Saturday, September 29, 2012

to honor the Delaware Indian Village of Greentown

For the first time in 200 years the haunting sound of Indian drumbeats filled the natural amphitheater (above) which, two centuries ago, was adjacent to the site of a peaceful Indian village. 

Today's Greentown Preservation Association, tells us, "Delaware Indians, along with a small group of Mingos, Mohawks and Mohegens, settled the present Greentown site as early as 1782." 

The village included more than 150 dwellings by 1812, the year of our war of that same date, in which  General William Hull surrendered to the British at Detroit in August.

Consequently the native American residents were removed from Greentown in September of that year--and their village was burned. 

What we still remember with horror as the Copus Massacre happened in retaliation; peaceful victims of otherwise peaceful Indians who were watching their land and their culture being overrun by the white-man's expansion westward.

Delaware elder Michale Pace, whose Delaware name is Xingweleno, and his wife (above) drummed their ancestral music while dressed in authentic tribal regalia.

He shared a soothing message on the culture and history of his people, traditionally known as the Lenni Lenape. 

Bobbi Harpster of Ashland, a descendant of the Copus family and shadowed behind the Paces (above), also told of her recollections of  family reunions where, like their Indian counterparts,  her family shuddered at the horrors of their history while sharing also her peaceful comfort at being able, that day, to jointly and joyfully celebrate the bicentennial of those events.

The day's celebration also involved demonstrations of weapons of the period and a large collection of archaeological relics, many from the actual site of Greentown.

The celebration also included an Indian version of the game we would recognize as football.  It was called "Pahsaheman" in the Delaware language and involved the men against the women described in historical literature as a "very rough and tumble" event.

In this day's version of the rules the men could not use their hands while the women were not thus encumbered.  They played two halves with sometimes painful enthusiasm between goals marked by tree branches stuck in the ground.

Out of bounds markers seemed to be however far agressive participants chose to chase the round leather ball into the woods.

That's Mrs. Doc Shaffer of Bellville (above) tossing the ball in celebration of the women's lopsided victory.

Other events during the day involved Indian reenactors, well versed in the history of their roles, sharing stories and answering questions from many of the several hundred folks in attendance.

I questioned my new friend Ke-Wha-Ten (The North Wind), an enactor from Crawford County (above), about why US military veterans were sometimes honored by being invited by Indians to participate in similar celebrations.

He paused for a moment, looked me in the eye and said quietly, "Time Heals the Soul."

Thursday, September 27, 2012


In the quiet woods along the Black Fork River in southern Ashland County a commemorative gathering was held recently to honor the people and the events that happened there during the War of 1812.

Michael Pace, a delegate from the Delaware Tribe of Indians (above) was the featured speaker and first-ever official visitor to the site of this Indian village where his ancestors lived more than 200 years ago.  Please stop by Saturday for more of that story. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Under the Surface by Tom Wilber

While this book looks at the economic and environmental challenges of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation it is germane to Richland County where disposal of liquid fracking waste only recently entered our area's consciousness.  Fracking is the process of forcing chemical laced liquids under extreme pressure into wells in an effort to open horizontal seams around the vertical drill hole thus increasing the quantity of the flow of petroleum or natural gas.  The question then becomes are we willing to accept the obvious risk of polluting our ground water in return for increasing our supply of fossil fuels.  This is a journalistically balanced look with a good peek at consequences most people do not want to endure.

Time to Start Thinking; America in the Age of Descent by Edward Luce

This book takes a good look at the problems facing the US but looses all legitimacy with its constant liberal blathering and slams of the Republican Party and barrage of snide remarks about the Tea Party movement.  I could easily visualize the writer constantly looking over his shoulder to consult his handbook of tabloid journalism.

Sleepless by Charlie Huston

Parker Haas was an idealist who wanted a better world and joined the LA Police Department and tried to do what he could.  But the city is suffering waves of chaos...a plague of sleeplessness.  The city is ruled in equal parts by martial law and insurgency.  I wrestled my way through 116 pages then stumbled again over such phrases as "...a trap from the Clockwork Labyrinth."  Or, "...catch a glimpse of Cipher Blue".  Or, "...replaced by the Precipice Bacchanal...."  Or, "...frenzy in the circular city of Gyre, hemming on the edge of the Chasm itself."   And, this in but two consecutive paragraphs.  This one went directly back to the library...

...where I picked up Zero Day by David Baldacci

A hard to put down page-turner.  What better can you say about a book!  Military intrigue deep in Appalachian West Virginia with a hard-nosed military investigator teaming with a pretty local cop and saving that part of the US from nuclear Armageddon.  Another in what I nope to be a never-ending effort by this very popular writer.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Yup, this Corps of Engineers survey mark is located on Campbell Hill out on the south side of Ohio route 540 about 2 miles east of Bellfontaine.

In spite of being abused you still can read the elevation of 1548.81 above; that's feet above sea level and is the highest known point in the state.

The hill is named for Charles Campbell who owned the land from 1898 to 1937.

My car GPS said 1546 feet; hardly scientific besides on the dash it was about 3 feet above the ground which would make the corrected reading at ground level of 1543 feet.

Wikipedia and websites have our highest elevation at 1550 feet.  

Actually we are dealing with "mean" sea level for the base of this measurement and "mean" often is described as a middle point between extremes.

So, I certainly can live with 1548.81.  Really hard to prove otherwise anyhow.

From the early 1950s the hill was home to an Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron.  That facility was closed in 1969 and soon replaced by a vocational school which remains there.

Jim, our tour guide at the Ohio Caverns learned we were headed here and recalled he had taught mathematics in "the pink building beside the marker" for over 20 years.

He also told us he had heard the highest point distinction might soon be taken by a landfill rising past that elevation in the Cincinnati area.

I can hear the Bellefontaine Chamber of Commerce folks rattling their sabers at this challenge to their lofty status.  That would be just plain embarrassing to be overtaken by a garbage dump. 

For what it is worth, Richland County's highest elevation is a respectable 1,510 feet.  Plus or minus, of course.

That's Sue enjoying a historic marker at the site.  There is no majestic view toward a distant horizon from this perch.  Campus buildings and nearby woods have taken care of that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Obama Campaign Redesigns the American Flag"

There you have it folks; fresh from Obama's web site today.  Reelect this guy and you will soon find yourself in the United States of Obama rather than the United States of AMERICA!


About 40 Asheville, NC protesters marched through the city earlier this week to mark the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street march that was held in New York City.  You noticed, of course, the charming fellow carrying the "Love" sign.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times edition of September 18th.  Staff photo by Bill Sanders. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012



SEOUL KOREA March 26, 2012

Makes folks wonder what else this guy has planned if he is re-elected and no longer has to answer to the American people.

That's Russian President Vladimir Putin above, the intended recipient of Obama's open mike gaffe.

Read about this event in the NY Times here  ...or in Reuters here!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Described as the state's largest cave

The conventional, 50 minute tour of the caverns covers one mile where you will be treated to countless stalactites, stalagmites, columns and crystals as you weave your way through elevations ranging from 30 feet to 103 feet below the surface.

It also is distinguished from other Ohio caves, all of similar origin, by this marvelous display of formations; alive and growing by the deposit of minerals from inexorably dripping water.  The oldest crystal, the age estimated by current environmental conditions, is 250,000 years of age.

Patrons enter the cave by a newly constructed, serpentine walkway designed to help handicapped folks negotiate the descent to the entryway.  The distance below the surface varies because of changes in the surface elevation.

The walk through the cave is paved and virtually level except for the robust climb up a concrete stairs to the exit.  There are, however, many passages much too narrow to accommodate a wheel chair.

The largest "room" in the cave covers nearly 1/2 acre.

Depending on your point of view regarding critters, one highlight for me was the noticeable population of brown bats flying silently, hither and yon, obviously disturbed by our noisy passage but politely behaved regardless of our intrusion.

As in all such formations the temperature is a constant 54 degrees making a sweater a welcome garment regardless of the 90+ degree surface temperature that day.

Our knowledgeable and entertaining tour guide Jim provided a jolting experience in absolute darkness by having us stand perfectly still--while he turned off the lights.  You truly cannot see your hand in front of your face.

His helper John (below) boosted our experience by spot-illumination of unique, formations and helping us carefully avoid any contact with the cave's priceless geology.

The cave is located on Ohio route 245 southeast of Bellfontaine and quite close to the Piatt Castles (See that story in our September 2010 blog).  Remember to click on the smaller images for a larger view. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Recently, Sue and I wiggled off the Marysville bypass and headed west on SR 245 enroute to the Ohio Caverns between Bellfontaine and Urbana.  About 6 miles from Marysville and just a chip shot north on the Innskeep-Cratty Rd., we found the Spain Creek covered bridge (above).

It was built in 1870 and spans 64 feet across--you guessed it--Spain Creek, a tributary to Big Darby Creek, well known to Columbus residents.  The windows and side awnings were added prior to the 1930s.

The bridge was rehabilitated in 1988 by constructing a new bridge inside the old overhead.  Large wood girders and floor panels carry today's traffic load.  The old wood trusses carry only their own weight plus the weight of the roof and siding.

About a mile north of Spain Creek there is a second covered bridge (above).  It is the Pottersburg Bridge, sometimes known as the Upper Darby bridge.  It was built in 1868

It was moved to its current location in 2006 and completely renovated to form the beginning of the North Lewisburg bicycle trail.

We did not have our bicycles with us that day so we didn't explore this trail.  It appears to be just a 3.5 mile or thereabouts segment along an abandoned railroad from its location just off the Innskeep-Crotty Rd., west into the village of North Lewisburg.

The cavern story will follow Saturday then next Wednesday we will tell you about Campbell Hill in Bellfontaine, the highest point in Ohio.

Monday, September 10, 2012


WMAN, a Mansfield AM [and now also FM (98.3)] radio station does a segment on a popular local minister entitled “Where in the World is Paul Lintern?”  On that day it was established he was out west on the border of two states, one of which was Nevada.

Listeners were calling in attempting to guess the other state.

“Is it Nevada and Missouri” one clueless male caller wondered.

If your eyes are not rolling at this point you need to dust off your US road atlas.
Hint:  Three states and over 1,000 miles are between Nevada and Missouri.  The correct answer was Utah.

*          *          *

Speaking of WMAN; for years and years they only resided at 1400 on the AM radio dial.  That is known as a “graveyard” frequency; the same numbers assigned to nearly countless other fairly low power stations around the country. 

At night the ionosphere becomes more reflective of radio signals, bouncing them further and further as darkness approaches so these stations must power down even more to prevent interfering with others on the same frequency.

The consequence of that was WMAN was inaudible in Bellville, just 10 miles or so from its Mansfield transmitter.  Recently, they acquired the FM frequency of 98.3 and now their programs are readily available over a much broader radius of Ohio.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

does some musing...and some sawing

The leaning tree in both pictures above had been obstructing my view of the pond's dam and I forgot to have son Brian cut it down on his last chain sawing visit.  So, I decided to tackle the job with my hand, bow saws (lower right in the large picture.)

This is not much of a task--when your saw has an engine, that is.

Regardless, at my age advancing toward 72, I managed to get the tree cut with the help of a come-along and a wedge to keep the saw's kerf from pinching--which it wanted to do, a lot.  That't the stump of the tree with the diagonal slope in the center of the large photo.

After I got the tree cut entirely it simply sat there on its stump with its canopy being held up by its neighbors.  With the same come-along I was able to drag the cut tree away toward the right of the large photo when I noticed the canopy was about to fall on a beautiful, elephant ear hosta my late wife had planted and nurtured many years ago.

That led to my concocting the sloped lumber on the left in the main photo, supporting a steel fence post which I hoped would catch the falling canopy and prevent damage to the hosta.

It worked beautifully as you can see in the above photo where the falling tree bowed but did not breech the steel post.

With sweat dripping from my glasses, clean up began.

It was about then I noticed my humming bird feeder, which I completely forgot, had survived the crashing pine canopy.

After I trimmed away some branches and re-filled the hummer feeder both I and a small squadron of hummingbirds were grateful that sometimes a greater power seems to intervene.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A World Famous Collection

The world's largest collection of popcorn poppers and peanut roasters is located in a circus tent in the old post office building, now known as Heritage Hall, in downtown Marion, OH.

It is, in fact, the only popcorn museum in the world and at an admission cost of 4 bucks a head it is one of life's bargains.

The Wyandot Popcorn Company began business in an old schoolhouse in Wyandot County in 1936 selling only un-popped corn.  At the request of a customer it added popped corn to its product line in the 1950s when the company moved to Marion and expanded rapidly.

The museum concept was the outgrowth of historical research by the Brown family, founders of Wyandot popcorn.  The museum's first acquisition happened in 1981 and the museum opened in early September 1982 just prior to the 2nd annual Marion Popcorn Festival.

The exquisitely restored, horse-drawn popcorn and roasted peanut cart in the lead photo was made in 1915 and is being described to visitors by docent Alex Proffit, a museum volunteer and historian of encyclopedic quality.

He also is visible in the smaller photo explaining a selection of popcorn poppers, described as Rube Goldberg devices, capable, nonetheless of automatically buttering the freshly popped product.

Popcorn machines like these often were used by vendors outside theaters in the early 1900s selling their tasty products to movie customers, much to the chagrin of the movie house owners who recognized their lost profit potential.

That led to the vendors being invited to sell their wares inside the theaters which ultimately led to theater concession stands as they exist today.

Museum Director Gale Martin (left) responds to guest questions in the lower photo.  The black rectangle above her is a 1892 Olson, hand-cranked popcorn popper, the oldest in the museum's collection.  The wooden, horse-drawn cart to the right was once owned by actor Paul Newman.


Monday, September 3, 2012


This one is going around on Facebook:

Re-electing Obama would be like backing the Titanic up and hitting the iceberg a second time.

I tip my hat to that anonymous author.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

in the Marion, Ohio cemetery

The mystery of the slowly rotating black sphere on this monument became more haunting when I noticed the grave site was almost perfectly obscured in shadow during the above photograph.

Coincidence?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

The Merchant Ball  sits atop the gravestone of the Charles Merchant family,  It weighs about 2 and one half tons.  The monument is centered in a semi-circle of smaller spheres marking the graves of individual family members. 

About two years after the monument was established it was noticed the ball had moved.  It was set back on its base (the unpolished spot in the small photo).  It has been allowed to move freely ever since--at a reported rate of about 2 inches per year.

Chillingly, there is no scratching damage to the sphere.

Some folks with a scientific leaning attribute the motion to the Coriolis effect; a phenomenon noticed by both Galileo and Newton with his laws of motion.

Other folks dispute that explanation because the ball appears to move erratically, not in a straight line at a right angle to the Earth's rotation.

Others have offered the motion is due to weather's freeze-thaw cycle and the resultant expansion and contraction of of the monument's parts.

Still others have posited magnetism is the cause.  Or vibration?

And, others yet, point out the phenomenon has been tested by scientists from around the world with no conclusive results.

Finally, some believe a restless spirit is responsible for the movement.