Riveting

Riveting

 

Today, I had the unique opportunity to spend some unrestricted time in a shop that is rebuilding a B-17G bomber from the Second World War. I was fascinated to see the skilled craftsmen at work restoring the giant plane. While there, I also got to crawl around inside an operational B-25 bomber. You can be sure that as I work through the hundreds of images, I will post the best of the lot for all of you to see.

Meanwhile, I have a lot of post processing to do.

 

 

when I was a chief

How!

 

That's me on the right, the last time I was in charge. My younger brother is in the middle, still wearing a back cast. My older sister is on the left. Aparently, she had something tasty on her fingers.

I had an assignment on another site that required me to post some images of myself, when I was young. I knew which one I wanted to use, but it took me a little while to find it on a little used back up drive. To be honest, it took me a little while to find the back up drive.

As usual, when I finally gave in and asked my wife if she remembered seeing the drive, she reached out and plucked it out of thin air. I think she has a little magic running throuh her as she does this all of the time. She even teased me about it. "What are you looking for? You know I'll find it right away."

And, she did. She is the boss of me now.

 

the beauty of simplicity

Once a month, an old friend and I spend a day together with one goal in mind, to share the day talking and practicing photography. Each month, we alternate who is responsible for planning and making arrangements. May was my turn and I knew exactly where I wanted to bring my friend, Jim.

DSC04668  

Three hours south of my home is a historic village settled by a religious sect called the Shakers. They are famous for their industrious work ethic, quality craftsmanship, simple design sensibility, and their religious life. Though there are only a handful of shakers left, their impact on culture and design have been enormous.

Peg Rail

Shaker design is famous for its simplicity. Straight lines and gentle curves are featured in the furniture, buildings, and products that they make.

Window and Chair 

Shaker homes are orderly. Every item has a place and when not in use, needs to be stored away. Their buildings were kept spotless.

Hanging Chair

Everything must have a purpose. If the shakers could not find a basic use for any object, they had no use for it. This is not to say that the shakers did not enjoy beauty. Everything they made had beauty. However, they did not create art just for art's sake. Instead, the shakers took everyday utilitarian objects and made them beautiful.

Light and Door 

The Shakers lived in large communal homes that were filled with open space and light. Every exterior wall is filled with large windows that let light stream into the room. The light leads you through their buildings from one room to another.

Central Stair 2 

Shakers believe in gender equality, however they do not believe in procreating. Men and women are strictly segregated, each having their own building entrances and stairwells. The sect maintained its numbers through adoption, volunteers and in the early years, indenture.

Attic 

However, as time passed by, the Shaker's belief in no-procreation meant that their congregations could not be sustained. Today, with very few remaining, the Shakers are only remembered for the beauty that they created and left behind.

Knobs and Drawers 

The Shaker village at Pleasant Hill Kentucky is one of the few locations where you can see their legacy. The farm remains active, though now it is primarily staffed by volunteers. The living history museum gives you the opportunity to experience the world of simple beauty created by the Shakers.

Trustee's Stairwell 

The Shakers believe that making something well is like a prayer to God. Though I am not a religious person, I can easily see how the Shakers could see God in the beauty and light that made up their homes, their furniture design and in their simple lifestyles.

seeding the spelt

Suiting Up

 

Saturday, Lee turned the field over in preparation for Sunday's seeding. He arrived early in the morning, fed the animals, and then harnessed up Charlie and Jane, getting them ready for their work day.

 

Filling the Seeder

 

After driving the team from the barn to the field, Lee filled the hopper with spelt seed. If you are not familiar with the plant, it is a short grain in the wheat family. The plant has been sewn for thousands of years and was popular in the Mid East and Europe during medieval times.

 

Seeding Spelt

 

Spelt is the farm's winter crop. The grain will grow until it is harvested in June. I'll be sure to post pictures during the next few months so that you can see the field in the upcoming seasons.

 

Pulling Hard

 

I enjoy watching the powerful animals working. Their muscles ripple and stretch as they pull the seeder through the field. I definitely have the sense that they enjoy the work.

 

Haw, Haw, Haw

 

At the end of each row, Lee turns the team around by hollering Haw… Haw… Haw. Hee for right, Haw for left. The horses know just what to do and coordinate their efforts around the turn and back down the field.

I watched the trio in action all morning, and when Lee took a break, we talked for a while. I could smell the turned earth and the fallen leaves. There was a cool, chilly breeze early on and then the sun warmed the morning up. I know that later this winter, when the cold and snow has forced us indoors for far too long, I can draw upon my memories of this day and hear, smell, and see Lee and crew in action. It's these kinds of memories that carry us northerners through the long winters.

 

 

sorghum syrup

Sorghum Canes

 

A couple weeks back, we took a look at sorghum growing in the field and I told you that it used to be turned into a sweet syrup back in the old days before cane sugar became so cheap. You can still find it in the south but it is no longer mass produced. I thought you might like a recipe for making your own sorghum syrup. I will assume that you probably have an acre or so of the sorghum cane harvested and ready to go.

 

Mules on a Hill

 

The first thing you should do is pick a nice cool morning and get up early. The process is pretty hot so you won't want a warm day. If your mules are already awake in the pasture, you probably over slept. 

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 3

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 4

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 7

 

Your set up should look something like the pictures shown above. Waggons full of sorghum cane, water wagon and steam engine. You can use your draft horses to pull everything into place. You do have draft horses don't you? A friend to help is a good idea. Pick somebody with a weak mind and a strong back for the best results.

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 9

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 8

 

Next, you will want to fire up your steam engine. You do have a steam engine don't you? You don't? You sure you are really dedicated to becoming a sorghum syrup maker? Maybe you can borrow your neighbors steam engine. You will need it to press the canes and boil the juice. Go ahead and get going, I'll wait.

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 5

 

if you reach up and fiddle around with these valves every few minutes, you will make people think you really know what you are doing. They don't really do anything, but part of the process involves looking cool.

 

Oil Can

 

Keep an eye on the oil level as well. If you begin to run low, you can add some from your oil can. Be sure to use authentic steam engine oil.

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 11

 

When your engine has a good head of steam, give it a test run to check that everything is working to order. If your neighbors are sleeping, give a tug on the rope and blow the steam whistle. They will probably appreciate that you are looking after them. Nobody likes to sleep in.

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 12

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 1

 

If everything is running ok, connect your steam engine's drive wheel to your press using a long leather belt. Give the engine some steam and your are ready to go. Start feeding in your sorghum canes.

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 10

 

The press will crush the sorghum canes and free up the juice. You will want to collect the juice in a clean bucket. At this point he juice is a watery sweet liquid with a slight grassy taste.

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 6

 

Once you have collected the juice, pour it into your steam boxes and use the steam from your engine to heat the steam boxes.

 

Making Sorghum Syrup 2

 

The heat will boil the sorghum juice down to a syrup. Every once in a while, skim off the green stuff. You don't want the green stuff. Green stuff is bad, it looks ugly and tastes like grass.

Once you have the syrup all cooked up, you will have enough for the next year. Enough for you and your neighbors, friends, relatives and people that you don't really like, but you have to be nice to, because you work with them.

Now have your favorite cook person make you a big stack of pancakes and biscuits because you have syrup and nothing to put it on! Go on, get going, we are done here.

 

 

gangsta land

Gangsta Sheik

 

I imagine that all of the local "Family" has gotten together for a special occasion. Maybe one of their daughters is getting married. The family gathers around and celebrates. After the festivities are well underway, the bosses slip to library located in the back of the house and discuss business. You had just better hope that it is not your business that they are pondering over.

 

 

 

jewell box

Thrift

 

At the turn of the twentieth century, famed Chicago architect, Louis Sullivan, designed a series of banks in the midwest. Collectively known as jewel box banks because of their beauty, they are all still standing and even better, one is not far from my home. Located in Sidney Ohio, the Peoples Federal Savings and Loan Association bank was built in 1919.

Never heard of Louis Sullivan? He was the inventor of the modern day sky scraper and mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright. I know you have heard of him.

 

 

my dearest sister

New Boston 8

 

Mary Waithe sat down and held the letter in her grasp and looked at the heavy wax seal.  The ivory linen paper trembled slightly as her excitement got the best of her. She had not heard head nor tail from her brother in over a month and she had been frightfully worried that something terrible had befallen him. What foolishness had driven him to join St. Claire in the wilderness of Ohio? Home and safe was where he belonged, not tramping around in the forests chasing Little Turtle and his band of savages.

William's early missives overflowed with excitement as he anticipated the adventure ahead of him. He would spend his ink and paper describing the men that had joined them. Admiration and expectation had clearly been upon his mind.

His last post had been more down to earth as if the varnish of his new life had begun to wear thin with the exhaustion brought on by endless treks, hard labour and boredom. Mary's heart wanted to beg him to come home, while her hand had written words of encouragement. Perhaps this letter would bring better news. Could she hope that he had come to his senses and had decided to return home?

 

New Boston 4

 

Fort Jefferson, Ohio 

November 6th, 1791

 My dearest sister,

I received your letter of the 14th of October and have read it many times this day. Until tonight, I have not had the opportunity to return your warm and encouraging words as we have been unable to make Fort Jefferson until yesterday evening. I know that you are near death with worry from my imposed silence and would remove that fear immediately. I am well enough given the disastrous turn that our fortunes have taken. I assure you that I am well, though you will suffer for hearing our tale.

 

New Boston 5


After much delay and desertion our army was encamped upon the Wabash river in the Ohio territory on the third of this month. Throughout the evening we had glimpses of the Miamee and Shawnee that have been harassing us since we left Fort Washington. The savages have been devilishly sly and refused to give battle, instead using ambuscade to bleed us as would leaches on an infected wound.

 

New Boston 2

 

New Boston 1

 

New Boston 3

 

We were in the midst of breaking fast on the morning of the 4th when Little Turtle's men finally decided to stand and fight, attacking us with more than a thousand men. Our pickets were overwhelmed in an instant and the whooping, screaming devils were amongst us before we could prepare a defense. Those worthless cowards of the Kentucky militia fled instantly, while Genl St Clair struggled to rally the rest of us. That worthy leader would have three horses shot out from beneath him before we would quit the pasture that had been a quiet camp the night before. I cannot allow my thoughts to dwell on the wretched dead and wounded that we left lying for the not so tender mercies of our enemies. Those deamons pursued us hotly for many hours until turning back to begin the molestation of our unfortunate brothers.

Of our force of more than one thousand, we now number scantly more than two hundred souls. Less than a handful can be counted as unscathed. I must confess that I am bandaged about the head. Do not worry as I have suffered more at your own hands while pinching a cookie from your dish. I fear that I cannot offer good news of young John Miles as none have had any view of him since breakfast of that calamitous morning. I fear that he is lost and know that his mother and sisters will suffer greatly at this news.

We expect to return to Fort Washington soon and from there to be disbanded. With the strength of our Lord at my side, I shall be home before the new year.

As ever your devoted brother,

William

 

New Boston 10

 

The ink stained letter sliped from her hand to the table as Mary's limp form slumped in her chair. Though her dear brother William would be home soon, the details surrounding the news was too much for her to take in and she became overwhelmed by emotions. Mary would spend the following day abed before strength would return to her limbs once more.

 

 

thursday packards

Hoodie?

 

Dayton is lucky enough to play host to America's Packard Museum. I had been to the venue once before as part of a corporate event and always wanted to return during the day, when I could put my camera to good use.

 

Packard Window Art

 

The museum is located in an old Packard dealership and by matching the period cars with the proper building, the museum has hit a home run. When you walk in, you are immediately immersed in the experience. Walking from the show room to the old maintenance area, you get the feel of both the front end and the back end of the dealership.

 

Show Room 3

 

Show Room 2

 

The cars range from the turn of the twentieth century to the mid fifties, when the Packard went out of production. During this era, cars were bathed in design details that you can't see on modern automobiles.

 

Rad Cap

 

Mirrored

 

Silver Goose

 

This was my first time shooting cars and I struggled to find a good way to shoot the wonderful lines I found, given the poor lighting in the museum. Still, I had a fantastic time trying.

 

Cockpit

 

Lines

 

Vented

 

With a spare afternoon to spend in Dayton, most people automatically think about visiting the incredible U.S. Air Force Museum. I don't blame them, the AF museum is incredible. However, If you prefer cars over planes and missiles or if you have already seen the jets, the Packard museum provides an outstanding alternative.

 

Red Truck

 

Packard Sign

 

Show Room 4

 

From early race cars and dump trucks to vehicles owned by MacArthur and Al Capone, the museum's collection is really impressive. Go and see it, you really won't be disappointed.

 

A quick note: While going back and researching facts for this post, I noticed that I was only charged $5 to enter the museum, the senior rate. This was the day before my fiftieth birthday. Do I really look like a senior already? Don't you have to be retired to be considered a senior?Maybe I should just relax and enjoy the discount.