Lancaster, OH – July 2018 – The Shapes and Colors of Nature

In looking for something today I thought I saw a listing for a Fern Walk at the Wahkeena Nature Preserve near Lancaster, Ohio.

When we arrived and asked about it we were told that they were having a nature walk/hike but it was not specifically for ferns. Initially disappointed it turned out to be much better.

Nora was the naturalist who lead our tour. She was amazingly knowledgeable in all aspects of what we found on our hike. If you stop to really look you will find some great shapes and colors in the woods.

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Before we started the actual hike we spent some time near a pond.

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While few, the flowers that were present near the pond were very vivid.

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Something that looked like straw grew across some of the other growth in the pond.

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The water lily (?) stood out against the sea of green.

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Once we started our educational hike we spent time examining all of sorts of things in the woods – like this decaying tree. The shapes resulting from the decay make for an interesting subject.

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The primary purpose of the walk was to identify orchids. Yes, there are orchids in Ohio – just not like the giant ones you see in places like Hawaii.

Unfortunately I spent more time taking pictures and less time listening to Nora so I missed the name of this one – Sorry Nora.

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Another orchid.

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Another orchid? I should really pay better attention.

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A different looking caterpillar.

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A type of an apple that grows along the ground – a favorite of turtles.

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As we progressed we began to see a number of fungi, more impressive ones than our fungi hike we had a few weeks ago.

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There was a large collection of shapes and colors of fungi.

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Some on the dead trees.

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Some residual Virginia Creeper vines.

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More fungi

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A ghost orchid.

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We came across this massive fungi, which looked very cool from the side

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As well as the overhead view.

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Some amazing coloring of shelf mushrooms on a tree.

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More growing up a tree.

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More on a bed of moss.

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Some very large shelf fungi.

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A close up.

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We also came across a small ‘Ring Neck’ snake, which Nora was kind enough to pick up and show us.

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Blue fungi.

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After we completed our hike, we went to a second nature preserve just down the road – Rhododendron Cove.

The sandstone cliffs here are amazing.

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How the preserve gets it’s name – rhododendrons everywhere, up against the 50′ cliff.

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The sandstone always has great erosion patterns.

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A hole eroded from the face of the cliff.

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Amazing ‘honeycomb’ erosion.

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Motivated by Nora’s teachings, we paid attention on our walk back to the car – finding even more along the path through a meadow.

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Go find a local park – there are lots of people like Nora anxious to share their knowledge of the world around us all.

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Columbus – July 2018 – The Color Run

A cloudy Saturday morning was perfect for a running/walking event in downtown Columbus called The Color Run.

Billed as the Happiest 5K on the Planet, the color run is all about having fun and being healthy (although breathing the dust is debatable).

At the start everyone was festive and clean.

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After crossing the Broad Street bridge the participants went through the first zone of getting blasted with colored dust.

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The volunteers enthusiastically douse the runners from large squirt bottles.

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A cinematographer from a local TV station apparently got too close.

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Most came through looking to add to their colorful collection on their previously white shirts.

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Reactions varied!

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Billed as ‘not a race’ some clearly were regular runners – although the red makes it looks like she is running from zombies in a George Romero movie.

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The kids really embraced the event.

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Another great form for getting powdered.

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Many were taking selfies along the way.

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The blue zone.┬áMany participants wore bandanna’s over their noses to keep the dust out. The dust is a food grade corn starch.

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I kept hearing the Pat Benatar song ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ watching the people encouraging the volunteers with the dust.

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You look good.

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In the pink zone one of the volunteers was over enthusiastic in his delivery.

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He was hammering people with the dust.

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Resulting in serious clouds and coverage.

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While other volunteers hurried to keep up refilling the bottles.

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One lady had her dog with her – the dog came through it much better than she did.

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Nearly all seemed to enjoy the event.

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Many wore tutu’s – not sure why.

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The Columbus Police have always worn crisp white shirts – probably not the best for the day. This young lady was asking for a hug – they agreed to a fist bump.

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As they approached the finish line they ran through giant bubble machines.

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Before arriving at the party area.

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The skyline had a very colorful look today.

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One of the sponsor was a laundry detergent company with a faux washing machine.

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The DJ was throwing packets containing more colored dust to the crowd. About every 10 minutes he would encourage them to open them up and toss the contents into the air.

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The results were spectacular.

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The dog’s final look – a bit colorful but no worse for wear.

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The participants were happy.

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There were stations they could participate in – bouncing the dust off on trampolines.

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All headed home happy.

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Covered in colorful dust.

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Columbus – July 2018 – No Whining at the Winery

The Wyandotte Winery is located in what looks like a large house at the end of a residential street in northwest Columbus. In existence since the mid 1970s, it is currently owned by Robin and Valerie Coolidge.




On Saturday’s they offer tours of their winery. It is not a massive winery like you see in the movies or on TV, rather a small ’boutique’ winery that exists in the lower level of the building in about 4000 square feet (a guess).

Valerie was our tour guide, and it ended up being 1/3 technical discussion of wine making, 1/3 history lesson and 1/3 stand up comedy routine. Valerie was a hoot, and information at the same time.

It helped (I think) that the predominately female group had been tasting for some time upstairs!

The first display was a vintage machine for taking the impurities out of the wine before bottling. It is not currently used in production.




On the bottom of the risers for the stairs is a history of the labels that the winery has used since the 1970s.




The winery names some wines after local landmarks.




Another vintage machine was a grape press.





There are no vineyards on site (just suburbs) – they try to purchase their juice from within Ohio, but will source some from California and as far away as Peru in the winters.

Some of the grapes are grown on their other winery in Fairfield County, Ohio, just southeast of Columbus.




Valerie explained much of the science that goes into wine making.





All of her information was delivered with a lot of humor and informative anecdotes.




More vintage wine making devices





High School science was never like this.





Some test bottles – some fail, some succeed.




The bottle filling station. They can fill 6 at a time.




The original corker – it takes a lot of manual labor and is slow.




The modern corker – works great, but she said the instructions were in Italian.




Once the wine is ready to be aged they go into large vats.




Most of the wine making equipment comes from Italy or France. The American made equipment kept breaking down, so they bought the quality equipment from Europe.




Wine has to bleed off CO2 in the process.




The newer vats have taps at the bottom. Valerie said she enjoys checking out to make sure everything is going ok.




Finally when the wine is bottled and ready – it needs a label. Back in the 1970s the original owners would use Elmers Glue to stick the labels on, often crooked.




The label applicator puts them on perfect every time. The Wyandotte Winery will make you a custom label for your wine for only $5 – how cool.




Valerie was a great tour guide and host – providing an amusing 90 minutes of wine making. Cheers!


Richmond, Indiana – July 2018 – Gennett Records Walk of Fame

Gennett Records was a prominent record company based in Richmond, Indiana in the early 1920s. They are known for producing early recordings of numerous well known artists.

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The company was founded in 1917 by the Starr Piano Company. A park in Richmond contains the remains of the Starr Piano factory, as well as a walk of fame.

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The walk of fame highlights the artists and their history at Gennett. Each marker is a three dimensional, cast bronze and colored mosaic tile emblem in the form of a 78 record. A few are shown here including:


Hoagy Carmichael – An Indiana native Hoagy began his jazz career at Indiana University. While his early recordings were with Gennett, he only recorded with them a couple of years.

Hoagy had a long career and wrote such classics as Georgia on My Mind and Skylark. Hoagy remains a legend in jazz to this day, almost 40 years since his death.

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Duke Ellington – While he had a few early recordings with Gennett, Duke had a long career in jazz.

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Jelly Roll Morton – Another early jazz musician, he is most noted for a collection of recordings later that reside in the Smithsonian as the definitive example of jazz.

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Charley Patton – As a Delta Country Blues performer Charley wrote and recorded numerous classics. Known as a classic guitar player, Charley is sometimes known as the Founder of the Delta Blues.

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Fats Waller – With a style all his own, Fats could bridge the gap between white and black artists, jazz and blues. In addition he was known as quite the character.

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Gene Autry – Gennett Records gave Gene Autry his start. From there it was on to superstardom as a country musician and actor/entertainer.

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Artie Shaw – Known as one of the greatest clarinetists of all time, as well as a bandleader. His early recordings with Gennett were lost as the masters were inexplicably destroyed.

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Big Bill Broonzy – One of the original bluesmen. His style lead to Chicago blues. If you listen to Eric Clapton, you are listening to Big Bill Broonzy, as Eric idolized his style.

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Blind Lemon Johnson – Before Robert Johnson, before Big Bill Broonzy there was Blind Lemon Johnson.In 1929 he hired a Ford car with a chauffeur and came to Richmond, recording 12 country blues songs. Sadly later that night back in Chicago it is believed he became disoriented and lost. When he was found the next morning he had frozen to death on a Chicago sidewalk.

He continues to influence many, the bands Blind Melon and Jefferson Airplane are named in his honor.

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And finally – Sachmo – Louis Armstrong – One of the earliest recordings in Richmond were from Louis. He is likely the most important jazz musician of all time.

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There are more honored on the walk – make your way to Richmond for a music history lesson someday.

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The park is well worth the visit.

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Hagerstown, Indiana – July 2018 – Wilbur Wright Fly In

The small eastern Indiana town of Hagerstown is the home of an annual small airplane ‘fly-in’. Home to one of the longest, nicest grass runways in America, it is the perfect stopping off point for the planes headed to the large show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

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As we arrived and parked we passed by a number of vendor booths including this one manned by Bob, an elderly man who makes whirligig airplanes out of soda cans.

He is very skilled, and his touch includes having a picture on a can, if available to be the pilot.

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When I was there he was making one out of Pepsi cans featuring Ray Charles – it was cool enough it now is proudly hanging in my garage!

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But it was time to move on to the main display area. All of the planes were accessible to all who attended.

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Many had open cockpits.

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The pilots were on hand to answer questions about their planes.

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All were magnificently restored.

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It attracted photographers young and old.

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The grass runway resembled a fairway on a golf course – bordered by the Indiana cornfields.

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A sleek nose cone for the propeller.

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They came in a variety of shapes and sizes.

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The two bi-plane rides stayed busy throughout the afternoon.

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With many excited and happy customers.

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The weather was perfect, just a few puffy clouds far above where anyone was flying.

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Some had creative designs.

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While others looked like racing airplanes.

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But eventually it was time to fly out of there. If you are an airplane fan, and can’t make it to Oshkosh, this is a good alternative much closer to home.

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Indianapolis – July 2018 – The Ruins of Holliday Park

If someone blindfolded you, put you on a plane, and took you to this field before taking off the blindfold you might say ‘are we in Rome – what ruins are those?’.

Needless to say they would be very surprised to find they are in the middle of Indianapolis.

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Surrounded by columns it is an impressive sight.

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But this structure is not a thousand year old Roman ruin. It is not even from Indiana. These are the remains of what is considered New York City’s first skyscraper – the St Paul Building.

Built in 1898 at 220 Broadway by Karl Bitter, a well known architect of the day.

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The building had three large statues made of Indiana limestone. These statues were called ‘The Races of Man’ and represented African American, Asian and Caucasian laboring together to hold the skyscraper up.

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By the 1950s it was decided to tear down this building to build a new, boring, glass and steel skyscraper. The owners of the building held a competition to find a new home for the sculptures, and Indianapolis won.

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The sculptures were relocated to Indiana and included in a reproduction of the facade. Over the years there were various modifications, and eventually the ruins, somewhat ironically, fell into disrepair.

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For almost 20 years they were roped off from the public.

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Fortunately in 2015 a restoration project began.

Today they stand proud in a promenade with other pieces including these 3 large stone ones with a portion of the declaration of independence carved into them.

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Holliday Park in Indianapolis is now a beautiful place to spend some time amongst the ‘ruins’.

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Zionsville, Indiana – July 2018 – A Big Fan of Fans

As you wander through the streets of an industrial park in suburban Indianapolis the last thing you would expect to find is one of the largest fan collections in the world.

So what you think – well look and be amazed at how stylish and functional these antiques are.

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Housed in the headquarters of a fan company called Fanimation, the museum has over 2000 desk and ceiling fan from more than 140 manufacturers (according to their website)

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Most are from the first few decades of the 20th century, and show that classic 20s and 30s style.

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When we arrived we asked if we could see the collection. The receptionist told us we were more than welcome to check them out, and lead us to the display room. She also indicated she would get Kim to tell us about them.

Kim is a retired Indianapolis firefighter who has been collecting fans for a long time. He is an excellent restorer of fans, having refurbished many of those in the collection.

The fan below however is in it’s original condition, after more than 80 years.

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The fans are owned by various members of the Antique Fan Collectors Association (of which Kim is a member with many of the fans in the collection being his personal ones).

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The oldest electric fans in the museum are from the 1890s, while they have non electric ones (steam and water powered ones) from the 1880s.

The Dayton fan company, represented below, is still in business today.

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They have numerous fans of different shapes.

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Fanimation was founded by Tom Frampton in Pasadena, California in the 1980s. They relocated to Indiana in the mid 1990s, opening this facility in 2003.

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Most have extensive use of brass, which adds a classic beauty to practical use of the fan.

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Numerous specialty designs are represented, such as this airplane fan – a cool way to stay cool.

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More of the collection.

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One of the non electric fans

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As a fan manufacturer their lobby fans are stylish as well.

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Even the replica terracotta soldier in the lobby has a fan! If you ever find yourself in Indianapolis, skip the art museum (although it is nice too) – check out the fan museum – ask for Kim!

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