Kendallville, Indiana – September 2018 – Windmill Museum

The Mid America Windmilll Museum located in Kendallville has about 50 water windmills from the last 100 years. These windmills were key to the development of farming in the midwest.

The museum has a barn with some of the windmill wheels showing how they function. The museum was originally built to showcase a local windmill manufacturer, but now has models from several different companies.

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While most are the tall thin metal type, they do have one example of an English post mill.

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The blades, or sails, have a variety of shapes.

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The tails help stabilize and turn the windmill into the wind at the most optimum angle.

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The tails also serve as advertising for the manufacturer.

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Each manufacturer had a variety of shapes and sizes of tails and blades.

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Some painted colorfully.

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More symmetry – this time from the windmill blades.

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The water windmill allowed farms with no electrical power to be able to pump water in the vast remote regions of the midwest.

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The gears in the wheel  assembly would turn the hub attached to the long pump rod inside of the pipe in the well.

This up and down motion pulls the water up.

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These simple, elegant machines were the lifeline of the country.

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A close up of the wheel mechanisms.

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A wheel made to look like a Native American head dress.

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An overview of the collection. Note the different manufacturers on the tails.

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The museum also featured a small covered bridge.

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The post mill stands out in the crowd.

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Ironically the fountain in the water uses a modern electric pump, not the windmills. And the outhouse is just for decoration.

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One final look at the collection of windmills at the Mid American Windmill Museum in Kendallville, Indiana.

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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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Lancaster, OH – August 2018 -Hanging Out in the Vineyard

A few weeks ago we took a tour of the Wyandotte Winery, with their great host/owner Valerie. We had such a good time we made a trip down to Lancaster to tour their vineyard, which they have named Rockside.

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Valerie started us out in their tasting room giving us an overview of what we were to see and do, as well as a couple of tastings. Once outside she gave us great insight into the working of the winery, including an interesting tidbit about how to tell by the seeds if the grapes are ripe.

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While not quite ready for picking, they looked great on the vine and were delicious to eat right off the vine.

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Normally I am too busy taking photos to note the details that a tour guide gives us, but on this day not only was I taking photos, I was carrying my small plate with my wine glass, and tasting the wine – no wonder I have no clue what type of grapes these are – but Valerie knows.

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You can see in her approach to her vineyard just how passionate she is about having a quality product.

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Some of the grapes had meshing over them. Apparently they had a recent ‘attack’ of birds eating all the grapes, and this is how they keep them safe.

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Even with the meshing, the grapes stand out against the green leaves.

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Another row – another tasting 🙂

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These rows had some sort of issue, so rather than let them disease the rest of the vineyard, they were removed and new ones are now growing in their place.

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Lancaster is in a hilly area, and the neighbors barn along with the hillsides make a pleasant surrounding for the vineyard.

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Valerie’s assistant Taylor was on her first day on the job – she did great!

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In one area they are now growing lavender.

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Another view of the farm next door, along with some of the vineyards.

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Bad grapes, bad bad grapes – out with the bad so the good stay good.

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It was interesting the various shapes of the leaves for each type of grape – they were all slightly different.

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From the side the vineyards appear very thick, forming perfect north south rows, which is essential to good grape growing.

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They even have their own mini weather station.

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In one of the row were these massive mushroom – nothing whatsoever to do with grapes, but still very cool.

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We had a great time wander the vineyard, drinking wine and being entertained (again) by Valerie. I highly recommend paying them a visit for either a fun tour, or just a relaxing afternoon on their patio with a glass of wine.

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Cheers!

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Columbus – July 2018 – Testing the New Lens at the Zoo

Lens envy hit me enough I picked up a new Canon EF 100-400 F/4.5-5.6 lens. With an hour or so we buzzed through the zoo so I could play with my new toy.

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Taken through a dirty window. This new lens is much faster than what I had.

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Another taken through dirty windows.

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The 400mm is enough to pull in some shots.

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The clarity is so much better than my Tamron 150-600mm, although the 600mm does get some really distant shots this won’t.

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Wildebeests from about 100 yards.

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The zoo worker was enjoying feeding the giraffe.

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Vervet monkeys through more dirty glass.

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More shots through the same dirty glass (a recurring theme).

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Camels – finally a non obstructed shot.

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In the bird section.

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An eagle taken through the netting (shown as well).

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With that the last train out of the zoo was leaving. This new lens is great, I am looking forward to sharing better shots on this blog.

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Columbus – July 2018 – Faces of the Fair

Another trip to the Ohio State Fair – my theme for this year is the Faces of the Fair.

Human – Animal – otherwise.

 

First up – the Bee Growers tent representative.

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A completely sheered sheep (except the nose and ears, not sure why that was left that way)

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Hanging out for a week or two at the fair must be boring for this little guy.

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The sheep show contestants were very dressed up.

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While the queen had seen enough.

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A prize winner.

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I like his horns.

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The white sheep of the family.

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There are a number of stages for performers.

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The butter sculptures are always a big hit. The theme this year is the movie the Christmas Story. While it was set in Indiana, it was partially filmed at a house in Cleveland which to this day maintains a steady tourist trade.

They added to the scene with a calf sticking it’s tongue to the cold pole as well.

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Ralphie and his rabbit outfit, along with the Leg Lamp.

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A newborn calf.

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Another newborn calf with a great drool going.

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The poultry barn offered a number of great faces.

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Love ‘birds’.

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The Marvelous Mutts Dog Show.

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The dogs are aces at Frisbee catching.

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Back in the poultry house.

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A giant animatronics Smokey the Bear.

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The Ohio Nut Growers Association had a collection of nutcrackers.

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The clown band always draws bemused looks.

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A guy did a ‘comedy routing/magic act’ show – this young man thought he was opening a box with a live snake, only to have the old ‘rubber snake coming out of the box’ trick pulled on him.

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The magic act continues.

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In the Arts and Crafts section – an award winning cake.

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More faces in the crowd.

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Finally it was time to head home.

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See you next year.

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Cleveland – July 2018 – A Day in Town

Having come to Cleveland for the Fuel Cleveland event, we had enough time to check out a few other sights.

I had recently read they had a velodrome in the Slavic Village neighborhood, so on the way into town we went to check it out – only to find that the freeway was closed due to construction.

Never fear – we eventually made it there.

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Amazingly there are only 28 velodromes in all of America.

When we arrived late morning there were a few people practicing.

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The track had a steel structural frame with what appeared to be layers of plywood for the track.

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I was surprised at how steep the banking is.

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We watched them run a few laps and headed out.

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After the motorcycle event, we headed over to Edgewater Park and Wendy Park, where the restoration of a classic old coast guard house continues.

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With a warm July day watercraft of all sizes were out.

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Many seemed content just to park and hang out.

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The railroad lift bridge was down for an extended time, causing a backup of boats – but the trains over-rule pleasure boats every time.

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A sailboat with the high rise apartments in Lakewood in the background.

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An interesting mix of old an new – the newer apartments and Lakefront Rapid (light rail) framed by the old Shoreway Bridge and some of the older buildings that have been restored.

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A mix of skyscrapers downtown.

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Look familiar? It is the light house on this blog’s home page – just not covered in frozen mist.

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I am always amazed that the kayaks will get in the same water as the massive ore boats. Note a view of a portion of the Cleveland Browns Stadium on the right.

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The top of a Cleveland landmark – the Terminal Tower.

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A lift bridge and a skyscraper.

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From upper Edgewater the view across the harbor shows just how busy it was on the water.

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While on land some artwork makes for an interesting setting for hanging out.

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While we were there 4 different wedding parties came along for their photo opportunity. Running of the Brides Cleveland version.

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Mansfield, OH – July 2018 – Elektro The Robot

Mansfield, Ohio is a mid sized city in north central Ohio. It is most famous for the historic Mansfield Reformatory, which was used for the filming of Shawshank Redemption.

Also in Mansfield is their local museum, housed in a 1800s Soldier’s and Sailors Home.

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Mansfield was once home to a division of Westinghouse that built home appliances. At one point in the 1950s over 8,000 people from Mansfield worked for Westinghouse.

Without a doubt the most interesting thing ever developed and built for Westinghouse in Mansfield is Elektro, the Robot.

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Elektro was designed by Joseph Barnett for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. He is credited with being the first true robot ever built.

With voice commands he could walk, talk and count on his fingers. Built out of gears, cams, motors, vacuum tubes and a photo electric cell, one of Elektro’s stranger talents was the ability to smoke a cigarette.

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When we arrived in Mansfield we were greeted by Scott Schaut the curator of the museum, and expert on Elektro. When I asked why he wasn’t in a museum in Pittsburgh, the home of Westinghouse, Scott replied ‘over his dead body’!

Scott has re-created Elektro with modern resin’s and other components. The original is on the left, with the recreation on the right. There was once a dog named Sparko but he was lost to time.

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Also within the museum are some exhibits on the Westinghouse products built in town.

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Including a roasting pan.

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The museum has other local interest items scattered throughout.

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While much of the museum has a military feel to it, they also have some local minerals on display, along with more eclectic items.

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As part of their military display they have a very large model airplane collection.

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While most are military, they have some of the early airplanes like the Wright Flyer.

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The models are very detailed in the presentation. Scott said it best when he said, we are the museum for Mansfield but 90% of the people that walk through the door are looking for Elektro – just like us.

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