Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Cambridge’ Category

Buzz On In for Reynolds Honey

Bee George and Marcia

George and Marcia Reynolds have worked well together for fifty-five years.

Buzzing bees sound like music to the ears of George and Marcia Reynolds. Since 1972, they’ve had hives of bees and their reason for starting this venture had nothing to do with pollination or honey.

Bee Flowers

No surprise that you are greeted at their home by a bed of flower blossoms for the bees.

George suffered with arthritis after a childhood bout with polio. Doctors told him he would be in a wheelchair by the age of forty. However, George heard about a bee sting therapy they were experimenting with in Canada, that might cure arthritis. He bought his first hive to see if it would work.

Obviously, it did, because forty-five years later, George has no signs of arthritis and is quite active as he cares for forty hives of bees. Not all are at his farm as he often places one or two colonies at friends’ houses as a favor to the landowner.

Even he admits he blundered through that first colony and suffered some painful bee stings. A fellow beekeeper told him that bees shouldn’t be that nasty. What he needed was a new queen. It worked. With the new queen, the colony became much gentler.

Bee Covering

George wears a long sleeved white shirt and veiled hat while working with the bees.

Most of the equipment he uses is economically homemade. After he puts on a long sleeve white shirt, he covers his head with a veiled hat. His smoker confuses the bees so he can more easily use a special tool to open the hive. In order to get close to the bees, George even provided a veil for me to wear. No stings received.

Bee Smoker

A smoker is used to remove scents and confuse the bees.

The story of honey production centers around the queen bee, who does nothing but lay eggs…500 to 2000 a day! She’s even able to decide which kind of egg she will lay – drone or worker bee.

Bee Hives

There are about forty bee hives scattered around their farm.

The worker bees gather pollen from a variety of blossoms to bring back to the hive to feed the queen, and store for their winter food. Then the housekeeper bee packs it into the cells. To remove most of the water from the nectar, they fan it with the rapid movement of their wings.

Bee New Hive

Bees were transferred board by board to their new hive.

Bee Transfer

Many bees keep busy in the hive storing honey for winter.

Beekeepers only take a small portion of their food for us to enjoy, so the bees have plenty of food left for winter.

Bee Honey Board

This board has been covered in honey, which George will soon process and put in bottles.

After George scrapes the honey off a frame, he breaks it into pieces by centrifugal force using an extractor. It flows to the bottom of the extractor and pours from the spigot through a strainer to get out the larger particles. He never touches the honey himself and it is never heated as that would remove helpful qualities.

If you use honey for medicinal purposes, local honey created from local blossoms is your best bet. It can even be used to reduce scars after surgery. George doesn’t spray his bees or vegetation so Reynolds Honey is chemical free.

Bee Honey

They frequently sell their honey at the local Farmers Market.

His wife, Marcia, isn’t eager to work closely with the bees. She helps with bottling and labeling after the honey is harvested.

George remarked, “I learn something new each year.” That’s remarkable since he’s been working with bees a long time. When customers comment on how great his honey tastes, he tells them, “I have nothing to do with that. Every batch tastes different. It all depends on what blossoms the bees find.”

If you would like to be a beekeeper, talk to someone who has been doing it for years. It’s scary at first so you need someone to encourage you. The local Guernsey/Noble Beekeepers Association would be the perfect place to begin.

Bee Cucumber

Fun in his garden resulted in this cucumber grown inside a water bottle.

In their spare time, George and Marcia have a large garden and two 30X56 greenhouses. Heirloom varieties create some unusual plants for the garden. This year he’s experimenting with sesame. The seeds came from plants at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. A White Heron cucumber also thrives in his garden. He shared with me a cucumber grown in a water bottle.

George also carves wooden horses and has made each child in the family a small barn for their carved horses. Marcia relaxes with crocheting and adult coloring books.

It’s easy to see the Reynolds are busy as bees all year long.

If you would like some of the Reynolds Honey, visit George and Marcia during the summer months at Farmers Markets in Cambridge and New Concord. Other times, call George at 740-872-3865.

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Historical Kennedy Stone House at Salt Fork State Park

Kennedy Stone House 2

Kennedy Stone House is located at Salt Fork State Park.

Visits to Salt Fork State Park should include a stop at Kennedy Stone House Museum. Built in 1840, this sandstone house today overlooks the tranquil lake.

Kennedy Castle

This picture of  Culzean Castle shows the family’s background.

The Kennedy clan originated in Scotland, where they lived in beautiful Culzean Castle perched on the Ayrshire Cliffs. Benjamin Kennedy, the original owner of this house, was born right here in Ohio in Harrison County. He bought the land in 1837 where the Stone House stands today.

His grandfather, Samuel, was a well known doctor in New Jersey. It has often been said that Dr. Kennedy had the “Scottish gift of second sight”. There was a “panic” in 1837 and no one had much money. Some have wondered whether Benjamin got the money to purchase the land and build the house from his grandfather’s estate.

Kennedy Root Cellar

The root cellar kept Kennedy food cool in the summer and from freezing in the winter.

He hired an Irish family, who some say worked barefoot, to build him a four room stone house at a cost of $500. For another $60, he also built a root cellar to store their foods to keep them fresh. Benjamin, his wife and six children settled on their eighty acre farm along Sugar Creek where they made a living raising sheep.

At that time, you could reach their home on a dirt roadway by horseback or horse and buggy. In the early years of Salt Fork State Park, you would reach the Kennedy Stone House by taking a hiking trail through the woods or arriving over the water. Today you can still use those means or if you prefer, drive down a short country lane and park very near the house.

Kennedy View

Today the view from the Kennedy bedroom shows a peaceful lake.

Restoration on the old house began in 2000 by Friends of the Kennedy Stone House under the leadership of Pauli Cornish. While the basic structure remains the same, there are few original furnishings or items.

Kennedy Salt Fork Sign

Leftover sandstone blocks from the summer kitchen were used for this entrance sign.

Stones left over from the summer kitchen were used to create the entrance sign for Salt Fork State Park. Little did they dream at that time that the house would someday be restored.

Kennedy Fireplace

The oxen yoke used in building the stone house hangs above the summer kitchen fireplace.

Above the sandstone fireplace in the summer kitchen hangs an oxen yoke used by the oxen that hauled the sandstone to the site by the Irish masons, who built this beautiful house. All the blocks for the house came from their property. The summer kitchen was an important addition as it kept the main house cooler in summer.

Kennedy Chest

This trunk carried precious pines from Maine to plant at Vietta’s new home.

Upstairs is an ornate old chest used by Vietta, the wife of son Matthew, to bring two pine saplings from her home in Maine to be planted in front of the Kennedy home. Both have now been removed.

Kennedy Bed

Visitors demonstrate how to use that extra blanket on the rolling pin bed.

Upstairs you’ll find tools and information about those Merino sheep they raised. You are welcome to feel that soft wool. In the bedroom, you’ll find a unique rolling pin bed. The bottom of the bed looks like a large rolling pin. It has a blanket wrapped around it so if you get cold in the middle of the night, you can easily reach down and unroll an extra blanket.

Kennedy Sheep Display

A small section upstairs gives information regarding the sheep the family raised.

If you have the spirit of adventure, another path leads three quarters of a mile to McCleary Cemetery. There are over 200 graves there, most being local people. Benjamin, his father Moses, and many other Kennedys are buried in Irish Ridge Cemetery.

The first people buried there were McClearys, who owned a saw and grist mill in the area. Miss McCleary, a school teacher, lived in the Stone House for a time. Sometimes she rewarded an excellent student by letting them spend the night at the Stone House.

Kennedy Docents

Sisters, Elaine Lipps and Jane Ransom, greet visitors and tell the Kennedy history.

Now, volunteers man the Kennedy Stone House Museum from May through October. If you would enjoy dressing in period costume and telling the Kennedy story, there is a docent cabin available for volunteer use at no cost…just bring your own linens. You can then enjoy up to a week at the lake while helping at the Stone House during the day.

Kennedy Cornish Cabin

Volunteers get to stay in this lovely little cabin near the Stone House.

Presently they have forty-seven docents that come from Maryland, Virginia and all over Ohio. Their visitors have arrived from as far away as Russia and India. Recently Robert Cody Kennedy, a young descendant of the Kennedy family, heard about the house and stopped by to see the house his ancestors built. His father in Tennessee still receives an invitation each year for their family reunion in Scotland.

Kennedy Picnic Shelter

A picnic shelter by the Stone House was the perfect place for an art class to take a break.

Stop by the Kennedy Stone House Museum to get a glimpse of life in Guernsey County in the early 1800s. Sit on the porch steps and feel the footsteps of the past as you enjoy the present day view of the lake. Soak in that peaceful feeling.

To arrive at Salt Fork State Park, take Exit 47 from I-77, which will be US Route 22 North.  It’s approximately six miles to the Salt Fork State Park entrance on the left hand side. Watch signs carefully for directions to the Stone House once you reach the Salt Fork Lake Region.

Rich Simcox: A Life of Musical Adventures

Rich Choir Director

Rich SImcox considers music his vocation and avocation.

I fell into a lot of lucky spots.” That’s how Rich Simcox describes his musical career. “ It’s not always what you know, but who you know that matters most.” But his great musical talent certainly enabled those connections.

Rich Pickin' 001 (2)

The “pickers and grinners” met  in the summer on Uncle Joe’s porch. They entertained the entire neighborhood.

Rich grew up surrounded by music. His mother’s family were “pickers and grinners”, while his father’s family reached out to classical and Dixieland. Rich wanted to emulate his dad.

Dick Simcox, Rich’s dad, directed school music programs in Bucyrus during Rich’s youth. In fourth grade, Rich started playing the trumpet, which remains his favorite instrument.

His dad knew teaching music to be a vocation of long hours and short vacations. He told his two sons and daughter, “I don’t care what you do, as long as you don’t go into music.” They all chose music.

Dick Simcox 001 (2)

His dad, Dick Simcox, gave him musical inspiration.

The Simcox family history shows their deep Cambridge roots. Rich was born there, his dad grew up there. Grandpa Simcox performed vaudeville at the Strand and Liberty theaters. Great-grandpa Simcox had a harness shop by the courthouse. It seemed only natural for Rich to drift back this direction.

He admits to being a gypsy at heart so he has been on many musical adventures. That all started when he became a member of the Air Force Band, one of his favorite musical journeys. Most of the time they worked out of Scott Air Force Base in Missouri. The 45 piece band played for parades, school concerts, community events, and military funerals.

Muskingum College Jazz Group

When attending Muskingum College, he played in many campus bands.

In the 70s, his dad moved to Tri-Valley High School and in his spare time formed “The Dick Simcox Big Band”. Rich at the time was attending Muskingum College so became part of his dad’s band. When his dad passed in 1979, Rich decided he would keep the band performing as long as possible. One thing he wanted to do was always keep his dad’s name as the name of the band.

While his biggest inspiration remained with his dad, he also listened carefully to Al Hirt and Doc Severinsen. Rich said he always hoped to emulate the tunefulness and tone quality of Bobby Hackett, coronet player.

Rich Simcox Jazz Band 001 (2)

The Dick Simcox Big Band provided music around the Tri-State area.

Locally, Rich taught music at several high schools as well as Muskingum College. Many remember him coming to their homes for private lessons. He has led many musical groups in the area over the years, including: Barbershop Chorus, Sweet Adelines, and Land ‘O Lakes Chorus.

His involvement with music in the area extends to many organizations and listing them all would take an entire page. To name a few, he has played trumpet or french horn in Cambridge City Band, Coshocton Lake Park Band, Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra and Zanesville City Band. He’s directed musicals at Living Word and Cambridge Performing Arts Center.

Rich Dick Simcox Band 001

Here the band plays at the Cambridge Concert Association at the Scottish Rite Auditorium. That’s Rick sitting in the wheel chair.

While directing has been one of his strong points, participating as an actor gave him great pleasure at CPAC. He played lead roles in popular musicals such as “The Music Man”, “Carousel” and “The Flower Drum Song”. His talent in so many varied musical arenas led him to say, “Music is my vocation and avocation.”

This outstanding musician played trumpet on cruise ships and has kept the “Dick Simcox Big Band” alive with performances throughout the area. Rich reflects, “I’ve done more than I ever thought I would.”

Rich in Church Choir

Singing in the church choir has given Rich pleasure for nearly forty years.

Directing the choir at First Christian Church in Cambridge since 1978 still gives him great pleasure. The church music lifts his soul as they make a joyful noise to the Lord. In his spare time, he also enjoys camping and fishing.

Rich Church Choir

He frequently directs the choir with some challenging music.

It’s a tragedy to Rich that schools are doing away with music programs. There’s a big correlation between participation in musical activities and excellence in other areas of study. He feels that the reason this area has so many talented musicians today comes from great music teachers, such as Howdy Max, John Matheny, Max Trier, Diane Box, and Todd Bates.

Rich perhaps gave the best description of his role in music. He’s a musical engineer, who organizes whatever needs done or put together. But admitted he couldn’t do it without networking with all his connections.

According to those who know him well, Rich’s specialty is motivation. “He can get more out of most people than they think they can produce.” Music has been a lifelong adventure for Rich.

Radio Enthusiast Enjoys Broadcasting

Boyer Logo 001

This WBPS 101.9 FM logo provides easy public recognition of their station.

Turn the radio on  and listen to WBPS 101.9 FM, where you can hear Good Time Oldies and Great American Standards, all day and all night.

Many remember sitting on the floor by the radio listening to those old classics. However, “watching” the radio fascinated Boyer Simcox when he was a child. While listening he saw the shows in his mind, but when TV came around the shows didn’t match his imagination. Radio always remained his preference.

WBPS Studio

The radio equipment in this one room provides entertainment throughout the Cambridge area.

Just out of high school, Boyer volunteered at a radio station in Wheeling, where he did a half hour talk show called “Firing Line”. Here he interviewed many interesting guests including John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum. One special show happened at the time of the Kent State shootings and so many questions came in that the producer told him to keep going as long as listeners were interested.

Over the years, Boyer has held many intriquing positions where he was helping someone. One thing can be certain, he has always done what he wanted to do. He’s worked as Director of Social Services, Director of Area Agency on Aging, and even owned a couple restaurants, but always wanted his own radio station.

WBPS Mixing Board

Their mixing board gives Boyer opportunity to make instant changes, or set up programming ahead of time.

Back in 1984, he called the FCC to see if a frequency was obtainable. None were available at that time, so he waited. Then in 2013, the FCC released several frequencies for non-profit or community stations. Boyer applied.

One morning in 2013, while watching the Today Show with his wife Judy, Boyer happened to check the FCC site on his tablet. He was listed on their approval list! Immediately, he handed the tablet to Judy to prove he wasn’t dreaming.

WBPS Judy

Judy frequently helps by giving public service announcements.

Paperwork began. Deadline for being on the air was 18 months. He decided to purchase a package with everything he needed except the antenna. When he received it, Boyer wondered, “What have I done?” There were many unanswered questions as the package had no instructions.  Boyer used the internet for information and several small radio stations formed a forum to answer questions and share information.

Work progressed slowly until he had everything assembled and all the wires connected. But when he turned it on, nothing happened. Time was getting short for his deadline, then one night at 3:00 in the morning in November, 2014, Boyer rested in bed thinking about those wires.

WBPS CDs

A handy supply of CDs provides variety to the programmed music.

It came across his mind that two wires needed to be switched. Changing those two little wires brought his station to life. Excitedly Boyer hopped in his car and drove all over town to see how far WBPS could be heard. When he stopped on Wheeling Avenue, he looked down and discovered that he still had on his robe and slippers. However, he discovered that the station could be heard all over Cambridge.

WBPS Boyer at controls

Boyer spends many hours at the controls of WBPS, and enjoys every minute.

Now into his third year of broadcasting, he has country-wide contacts, who share their shows with him. Bluegrass from West Virginia, polkas from Minnesota, and movie tunes from New Philadelphia are a few of those connections. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a featured show as well as Bill Gaither, who agreed to share his program after just one phone call.

WBPS airs around the clock these days. People listen to it all night long and also use it in the workplace because it’s happy, up-beat music.

There’s no need for local news or sports here as AVC radio stations do an excellent job of covering those items. However, Don Keating, local amateur meteorologist, does an outstanding job of broadcasting up-to-date local weather.

WBPS Boyer and Judy

Boyer and Judy feel this is a great hobby that adds enjoyment to the listening area. Their cat, Mr. Lucky, sometimes tries a little programming himself.

Boyer and Judy Simcox feel WBPS is their gift to the community. They both participate in radio operation on and off the air. Everyplace they go, people stop and thank them for the familiar music. It made Boyer smile when a listener told him he wouldn’t get out of the car until a song was finished. That makes it all worthwhile.

Listeners tune in for the Pennyroyal live on Friday, the Wheeling Jamboree on Saturday and  then a day of spiritual songs – Our Sunday Best.

In the future, Boyer would like to feature more local groups on the air. If groups have a CD they would like to share, contact him at wbpsradio@yahoo.com . If anyone has an interest in volunteering or has ideas for the station, Boyer’s always ready to listen and is eager for more local participation.

WBPS Digital Alert System

The Emergency Digital Alert System is handy for national emergencies.

If non-profit groups would like to have announcements made on WBPS, send him an email as there is no cost. He even shares them with his network of radio friends.That’s what Community Radio is all about.

When asked what he does for fun, Boyer answered quickly, “I’m having it.” His advice to everyone would be, “Don’t be afraid to try something new.” It never occurred to him that he couldn’t do it.

Music comforts the soul, especially those songs you have known most of your life. That’s why WBPS is becoming a favorite station for seniors in the area. Twenty-four hours a day,  it plays those songs that make you smile.

Listen to WBPS 101.9 FM and you’ll find yourself singing along with those old-time favorites. You just can’t help it.

Evidence of Bigfoot in Southeastern Ohio

Bigfoot Newcomerstown

This large Bigfoot outside The Feed Barn keeps an eye on customers.

Bigfoot captures the attention and following of many residents of Southeastern Ohio. Frequent meetings are held all year with devotees telling of their latest sightings and experiences with the illusive Bigfoot.

Recently an employee of Salt Fork State Park saw something large stand up along the road as she was driving past Hosak’s Cave in the park. This Bigfoot ran into the woods, but left behind a large footprint, which the Bigfoot investigators made into a plaster cast.

Bigfoot Crossing

It’s no surprise that in the Salt Fork Lake area you might find a Bigfoot Crossing.

Each spring, Salt Fork State Park holds Ohio Bigfoot Conference, which draws hundreds to listen to the latest information about Sasquatch, another name for Bigfoot. This year those dates are May 19 and 20. Cliff Barackman from Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Bigfoot Orrs

Vicky Veselenak shares a passion for Bigfoot with her dad, Marvin Orr.  You can have lunch with Bigfoot at Orr’s Drive-in.

Several area businesses use Bigfoot as a drawing card. In Byesville, Marvin Orr at Orr’s Drive-In placed a statue of Bigfoot beside their picnic tables. Marvin and his daughters frequently attend Bigfoot meetings and conferences. After hearing all the stories told by ordinary people, it makes them believe there’s ‘something’ out there.

Daughter Vicky used the Bigfoot theme in her classroom in Rolling Hills for years. Her bulletin boards were alive with his image, wooden Bigfoots made great hall passes and she designed her own six foot tall Bigfoot with a jigsaw. Stop by Orr’s and have lunch with Bigfoot.

BF The Feed Barn

Three Bigfoot statues draw attention to The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown. Doyle Donathan, manager, enjoys sharing stories about this mysterious creature.

The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown displays and sells Bigfoot statues and tee shirts because of all the sightings in the area. Recently, a young boy was crossing the railroad tracks down by the Tuscarawas River and checked both ways to make sure no train was coming. No train in sight, but he did see a Bigfoot step across the track easily with one long stride.

Bigfoot Caldwell

Denny Crock keeps customers watching as he frequently dresses Bigfoot as a snowboarder, fisherman, or even ready for Jamboree in the Hills. It’s difficult to find his shirt size – 7X.

In Noble County at the Caldwell Food Center Emporium, you will be greeted by Bigfoot at the entrance to the parking lot. Denny Crock, owner, knew people talked about Bigfoot frequently so wanted a concrete statue at his store. This 6’2”, 2400 pound creature attracts much attention.

Bigfoot Salt Fork

This carved, restrained, wooden statue hangs out in Wildlife Lounge at Salt Fork Lodge.

Out at Salt Fork Lodge, Ohio Bigfoot Conference donated a carved wooden statue since their meeting provides Salt Fork Lodge its largest conference of the year. Rooms and cabins are filled to capacity this weekend and the Lodge Gift Shop has record sales with their wide range of memorabilia.

Bigfoot Gift Shop

The hottest items at the Salt Fork Lodge Gift Shop are tee shirts. But they also have              “Bigfoot I Believe” wine,  action figures, games and much, much more.

Nothing But Chocolate will give you a sweet taste of Bigfoot as she has his footprints for sale – in chocolate of course. Amanda makes these delicious footprints for the Bigfoot Conference and for State Park Conventions held at Salt Fork.

Local investigations began with Don Keating in 1980. He wrote an article about a sighting in the Newcomerstown area. Since then Don had organized the Ohio Bigfoot Conferences at Salt Fork State Park until he recently stepped back to devote more time to another interest – meteorology.

Bigfoot Doug

Doug Waller, local Bigfoot investigator and enthusiast, has written two books about the group’s experiences.

Doug Waller speaks frequently around the area about the legendary Bigfoot. The founder of Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation, Doug and his team tell about the activities and sightings of this mysterious creature.

Ideas range from an ape-like animal to an extraterrestrial being. The Native Americans saw Bigfoot as a spiritual being, including it on their totem poles.  The Delaware Indians cautioned residents here long ago to put out food offerings for “the wild ones in the woods”.

Bigfoot sign

This clever sign always brings a smile to the face of Bigfoot fans.

Each person is free to explore the ideas he finds probable. But when you hear a scratch on the wall, smell something terrible outside your door, or see an eight-foot tall creature lumber off into the woods, you just might become a believer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canes, Walking Sticks and Quilts Designed by Philip Owen

philip-owen

His walking sticks have been displayed at various festivals in our area. Here, Philip holds one of his favorites.

A soft-spoken gentleman exhibits a surprising hidden talent – taking pieces of wood, and turning them into beautiful canes and walking sticks with intricate designs.

Philip Owen made his first walking stick as a young boy of seven or eight years old in Rawlinsville, PA. Illness dominated his childhood, and Philip will admit, “I was spoiled rotten.” Often when walking to check on the cows, he would pick up a stick and begin carving it.

As a youngster, Philip had tuberculosis and was in a sanitarium for eleven months one time, and twenty-two months the next. During that last visit in 1946, Philip said he was “a streptomycin guinea pig”. They administered one hundred forty-four shots of streptomycin to Philip and one other young man. Both were cured. With this new discovery, it wasn’t long before the sanitarium was closed.

philip

His display of walking sticks and canes consists of some that he made and some he purchased from all over the world.

During his lifetime he has made, given away, traded or sold many walking sticks and canes. At this time, he is working on numbers 1105 and 1106 out of American chestnut, a rare wood with a beautiful grain. These creations have been shipped all over the world.

Many kinds of wood make up these walking sticks and canes. One of his favorite designs was free-lanced on PA rosebud. Since the canes and sticks must be strong as well as beautiful, he favors using maple, walnut and cherry wood. It might surprise you to learn that the structure of the sticks depends on whether an individual prefers using their right or left hand.

Hopalong Cassidy Cane

Festival attender checks out a Hopalong Cassidy Cane.

One thing of which he should be extremely proud is the fact that he has carved canes for five US Presidents – from Richard Nixon to George Bush. Even more interesting, he has received thank-you notes from all of them including their signatures. Philip hopes that his grandson will someday appreciate having those special treasures.

In 1988, Philip Owen’s nephew, Mike Huber, had a 40th birthday. Philip made a cane for him as a joke since Mike was now “going down hill”. Along with the birthday greetings, Philip said, “You are hereby appointed President of ANCC.” Those letters stood for American National Cane Collectors, which was later changed to the American National Cane Club to include makers, not just collectors. Philip volunteered to be the Secretary/Treasurer so they had two members. This organization’s newsletter became known as “The Twisted Stick.”

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My Gypsy Walking Stick leans against a special basket of flowers.

Two years ago, Philip carved a right-handed walking stick for this gypsy. He included some of my favorite things on the stick – bears. Many knots were cleverly turned into bear heads. On each stick, Philip puts his signature – a heart containing his initials and a cross in the center with John 3:16 under the heart. Above the heart is the number of the cane.

My walking stick almost always stays in the trunk of my car to be used when walking over rough territory, or even in the snow. Gypsy Bev is written around the top so it’s not bound to get mixed up with someone else’s.

bow-tie-quilt

This bow tie quilt consists of 169 bow ties. Philip seems to make use of whatever he receives.

Family is very important to Philip, as he grew up in a loving family of twelve children. He was number eleven, his twin brother number twelve. His love of another hobby, quilting, began with his parents. His father cut out the squares for each of the twelve children to have “Grandmother’s Flower Garden”, then his mother sewed them together. Families are like quilts – pieced together and stitched with love.

necktie-quilt

The necktie quilt is made of 145 neckties. No two are alike!

Quilts he has made include a novel “necktie quilt”. The idea came when a friend gave him a large pile of neckties. It seems Philip likes free things, in fact his wife often said, “Don’t offer Philip anything free, or he’ll take it.” And it appears he puts these things to creative use.

Right now he’s in the process of making a quilt called “Around the World” for a missionary in their church. He has 800 pieces laid out for the quilt. The center is red for the blood shed by Jesus, surrounded by white to signify salvation, and then a row of heavenly blue. The rest is alternate rows of print and solid colors. Even he admits, “I sometimes get carried away.”

piece-of-grandfathers-quilt

The framed piece of a quilt given to his grandfather is treasured by the family.

On the wall of his apartment, he proudly displays a picture of his grandfather. On each side are framed pieces of a quilt given to his grandfather by his church congregation. Philip’s sister took it apart as it was beginning to fray and framed a piece of it for each of the twelve children.

philip-owen

One of Philip’s missions in life is to teach others to study the Bible.

Today Philip lives in Cambridge, Ohio where he keeps busy giving free lessons to those interested in making canes, walking sticks, baskets or wall plaques. He also teaches a special class on how to write you Life Story. Since he is a retired minister, he enjoys conducting Bible study at the Senior Center. When you consider that Philip is 88 years old, you can see why he feels blessed and wants to share his knowledge with others.

philip-and-gene

This picture of Philip and his wife, Gene, was taken on their 50th wedding anniversary. They were married for 56 years.

Philip and his wife, Gene, had three children, who have followed in his footsteps. Joel and Philip are pastors, while daughter Barbara has served several years as a missionary. A grandson is following that path also, making four generations of pastors in their family. In Philip’s words, “The most important thing in life is to know God’s will…and do it.”

When asked if he wished he could have done anything else in life, Philip responded, “If I were able, I’d have a garbage collection business.” He sees so many things thrown away that could possibly be recycled into something new. His creative mind never sleeps.

 

Capezio’s Gift Ranch: Home of Alpacas

 

alpaca-melissa

The alpacas gather around Melissa for a taste of some ground feed in August.

Improve the lives of children and adults through a connection with the amazing spirit of animals.

That’s the goal of Melissa Snyder in the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio near Norwich, where she has created a home for alpacas. However, her story begins with a horse.

As a child, Melissa had a special horse call Capezio. This horse had a club foot and walked slowly but he was her special horse for thirty-two years. Capezio’s gentleness had children waiting in line at the petting zoo or for a pony ride at the fair. Melissa remembered, “His gift was to help kids. He was here to make kids happy.”

alpaca-herd-in-shade

While alpacas can stand very cold weather, the heat is something they try to avoid.

Capezio taught Melissa many lessons in life and developed her zeal for animals that needed that extra touch of loving care. So when she decided to name her farm, she knew that her passion for animals was a gift from Capezio; therefore, she named it Capezio’s Gift Ranch.

After she graduated from Lake Erie College with a degree in Entrepreneurship, she only raised horses. Then one day she purchased a pony that had an alpaca friend, who came as part of the bargain. A local vet told her that the alpaca would be stressed without another alpaca for company. The herd began.

alpaca-baby-don-diego

Eight day old, Don Diego, stays close to the fan with his mother, Miss Ellie and their last import, Appy.

The rare and exotic alpaca has been a treasure of the Andes for over 6,000 years. While they closely resemble the llama, who is a working animal, the friendly, gentle alpaca lives a life of luxury with their task being to eat and make exquisite fiber.

Over a period of a few years, alpacas became the center of Melissa’s life. Soon people were calling her to see if the ranch had room for another alpaca. One evening when she came home, an alpaca was tied to a post by their driveway. It appears that Melissa has a soft spot in her heart for any animal that needs fed. At this point, an alpaca rescue was established.

alpaca-shade-hut

This shade hut provides an escape on a hot summer day.

Alpacas might be Suri or Huacaya breeds, with Huacaya being the one most often needing rescued. The Suri fleece is long, straight and softer and demands a higher market price. These are seldom in need of rescue. The Huacaya have a short, curly fleece, which is also soft and fine.

Vet bills add up, so the size of the herd stops at around twenty. But if they need vet care, Melissa won’t deny them treatment. She has eaten peanut butter sandwiches for a couple of weeks in order to pay the vet. Extraordinary dedication!

alpaca-melissa-at-work

Work never stops as in the evenings, Melissa enjoys weaving and knitting with the soft fleece yarn.

Melissa and her partner, Nathan, do their own sheering when the temperature warms up in April and May. Then Melissa and a couple friends are responsible for cleaning, carding, spinning and weaving many items from the natural fiber that they receive.

Alpacas enjoy cold weather…even down to a -22 degrees doesn’t phase them. But heat is a different story so they have shade huts with fans to keep them cool on hot summer days.

Melissa works with the Living Waters Clover Crew 4-H Club, where she shares information on alpacas and has workshops on fiber use. Club members are encouraged to adopt an alpaca for their project so they can show them at the fair.

alpaca-cuteness

Addison feels a special connection to Delilah.

Capezio’s Gift Ranch covers all alpaca expenses for members of 4-H. This year some of the 4-H members showed them at the Muskingum County Fair and the Ohio State Fair.

alpaca-obstacle-course

Avalanche, a deaf alpaca, participated in the Obstacle Course at the The Ohio State Fair.

While fair judging centers on fleece and conformation, games at the fair provide great fun. Musical Rug, Leaping Llama, and Obstacle Course are favorites. Musical Rug is similar to Musical Chairs with the alpacas having to stop on a rug when the music stops. This year at the State Fair, that contest was won by a Capazeo alpaca…who was blind. The fun never stops!

alpaca-animals

Animals knitted from alpaca fleece feel soft and cuddly.

Alpacas are often adopted by fiber farmers, who want their own soft fleece for weaving.. Good retirement homes are always needed. They can be adopted for a fee.

While they usually eat hay and grain, like us they also enjoy treats. Some of their favorites are fig newtons, bananas, and raisins. Since they have no upper teeth, these soft foods are easy for them to chew.

alpaca-products

If you want to buy some of their products in Cambridge, Ohio, stop at their booth in County Bits on Wheeling Avenue..

Melissa dreams about someday having her own alpaca barn and showroom. The barn would provide an isolation spot for new alpacas and provide coolness on a hot summer day. In the showroom, visitors could experience making the yarn and see many beautiful finished products.

alpaca-booth

Last fall, Teddy came to the Cambridge Street Fair for the enjoyment of kids of all ages.

Melissa knows every alpaca in the field quite well. She knows their names and birthdates better than most people know this information about their families..Melissa takes great pleasure in talking about her friends, the alpacas.

Melissa Snyder can be reached  on Facebook at Capezio’s Gift Ranch, the easiest way to make a connection, or by phone at (740) 583-4030 .

 

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