Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

Algonquin Mill Fall Festival Features Crafts, Food and Entertainment

Algonquin Mill 2

This old mill is the reason for the Algonquin Mill Fall Festival.

Take nine tons of cabbage and ferment it into sauerkraut. Grind buckwheat and wheat into flour. Saw boards at an old fashioned sawmill. Embroidery a quilt. These activities from days gone by are just a sampling of what happens at the Algonquin Mill Festival near Carrollton on October 13-15.

The festival began in 1971 to pay off the loan the historical society took to purchase Algonquin Mill on 3.8 acres. They wanted this historic spot to be preserved to help people understand life in the 1800s. It’s been a popular annual event ever since with 16,000 – 20,000 people attending the three day event.

Algonquin 1853 Bridge

This 1853 bridge built by Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton was still in use in the 1960s.

The original old mill built in the early 1800s is their reason for being. The first two mills on this spot were driven by water from nearby McGuire Creek. Today’s mill, built in 1826, was originally operated by water. In 1890 it was converted to steam power. At its peak, the mill produced 25 barrels a day, grinding corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat.

Algonquin Mill

John Miday, miller, and Bill Baughman make sure the corn mill is working properly.

The mill was closed in 1939 and the steam engine went off to fight in WWII. Today they use a one hundred year old steam engine to power the gristmill and grind cornmeal and flour.

Algonquin School 2

This one-room school is the oldest building on the property with typical pot-bellied stove.

The complex contains many other buildings as well and many of them are original. The log buildings have all been brought on site from nearby locations. The one-room school happens to be the oldest of those buildings. During the festival a schoolmarm will be teaching class.

Algonquin Volunteers

Volunteers from all over the area enjoy a tasty pot-luck lunch every Thursday.

They make enough money at the three day festival to support the Algonquin Mill Complex for the entire year. Their volunteers are amazing and very active as they arrive every Thursday all year long to work on projects at the complex. Many said they planned their work schedule so they could have Thursday off.

Whole families get involved in helping here. Volunteers come from all around and even though there is a large number, David McMahon, president of the Carroll County Historical Society, said they could use twice as many.

Algonquin Cookie House

One of the original buildings is now the Cookie House with the Cheese House close by.

Old fashioned foods are a highlight of the festival. Pancakes, sauerkraut, apple butter, homemade jams, cider, and maple syrup are made and served. Or you can buy some to take home and enjoy. The mill also grounds fresh cornmeal along with buckwheat, spelt and wheat flour.

Algonquin Sauerkraut

Dave George takes his job seriously as the man in charge of the sauerkraut operation.

Dave happens to be in charge of the sauerkraut and that’s no small task. When you start out with nine tons of cabbage, it takes a careful eye to make certain it ferments properly in large containers. Then it will be put in jars to be sold at the festival. Word has it that they are usually sold out of sauerkraut by noon on Sunday!

Algonquin Art

This is just a small sampling of the art on display in the past.

The barn at Whispering Winds Farm held square dances in years gone by, but today that’s where you’ll find an Art & Photography Show. This juried show displays original pieces created between 2014 and 2017 with no previous entries allowed. Every year it’s a whole new show, sharing one-of-a-kind items.

Algonquin Crafters 2

Women embroidery a quilt and work on many crafts in the Civil War era Gothic farmhouse.

You’ll discover time honored crafts such as rugweaving, spinning and quilting in the Civil War era farmhouse. The walls are covered with aprons, quilts, scarves and rugs they have made to sell. These ladies begin working on next year’s crafts the Thursday after the festival ends to refill the walls.

Algonquin Threshing Machine

Dave McMahon, president of Carroll County Historical Society, explains the antique Case threshing machine in their Farm Museum.

Throughout the grounds demonstrations exist for chair caning, wood carving, candle dipping, broom making and blacksmith trades. An old sawmill attracts people of all ages and is one of the most popular demonstrations.

Algonquin Mill Barn

This is the last original work of Mail Pouch Barn painter, Harley Warrick. There are two other Mail Pouch Barns Warrick painted at the complex.

Don’t forget, all day long old-time entertainment takes place. There’ll be cloggers, banjo and fiddle players and gospel groups performing. Local high school bands and choirs also enjoy participating. If you want, you could sit there all day and be entertained.

Algonquin Stagecoach Inn

On the hillside behind this old stagecoach inn, Perry J. Vasbinder Arboretum has been established with over 400 different plantings.

If you should happen to want to visit Algonquin Mill at a time other than the festival, Thursdays are the perfect time as volunteers are always there to answer questions. Of course, you can walk around the grounds 365 days a year and learn about the complex from literature available on the wall of their information center, but buildings will be locked.

This festival is the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy all those old fashioned tastes, crafts, and entertainment. Entry per vehicle is $8.00 so load up the van and have a day of fun and learning. You’ll be glad you stopped by.

The Algonquin Mill Complex is located south of Carrollton along OH 322, which is east of I-77. There are several bends to make on this scenic adventure no matter what direction you are coming from, so it’s best to place their address in your GPS system. Find them at 4296 Scio Road SW. 

 

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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.

Take a Country Drive to Explore Coshocton Quilt Barn Trails

 

Garden of Eden

Quilt patterns on the sides of barns gave a purpose for a country drive.

A Sunday drive has always been one of my favorite things. Dad would travel the back roads exploring places we’d never been. That same feeling occurred while wandering along the Coshocton Quilt Barn Trails. It was a peaceful, old-fashioned road trip on those narrow, two-lane country roads, where you could actually take time to look at the scenery.

While Quilt Barns have become a nationwide movement, they got their beginning fairly recently. In 2001, Donna Sue Groves wanted to honor her mother’s passion for quilting, so painted her mother’s favorite quilt square on their old tobacco barn in Adams County.

Ohio Quilt Barns

These counties in Ohio have Quilt Barn Trails.

From there, the Quilt Barns arose to reflect the spirit of the community. In Miami County, quilts were hand-painted on the barn’s surface replicating the look of fabric, while in Harrison County emphasis was on the Underground Railroad.

Coshocton County Heritage Quilt Barns feature family quilt patterns. Each quilt has a story to tell. The Pomerene Center for the Arts is responsible for creating this historic drive to view our nation’s agricultural landscape. They have three possible routes: Tiverton Trail, SR 643 Trail and Progressive Valley Trail.

It is important to either print off a map from the computer, open one on your phone or tablet, or pick one up at Coshocton Visitors’ Bureau in Roscoe Village. Directions are essential.

Mother Setzer's Quilt

Mother Setzer Quilt Barn appeared in a natural rock setting.

Several of the Quilt Barns have online connections to stories about the colorful quilts and who originally designed the quilt squares. Mother Setzer Quilt Barn appeared first on our adventure, and had a lovely setting with a firm foundation of large rocks around the barn. Their grandmother made this quilt pattern from scraps of her clothing and black silk dresses.

While SR 643 became the trail of choice, meandering from that path became frequent. The desire to see more Quilt Barns eventually included parts of all three Coshocton trails.

Sweet Pea

The lane back to Sweet Pea Quilt Barn featured a picturesque white fence.

Many of the Quilt Barns sat on back roads. Some became a challenge, and a four wheel drive vehicle would have been helpful on this rainy day as roads were steep and muddy. But beautiful, scenic farms throughout this Amish countryside made the day enjoyable. Corn shocks were a sight not seen since childhood.

Chalice

A barn near a lovely stone home featured Chalice pattern.

Chalice was the name given to the quilt pattern made by Catherine Stubbs on a barn near a lovely stone house. It appears that Catherine stayed very busy with quilting and life in general. One day when her husband was at work in the coal mines, she moved them to another house closer to his work. It’s said when she cooked Sunday chicken dinner, she could stretch one chicken to feed twelve people.

Butterfly with Raindrops

Butterfly Quilt Barn received raindrops during this trip.

The Butterfly Quilt Barn near Fresno showcases a quilt made and designed by Oneita Hahn. Family members remember her quilting frame being up in the dining room quite often. Quilt patterns frequently were created by the quilters themselves and then drawn on newspaper.

Snowball

In downtown Coshocton, you’ll find Snowball pattern on the side of a former quilt shop.

Not all barns were in the country. One actually was found in downtown Coshocton on the side of an old IOOF building, which formerly housed Mercantile on Main. Snowball, a black and white quilt, decorated the front of this one-time quilt supply shop.

Canal Era Applique

Blacksmith shop in Roscoe Village displays an attractive quilt pattern.

In Roscoe Village on the side of the Blacksmith Shop, Canal Era Applique could be seen upon entering the village on North Whitewoman Street. The quilt square on display appeared on a quilt made by Hannah Hays, whose family arrived in the area by canal boat.

Ohio Rose & Star

Ohio Rose & Star can be found in Clary Garden in Coshocton.

The end of SR 643 Trail came in classy Clary Garden. Ohio Rose & Star has graced the side of their barn since 2003. Made by Coshocton Canal Quilter Helen Moody, this pattern was chosen to hang at the gardens in honor of the family’s rose business.

But this artistic project doesn’t stop here. All over the United States, Quilt Barn Trails have been created. Presently, over 6000 quilt patterns have been placed on barns in 33 Ohio counties, 45 states, and even some in Canada. It’s a wonderful excuse to get in the car and take a road trip.

Tractor Quilt

A clever tractor pattern on one barn added variety to the day.

This country adventure through scenic back roads will take you back to a less stressful time. The Quilt Barns provide a variety of attractive patterns in excellent condition. You can take this drive any time of the year and enjoy this grassroots art movement. Watch for Quilt Barns wherever you travel.

While on the Coshocton Quilt Barn Trails, you’ll find not only creative quilt patterns but Amish farms, meandering streams, beautiful stone houses, and unique shops along the way. Don’t forget your camera!

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 .

 

Time for Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

For two months each year, the spirit of Charles Dickens thrives in the city of Cambridge. One of the favorite delicacies of Dickens’ Victorian England was chestnuts. At a party in his famous novel, “A Christmas Carol”, he wrote,”the chestnuts and the jug went round and round.” So perhaps Charles Dickens would have enjoyed visiting a chestnut farm just north of here in Carrollton.

Back in the time of Charles Dickens, cones filled with hot roasted chestnuts were sold on street corners in merry old England. Not only did this provide a tasty treat, but holding the cone kept the hands warm as the aroma of roasted chestnuts filled the street.

Greg Miller enjoys telling everyone about his chestnut orchard.

Greg Miller enjoys telling everyone about his chestnut orchard.

Here in Ohio, Greg Miller’s father began a hobby of growing chestnuts and various nut trees back in the 70s after a blight destroyed nearly all the American chestnuts back in the early 1900s. When Greg returned home from college, they noticed that the Chinese chestnuts were the most productive. Thus began the Empire Chestnut Co.

On their farm on Empire Road near Carrollton, chestnuts are planted in their nursery to start new trees. Only the very best chestnuts are used for this purpose. These new seedlings are then transplanted to a nearby field until they are mature enough to sell.

Headquarters for Route 9 Cooperative sports five chestnuts, indicating the five families that participate in the cooperative.

Headquarters for Route 9 Cooperative sports five chestnuts, indicating the five families that participate in the cooperative.

They encouraged others to plant them too and in 2010, with four other growers, formed Route 9 Cooperative, headquarters for the only commercially grown chestnuts in Ohio.

This is no small operation. From 90 acres of chestnut trees, over 60,000 pounds of chestnuts are harvested annually. Chestnut trees thrive in sandy loam soil. Greg said, “They grow best on a mountain or hillside where the soil is so poor you can’t raise your voice on it.”

Chestnuts fall to the ground in a prickly hull, which is soft inside.

Chestnuts fall to the ground in a prickly burr, which is soft inside.

For those familiar with chestnuts, harvesting can be difficult and even painful. When the prickly burr falls from the tree, it normally pops open revealing three or four chestnuts inside. However, the inside of the chestnut hull feels as smooth as velvet. thereby cradling the nuts.

Imagine picking a bucket of about 1,000 chestnuts - one by one from the ground.

Imagine picking a bucket of about 1,000 chestnuts – one by one from the ground.

Even with today’s modern technology, chestnuts are still picked by hand. Greg places an ad in the paper looking for workers and usually has 100-200 people picking each year. They range from individuals to Amish families and community youth groups. His ad carries a bit of humor:

If you don’t mind bending down to pick up a penny,

this job might be for you!

This Drum Sizer cleans and sizes the chestnuts.

This Drum Sizer cleans and sizes the chestnuts.

It takes over 1,000 chestnuts to fill a five gallon bucket so picking requires a lot of patience. Once the buckets are filled, the chestnuts are cleaned and sorted by size before their plastic perforated bin gets placed in the “nut jacuzzi”. As a precaution, to eliminate the possibility of any insects or eggs surviving, they are kept in a temperature of 119 degrees for about four hours.

The plastic bin filled with nuts gets dipped into the "Nut Jacuzzi" to kill any possible insects or eggs.

The plastic bin filled with nuts gets dipped into the “Nut Jacuzzi” to kill any possible insects or eggs.

From here they are hand sorted to eliminate any imperfect chesnuts, then dried in their bin, but kept moist to avoid mold. They are then placed in a refrigerated room before bagging.

Finally, the chestnuts are bagged for shipping all over the United States.

Finally, the chestnuts are bagged for shipping all over the United States.

Most of their orders come from the internet and are sent all over the United States. Many of these customers being ethnic groups that have always enjoyed chestnuts as part of their culture. Some places even use them in chestnut beer and whiskey.

The Millers favorite way to eat chestnuts is “raw”. They feel they can easily tell the difference in quality by eating them this way. His daughter, Amy, also enjoys them ground into flour for pancakes. A delicious treat! One gourmet goat cheese producer orders chestnut leaves to wrap the cheese for flavor as it ages.

Orders for 50,000 pounds of chestnuts before the season began show the need for more chestnut tree growers. Chestnut trees are a long term investment as it takes about seven years to get your first chestnuts, while their peak will be reached in fifteen to twenty years. But at $3 -5 a pound wholesale, it may be worth the wait.

If Dickens’ Cratchit family lived here, they would be certain to place an order to make stewed chestnuts for Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps at payment of $11 a bucket, they would even help pick them.

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Route 9 Co-operative is located near Carrollton on Route 9 south of town. Visit their website at http://www.empirechestnuts.com for more information

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