Columbus – September 2018 – Topiary and Ikenobo

Recently we stopped by Franklin Park and were surprised to see a large area fenced in near the Conservatory that had always been part of the overall park. With our return visit, we found that over the last year they had added the ‘Grand Mallway’, a nicely landscaped area.

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As part of the Conservatory’s Topiary display, there were a number of flamingos displayed here.

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They were an interesting mix of floral and painted moss.

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With our mid September visit, much was still in full bloom.

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The flamingos and sculptures backed by the glass Palm House.

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The Mallway is a great addition – adding much needed outdoor space to the complex.

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Ringing the outside of the area is this covered walkway.

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It also provides interesting views of the Palm House.

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Nearby is the ‘Brides Garden’

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The entrance to the Childrens Garden featured more topiary art.

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Including a butterfly. The Conservatory has a great butterfly display (featured on another blog posting today).

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Topiary Dolphins.

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Mexican Wolves.

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Personally I like the permanent Topiary Gardens downtown. These look like Chia pets.

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In addition the use of paint detracts from the whole topiary idea.

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But the elephants are cool.

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Inside the Ikenobo Society of Ohio had a show.

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The flowers were unique and beautiful.

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Their website describes Ikebono as ‘one of the representative aspects of Japanese traditional culture, and ikebana began with Ikenobo.’

‘In 1462 the name Senkei Ikenobo first appeared in historic records as “master of flower arranging.” Senno Ikenobo, who was active in the late Muromachi period (mid-16th century), established the philosophy of ikebana, completing a compilation of Ikenobo teachings called “Senno Kuden.”’

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Simple yet elegant in their presentation.

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We had popped into the Conservatory for a brief visit, but with the new gardens, the topiary, the butterflies and the Ikenobo we ended up having a full morning of fantastic sights and smells.

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September 2018 – Auf Wiedersehen to the Audi

Over the last couple of years the cars have become frequent subjects in my photos. After 4 years of loyal service, and fantastic adventures, the Audi S5 was traded in.

This posting highlights the Audi’s trips it took us on.

First trip was to Western Ohio – and a giant fiberglass bull.

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Most of the time the birthplace of Presidents are honored locales, but not for Rutherford B Hayes – his is a BP station in Delaware, Ohio.

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A covered bridge in Fairfield County, Ohio – The car was not allowed to cross it, but we were.

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Utopia has been found (along the Ohio River).

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The settling of America – on the right is a famed S bridge of the original National Road. Overhead is US Route 40 – the main route west from the 1910s through the 1960s. A 1/2 mile to the left (not shown) is Interstate 70.

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A riverboat in Cincinnati.

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867 feet above the Audi the New River Gorge Bridge. They offer tours where they connect you to the beams underneath and you cross – I passed.

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Polo anyone. 3 horses in the field and 340 under the hood.

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After Utopia, come Paradise – in the Northern Peninsula of Michigan. I find it ironic that somewhere that gets 200 inches of snow a year is considered Paradise…

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The Audi is not on a runway – it is an abandoned air force base in Michigan – with some random Jets parked around town.

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Welcome to Minnesota doncha ya know.

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Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area Montana/Wyoming.

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Yellowstone. That is not the radiator overheating 🙂

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One of the funniest moments in our travels was the day we ran into a cattle drive on a road in Idaho – this cow spent 5 minutes licking the bugs off the front of the Audi.

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We drove 9 miles out a dirt road at the Golden Spike National Historic Site (where the transcontinental railroad met in the 1800s). Wondering who was dumb enough take an Audi out this dirt road, until a Tesla pulled up.

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Devils Rocks Utah

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The hotel was filled with a Corvette Club and us.

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Bonjour from Paris – Texas

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We went down to the Crossroads….Clarksdale, Mississippi.

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We have seen Utopia and Paradise, and now the Center of the World

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The original Model T factory in Detroit. They let my German car go along with all the classic American cars on the Woodward Dream Cruise all the way through the city to the burbs where the other 100,000 cool cars were cruising.

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Plymouth, Massachusetts – National Monument to the Fore Fathers.

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The Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. A 600 car ferry and a 18 hour ride!

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Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

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The Audi and a large basket – but there are larger basket buildings in Ohio.

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The historic Cincinnati Observatory and the Audi.

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Watkins Glen Race Track. They were having club racing with little Mazdas, etc – if I had the safety equipment to go on the track I could’ve taken them – I think.

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Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

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The Auburn/Cord/Dusenberg Festival in Indiana. That car is sooo much cooler than mine.

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The final road trip for the Audi – Downtown Chicago with the El in the background. While the Audi is gone – the adventures continue…..

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Battle Creek, Michigan – September 2018 – Fantasy Forest

There was once a forest of ash trees near the Leila Arboretum in Battle Creek, Michigan. As with thousands of these trees across North America, they fell victim to the Emerald Ash Borer disease and died.

But in the ultimate ‘if life gives you lemons make lemonade’ story the park brought in chainsaw artists who transformed them into a ‘Fantasy Forest’.

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They had a competition in 2015 for the artists, who came from all over the country.

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Some are the more traditional animals that you see from chainsaw artists.

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Others are more whimsical.

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Even though I have thousands of destinations on my list this was not on it, we just got lucky and drove by.

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The website for the arboretum has before photos of the dead trees – what a great transformation.

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Battle Creek Bigfoot?

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My favorite – the strange disappearance of Farmer MacDonald.Notice the UFO abducting the farmer. Not seen on this view is the wife outside the cabin with a shotgun trying to fend off the aliens.

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A close up of the Tree Wizard.

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The sculptures are at least 10′ high.

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This sculpture gives an idea of how some of trees appeared before being transformed.

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A centaur keeps guard over the forest.

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While a tree genie appears.

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The Fantasy Forest in Battle Creek, Michigan was a great find – even if it was by dumb luck.

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Auburn, Indiana – August 2018 – The Start of a Car Weekend

The small city of Auburn, Indiana was the home of early 1900s auto manufacturers including Cord and Dusenberg. Each Labor Day weekend the town holds a festival and auto auctions celebrating those cars, and others.

As part of the celebration they have a large custom car show on Friday around the courthouse square. With more than 800 cars on display it was an impressive sight.

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So come along – just enjoy it.

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In addition to the shows there are two very large classic car auctions during the weekend. A massive one is held by Sotheby’s at a grounds outside of town – with hundreds of cars sold.

Another smaller one was held at the historic National Automotive and Truck Museum. We arrived in time to check out the cars during the preview.

This classic 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Safari Wagon is a rare two door wagon.

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Among the vehicles was this 1940s car carrier. I guess if you buy enough cars, you need to bid on the carrier to take them home.

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Outside the building was this sweet Alpha Romeo.

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While back inside  we passed by a George Barris custom car. George is famous for designing cars for TV and the movies including the 1966 Batmobile, and the Munster’s car.

This car was originally a 1950 Mercury.  Designed by Leo Lyons, with assistance from George, it was displayed at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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After checking out the auction cars, we headed back to the courthouse square show where we found a brief preview of the Auburn’s we would see far more of on Saturday.

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This early 1960s Chevy El Camino had a great vintage bike in the back.

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Back in the day the idea of air conditioning was to pop open the windshield a bit.

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A vintage Chevy Pickup.

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With the arrival of the jet age, fins on cars mimicked the airplane look.

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Nearby was the Kruse Auto Museum. Located in a building that seems to being vacated, but they did have some movie cars including a Batmobile.

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A Carl Casper creation. Carl was another custom car creator like George Barris.

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Our day ended at the Kruse Museum in a collection of Indy Cars. While this was a nice day with some cool cars, we knew the best was yet to come.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Classic Cars in a Historic Setting

Fort Hayes was a military post first built in Columbus at the start of the Civil War in 1862. At the time it was located just north of town, now it is at the edge of downtown.

One of the highlights of the remaining buildings is the former ‘shot tower’, used to make bullets in the 1800s. Today it serves as an art gallery and visual arts center.

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On this day they were having a car show on the grounds.

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While I always enjoy checking out classic cars, we wanted to use the opportunity to roam the grounds and check out the buildings.

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Many of the original buildings are still standing. A number of them, like the ones below, have been restored. Others on campus are in poor condition, or have been torn down.

Not shown on this posting is a high school that has been built in the last 30 years.

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We returned to the main yard where the cars were located and found a band was playing. She was clearly getting into it.

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While the guitarist kept his cool on this hot humid day.

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But the cars were the stars – a great VW bus.

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Hats and tails were in order (just not the formal black tie kind).

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Another great VW.

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There weren’t many cars on display, but it was a relaxed show with some shade so it was worth a quick visit.

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It was small enough all the car owners were on hand and happy to tell people about their rides.

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While the judges kept score. The show was small, but the setting was interesting and we left having enjoyed our brief visit.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Urban Scrawl

The near west side neighborhood of Franklinton has been experiencing a lot of activities and redevelopment, many of them based on the arts in the existing warehouses.

 

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One of the highlights of the year for the neighborhood is an annual event known as Urban Scrawl. This event features a number of artists painting murals on large surfaces.

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The artists took various measures to maintain focus in the very crowded space.

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Some works were two people efforts.

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There was a diverse collection of artists and subjects, but all appeared to be very talented.

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Close ups show the details within each painting.

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Collectively they made a great scene.

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The work was completed over one weekend. We visited mid afternoon Sunday.

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Urban Scrawl is one event that is always worth visiting each year.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Belt Sander Racing

While surfing the internet a couple of weeks ago I came across an ad for ‘Belt Sander Racing’. Intrigued I checked it out – finding that a place in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus called the Idea Factor was indeed having Belt Sander Racing, so I signed up.

The Idea Foundry’s motto is to create a place where anyone can explore their urge to make things. It is huge, 60,000 square feet of workshops and offices.

When we arrived we found they were having an open house showcasing all the great things that the artists and craftsmen do there. Outside they had a number of games set up an including over sized Battleship.

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Inside the artists were creating new pieces. This young lady was sawing a wine bottle in half with a wet saw.

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The artist below specializes in burning wood to make art pieces. The baseball bats with lighting were fantastic.

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A chess board on a restore table.

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Another example of the fine craftsmanship.

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There was a good mix of art and functional.

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But enough of that, we are here for —- Belt Sander Racing!

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For those movie fans I took inspiration from the 1964 political satire black comedy Dr Strangelove. Given our current political climate I thought the idea of a nut case in charge of a country seemed appropriate.

The specific scene I took was the last scene where Slim Pickens is riding the bomb down to the ground. (for those who are not familiar with the movie it is making a strong case for peace in the world by satirizing the cold war)

 

My version – a Captain America doll strapped to a piece of ducting – christened Dr Strangetrump.

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There were 11 entries in all.

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A Zombie train.

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Rabbit Go Vroom Vroom

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Finally it was time to race.

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The track was laid out with 3 channels – one for each racer and the other for the cords. It was amazing how fast they went.

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Some went better than others – as with the actual team, the Cleveland Browns helmet did poorly.

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After the first round they had a dog race while they set up for the second round. It wasn’t actually a dog race, a couple of people just set their pooches up on the track and they sort of wandered their way down.

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The finals were very close for all 3 heats. Even though I was able to get my racer to run straight and true, I lost in the first round. No matter – it was a blast to do, and I got a cool T shirt!

Wait ’til next year – I will get a faster belt sander.

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