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Friday, October 24, 2014

Antique Martin Steel Silo

 
Tuesday was a glorious October day and I found a different silo construction for our edification. This one is made entirely of curved sheet metal plates, bolted together. To tell you the truth, I don't recall ever seeing a silo like this, but surely this one is not unique. I've looked on line, and can't seem to find any information about this kind, however, the search results are overwhelmed with links to modern metal silos, so there could be something if I search harder. Obviously, this one is not new. The barn is probably 100 years old, given that it has collapsed.

historic metal silo

I thought the top was particularly interesting.

historic metal silo

The silo is made of curved pieces of sheet metal with lipped edges which are bolted together. Here's a view looking up.

antique sheet metal silo
I just had to get a little bit artistic. Well, I tried. There was too much breeze to get the grass to hold still. I was trying to get that interesting rust spot, the grass head and its shadow all in one view.

antique sheet metal silo

Now I have more questions. When I look at an enlarged photo of the connections between the plates it really looks like bolt heads. But that's a LOT of bolts. Isn't it more likely they were riveted? I need to take a picture of the underside of the connections which are in shadow in the pictures I have.

Thanks to some help from Vanilla, I have discovered that this is a Martin Steel Silo. We found pictures of them from Pennsylvania; Menominee, Michigan; Wisconsin; and Vermont. I'll have to do some more sleuthing.

It's a long way from home. I won't be going there any time soon, but maybe I'll have another chance. It actually wasn't too far from the Stone Silo.

See Concrete Stave Silos
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Buried Child

 
Tonight was opening night for the local production of Sam Shepherd's, Pulitzer-Prize-Winning, play, Buried Child. This is not a play for the faint of heart or mind. It's a postmodern tragedy about the death of the American Dream that outdoes Shakespeare in some ways. If you are at all interested I suggest you read about it on Wikipedia because I'm not going to give you the plot line here. This is a drama that will tear your heart out and leave it there on the floor, while all the while you realize that it's all too true. It's disturbing on many levels.

There are only seven characters, all related except two.

Dodge is the family patriarch who is dying and avoids responsibility for anything by denying the problems.

Buried Child

The oldest son is Tilden. He has come home after time in New Mexico, and is now damaged goods.

Buried Child

Dodge's wife, Hallie, bullies everyone, but clearly is somewhat lost in her own reality as well. She mostly talks about their son Ansel, who was killed. She has turned him into a hero in her memory.

Buried Child

While Dodge and Tilden are home alone, Tilden's son, Vince, and his girlfriend, stop by unexpectedly. Vince hasn't been there for six years and no one seems to remember him. Vince doesn't understand why no one recognizes him. Here, he tries to convince his father who he is.

Buried Child

Meanwhile, the other brother, Bradley (who only has one leg as a result of a chain saw accident) has come to the house and assaults Vince's girlfriend, Shelly.

Buried Child

Hallie and Father Dewis are involved in more ways than just creating a memorial for Ansel. This is no secret, and yet the family has a huge secret they don't want to talk about.

Buried Child

Vince goes to the store to buy whiskey but doesn't return until the next day. He is drunk and not making any more sense than the rest of the family.

Buried Child

As I said, I'm not going to tell you the story line. I'd rather just let you have a sense of the drama from the pictures.

The set for this production was absolutely fantastic. I love sets that create different spaces for action that let the audience see more than one "stage" without a set change.

Several members of the cast were outstanding, and that's saying something because this is an extremely difficult play. It's so dark that one has to let that spill over into humor from time to time or it becomes rather unbearable.

I'm really glad to have been able to see this, but it's probably not a play for everyone.

This is the play I tried out for- the part of Hallie, but because it was a college production, roles went to students first and there were more girls who tried out than female parts.

See Theatre
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Still Looking for My House

 
No, the piles aren't quite that deep yet, that I've completely lost the house.

I got "stood up" on a work assignment, so I had some extra time to wander home. Since it was a clear, crisp day I decided to go over the Mason County high point. We've been there before. Even tried to find my house before. But it was hazy when I took those previous pictures.

The road cut is probably 30 feet short of the height of land, but the view is more sweeping from the road. Not to mention how good it looks in autumn! This is a full long shot.

view from Mason County Michigan High Point

Then I went looking for my house. It's easy to find the water tower, which is a mile east of me.

photo label

I saw the sun glinting off something to the west of that. Aha! It's the space station (er... grain elevator)

view from Mason County Michigan High Point

Can you find them both in this shot?

view from Mason County Michigan High Point

Now I worked my way west from the space station. I also went closer to the top of the high point, trying to preserve a sight line to the correct spot, as more trees closed in around me. Something looked familiar. The yellow arrow in the middle of this picture is pointing to our copse of aspen trees that you can see in My Kingdom From On High. Interesting that the leaves were mostly down on Oct 19, of last year.

view from Mason County Michigan High Point

The arrow on the left is the clump of white pines on the hill just west of us, featured in this awesome sunset Timing is So Important. Those are about 10 miles away from where I took the picture.

From almost the very top (you can get 3-4 feet higher, but it's all filled in with sumac and grape vines, so no view), I pulled in a shot straight north. You are seeing more than 10 miles there, but nothing I can recognize.

view from Mason County Michigan High Point

That was a satisfactory stop!

See Mason County High Point for a previous attempt to do this
See The Highest Point for a view of that hill from our house
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hawkins Road

 
Today was chilly but sunny. I was out doing cases, and got to drive some roads I'd never seen before. You know that always makes me happy! Sometimes views have less to do with elevation than with openings between trees. That said, this is only a couple of miles from the Lake County high point. I'll have to try to get there one of these days! (I don't think there are roads- that will be an adventure, but it's in a state forest, so totally legal to go there.)

Anyway, There I was going north on Hawkins Road and at the top of a small hill I had a glimpse of a view to the NE. I backed up and stopped. Here's that vista.

Lake County view from Hawkins Road

I'm including two shots in each direction. That's a lot of pictures, but it's amazing what a difference there is in a slightly different angle, or by using the telephoto.

Lake County view from Hawkins Road

That was what grabbed my attention. Then I turned around and looked back south, the way I came.

Lake County view from Hawkins Road

That one showed a lot of orange, but when I shifted and pulled it in a little the picture is very blue!

Lake County view from Hawkins Road

Then I had to check out the view to the west. This was a more narrow opening to see the far hills.

Lake County view from Hawkins Road

This is more directly west, and less of a long view, but I like it better.

Lake County view from Hawkins Road

And north? No long view at all. But... it was great!


Lake County view from Hawkins Road

This is one of those rare instances when you can actually get a sense of elevation in a picture of a road or trail.


Lake County view from Hawkins Road

Found a couple other nice things, too. Stay tuned. But this was really super!


See Mason County High Point
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Autumn Olive Bonanza

 
I've been wanting to try the traditional method of making fruit juice on autumn olive berries for a couple of years, but picking the fruits is kind of a pain. Unless you stumble across a bush that is loaded like this one!

autumn olive

I cleared this one bush and in about a half hour had a gallon of berries to take home. I had stopped to take pictures of the sunset and discovered several bushes that were loaded. Since this is really a garbage shrub/tree, I'm sure no one cared that I was stealing the berries. Everyone thinks you are nuts when you explain that they make good food.

autumn olive

Yesterday afternoon I turned them into juice. I did pick through the tub to remove the woody sticks and leaves. I'm really glad I did this because I don't think the three Asian lady bugs, the cutworm and the stink bug would have improved the flavor of the final product.

After I boiled the berries, I strained and squeezed the fruit in a jelly bag.

autumn olive juice

I ended up with five quarts of juice. Here are four of them.

autumn olive juice

I still have to put this in canning jars and process them, but I can do that tomorrow or the next day. I'll be posting more about this on Grazing the Ditches, but overall, this still isn't my favorite juice. The berries have a nice tartness to them, but that is lost with both methods of juice making. You end up with something more like fruit punch. The milky texture is a little weird too, although that is only an issue of looks. It's not strange in your mouth.

At any rate, that's my big kitchen project for the week.


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