in the ground which goes who knows where.


We discovered this marvelously wooded oddity while searching for (and finding) the three geocaches that were sprinkled across its diminutive acreage.  I think I've seen bigger shopping center parking lots.     Curious?

*            *            *

Scourge of the 17 year locust

Many places around greater Mansfield, some worse than others, are now showing the result of our recent visit from this huge, say 2" long, flying bug which invades, seemingly randomly in its 17 year cycle just ending here.

Areas around the county show lots of this kind of damage. Sometimes, neighboring areas show very little or none.

This damaged maple tree (above) was photographed along Millsboro Rd., July 4th.  The short lived insects climb from underground where they have existed for the past 17 years, leaving visible soil punctured with 1/2" holes, escape their brown, semi-translucent shells (exoskeletons) and fly haphazardly to-and-fro until they eventually mate whereupon they land on the end of select tree branches, slice an incision in which to lay their egg--the act that causes the end of the branch to die.

Soon thereafter they die too.

The damaged end of the branch will fall to the ground surprisingly quickly, where if undisturbed, will rot and drop the embryo of the next generation which will manage to bury itself and wait its 17 year turn to repeat the cycle.

During that short visit, about a month or so, the noise is a raucous cacophony like a bazillion, inebriated and celebratory tree frogs on a warm Spring evening down by the wooded pond.

I'm told they can kill young trees with their breeding melee but adult trees mostly show no evidence of their visit during the next growing season.    

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Log House on a Rock:  This delightful exercise in minimalist living has been around far longer than it's counterparts now part of trendy architecture.  This sample is buried deep in Amish country near Trail, OH and we recently passed it in our caching travels.

Dundee Falls:  This is the larger of two waterfalls in Tuscarawas County that are undeveloped but are under the protection of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  We discovered them because an Earthcache (geocache) has been created featuring their geology.  My partner, Sue, standing in the lower right background (above) adds perspective to the view.

We estimated this fall to be a about 30 feet tall while the very picturesque falls (below) were likely between 15 and 20 feet high.  Both are located on Dundee Wilmot Rd. NE, about 1/2 mile NW of Kohr Rd.  Each has a gravel parking area with ODNR signs visible.  There are well-worn trails to both falls but no directional signs.

Nature Being Natural:  An amusing sight during our day was this pair of cicadas (below) evidently discussing what comes naturally while I noticed the ant passing without comment.  They were found on the edge of a steel guardrail near where a geocache was located on our romp through Amish country.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


The view was enchanting with the forest resplendent in its freshly arrived Spring finery.  And, this first stop on the day's caching route revealed this view of Mohican I had never seen before.

Cross the covered bridge deep in the park over the Clear Fork branch of the Mohican River and corkscrew your way up the park road as if you intend to leave the park's north exit.  Up top you will see a turn to the left which heads to that exit.  Continue straight ahead there as if you are headed for the primitive/group camping area but, immediately branch to the right on a paved driveway leading to a small parking area.

Leave your vehicle and prepare for a short, gently sloped walk through woods which will end in about 200 yards while presenting you this spectacular view.  The view here is generally east and I believe the visible valley in the distance may lead toward the camping area at the intersection of SRs 97 and 3 south of Loudonville.

Our caching target that day was to Sue's right about 50 yards then down the quite steep hill another 100 feet or so where we found an ammo can hiding behind a decaying log.  That was the cache container holding a log we signed which proves our attendance should the cache owner ever bother to check.

That's the activity of geocaching in a nutshell.  Use the latitude/longitude coordinates and your GPS to find these hides of which there are nearly 3 million world-wide and multiple 10s of thousands in Ohio alone.

A huge benefit of this activity is enjoying the locations it often takes us--like that jewel pictured above.  I've visited the Mohican State Park/Forest countless times but in over 75 years of enjoying life I never previously enjoyed this view.

Actually our caching day of 15 finds included two dandys.  The second was in the photo below; a wood carving done in a single piece of wood and entitled "The Ole Fishing Hole".  It is a rendition of Thomas Kinkade's work and involved his daughter dressed up as Tom Sawyer.

Done by artist Paul Weaver, it is breath-taking in its detail and is displayed at Lehman's Hardware in Kidron, OH with numerous other samples of his exquisite creations.  We wound up our caching that day in nearby Mt. Hope and made Lehman's our usual "must visit".  In fact Lehman's is a delightful destination for a visit in its own right, and that day put a fitting punctuation to our day's caching outing.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reyers Shoe Store

This gem of a footwear emporium is located just a chip shot across the Ohio/Pennsylvania border from Youngstown in Sharon, PA.

It can be a salvation for those of us with feet that are something other than medium or wide in size.  Manufacturers and retailers, especially the box store variety, have learned there are less of us with narrow or unusual sized feet and, consequently, we are not as profitable.

In my specific case it was growing hard to find desirable shoes in my 11 B (narrow) foot size.

Colman, my salesman over there that day knew my tale of woe very well.  "Yup, the typical retailer will be happy to sell you a medium size shoe and simply tell you to wear heavier socks when you complain that his shoe slides around on your heel."

"What's sad is people buy that line, thinking they have no choice," he continued.

Well, if you have experienced this problem your solution might just be a modest two hour or so car ride away.

Their store at 36,000 square feet holds inventories from the industry's best name brands.  They are proud of their ability to provide hard to find sizes, styles and colors unavailable any where else.

This year marks the company's 130th year in business, the model of which they describe succinctly as "Sit and Fit."

Take a peek at their lively web page Click! for what could be the solution to your footwear needs.

I'm thrilled I found this place, believe me.

*          *           *

Photo note:  The above image was done with the panorama feature on my cell phone's camera.  The walls on the sides of the picture actually are at right angles to each other but the effect of the digitally "stitched" photo does a striking job in showing the immensity of their sales floor.

We were in the Sharon area for a recent wedding in Sue's family and she--with a similar shoe fitting problem--told me about this amazing store.

If you dislike the mayhem of driving on the interstate highway system as I do, take a peek at going East out of Mansfield on US 30 to East Canton then north on SR 44 to US 62 which will almost deliver you to the store's front door in Sharon.

Monday, May 16, 2016


Yup, it happened yesterday.  We saw a shower of snow pellets in Mansfield--while guzzling our ice cream treats at the local Dairy Queen.