Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mark Smith, restoration contractor, describes the operation of the Wolf Creek Grist Mill to visitors during a recent open house at this Mohican State Park attraction. An exterior view of the mill is shown lower right.


The reborn Wolf Creek Grist Mill stands proudly, once again, this time on the bank of a small creek called Pine Run down there on SR 3 just south of Loudonville.

It snuggles against a high bluff to the east, its water wheel turning in the flow from a flume which extends somewhat magically from the hill side.

Inside the mill, the wheel’s axel turns an ancient and giant pit wheel gear (today, commonly known as a pinion) which engages its perpendicular mate and slowly spins the stone grist wheel which, when it was built in 1831, was a labor saving marvel as our country tip-toed into the machine age.

Yet, this mill was the mechanical progeny of similar contrivances known to recorded history as far back as 63 BC in Europe.

Various grains could be fed into the slowly spinning, round stone wheels where they would be ground into essential, basic food like flour or corn meal for examples. A valve-like gadget known as a sluice was used to divert the flow of the water, thus turning the huge, 3-storey machine on and off.

Local folks dispute the original location of this mill but it was moved to the current site in 1970 where restoration seriously faltered until it began anew in 2000 when restoration contractor Smith of Norwalk formed a non-profit corporation to rescue this marvel from a bygone era.

Today, the mill is accessed by a modern pedestrian bridge of period design. Inside, the patina of aged timbers is highlighted by dim reflections of replica lantern light common to colonial times.

The restored mill is the jeweled centerpiece of what Smith envisions to grow into a collection of restored historical structures “ order to preserve a vanishing part of our heritage....”

Already, the mill has been joined by a companion structure; a dismantled, moved, re-built and restored two storey cabin of the same historical age. Current projects also include the rebuilding and restoration of six more log buildings from the 1800s.

Plans also include the rebuilding of a sawmill, blacksmith shop and barn from the colonial period.

Smith estimates the capital costs of the project to-date are approaching $500,000 with annual operating expenses in the vicinity of $60,000. A private, non-profit local corporation affiliated with the Farmers Bank of Loudonville administers the project.

It is open for visitors Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5, spring to fall, when volunteers are available. Scheduled events include a Wine at the Mill Festival June 28th and an Oktoberfest October 11th.

Stop by and take a peek. You’ll enjoy your visit. I certainly did.

More here:

Historical re-enactors Sally Rickel and Jack Heichel, Mansfield, members of the Malabar Spinning and Weaving Guild, provided colonial ambiance in the restored cabin at the grist mill during the recent Mohican Wildlife Weekend celebration.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Saturday, Fogeyisms visits the Wolf Creek Grist Mill, a marvelously restored structure which is part of a growing complex at the Mohican State Park and located just south of the intersection of State Routes 97 and 3 below Loudonville.

Stop by and take a peek. Then, better yet, pay a visit to the real thing. You’ll enjoy both.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


This fountain goes splish-splash at Mansfield's World-class, horticultural gardens.

It is therapeutic as moving water always is, especially on this sultry, spring day.

Then, the magic of close-up, digital photography renders the scene in a perspective of startling clarity.

Individual water drops are stilled in their flight by the abbreviated time of a 1/3,200th of a second exposure.

Because the exposure also was adjusted to retain detail in the liquid highlights, the darker foliage in the background was underexposed into virtual darkness...

...making the liquid appear like the crystal of fine jewelry, and

entitling the viewer to now ponder its forever frozen shape.

Monday, May 26, 2008

--Bellville Style


May we Never Forget....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

All shooting stages at the Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) are preceded by a careful and thorough explanation and demonstration by the school’s exemplary staff of instructors.


TDI is nestled deep in the rural, forested hills of Adams County adjacent to our southern Ohio River border. Surrounded by near indescribable solitude the Institute is nonetheless one of the country’s premier training facilities in the defensive use of guns.

The contrast is startling with the rattle of small arms fire accompanied by the sound of honking geese flying over while Trilliums bloom in the adjacent forest within sight of the firing line.

Here’s a sample bouquet to the TDI staff from a representative of the US Military Academy at West Point:

John, Thank you so much for all that you and your instructors did to make this past weekend such a tremendous experience for the West Point Pistol Team. The wealth of skills and knowledge that you and your instructors gave those cadets will help save their lives and the lives of the soldiers under their command in future combat...

...To say that it was a fantastic experience for them
would be an understatement... If you'll have us, my cadets are already planning next year's trip to TDI.
Saunders, Duston LTC(R) AOG

The “John” in the salutation is TDI owner John Brenner, a gravelly voiced, grandpa-like, guy whose eyes almost puff closed as he smiles and shares lifesaving experiences from his years managing tactical cops in the Cincinnati PD.

There is camaraderie in the skirmishes between Brenner and his staff as they ooze knowledge and pour it on their students like we are the most important class to ever attend their training.

I shot there several years ago in an event called Fun N Gun with Ohioan’s For Concealed Carry. That day alone convinced me it was a bargain to pony up $300 for two days of formal, defensive pistol training.

When you are talking about polishing defensive skills with a handgun that could one day save your life TDI training is a serious bargain. It is like military boot camp—with a courteous smile.

In the course of my two days I shot 700, 9 mm rounds with my usual carry pistol; a Glock 19. Instruction was intense before each shooting stage and it continued with constant attention from the alert staff when their comments could polish a student’s technique.

We learned the mindset; Win! We learned gun safety (Rule #1) and accuracy and the legal and psychological effects of a shoot. We learned how to stage triggers for rapid and accurate follow-up shooting and we learned about situational awareness.

We learned if we are ever—Heaven forbid—faced with a life threatening situation, we do not shoot to kill, we shoot to stop the threat, and, the someone who may die in the process is not going to be me.

School owner and active training participant John Benner helps a student with grip presentation prior to engaging his target. Safety is always paramount at TDI; hence this student’s finger extension along his gun frame while I am fussing with photography chores on the live firing line.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

...Crème de la crème

Approximately 25 students, including many active duty police officers from around Ohio and adjacent states, did their Handgun Level I, II and III training recently at the Tactical Defense Institute with several hours of classroom training, supplemented by some very graphic video presentations and lots of very practical shooting events.

Please stop by Saturday for a penetrating peek at this World-Class defensive training facility.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The burbling stream mentioned below had erupted into a raging cascade of water in the morning following a several-inch, overnight rain at my campground in Scioto County recently. Without the temporary siltation from the storm’s erosion, local streams like this one flow with pristine clarity in the mostly limestone stream beds.


Thursday, May 15, 2008, Scioto County, OH

Four hours south from Bellville including a lunch stop I headed west from Portsmouth on the Ohio River toward the Shawnee State Park, my home for those next three nights. The park is in a state forest of the same name, and, at some 63,000 acres, it is the largest in Ohio.

I got established on my camper’s lot, delighted to note I am solidly snuggling with a noisily burbling stream, snaking just behind me on its way from somewhere deep in the surrounding woods.

We are so far out in the boonies here TV signals arrive by mail. Just for fun I tried the cell phone. The little screen squawked, “Are you kidding?”

Friday, May 16th I was scheduled to participate in a two-day handgun training event at a nearby facility, so with a nod to the buckets-full of rain that suddenly arrived, I headed west to get a fix on the next day’s venue and to try and find an internet connection.

The bozos at the state park's nearby lodge, my first stop, have wireless service in their building but ambush their guests 10 bucks for a day’s service or 20 bucks for three days. They weren’t amused when I proposed 40 cents for a couple of emails—assuring these Neanderthals I type really fast.

So, I continued on to the next town where the delightful folks at the West Union Library welcomed me like an old customer—which, actually I am, in a literal sense—and I promptly used about 15 minutes of my allotted, free hour catching up with the day’s email and pondering a very ugly picture on the weather radar.

I was taking my leave after another round of “Thank yous” to the hospitable staff, when the librarian-in-chief invited me to hang around to participate in an author’s presentation which was about to begin regarding his new fishing book.

I accepted her invitation and for the next hour or so was treated to a delightful presentation by local author and fishing expert Tom Cross as he discussed his new book, “Fishing Ohio”.

So, as is often the case a “Sow’s Ear” (The Shawnee State Park Lodge) was turned into a “Silk Purse” (the West Union Library staff) and their pleasant, evening program.

Consequently, while the camping was routine, I will be sharing two blog features in the near future; one on shooting two defensive handgun courses at the Tactical Defense Institute (the reason for the trip), and the other featuring Tom’s marvelous little book.

Please stay tuned.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I goofed a mite in Saturday's blog on fly fishing. In the upper artlines of that article I mentioned a picture of a 6 - 8 inch trout, then failed to publish the picture. * gasp * This little guy will grow up to be the kind of trophy fish all fly fishermen would be thrilled to catch--and mostly release, of course.

Google has offered a new feature where we can upload articles for future publication on the blog and I was focused on that technique while the above picture fell through the cracks. The mistake was entirely mine. Sorry.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chris Brumenshenkle expertly snakes his fly line toward a Brown Trout rising in the riffles of the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River, then demonstrates the use of a net in the careful handling of a soon-to-be-released fish.

Lower; a 6 to 8 inch Brown Trout is representative of the stocking size of fish in an annual program by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on this pristine river.

FLY FISHING; Some Art and Some Science--

The Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River splashes its way through the gorge below the covered bridge in the state park of the same name near here. It’s always in a bit of a hurry.

From high on the ridge it is mid morning before the sun drips through the Hemlock Trees and wrestles the early morning shade into submission.

Ken Aebie of Danville was standing on shore when I arrived that morning; still shivering, and shivering some more, as he nursed a steaming cup of coffee and chased the bone numbing chill from his very early morning of river fly fishing.

Dave Meadows from Crestline arrived and quietly shared his exquisite craftsmanship in hand made, bamboo fly rods while Chuck Barber of Mt. Gilead busied himself hand tying flies and Chris Brumenshenkel of Mansfield suited up for his gentle assault on the river’s population of Brown Trout.

They are among the 40 some members of the Mohican Fly Fishers, a group dedicated to both the art and the science of that ageless sport. They were gathered there that morning to share their pleasure with public participants in the annual Mohican Wildlife Weekend.

Dave said, “See the trout rising across that riffle. Today we are having a good hatch of Brown Caddis and Blue Wing Olives,” aquatic nymphs morphing into their airborne phase in the annual cycle of birth, breeding and death—finally becoming a treat for the hungry trout.

This river is one of very few in the state with water both clear and cool enough to sustain a trout population, restocked annually by the State’s Department of Natural Resources with 6 to 8” fingerlings. The stocking program stretches from Bellville to where the river crosses SR 3 below Loudonville.

“In late November they stock the river with brood trout up to 30 inches long—trophy fish which are beyond productive breeding,” Dave explained.

I marveled at Ken’s midge fly and the bare #26 sized hook (right) that will soon be the foundation of yet another prized, hand-tied creation of his. I fear I would need a nuclear-powered magnifying glass just to assemble this terminal tackle.

Clearly, however, an early morning romp in this pristine river with a cherished fly rod is one of those experiences God does not subtract from a fisherman’s allotted time on Earth.

The choreography of Dave Meadow’s fly line is clear against the smooth flowing river in the shadow of the covered bridge at the Mohican State Park.

A Blue Wing Olive and a White Mayfly (left) were recently sampled in the river at Gatton Rocks by Meadows.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)


...Just a few years go, a ferocious competitor on the athletic fields, then

...An astounding ability to generate a creative buzz in the giants of corporate boardrooms, and yet

...Always a nature as gentle as dew on the spring grass, and

...As a take-off from Mom’s award-winning ad for Bucks Tavern years ago, “This bloom is for you”!

...Thanks for being our daughter.

--Love Dad

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Saturday, Fogeyisms goes fly fishing. Ahhhh. We visited with members of the Mohican Fly Fishers who conducted a demonstration on the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River as part of the area’s recent Wildlife Weekend.

Dave Meadows of Crestline (above) expertly places his fly against the knotty cover often favored by the cunning Brown Trout.

Chuck Barber (right) ties a Coppertone Fly in the dexterity-demanding art of fly tying; creating baits that resemble their living forms.

Please stop by for a refreshing visit.

Monday, May 12, 2008


The Appeal by John Grisham

Excellent book! Grisham sure can spin a good yarn. This one is about a corrupt chemical company defying environmental law and polluting the drinking water of a small, Mississippi town causing a horrible outbreak of cancer injuries and deaths. The company is sued and…. Sorry, don’t want to spoil a compelling ending. I could hardly put this one down.

Comrade J by Pete Earley

Russian spying in the US has continued long after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. This book covers the period from 1995 to 2000 when Sergei Tretyakov, the highest ranking spy in the successor agency to the KGB was active in NY. He later became sickened by the criminal turmoil in Russia under the leadership of Presidents Boris Yeltsin and (currently) Vladimir Putin; he defected and is currently a US citizen. This is his penetrating story.

Breaking News by Martin Fletcher

Currently the NBC News Bureau Chief in Tel Aviv, Fletcher’s book is described by veteran TV newsman Tom Brokaw as “A stunning and memorable account of reporting from some of the most dangerous places in the world. I agree.

Justice and Science by George Clarke

Under the sub-topic of “Trials and Triumphs of DNA Evidence” Clarke, a former prosecutor and now judge in San Diego County, CA, chronicles the growing acceptance of DNA evidence as a valuable tool in criminal investigation, prosecution, and, sometimes, acquittal of wrongly imprisoned people. By the way, DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beaubell’s Beau Blue, a Persian breed from the Chastelle Cattery of Dover, OH (top) was one of the 255 feline competitors at the recent cat show in Richland County. In the small photos to the right, world-class cat show judge Robert Bryan, Ft. Wayne, IN, discharges his duties with professional aplomb.


255 cats purred their charming best in the Mid Ohio Cat Fancier’s recent show at the Richland County fairgrounds.

That included Beaubell’s Beau Blue of Chastelle a spiffy Persian breed of Champion status who was working on the even loftier Grand Champion designation. Beau is out of the Chastelle Cattery of Dover, OH—and seemed very proud of that fact.

Ronna Colilla of the Columbus area and manager of this 17th annual Mansfield show said top show cats in this level of competition could sell for between 5 and 10 thousand dollars.

I’ve known folks who would take substantially less than that for a spouse.

Nearly a dozen judging stations around the hall kept both contestant cats and their owners busy as judges applied the very precise rules of the Cat Fancier’s Association to the feline competitors.

Bob Bryan of near Fort Wayne, IN is in his 32nd year of world-class cat judging; a career that has included 4 judging assignments in Rome; yup, the Italian one.

He worked with the quiet charisma you would expect from a veteran of his caliber; carefully giving a discrete spray of disinfectant and a gentle wipe to his judging platform after each competitor.

The cats with absolutely none of the prized award tags hanging on their cages when Bob was done with their class seemed, well—indifferent to such indignity; as only cats can.

He did admit with a smile to having been nipped 5 times over his career by disgruntled felines. “Not bad after handling about 450,000 contestants,” he quipped.

You could tell the really regal competitors as you wandered the aisles of cages in Fairhaven hall. Some owners, even those sporting rather pedestrian attire themselves, often had their cats comforted in temporary digs reminiscent of Egyptian royalty in Biblical times--all in a futile attempt to impress the sometimes roving judges, no doubt.

The Cat Fancier’s group recognizes 39 pedigreed breeds and publishes a serious list of qualifications for championship status. Breeding is nearly incestuous—by human standards—but it has proven to strengthen breed quality.

To support the assertion this is truly an international activity the Cat Fanciers folks also had shows that weekend in the states of CA, FL, GA, MD and TN plus Shanghai, Moscow and Singapore.

For the really curious, check here:

More than 500 visitors attended the Mid Ohio Cat Fanciers show at the Richland County fairgrounds on a recent weekend.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Yup, just like the picture shows, you have been like the gift at the end of a rainbow for me. Providence has seen fit to help you be comfortable with local careers and given me the blessing of an always available and loving son when Dad needs a hand. Mom always said, jokingly of course, she hoped we would live long enough to be a pain in the neck to the kids. I’ll try to be gentle in that regard.

--Love Dad

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


A soon-to-be momma Wild Turkey is deeply secluded on her nest along my Mohican Trail in this picture taken from about 30 feet. We are looking at the bird from the back with its head in profile to the right. My pooch and I walk this trail often so she does not seem alarmed by our passing.

In the lower photo, that’s Grandson Dane Wolf with a nice Black Crappie caught recently in the pond. It is a nice adult sample of a fish species we have never stocked so it likely arrived in the form of eggs attached to a Great Blue Heron, for example. The crappie seemed pleased to be released—which is our sport fishing practice.

Another highlight happened Monday, May 5th when the first Ruby Throated Hummingbird of the season appeared at my feeder.

Also Monday, the evening I first discovered the nesting turkey, son Brian and I were working at the computer and kept hearing a scratching noise, seeming to come from an exterior wall. He correctly guessed it was a bat, just waking up and preparing for its nocturnal hunting by wiggling out from behind a window shutter.

It reminded me of the time my bride was hosing the pine needles out of the very same shutters which prompted an outraged bat to fly shrieking--her and the bat--under her arm in its hasty escape from her unintentional, watery assault.

Such is life in the woods.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Meet Beau, a spiffy Persian cat who competed for Grand Champion points in the recent Mid-Ohio Cat Fancier’s show at the Richland County Fairgrounds. Beau’s demeanor was much more pleasant when he was paroled from his cage. Stop by Saturday as Fogeyisms visits “A Very Catty Event”.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I felt like a primordial voyeur when I recently witnessed the prolonged mating ritual of two snapping turtles in my pond. These turtles have hardly evolved at all in the last 215 million years! They are “...creatures who are entitled to regard the brontosaur and mastodon as brief zoological fads”. (1)

This pair is shown as they begin the mating process—an event, the duration of which, would embarrass the most amorous of humans.

I observed the breeding phenomenon for well over an hour in a near constantly changing series of contortions until they slowly sank out of sight. The next morning I saw a snapper carapace (shell) in the distance with a head at each end. My mating pair still at it? Then, a bit later I watched similar behavior for several more hours.

Large specimens of these turtles may weigh more than 35 pounds and have a carapace more than 14 inches long. They may lay as many as 80 eggs, burying them in sandy soil with good sun exposure for incubation according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. (2)

The sex of their hatchlings is dependent on the temperature at which the eggs develop. The eggs that develop at about 77 F will all hatch out as males while eggs that develop at much higher or lower temperatures will all hatch out as females. Eggs will hatch in about 18 weeks according to the ODNR.

Because adult snapping turtles have no natural enemies they usually live a long life and die of old age in the wintertime. Studies have shown 60 percent of the turtles that reach maturity will live to be at least 50 years old. Longevities over 100 years can be expected in northern populations where the activity season is shorter.

Friday, May 2, 2008

And Introducing A New Friend--

An adult Bald Eagle watches carefully as her two chicks take a peek at the big world surrounding their nest on the shore of the Clear Fork Reservoir Wednesday. One chick’s beak is just visible to the right of the tree trunk while its sibling’s fuzzy head is visible just below that.

We were privileged to witness the larger chick raise its butt angularly above the rim of the nest and shoot a stream of poop neatly over the side; a slightly different version of being house broken, thus accounting for the white visible on the branches below the adult’s head.

And, permit me to introduce my friend and companion on this visit, Gary Courtright of Bellville. Gary is a retired railroad engineer and we enjoy sharing a barrel of hobbies like computers, digital photography, fishing, shooting, bicycling and observing wildlife. This event was Gary’s first ever visit to an active Bald Eagle nest.


Exactly 31 days after getting serious about incubation chores, momma Canada Goose took her newly hatched family of three chicks for an exploratory spin around the pond Thursday with poppa goose following closely, of course.

Meanwhile, this Wild Turkey raided the leavings below the hopper bird feeder as if it was aware there was now sure to be increased competition with the newly arrived—and always hungry—goose chicks.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

COME SEE A Snappy Frolic--

Saturday, Fogeyisms is proud to present a series of pictures of a pair of Snapping Turtles mating in the pond. I think you will be amazed at the images—just like I was to witness this primordial-like event. Please stop by!