Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Akiko Asami (top right) and Marian Blahnik exercise on the portable barre in a recent dance fitness class at the Mansfield Y under the tutelage of veteran teacher Shirley Weddell. In the small photo they share a giggle at some coordination that went astray.

In the lower photo Margie Joyce (aqua hoodie) and Ann Sutt (next right) exercise on the mirrored barre while yours truly (left) pretzels into the photo composition. Stop by Saturday as Fogeyisms take a peek at this exercise class with rhythm—more or less.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Crisp Spring air tickled the tall pines under a sapphire sky as we hiked the tributary upstream toward Hemlock Falls, just east of Bunkerhill North Road.

In the “History of Richland County, 1880” the falls area we were approaching was described as, “...without a doubt the most interesting geographical feature in the county.”

Geologic study indicates the sandstone cliffs at the falls were born in the sediments at the edge of a great ocean delta—perhaps 350 million years ago. The cliffs were sculpted by more recent Pleistocene glaciations—about the time mankind first walked on earth.

More recent history indicates Indians and early European settlers knew the area well. An early Indian village known as Helltown was located nearby as was Newville; once one of the largest towns in the county.

Both of those town sites disappeared when Pleasant Hill Lake was formed.

The first non-Indian owner of the site was an Ashland area doctor. Later it came into the ownership of the Commodore Johnston family; the heirs of which sold the site to the Mohican School in the Out-of-Doors in 1999.

I had visited the falls over the years but was surprised to learn on this day, there are two falls at the site. Upstream of the falls the Hemlock Run tributary splits and one of the streams falls about 60 feet while its companion cascades about 100 feet down the sandstone formation.

The stream is tributary to the Clear Fork branch of the Mohican River which flows into Pleasant Hill Lake and ultimately to the Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico.

Majestic Hemlock trees abound around the site, hence the name. Huge slump blocks of stone have separated from the rock walls by weathering and toppled into the stream bed far below. One of those slump rocks is thought to be the largest in Ohio.

In the top photo Jane Jako of Mansfield and her companion from Yellow Springs, OH bask in afternoon sunlight on a ledge about midway down the larger of the two falls.

In the lower photo my ladyfriend Joetta Goodman enjoys the close-up view of the 60 foot cascade.

Steve McKee, director of the Gorman Nature Center in Mansfield, once surveyed the site and found several species of plants on Ohio’s endangered list. Over half of the 31 species of ferns found in Richland County are found at the falls site.

The site enjoys being protected as a conservation area by the outdoor school and a Mansfield church which owns adjoining property.

A visit to this natural jewel must be respected for the delightful privilege it is.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One of the area’s premier, natural sites--Hemlock Falls--will be featured in our Saturday edition. Please stop by and join us for a hike in this Hemlock-wooded area of southern Richland County. My ladyfriend, Joetta Goodman, ponders the larger of two falls at the site. They drop a combined total of some 165 feet over a rock formation thought to be more than 300 millions years old.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Odd Behavior in Breeding Season, cont.

In the past several days the goose attempting to nest on the stone point has deposited three additional eggs in her nest--unmolested by the established breeding pair.

But, several days of soaking rain brought her a new challenge when the pond level rose about 10 inches; inundating the lower half of her nest.

In the top photo you can see her attempting a goose version of sandbagging in an attempt to raise the walls of her nest and keep out the flood water. Note how much higher she has raised the left side of her nest.

The tan colored stones visible in the foreground below the surface are usually above the pond's normal water level.

In the small photo you can see her four moist eggs in the nest now surrounded by the rising water. Amazingly, she continued her nest reconstruction until those eggs were elevated several inches above the raised water level.

I remain curious about the identity of poppa goose. I have not noticed any breeding activity yet she now has three additional eggs; presumably fertilized. The likelihood of successful incubation is questionable however. Those eggs have suffered exposure to pond water near 40 degrees for several days--hardly the toasty-warm conditions of normal incubation.

Meanwhile, a much wiser female goose (lower photo) chugs along merrily in incubating chores on her island nest a foot or better above the flood level.

Actually one failed nest, while sad in some ways, is a bit of a relief.

That’s one less family of goose chicks contributing to the prodigious quantity of goose poop guaranteed to be generated by the rest of their existing and yet to be clan.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Horsemanship triumphed in the finale of the Pfizer Fantasia performance at the 2009 event at the Ohio Expo Center recently. [Photographers; please see (1) below for technical details on this photo].


Billed as the nation’s premier equestrian gathering, the Affaire holds annual horse expositions in cities of the Northeast, Midwest and West. The 16th annual version included a four-day event in Columbus in early April.

The event drew tens of thousands of horse people to its world-class exposition and trade show.

Clinics, demonstrations and seminars were virtually countless—requiring a careful examination of the heavy schedule to cull the visitor’s favorites. Ladyfriend Joetta Goodman and I treated ourselves to Monty Roberts’ terrific show on calming an excitable horse and Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race, for examples.

Roberts told of a horse owner needing more than two hours to load her horse into a trailer. He then worked quietly with that very animal for about 20 minutes, then, led it into the trailer in mere seconds.

Moments later he took the halter off the horse and it willingly followed him into the same trailer.

I was reminded of a very enjoyable book from the distant past, The Horse Whisperer, and spent the rest of the day watching horses and people do things impossible for horses and people to do.

We munched our supper and were joined by a photography enthusiast from West Virginia and his horse trainer wife. The four of us enjoyed diagonal conversations (oriented by professions) across our shared picnic table.

At another picnic table rest stop we were treated to meet two gals from Kentucky who work among the finest stables in that state. I sat mostly silent while three gals discussed horsy stuff in a language that, to me, might as well have been native Mongolian.

At our evening’s featured event a very muscular Russian performer, Alexandre Nevidonski, rode his American Saddlebred mount while he did a spectacular aerial event using a draped curtain to perform from his saddle at stunning heights above the Coliseum floor.

That’s him in the small picture performing an Olympic style gymnastic move while his horse Mammuth stands proudly below.

In the bottom photo they salute their thundering ovation.

While wandering to the car late in the evening, appropriately attired (I thought) in an OSU ballcap, I was amused to recall my chapeau was outnumbered that day by at least a ratio of 10,000 to one cowboy hats.

I am now the proud owner of one of them as well.

(1) The lead photo was shot at 1/20th of a second at f/5.6 with an ISO sensitivity of 800 under venue spot lights while panning the camera in the direction of the horse’s, high-speed travel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Nation’s Premiere Equestrian Gathering

The Coliseum at the Ohio Expo Center/state fairgrounds (above) was a venue full of clinics, demonstrations and competitions at this annual horse exposition. In the small photo (left) Joetta Goodman, Bellville, is surrounded in a sea of commercial, equine vendors while a squadron of patriotic riders (below) opens the Pfizer Fantasia performance—A Musical Celebration of the Horse.

Please stop by Saturday for Fogeyism’s story and more photos.

Monday, April 13, 2009

One of two nesting geese on my pond flies a low level attack to drive off a newly discovered, nesting female trying to establish incubation duties on the pond’s shore. I am slightly above the attacking goose’s altitude because of its low flight path past my position on the lower deck. Then, while writing about this curious nesting event, momma wood duck (small photo below) discovered she could sit on the roof of my hopper feeder and, with her imitation of a giraffe, munch a snack from the lower feeding tray.

Odd Behavior in Breeding Season

We built our acre and a half pond in 1993 and Canada Geese have bred here ever since.

One aggressive pair will protect the entire pond as their breeding area. The arrival of any interlopers of that species will cause the home pair to launch a furious defense. The water will boil and feathers will fly as the strangers are finally convinced they are truly not welcome.

This went on until several years ago when the breeding pair turned into, well, a trio.

There obviously is a breeding pair because a female always nests on the island where she incubates her brood in about a month. I always speculated the third goose was fledged the previous year here but did not realize it was expected to buzz off and find its own mate somewhere else the following season.

It had to be an offspring of the breeding pair. Otherwise it would not be tolerated.

Then, this year with mother goose firmly established on her island nest and going about her usual incubation duties, the third goose constructed a nest on the pond’s bank near a bench on the stone point.

What I always thought to be a male turned out to be a female. (Individual goose identity is indefinite because they are not banded.) But, who fertilized her eggs? These geese are known to pair for life.

And, almost moments after the second and obviously female goose, attempted nesting activity, the remaining two promptly went on the usual offensive and drove her away from the pond. Whereupon, I checked her nest and, sure enough, it contained one very large goose egg.

A few hours later the goose population went back up from two to three and the non-nesting pair leisured around the pond, paying absolutely no attention to the recently vacated nest.

A case of goose incest?

A case of a female goose returning to her birthplace in a family way from a distant tryst with an unknown suitor?

I have absolutely no idea.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


The village of Shreve, OH was all spiffy for its recent 9th annual Spring Migration Sensation—an event that showcased the town’s nearby wildlife areas of lakes and bogs and marshes.

Visitors arriving to register at the elementary school on Market St., were welcomed by a Snowy Owl (above) who loitered that morning on the supportive arm of his handler from the Medina Raptor Center.

He constantly peered at visitors with his twirling head that seemed to revolve unrestrained compliments of a highly dexterous neck, bone structure. He and his avian companions were mostly permanent guests of the raptor center due to injuries preventing their safe return to the wild.

Collectively, they displayed a dignified amusement while performing their educational chores.

Visitors were treated to six workshops throughout the day beginning with Chuck Jakubchak’s subtly humorous presentation entitled the Birds of Shreve which hinted at the marvelous variety folks might see out on the marshes.

The nearby Killbuck Marsh at 5,671 acres is Ohio’s largest marshland outside the Lake Erie region. The marsh is one of the few nesting locations in Ohio for the sandhill crane.

The Funk Bottoms is a 1,498 acre wildlife area. The nearby Mohicanville “dry” Dam was built in 1936 as a flood control measure and it contains over 8,800 acres of flood easement controlled by the corps of engineers.

My ladyfriend Joetta Goodman and I took a leisurely and informative peek at Brown’s Bog where Ashland University biology professor Dr. Dick Stoffer told us about the bog’s formation since the last ice age ended 10 to 15 thousand years ago.

The weight of the glacial ice depressed the land into a bowl which contained the melt water from the receding ice. Over eons of time vegetation grew into mats gradually covering the water surface and forming the solid to soggy surface we walked on during our visit—aided in parts by boardwalks.

A backyard-sized pond is all that remains of that glacial lake.

Shreve Lake, a 58 acre impoundment just west of town was a birding hotspot during the event. A quintet of very serious birdwatching Amish ladies (pictured below) were armed with an optical store-load of binoculars and telescopes.

The gal on the right beamed as she told me about the rare duck she had seen that morning and added to her life’s list of bird observations—the Grail of birdwatching.

I listened attentively and wondered what form her celebration would take at day’s end.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Shreve elementary school was the headquarters for the town’s recent, annual Migration Sensation. Art and craft vendors and state and local wildlife organizations were abundantly represented to the delight of throngs of visitors. Please stop by Saturday when Fogeyisms will tell you about our very pleasurable visit.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dr. Robert Krueger, DVM
& Change aka Pretty Bay Be Roan

While Change drifts off to a sedated snooze (upper right) Dr. Krueger insures the speculum is properly fitted for the teeth repair procedure about to commence. Below he uses the power float tools to grind and smooth the animal’s teeth. In the small photo (lower left) he lets barn observers see the result of his work. The extra hand down there belongs to the horse boarding facility owner Sharon Hibbit, Butler.


If you are at all the squeamish type you do not want to be in the horse barn when your favorite veterinarian provides this essential service to your equine friend.

Picture your dentist cleaning your teeth with a wood rasp type tool attached to a 3/8” power drill.

The floating procedure is necessary because, unlike humans, horses’ teeth grow continuously into older age. When they eat grass, their natural food, it contains silica which is an abrasive and constantly wears down the animal’s teeth. (1)

The horse reaches down for a yummy mouthful of grass then raises its head to chew which changes his jaw position constantly. A horse living on pasture grass will therefore be more likely to naturally polish off the surfaces of its molars.

Not so with horses on a diet of alfalfa and less fibrous feeds. They tend to chew less and this food is generally less abrasive. Accordingly, their teeth surfaces will not get polished off evenly.

This is a problem for horses at our latitude when the winter shortened growing season eliminates natural pasturing.

Raised edges may appear along the rims of their molars; typically along the outside of the upper set and the inside of the lower set. When these “un-ground surfaces” get large the horse cannot rock his lower jaw laterally as he chews due to his teeth being locked between the opposing ridges.

Thus the problem propagates, the ridges slowly appear larger as they are no longer being worn down, and, as the horse rubs these ridges when chewing, it is actually wearing down the sides of these ridges into sharp points.

These pointed ridges can become quite sharp and often cut into the horse’s cheeks when they chew. This occurs where a bit or a halter pushes the cheek against a sharp tooth.

Consequently, a veterinarian like Dr. Krueger, working with a compassionately sedated horse uses a McPherson Speculum to hold the animal’s mouth open while using his horse-sized, power float dental tools to perform this essential repair.

All the while, Change enjoyed his chemically induced nap while his head was supported on a barrel and he was comforted with a stabilizing hug by his owner Joetta Goodman.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mt. Vernon Veterinary Hospital co-owner Dr. Robert Krueger floats the teeth of Change, a quarter horse owned by Joetta Goodman of Bellville. Please stop by Saturday and take a peek as Fogeyisms tells the story of this amazing equine dental procedure.