Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for September, 2018

Get Ready to Rope

Bev Hachita 001A short true adventure

Cowboys began roping as part of ranch work to brand or medicate their calves. It became a contest to see which cowboy could do it the quickest. Their goal was to throw a lasso around a calf’s head, jump off their horse, tie three of the calf’s legs together, and finish the trick as fast as possible. This led to roping contests at rodeos and fairs.

   Recently, a new type of roping sprang up. My first experience with this happened in a small town of about thirty people called Hachita, New Mexico. The only disturbance in this small town might be a dust devil coming down the street or a Border Patrol helicopter flying overhead.

   One week in 1996, they decided to try this new kind of roping…a chicken roping. Yes, chickens, with feathers flying and beaks crowing. One roper told those watching, “If it has legs, it can be roped.”

   Bev Chicken Roping 001   Now this kind of roping would not be done from a horse and would require a different kind of lasso. Just a heavy piece of string is used, so they don’t choke the chicken.

   Just like in the world of cattle, the chickens they roped all had names. The meaner the animal, the meaner its name. Names like Jalapeno Joe, Cholulu Chuy or Red Hot Flame were typical.

   A large crowd of over fifty people gathered to witness the chicken roping. The chicken would be let out of a box and the cowboy would be timed to see how fast he could rope it. The one who roped it the fastest won a Chicken Roping Belt Buckle with a turquoise stone found in the Little Hatchet Mountains nearby.

   Small towns often have fun in unusual ways. A mural of the Chicken Roping was painted by a traveling artist on the outside of the bar there. Inside on the wall were pictures of the winners. It soon became an annual event with even larger crowds.

   And afterward? What else, but a good old-fashioned chicken BBQ.

Hachita Liquor Saloon was no longer in operation on my last trip west. The paintings on the building were done by an old friend, C.M. Scott, a cowboy artist.

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Creative Endeavors Inspired Phoenix Rising Venture

 

Rugs- Carol and Rugs

She makes rugs in many patterns and sizes. They last a long time!

Phoenix Rising gives new life to materials that have exhausted their original use. Carol Bridwell, from the New Concord area, thinks of ways for them to be reborn into unique and colorful pieces to accent your home or place of business.

   She participates in many local festivals including Art on the Square in Caldwell, Raven’s Glen Winery Red, Wine and Blue Fest, Y-Bridge Arts Festival, and Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. But Carol didn’t begin displaying her work until after she retired.

Rugs - Star Barn

Creativity runs in the family. Her great-grandfather created barns in Noble County and used a star as his signature mark. Carol displays a part of one of those old barns.

   This lovely lady first worked at AK Steel Mill in Zanesville. She started as an hourly employee and worked up to a manager. By retirement, she had managed every operating area. Her energy knows no bounds. Even though she enjoyed crocheting at the age of six, it wasn’t until after retirement that she began to get serious about her creative side.

Rugs - First Loom

Her first loom has been strung with cotton warp to begin a new rug with a beautiful pattern.

   Her interest in weaving all started over thirty years ago when Carol bought her first loom. She knew this was something she would enjoy as she always enjoyed fabric – the threads and patterns. Guess she was a natural for weaving. But one of those early rugs sat unfinished in the loom for five years.

   When asked about the name for this new business, Carol explained, “The Phoenix has always been a strong image of rebirth to me, so I chose the name Phoenix Rising to indicate that this venture was a new direction, and would continue to develop and grow.” Sounds like a great choice.

Rugs - Warp

Spools of cotton warp on the wall provide a pleasant and relaxing decor for her weaving room.

  Hand-woven rugs are her specialty, and some are quite large. She enjoys mixing fabrics and colors to achieve a very special look and feel. Her rugs are very popular as they are washable and seem to last forever. Some people have had one of her rugs for twenty years. They are something you can use and enjoy every day.

Rugs - Room Addition

This is her own special room for weaving, crafts, and her collection of pottery and glass.

   A special room was added to their house just for her looms and creative supplies. And she has filled it quite well. Over a thousand spools of cotton warp can be found in a lovely pattern on the wall. The only reason she knows that figure is because her grandson counted them.

Rugs - Tests colors

Carol tests the color of the fabric and warp to see how well they combine.

   When she sees a piece of art, her mind begins thinking about how she can create a rug out of that pattern. She uses the cotton warp and cotton salvage fabric in these designs. Reusing worn out items also appears to be a pattern that Carol follows. She buys the salvage fabric 150 lbs at a time with no idea as to what colors or patterns will be in that package.

Rugs - Adding fabric

After the threading is complete, cotton fabric is added to create a beautiful pattern.

   It takes about twelve hours to make a rug. Her grandson remarked, “People have no idea how complicated it is to make a rug.” And he is definitely correct. Each strand has to be threaded on the loom and tied individually. Plus, they must be done in the correct order and number of strands so the pattern emerges. It’s amazing!

Rugs - Sign Display at Festival

These are just a sample of the signs displayed at Salt Fork Festival.

   While rug-making is at the top of her list, Carol dabbles in many other creative endeavors. She might use concrete, beams from an old barn, or boards from an old corral. The possibilities from her mind seem to be endless. Did I forget to mention that Carol also helps her son on their hog farm? This lady never stops.

Rugs - Pallet Cow

This cow, made of wooden pallets, was displayed in her Phoenix Rising booth.

   Wood from pallets can be used to make boxes and signs, then designs are added for different occasions. Recently, she has been trying some wood burning. Animal silhouettes are another use of the pallet wood. Many of these are based on real animals. Her dog, Clyde, and their grandson’s goat, Gilbert, are just a couple examples of those special family pets used for models.

Rugs- Model Clyde

Her friendly dog, Clyde, served as a model for some of her wooden silhouettes.

   Her daughter, Alicia, helps with the painting of the signs, and both her daughters help her with her displays. But the creative part is mainly done by Carol.

   Someday she would like to fulfill another dream – cheese making. She grew up with grandparents who loved cheese. But Carol doesn’t just want to make any cheese, she hopes to make sheep cheese and already has the place planned for this project. She prefers sheep cheese because it has higher butterfat and mild taste. After all, it’s the most prolific cheese in the world.

Rugs- Dog Signs

An assortment of signs about dogs is displayed on a table in her special room.

   As you can probably imagine, she doesn’t give much time to sleeping – usually about four hours a night. She works in the shop in the afternoon and does her weaving in the evening. In case she gets an idea during the night, she keeps a sketch pad beside her bed.


Rugs - at Festival

Carol spent time working on a rug at last year’s Salt Fork Festival.

   You’ll want to stop by the booth of Phoenix Rising at the Salt Fork Festival in 2018 for their 50th Anniversary. Carol has attended the festival for many years and enjoys the great variety of vendors that appear each year. Her booth provides a colorful and interesting addition. You might even be lucky enough to watch her working on a rug.

You can contact Carol Bridwell at 740-319-1673 or csbridwell@roadrunner.com if you have any questions about her creative work.

A Whole Lot of Poppin’ Goin On at Wyandot Popcorn Museum

The better way to snack!

Wyandot Overview

The museum carries a circus theme under a red, white and blue canopy.

Popcorn and circus tents seem to go hand in hand so it’s no surprise that the inside of the Wyandot Popcorn Museum in Marion resembles a large circus tent. Under the tent, you’ll discover the largest collection of restored popcorn antiques in one place. This is one of only two popcorn museums in the world with working machines, the other one also being in Ohio at Holland.

Wyandot Factory

Wyandot Snacks now occupies the old popcorn factory.

   This collection began as part of a research project on the history of the Wyandot Popcorn Company by George K. Brown. At first Brown kept his collection in a one-room schoolhouse built in 1882. W. Hoover Brown, the founder of Wyandot Popcorn Company, attended this school and started the company there. But soon the collection exceeded the space available.

Wyandot Popcorn Museum in Marion

Wyandot Popcorn Museum is located in an old U.S. Post Office in Marion.

   After having displays at several locations, in 1989 the ninety-year-old U.S. Post Office building in downtown Marion became available for purchase. Heritage Hall became the perfect place for not only the Wyandot Popcorn Museum but also the Marion County Historical Society. So when you come for a visit, you get two museums for the price of one.

Wyandot Cracker Jack display

Informative guide, Val Mettler, explained that Wyandot made Cracker Jack for a decade.

   At this point, the Wyandot Popcorn trustees agreed to give financial support to the project if they could maintain 40% of the display space on the first floor for their popcorn memorabilia. The guides at the museum make the popcorn history come alive through the meaningful stories they tell.

Wyandot Paul Newman

This 1909 Dunbar horse-drawn wagon was used by Paul Newman to introduce his new line of popcorn in New York City.

   A machine owned by Paul Newman is a favorite at the museum. When Newman decided to move into the popcorn industry, he wanted to work with a purely American company so he chose Wyandot with a little friendly persuasion from George Brown. The cart on display was used in New York City to introduce his popped corn.

Wyandot Popcorn

Different varieties of popcorn create different shapes when popped.

   The owner, Brown, worked diligently to create hybrid popcorn grains that would have the proper moisture content so grains would pop evenly and there would be no unpopped kernels, called Old Maids, left behind. They also developed grains that would have bigger kernels when popped so it would take less popcorn to fill a bag.

Wyandot Circus Wagon Barnum & Bailey

Barnum & Bailey used this popcorn machine and peanut roaster.

   In 1996, Wyandot Popcorn Co had a major fire and the factory was closed for about a year. During that time, George paid more than 300 workers 60% of their regular pay as well as providing medical insurance for their families. When they resumed operation, each worker received a $1,000 bonus. It’s no surprise that 98% of the employees returned to work. With goodwill like this, it makes you want to find some Wyandot products to purchase.

Wyandot Sign

The sign’s logo indicates the town’s connection to the Wyandots, an early area Indian tribe.

   Today the business operates under the name, The Wyandot Snack Co., although now they make more than just popcorn. They produce grain-based snacks such as tortilla chips, cheese curls, corn chips and candy covered popcorn. The smells from their company at the edge of town let everyone know what they’re making that day.

Mr. Popcorn

Poppy is the mascot for Marion’s annual Popcorn Festival.

   Each September, the first weekend after Labor Day, Marion holds a Popcorn Festival starting with a parade on Thursday evening. This is the largest popcorn festival in the world and the weekend is filled with activities and entertainment. Admission to the museum is free this weekend of Sept. 6-8.

Wyandot Holcomb & Hoke

This beautiful 1918 Holcomb & Hoke buttered each kernel individually.

   Regular visiting hours for the museum through October are Wednesday thru Sunday from 1-4. Remember there’s more to see in Marion as this is the home of President Warren G. Harding. That will require a future Gypsy Road Trip.

Wyandot Box of Popcorn

Everyone receives a free box of popcorn when they finish the tour.

   Stop in at Wyandot Popcorn Museum for a poppin’ good time!

Wyandot Popcorn Museum is located at 169 E Church Street in Marion, Ohio, which is north of Columbus on Route 23. You can park on the street or there is handicapped parking in the rear. 

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