Monday, July 30, 2007


The Goodyear Blimp passed over again today at about 10:20 AM. I assume it was coming from Indianapolis where I believe they had televised tennis matches over the weekend.

I wish there had been advance warning as it was lower than normal and I would have liked time to have set up for a more interesting angle that included some landscape.

Although it doesn't move fast compared to a plane it still only takes a few minutes to pass so by the time you grab a camera it's snap, snap and gone. RMB

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Among many events taking place this weekend was the Lake Festival in Celina, Ohio.

The temperature wasn’t so high but it was very humid causing a haze to hang over the lake. Never the less visitors enjoyed events such as jet ski races.

Others took rides in a helicopter.

Some Jeep owners seemed to have had difficulty with parking.

Hinckley has buzzards, Capistrano swallows, but it’s Amphicars that return to Celina. Dozens were on display, some ran about town, while others spent the day going in and out of Grand Lake.

The cars at the show ranged from this Chrysler Town & Country convertible

to street rod pickup trucks.

Two of the more unusual were a DeSoto that had been fitted with a Dodge Viper V10 engine

and this Rambler American, which although difficult to see in the picture, had racing slicks that took up most of its rear undercarriage. RMB

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I went to a farm auction this morning which is really something I don't care much to do but this one was just a couple of miles from home and a few days ago I had seen something that I was interested in.

Among the things being sold was this horse drawn Oliver cultivator. It was in good shape and might have been nice to have. Beside it is a well rusted John Deere model.

Another item I would like to have. It’s a self-unloading corn wagon that was manufactured in Maria Stein, Ohio in the early part of the last century. It was missing its original wheels and axles but the lettering on the box was still readable. It sold for $950.

A couple of tractors, both of which seemed to run pretty well. The Allis-Chalmers WD-45 sold for $2,300. The Deere 4010 went for $6,900. When the 4010 went into production in 1960 the company’s future rested squarely on its success or failure. it sold new for about $4,300. Its introduction marked the end of the Johnny Popper engine, whose origins dated back to the Waterloo Boy.

The reason why I attended the auction was this 1983 20’ pontoon boat which had a 25 hp Johnson outboard. and a single axle Hoosier trailer. The boat had 18" diameter pontoons and wasn't as nice as Phil's boat but it was the trailer I wanted. Although not as ideal as a double axle it does support the toons on rails. The wheels were the same size and had the same bolt pattern as the wheels on Phil’s trailer. I thought if I might happen to be able to buy the boat for no more than $2,500 the wheels/tires could be switched and the trailer swapped for Phil’s. Then I would clean and resell it. The net gain would be a trailer with a wider less tippy stance and support rails. However unsurprisingly it sold for $3,800. RMB

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


This Twin Arch stone culvert is located on the east side of County Road 25A north of Troy, Ohio near the hospital. It is listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places.

Engineered by Samuel C. Forrer, the culvert was contracted to be built by Loring R. Brownell and Norman Summer of Darke County with completion expected in 1836. Their work however was delayed by an outbreak of cholera so John Kline completed the project in 1837 using German immigrant workers. Its purpose was to allow a small ditch to flow underneath the Miami and Erie Canal and empty into the Great Miami River. Only one other similar canal structure is known to exist in Ohio, that one is in Shelby County near New Bern and in an advanced state of disrepair. RMB

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Deciding to take advantage of the low humidity and moderate temperature Barb, Lowell, Shirley, Phil I went for a spur of the moment Monday afternoon pontoon outing on Acton Lake.

In the background behind Lowell is one of the larger pontoon boats docked at the lake. It has a nice camper type enclosure.

Had a picnic dinner that featured slooooooow steamed sweet corn.

A second trip around the lake ended at sunset. RMB

Monday, July 23, 2007


For those who aren’t sure what the difference is between sorghum, corn syrup and molasses. Sorghum is made from juice extracted from the stalk of the sweet sorghum plant, corn syrup is made from juice extracted from the grain of a corn (maze) plant, molasses is a by product of the sugar industry, and Blackstrap is simply molasses from which a greater amount of sugar has been extracted.

Prior to the Civil War sorghum was produced in at least 25 states with Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana accounting for half of the total. During the 1860s it would sell for about 50-60 cents per gallon. After the Civil War sorghum production shifted to the southern states. In the 1880’s and 90’s sweeteners made from both sugar beets and sugar cane proved to be more economical and combined with the rise in use of corn syrup sorghum production declined.

The buildings seen here are from what was once the Weimer’s Sorghum Mill and farm located at the edge of Union City, Ohio on Worth Road.

Established in 1904 by Peter Weimer, then purchased in 1913 by J.H. Weimer, it operated until the 1970s. Farms in the area raised and brought to the mill what many locals referred to as “sugar cane” but was actually the stalk or cane of sweet sorghum, also called “sorgo”. Related to millet, sorghum plants look much like corn when you see them growing in a field as it has similar wide blade-shaped leaves but there are no ears and the leaves, stalk and seed head have a reddish tinge. Stalks of sweet sorghum will stand up to 10 feet tall. More commonly seen on Ohio and Indiana farms today is grain sorghum which is shorter and has a larger seed head, it is grown for livestock feed and known as “Milo”.

This is an old Parker and Hood sorghum mill head that was manufactured in Ripley, Ohio. The mill head would crush the stalks to extract the juice which was then boiled down to produce the syrup.

Sorghum contains nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium and some consider it a healthier sweetener than refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Sorghum can replace honey one to one or molasses reduced by 1/3 in most recipes as long as baking soda is also called for. When a recipe calls for granulated sugar it is best to only replace 50% to 75% of the sugar, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda if none was called for while reducing the liquid by 1/3. RMB

Saturday, July 21, 2007


This is the Levi Coffin house in Fountain City, Indiana a community located on State Route 27 north of Richmond. When the house was built in 1839 the town was named Newport. Coffin is often called the President of the Underground Railroad. One of the slaves who the Coffins hid in their house was "Eliza", whose story is told in the book Uncle Tom's Cabin.

West of Greenville, Ohio on Stingley Road just over the Ohio-Indiana line is another building associated with regional pre-Civil War Quaker and black histories. This old brick school building is all that remains of what was once a unique facility called the Union Literary Institute. Originally it had two stories and was one of three buildings which served as a manual Labor boarding school that educated hundreds of black students between the years 1845 to 1914. It’s hard to imagine now but when first built the school’s location was surrounded by dense forest. It was established by Quakers to serve what was at the time a community of free Negro families known as the “Greenville Settlement” (aka Tampico and later Longtown). For more information about the ULI visit:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Hannah Zmuda gives a tour of the plantation she and her garden club class established and are tending in Oxford, Ohio this summer.

Abbey Zmuda demonstrates the use of one of the benches provided "For The Children Of Oxford". RMB

Monday, July 16, 2007


The paint on Phil’s 1992 Plymouth Voyager was getting pretty bad.

The top had extensive rusting that needed to be attended to or it was eventually going to become a sunroof. It’s a good old van but its market value is probably $1,000 or less so having a shop remove the rust and paint it just wouldn’t be justified.

Phil purchased this $70 HVLP paint outfit from Harbor Freight. HVLP paint guns alone that are suitable for spaying automotive finishes start at about twice the price of this complete outfit so expectations were not too high. However it seemed like it had to be better than the alternative which would have been to use a brush or foam applicator.

The finished result using Ferguson tractor gray paint. As expected, the quality isn’t that great but certainly better than it was. The sprayer was also used to paint the pontoons on his boat after repairs were done earlier this year and will be used to paint its trailer and other likely projects.

Having the van turned out to be a lucky break for me because I blew a rear brake line on my truck on July 07 and it gave me a vehicle to use to chase parts that I needed to make repairs. With that done the Voyager goes back home tomorrow. RMB

Sunday, July 15, 2007


In the past there have been several tractors built in Ohio including the Silver King manufactured by the Fate-Root-Heath Company of Plymouth, the Cletrac made by the Cleveland Tractor Company, and the pioneer Huber of Marion, Ohio which was in business for 40 years.

This little tractor was built in Chagrin Falls. It's a 1949 Leader Model D made by the Leader Tractor Mfg. Co. It is owned by Regina Dotson of West Mansfield, Ohio. She has named it "Princess Lea".

The 2,500 pound tractor had a 35 horsepower, 4 cylinder, Hercules engine rated to pull two 12 inch plows. Other features included hydraulic lift, PTO, and a belt pulley. RMB

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The 2007 Farm Power Of The Past antique tractor and engine show was held last weekend at the Darke County Fairgrounds. Among the displays were these two engines that had been made in Greenville.
This 4 horsepower stationary gas engine was built buy the Wogaman Mfg. Co. in 1906.

The small steam engine seen here was rated at 3 horsepower. It was made in Greenville from 1884-1887 by Lucas Garrigues & Co. to power machinery used in businesses such as creameries and laundries. RMB

Friday, July 6, 2007


Old oak tree located near the boat ramps at Acton Lake. I estimated that it measures about 23 feet in circumference at the base.

Jean made cookies and let the girls decorate them.

The basic principle of decorating seems to be to ice the cookie thoroughly and then cover it with as many M&Ms as possible. The ratio being about half a bag of candies per eight cookies.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


July 4, 1910. Due to a wreck that had occurred at Sharonville, Ohio a southbound Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis (Big Four) Twentieth Century Limited passenger train was rerouted over the tracks of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad. A northbound C,H & D freight was ordered to clear the way by sidetracking at West Middletown. It was 1:02pm, as the freight began backing into the siding, the limited came around the corner out of Poasttown at 60 mph driving head-on into the freight. The crash was heard from miles around, thirty-six people died. This train wreck made such an impression on the community that it is credited, along with the 1913 flood, as having been responsible for the decision to build the Middletown Regional Hospital.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


The upholstery is on and the seat is ready to put back in the boat.