Saturday, June 30, 2007


The frame for the pontoon boat seat has been completed. If I can get the upholstery back on without damage it'll be ready to install. RMB

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Jenni & Todd at West Point graduation 1985.

Today Todd was promoted to the rank of Colonel.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A bit difficult to make out but under the trees are a couple of fawns seen this evening. No sight of the mother but she was probably near by. RMB

Saturday, June 23, 2007


In the 1920’s a type of powerboat known as a runabout came into being. Featuring mahogany construction and automotive inspired styling elements such as steering wheels and windshields they were built mostly for day sailors who seldom lost site of land. Besides styling cues they also borrowed production methods from the auto manufacturers and like that industry many of the companies such as Chris-Craft, Century, Hacker, Gar Wood, and Lyman were located around the Great Lakes. Well known designer/builders included Christopher Columbus Smith, Garfield Arthur Wood and John Ludwig Hacker.

The name Chris-Craft became synonymous with speed, style and luxury. This Continental Utility is representative of the boats they were producing in the 1950's.

The Century Boat Company was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1926. Two years later it moved operations to Manistee, Michigan where they stayed for sixty years. There they built a reputation for producing reasonably priced quality wooden boats such as this Sea Maid. By the late 1960's Century, like most of the other surviving manufacturers, had turned to fiberglass hulls. The company now owned by Yamaha, is located in Florida. RMB

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote! -Ben Franklin

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Considering our common culture and ease of exchange it's hard to believe that Americans have probably been involved in more conflicts with Canadians than with anyone else. Not only the French and Indian War, American Revolution, and the War of 1812 but lesser known events as well.

This rubble stone structure, located near Prescott, Ontario, is sometimes called the “Alamo of the North” having played a part in a mostly forgotten event of American-Canadian history . It was converted into a lighthouse in 1872 but was originally built as a wind powered grist mill.

In the mid to later 1830’s Upper Canada (Ontario) was rebelling against British rule. Americans know as “Patriot Hunters” along with Canadian rebels wanted to form a Canadian republic. In 1838, a group of Hunters crossed over from New York in an attempt to capture Fort Wellington which was located near Prescott. When the invasion attempt went bad they took up a defensive position at the windmill with the expectation that they would be reinforced by insurgent Canadians. Instead they found themselves pinned down in a hopeless battle with Loyalist forces. After five days and several deaths they surrendered and were taken to Fort Henry at Kingston where 11 of their leaders were executed.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Elk herd along State Route 571 outside of West Milton, Ohio.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


This picture was taken yesterday morning in Greenville. It would have be nice if there had been some breeze to make the flags stand out, which it was doing the day before when I came through town but of course I didn't have the camera with me then. The fountain, light poles and area surrounding the fountain are all new having been replaced within the past year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


When you think of ghost towns you probably get an image of abandoned mining villages somewhere in the western states. But there are ghosts from previous eras to be found in most every community. Such an example is located in Richmond, Indiana’s Whitewater River Valley Gorge. Here was once the largest manufacturer of pianos in the country, The Starr Piano Company. Founded in 1872, by the mid-nineteen twenties Starr was producing 15,000 pianos, 35,000 spring-driven phonographs, and 3 million records annually.

A recreation of an advertisement card for the company’s Dayton, Ohio showroom.

Foreign competition eventually captured most of Starr’s sales which resulted in the company producing its last piano in 1949. The 750,000 square foot complex of buildings would be utilized by various companies over the next two decades before descending into deterioration. In recent years a foundation was formed ( and steps have been taken to preserve what still remains.

Between the years 1916 to 1934, Starr’s Gennett Records division made thousands of acoustic and electric recordings which were sold under various label names. The company would make records of whatever it could sell which ranged from KKK propaganda to some of the first recorded works of Black Jazz, Blues and Country Music artists. Some of the better known musicians included Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Martin, Hoagy Carmichael, and Gene Autry.

This picture shows William Jennings Bryan in the Gennett studio making a recording of his "Cross Of Gold" speech. RMB

Monday, June 11, 2007


Over the coming years we’ll going to see a variety of alternative energy powered automobiles. It’s happening quicker than people may realize. Hybrid gasoline/electric vehicles have passed the million mark in sales, fuel cell cars will start being sold within a couple of years, bio-diesel and E85 ethanol are being marketed now, BP and Dupont are developing butanol and other companies such as BMW are working with liquid hydrogen. It’s not likely that every one of these alternatives will be a long term success and they all depend on gasoline prices remaining high to be viable.

It’s ironic that many of the same politicians who say we need to investment in alternative energy are the same ones who want congress to do something about high gas prices. Companies already in the business of marketing fuel are the ones most likely to be successful in the distribution of alternates so hopefully the politicians won’t do things that actually hinder development. In a somewhat chilling speech given a few months ago Senator Clinton indicated that if she had her way the "huge profits" made by the oil companies would be taken by the government and spent on development of alternate fuels. It’s interesting to note that the government actually collected 7 billion dollars more in taxes on oil products last year than the oil companies made in profits.

This area of the country is hoping that there is going to be a growing market for ethanol. Within 10 miles of my home two ethanol plants are being built, one will be along Route 32 between Union City and Winchester, Indiana. The other, seen here, is located at the edge of Greenville, Ohio near Route 571.

Ethanol may be great for farmers but I’m not sure it’s that wonderful for consumers. Ethanol has a lower BTU content than gasoline so your mpg will be lower. Second you pay three times for each gallon: 1. At the pump, 2. In tax money that subsidizes production, 3. In higher food prices because it drives up the price of grain. Corn prices alone have almost doubled in the past year. What will happen if the use of ethanol becomes wide spread? RMB

Friday, June 8, 2007

Pontoon Boat Seat Replacement

One of the front seats on Phil's pontoon boat is in need of replacement. Although the upholstery seems to be in good condition the plywood frame is rotten.

This is the seat base. The fabric is about all that is keeping it from falling apart. Although coated brass staples were used to attach the vinyl fabric none of the other materials used in construction seems to have been chosen for marine application in mind.

Seat back looks OK but again it's the fabric that is hiding underlying problems. It took about 4 hours to remove the 600 staples that were used to upholster the whole seat.

The framework was made of non-marine 1/2" plywood. Marine plywood, which is the only lumber product that is still allowed to contain arsenic, is expensive, somewhat difficult to obtain, and requires breathing protection when cutting due to the arsenic in the sawdust so I'll likely use 3/4" pressure treated lumber. That will require some thought because although the frame construction style is simple enough the fit between the seat and the seat back is precise which means overall dimensions must be maintained. RMB

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Goodyear Blimp

Every so often one of the Goodyear blimps will pass over the house which happened yesterday.

Don't know where it might have been headed, possibly Eldora, the race there last evening was televised on HBO. RMB

Wednesday, June 6, 2007




5 ounces of Animal Crackers
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (I would omit the pinch of salt if using salted butter) I've also used Smart Balance

A.) Crush animal crackers into fine crumbs with food processor or place in a sandwich bag and use a rolling pin
B.) Mix in brown sugar and salt
C.) Melt butter in microwave and mix with crumbs
D.) Cut a length of aluminum foil long enough to cover the bottom of an 8 inch square cake pan with enough foil to overlap two sides. Then fold foil to a width of 8 inches. Form to bottom of pan and up and over the sides. You will be using the foil to lift the lime square from the pan. Spray foil with cooking spray.
E.) Place crumb mixture in pan and pack firm with something such as the bottom of a measuring cup.
F.) Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees


2 - 4 regular Persian limes or about 20 key limes if preferred
1 tablespoon of lime zest
1/2 cup of lime juice
2 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk

A.) Wash limes, dry, then grate the skin to obtain the tablespoon of zest
B.) Firmly press and roll limes against a table surface with palm of hand until soft then cut in half and extract juice.
C.) Mix together cream cheese and lime zest
D.) Add condensed milk, egg yoke and lime juice and mix till creamy
E.) Pour mixture over crust and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes
F.) Let cool in refrigerator for several hours.
G.) Grasp aluminum foil ends and lift from pan
H.) Cut into desired size bars


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Phil's Pontoon Boat

Due to the narrow between the pontoons style trailer, Phil's boat is subject to tip-over when making sharp turns which can result in damage as seen here.

With damage repaired for the season, how to guard against it happening again?

Seen here are 2x4 sacrificial guards that were strapped to the pontoons during transport in the hope that if a tip over did occur they would take the damage instead of the boat.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Photos From Easter 2007

Chris helps Grandma look for pans.

Jonathan plays with Chicken Race. RMB