Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An apparition emerges from the canal and seems to scratch its head on its mystical return on this day of unexplained phenomena; to which we add--


Actually this photo is of yours truly doing an image in a waterway at the Castalia Fish Hatchery where human creatures also were mostly absent during our recent weekday visit.  Please stop by Saturday for the rest of that story.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Saturday, October 27, 2012


This little jewel sits on the southeast corner of the Port Clinton airport and is a nearly brand-spanking new, spit and polish presentation of aviation memorabilia.

It's also a hangar with a small but world-class collection of historic airplanes and an aircraft factory, more or less, with a 50's era diner attached like a shiny and delectable accessory to its west side.

Tucked into a corner of the hangar a crew of aviation enthusiasts are building a brand new from the tires up, absolutely authentic to the original specifications, Ford Tri-Motor, 3-engine airplane.  That's it in the top photo just coming into almost recognizable form as volunteer Clarence Gilbert of Huron shares details of the effort with my ladyfriend Sue.

You may remember the Tri-Motor was long in commercial service from this very airport ferrying folks and goods between Port Clinton, the Bass Islands and their near-by companions in just off-shore Lake Erie.

I can clearly remember a bone shaking, airplane rattling, wind in the passenger's hair, Tri-Motor flight out to the islands to do a newspaper story on ice fishing those many years ago.

It's newest sibling will be a one-of-a-kind in the world, fully certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, airplane approved for modern flight service.  Already there are two highly experienced Tri-Motor pilots ready to put the incubating bird into action.

They currently are flying one of the few remaining, original Tri-Motor's still in service, this one in Michigan.

The construction crew includes only one paid member.  He is the boss who sees that all of the very, very specific requirements imposed by the FAA before this machine pops out of its mechanical birth canal are met with precision.

Gilbert smiles and shakes his head in near disbelief as he enthusiastically expresses his gratitude for this marvel of a workplace and financial support which promotes this project allowing the volunteers to proceed unburdened by a typically freezing cold, airplane hangar workplace, and worrying about how the next electric bill is going to be paid.

A now deceased Cleveland benefactor via his supportive agent and a generous foundation have built this facility and continue to make its operation possible.

Visitors enter an ultra-modern lobby with a delicious taste of an airport terminal of long ago.  The museum room is to the right of the folks at the admission counter.  The hangar is behind that and the diner is hiding behind the left wall in the small photo and is pictured below.

The Tin Goose Diner is an authentic one built in 1950 and operated for years as the Sunrise Diner in Jim Thorpe, PA.  It became a permanent part of the museum just this year.  All proceeds from the diner help fund the museum's operation.

No, it is not the Air Force Museum just down the road in Dayton but it is a pristine miniature and will repay you many times over it's modest $5 a head, admission price.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saturday, Fogeyisms takes a look at the Liberty Aviation Museum and the Tin Goose Diner in Port Clinton, OH.  Just an hour or so drive from Mansfield this dandy facility will soothe your appreciation for aviation history and treat you to the delicacies of a 50's-era diner all in one stop.  We also tip our hat to cousins Brad and Karen Crownover for this delicious tip for a blog story.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


It is easy to zoom by this rustic track while you are rolling along SR 97 between Butler and the Mohican State Forest.  It is even more interesting to stop, park the vehicle and wander into the unknown as the muddy lane (above right) disappears into the woods.

This cemetery dates to the early 1800s when more than 90% of the new state called Ohio was covered by old growth forest and a trail as clear as the one above would have been considered a turnpike of its day.

I suspect most of this cemetery's visitors today are township folks who maintain it or are geocachers like me who are in search of some sort of cache that has been hidden back there with its location in the form of latitude and longitude posted on line to help us find it.

Actually, the travel and the final search are much more interesting in this hobby than what actually is found in the cache; usually just a water-tight container with some trinkets and a log book geocachers sign to prove the success of their search.

My day of searching begins with picking what sound like interesting caches; within a 10 mile radius of a nearby town, for example and loading the coordinates in my car GPS which I then use to find the general location of the cache.

I also download more detailed information on the cache in a hand-held GPS unit which I will use to find the specific location as I walk toward it from the car with the guidance of distance and direction information displayed on the hand-held unit; a Garmin Oregon 450 to be exact.

The cache containers range from "nano" sized which can be smaller than a lipstick tube to "large" ones that might be the size of a square foot or so food container.  Surplus ammunition boxes are popular cache containers.  They are robust and come in a variety of sizes.

Some cache containers can be in the form of a hollowed-out rock.  Or a hollowed-out pine cone, for examples.  Imagine trying to find one of them in a pile of rip-rap along a waterway somewhere where all the rocks look the same...or on the floor of a forest covered with real pine cones.

I found a cache in an overgrown woods in hilly and sparsely populated Knox County about which the owner of the cache offered this hint; "Goes up and down as the days and seasons change."  I envisioned a picturesque, vernal pool as I launched into that woods.

After an exhaustive--and unsuccessful--search I leaned against a tree and pondered this challenge.  Then, about 10 feet ahead of me I noticed a white, vertical rectangle about 4" tall, an inch wide and an inch thick on the side of a tree, quite unnatural in this pristine forested setting.  As I walked toward it I could see it visually morph into a thermometer; a very clever cache container indeed.

Other cache containers might be hollow bolts and nuts, magnetized and stuck innocently on a metal post--looking exactly like they are part of the construction.

"Muggles" are another challenge.  These, according to the Harry Potter series are basically clueless folks to be avoided.  Geocachers do not like to reveal the location of caches they are zeroing in on because "muggles" have been known to destroy caches they become aware of or stumble upon.

I met a lady in an alley in Galion who looked skeptically at me--a total stranger--as I wandered past her garage sale.  Rather than pretending I was Sherlock, I confessed.  "Good Morning, I'm a geocacher," I said then explained my mission.  I could see her light bulb go off as she began to understand why people were often snoooping around her neighbor's garage; the location of my quarry as it later turned out.

And, this is a 10 year old, world wide hobby.  There are millions of these things around the globe.  There likely are hundreds within a few square miles of wherever you live.  I've noticed our snow-birding Florida town is a rich depository of caches just waiting for our exploration.

Meanwhile, already I have a half-dozen or so picked out for a planned visit to the Port Clinton area in the near future.

Another benefit of the hobby is simply the signts you may enjoy as you conduct your various searches like this canopy of trees along a gravel road down by the Sodus Massacre Monument.  It was like a green amphitheater in silent reverence to that horrible piece of our history from 200 years ago.

This township road serves one, maybe two residences between SR 603 and the next intersection south and allows quiet transit for the occasional visitor to the monument site, a bit over half-way between the two.  The monument site also was the site of one of our geocaches that recent day.

...or like this early October view along the Clear Fork Reservoir as it begins to exchange its colorful fall wardrobe for winter's starkness; strongly suggested by the silhouette of the foreground trees and empty picnic table framing the passing season's rich colors.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

...and here's one that is making its way around the internet from Times Square no less:


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MEMO:  From Richland County, OH
                 To:  White House, Washington DC


Monday, October 15, 2012

This arrived recently from friend Mark whose opinion Fogeyisms values and respects:
The Muslims are not happy!
They're not happy in Gaza .
They're not happy in Egypt .
They're not happy in Libya .
They're not happy in Morocco .
They're not happy in Iran .
They're not happy in Iraq .
They're not happy in Yemen .
They're not happy in Afghanistan .
They're not happy in Pakistan .
They're not happy in Syria .
They're not happy in Lebanon .

So, where are they happy?

They're happy in Canada .
They're happy in Australia .
They're happy in England .
They're happy in France .
They're happy in Italy .
They're happy in Germany .
They're happy in Sweden .
They're happy in the USA .
They're happy in Norway .

They're happy in every country that is not Muslim.

And who do they blame?

Not Islam.
Not their leadership.
Not themselves.


Excuse me, but
How stupid can you get?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Celebrates its 25th year

More than 180 craft and food vendors and thousands of daily visitors jam the 102 acre, wooded site of this annual festival on SR 97 several miles east of Butler, OH.  Festival organizers boast their event is one of the few places left to buy quality products, hand-made in America.

Traffic can be a hassle but planning to arrive after lunch often will have you driving unhindered right up to the entrance while the early attendees are leaving.  All that departing traffic also creates lots of parking spaces closer to the pedestrian entrances than you might expect.

Organizers also announced a second entrance into the grounds for this year in their promotional, Prairietown Gazette but information on its actual location eluded me.  I suspect it may be off Bunker Hill South Road.

*          *          *

Then, the very next day the very popular Ohio Heritage Days were continuing at Malabar Farm State Park where crowds of visitors (below) swarmed a colonial style military encampment.  Folks in the upper right side of the photo were enjoying a demonstration of the period's black powder rifles while several times each day during the two-day event, the roar of cannon fire thundered around the valley.

One friendly park ranger, who was assisting from his normal assignment in the Cincinnati area, thought attendance would exceed 10,000 folks over the weekend.

Fogeyisms tips our hat to the park staff and helpers for their very efficient handling of parking and people transportation, mostly by teams of horses pulling wagons, around the expansive grounds and display areas; all this at not cost for attendance.

It's truly one of life's bargains.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Beyond the Blue Horizon by Brian Fagan

The author is an anthropology professor at the University of California and has decades of experience at sea so he brings a unique perspective to this peek at the historical development of what we now know as commercial seamanship. Readers begin this aquatic adventure with ancient Polynesians when they first dared to sail beyond the horizon. I was troubled by the author's insistence on using BCE/CE, as calendar references rather than the more conventional BC/AD. Fagan says in his Author's Note " 'The present' " by international agreement is 1950 CE. It may be more professorial but it sure clouds the reader's perspective if those BCE/CE abbreviations are unfamiliar.

The Sea Witch by Stephen Coonts

This is 250 pages of warp-speed read; three short stories (Novellas it says) with the lead being the title story about a reckless pilot in World War II being assigned to co-pilot a Catalina seaplane which will take you for an unimaginable airplane ride. Story two roars through 17 days--the life expectancy of a British aviator during World War I, and, Al-Jihad is the third offering where a retired commando is enticed by the wacky daughter of his old commander to avenge her parent's deaths. I'll be looking for more offerings from Coonts.

The Impossible State by Victor Cha

North Korea is described as the world's most controversial and isolated country and the author, former director for Asian Affairs at our National Security Council from 2004 to 2007, is credited with providing the best look yet at that country's history and the oppressive Kim regime that rules it. It was an illuminating peek at its seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor and its frightening nuclear ambitions but I was hoping for a much better look at the day to day life of its citizens. Guess I'll have to keep looking.

By the Rivers of Babylon by Nelson DeMille

This book has "...a special place in my heart..." said DeMille, because it was his first hardcover novel in 1978. It starts off in typical DeMille fashion with a terrific story-line about Israeli peace-makers on their way to a UN conference in NY on a soon to be hijacked Concorde airplane which is forced down to a controlled, crash landing--near Babylon. Then, the pace slows for several hundred pages until its dramatic conclusion in pages numbered in the 500s. A good read nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Can you see my smile?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

and a new BIG stairway

Sue and I celebrated a terrific, late summer day recently with a romp on my favorite area hike from the covered bridge in the Mohican State Park up the river gorge to Big and Little Lyon's Falls, then on up to and across the Pleasant Hill Lake dam with a finish stroll along the opposite side of the river back to the bridge.

Much to my amazement we discovered a newly constructed stairs climbing out of the Big Lyon's formation making a nice (and safe) shortcut to the upper falls trail.  I remember climbing that rock formation as a younger man, then, in more recent years, having to back-track from the big falls a bit then working around the rock formation to get up to Little Lyons.

That's a young Applecreek area couple (right) beginning their climb on the new stairway out of the chasm created by Big Lyon's falls over geologic time in this 5,600+ acre combination of state park and forest.

This marvelous construction comes to us via the courtesy of the all-volunteer, Mohican Trails Club which completed the 115 step project September 5, 2012.  With a rise of 7" per step that's nearly 70 feet of ascent now comfortably accomplished by modern and safe stairs.  Materials alone were estimated to cost nearly $8,000 according to the club's spokesman Mark Welty.  

The park (1,100 acres) is generally located in the middle of the forest (4,525 acres).  Think of the park being along the river from the campground near state route 3 south of Loudonville, upstream past the covered bridge and on up to just below the Pleasant Hill Lake dam where the park and forest abut Muskingham Conservancy District land surrounding the lake.

The hike is somewhat over two miles from the covered bridge up to Big Lyon's Falls; about half of that segment along the Mohican River before it turns away from that pristine waterway and begins its ascent to the falls.

After climbing the above stairs you still have a bit of an ascent through the heavily forested land to and past Little Lyon's Falls and on up to the lake's dam.  You pass the smaller falls on top of its formation and can enjoy a dangerous peek over the rim.

Unfortunately, with the recent dry summer there is just a trickle of water at each of the falls.

Between the little falls and the dam we were treated to the harsh, cracking sound of timber failing although we never heard the massive thump of a fallen tree.  Regardless, we were reminded this was more than a leisurely stroll through an urban park.  Much more.

That's Sue (right) as we rounded the rock formation approaching the dam which impounds Pleasant Hill Lake, an 850 acre body of water with 13 miles of shoreline which was built in the 1930s as a flood control facility.  It presents a very nice view (below) before we gentle our way down the face of the dam for the 3/4 mile walk back to the covered bridge.

The state has plans (for better fiscal times) to pave the level trail from the dam downstream, to pass under the covered bridge and into the adjacent picnic area so handicapped folks will be able to enjoy that 3/4 mile segment of the heavily wooded length along the river.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

and a little software magic

This critter and its pal were doing their version of a Maypole dance around a pine tree just outside my computer room window one recent morning.

I was enthralled because you do not often see them this close to the house; and a pair of them to boot.  Soon after it occurred to my aging brain I should be doing some photography I remembered my cameras were in the car.  By the time I achieved that quiet retrieval process one of the birds had moved off to another nearby tree in its search for breakfast.

This photo was done with a Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 L lens through two panes of window glass with the morning sun refracting its way through the window's scattered condensation and assorted other defects in and on the glass.

I selected the clearest, visual track through the glass and pushed the camera gently against the window.  This with the long lens, a fairly close (manually) focused distance and fairly wide aperture dramatically reduced the depth of field and, consequently, threw the glass imperfections out of focus.

Regardless, shooting through inexpensive window glass, even with an expensive, high-quality lens, still causes loss of image sharpness.  That was remedied slightly with Photoshop Elements' sharpness filter.  Photoshop also applied a little boost to the color saturation to amplify the marvelous red in the bird's comb and bring up the subtle yellow around the eye.

Here is the original, un-retouched image.  As you can plainly see it suffers a strong loss of contrast because of shooting through the glass  which, itself, is being punished by the early morning sun light.

Playing with levels and contrast in the software also dramatically overcame the muddy gray effect caused by the lighting and out-of-focus glass imperfections.

The light gray semi circle on the side of the bird's back is an artifact of condensation being refracted by the sunlight and thrown out of focus by the shallow depth of field.

The little photo is pretty much what you can expect with a snapshot under these conditions without sufficient lens quality to produce a fairly sharp picture, cropped from a very small area of image--then treated to the magic of editing software.      

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This is growing to be my annual picture of the Ferris wheel at the recently concluded Bellville Street Fair.  What is a bit different about this photo is-- it is not Photoshopped at all.  All the silliness in the image was done with the camera.

The squiggly lines were created by two events; 1) the ride was moving slowly during this 3/10 second exposure, and 2) I zoomed the lens while the shutter was open.

I used my Canon Rebel T3i camera at ISO 400 and my walking-around lens, Canon's EF 17-40mm, 1:4 L model.  The aperture was set at f/10.  With the wheel moving and me zooming the lens the camera "saw" the motion that occurred during that 3/10 second exposure and recorded that movement in the form of the erratic lines of colored light.

Fun things can begin to happen if you stray from the automatic setting on your camera.

In the lower photo we were Geocaching in a small city park along Straub Rd., and found the cache named "Bugs, Mr. Rico!  Zillions of them!"   Given the unusual name of this cache and not not knowing the cache owner's intent in authoring that name, we found this pleasant and un-pesky community of bugs quite interesting.

The photo was done with the same photo equipment  as above but this time I hand focused the lens at its minimum distance setting which is less than a foot then moved the camera back and forth from the bugs until they appeared sharp in the viewfinder.
The exposure was 1/60th second at f/4 and ISO 400.  That is a fairly slow shutter speed and the camera's widest aperture.  This was necessary because we were in the relative darkness of heavy woods and chose to work with no flash.

Finally, with the camera at that extreme, minimum focus distance and using it's widest aperture we dramatically lessened the depth of field of the image.  That's why the background is totally out of focus.

Once again, using the camera manually opens a box of very creative tools.