Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

“For the Birds” Creates Solid Birdseed Feeders

Retirement often leads to finding a hobby that makes life more fulfilling. When Marsha Stroud and Lee Marlatt retired, they found a recipe to make birdseed feeders and decided to try it. Now in their fourth year, they create the most unique birdfeeders imaginable for every season of the year. When they started this venture, they had no idea it would become so popular.

Marsha and Lee enjoy talking to customers at Rise and Shine Farmers’ Market.

They named their business simply “For the Birds” since that’s the purpose of everything they make. Their handmade solid birdseed feeders are a popular item at craft shows, farmers’ markets, schools, and Facebook. There’s a great variety to choose from. These birdseed art pieces must of course be non-toxic to birds.

Choose from a selection of owls in all colors.

The feeders begin with a cake or cupcake mold in various shapes and sizes. Roy, Marsha’s husband, cuts away a narrow section of the mold so a wire or hemp can be used as a hanger. Then a wild birdseed mix or sunflower seeds that have been combined with gelatin, water, flour, and light corn syrup gets poured into the mold. After being dried, Marsha colors the pieces with a food coloring paste.

Flowers and butterflies are the most popular birdfeeders for summertime.

Some of the more popular shapes in the summer are flowers such as zinnias, daisies, or roses. During the winter, snowmen and snowflakes become popular. Hearts appear for Valentine’s Day and bunnies for Easter. Their original ideas give customers something different to look forward to each year.

A heart-shaped birdfeeder is welcome anytime of the year.

Designing the birdseed feeders requires hours of experimentation, often causing frustration and even sometimes failure. But in the end, they put their heart and soul into each creation making it unique. They hope that it will end up being a special moment in someone’s life, or in some bird’s life!

Birdwatchers will enjoy having a couple of these feeders outside their window. A large variety of birds will soon appear in your backyard with the addition of these solid birdseed feeders. Keep your bird book handy for easy identification.

Many place their feeders outside a window for easy birdwatching.

Give one as a great gift for someone in a nursing home. If a tree isn’t handy, get a shepherd’s hook and place it outside their window where you can hang one of these unique birdseed feeders. Often the birds hang off the birdfeeder while they get a good snack.

Marsha and Lee like to customize the feeders according to requests. A man asked them to design a birdfeeder in the shape and color of the OU paw for his mother’s 90th birthday as she was a big OU fan.

Snowflakes and snowmen are the best sellers during the winter months.

Another lady requested a wreath of sunflower seeds with cranberry accents as a special Christmas treat…for her chickens!

As you might imagine, they are always on the lookout for molds of various shapes for their creations. One mold that has escaped their grasp is that of a turtle, not a Ninja turtle, just a regular box turtle.

The ladies prepare for the next farmers’ market with new birdfeeders.

Marsha and Lee, with help from Roy, usually work in the Stroud’s basement three days a week. They use approximately 100 pounds of birdseed each week to make between 80-90 birdfeeders. Their largest mold takes ten cups of birdseed.

This shows a small section of their craft show display.

The local Rise & Shine Farmers’ Market in Cambridge is one of their favorites as all products there are either locally grown or handmade. It usually runs from May – September so add them to your calendar now.

The River City Market in Marietta is held every Saturday for special homemade treats.

In February, Marsha and Lee plan to be back at the “Handmade, Homemade, Homegrown” River City Market in Marietta. While this is an outdoor market, it is held throughout the year. Here, For the Birds has an enclosed tent with a heater for some extra warmth. They are there on Saturdays from 8-noon.

This OSU birdfeeder is a big hit with Buckeye fans.

While many feeders are purchased at craft shows, they can also be found on Facebook and have been shipped to North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania to name a few states. They will be carefully packed and shipped for your personal use or as a gift for someone else.

Rufus Bernard joins For the Birds in saying Happy New Year.

Marsha does take breaks from this hobby. One of her favorite escapes is to Florida where she enjoys spending time on the beach. A few years ago, a St. Bernard ended up on their doorstep and they adopted him. Now Rufus, a rather large but friendly dog, keeps them busy and entertained.

Feeding the birds in the winter months is especially important as there isn’t much natural food for them to maintain their body fat reserves for those cold winter nights. Once they discover you have food for them, they’ll return again and again.

Visit “For the Birds” on Facebook where you can find many pictures of their work. For the Birds is just a phone call away at 740-584-0691. They have gift certificates available and do accept credit cards. There’s a feeder for every season so choices are unlimited.

Feed the birds. Not all birds fly south!

Visit For the Birds at one of their farmers’ market sites or find them on Facebook where you can order direct. Call them at 740-584-0691.

Sheriff Investigates Still

I enjoy writing about real situations so when our writers’ group decided to do a book called “Ripped From the Headlines,” I wanted to write about something that could have happened. One of my interests in natural health and I know a lady who brewed a special tea to help many problems. So this story is about a  fictitious local man, who was working on a natural cure. 

Boden, Ohio 1933 An anonymous source recently informed the Signal about law enforcement conducting an investigation in the woods outside of town. It seems a man known only as Lightning has been carefully watched by the sheriff’s office because of suspicious behavior involving a still in the hillside behind his home.

Neighbors watched Lightning carry bag after bag of materials into a cave under a rock cliff. Several local men were also seen entering the cave. It is suspected that they were there to purchase the brew being made.

A freshwater spring comes out in that area and is vital for the making of good rum, which some have heard Lightning say was his favorite drink.

Sheriff Harry Totten and a couple deputies surrounded the entrance on a recent morning very early before Lightning even arrived at the still. They hid in the trees so they could watch his approach.

Lightning whistled a merry tune of “Show Me the Way to Go Home” as he happily made his way to the hillside one sunny May morning.

Imagine his surprise when the sheriff and two deputies appeared from the woods with guns drawn. His whistling stopped as a puzzled look crossed his face.

“What’s the problem, sheriff? I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”

With a smirk on his face, Sheriff Totten answered, “We’ll see about that when we check inside the hillside here. Seems something strange is going on in that cave and we’re here to check it out.”

“Oh, sir, I can’t let you see in there as I’m working on a secret and don’t want anyone to see it until it is perfected.”

“Yea, sure. Some secret brew to make your neighbor’s feel better?” By now the sheriff was getting a bit upset by Lightning’s conversation.

“How do you know what I’m working on? No one has been told anything about it. This hasn’t even been tested yet.”

Exasperated, a deputy ordered, “Let us in the hillside and see what is inside.”

“Please don’t come in. I’m not ready for people to know about this.” pleaded Lightning.

“Sorry, but we’re headed in this very minute so step aside.” With that, they entered the hillside to find the still they were sure was making rum.

Inside they discovered something that resembled a still but it didn’t smell like alcohol at all. On closer inspection, it didn’t taste like alcohol either. In fact, it rather tasted like dirt.

“Yuk! This is horrible. You’ll never find anyone to buy this if you were planning on selling it. Whatever is it for?”

Lightning chewed on his lip as he tried to think of a way to explain what he was making without giving away the secret completely. Everyone knew about his wife’s rheumatism so maybe that would satisfy the sheriff.

“Actually, I’m trying to make a tonic that will help my wife’s rheumatism. She really suffers from the pain and I keep trying different combinations to see if I can find something that helps. I work on it each morning for a little while before I go to work and let her try some each day.”

Has it helped your wife any?” smirked the sheriff. “I don’t think anything you brew up here is going to prove to help rheumatism.”

With that, Sheriff Totten and his deputies had a good laugh as they returned to their recently purchased 1932 Ford Model B. “I always thought Lightning was a little off his rocker.”

Now Lightning could relax as he continued his experiment with the old Indian recipe his elders had passed down for generations. No one had developed it in recent years and Lightning felt it was about time that someone put it to work to help many people.

Living near Big Indian Run, he could gather the needed herbs and roots easily from the hillsides close by his home. When he combined them with fresh spring water, it didn’t take long in the still for the purest tea to overflow.

Some say it tasted like dirt, but if it helped a person feel better that was what was important.

He had heard stories of people being cured of their illnesses after drinking this special tea day after day. His ancestors had carried down the stories for generations.

Now, his daughter, Crystal, was very ill, too, and nothing seemed to help her. That’s what made him decide that this was the right time to develop this special brew.

“Daddy,” he heard her call. “Come carry me to the spring so I can watch you work.”

Quickly he moved to the house to help his daughter who was so weak she could scarcely stand. Together they sat by the spring and felt the soft summer breeze.

“If only you felt better and life could stay like this,” he whispered.

Crystal so wanted to go to school but right now that wasn’t possible. She knew her dad was trying his best to find a solution to make her feel better so she tried not to complain.

Day after day, Crystal drank the special tea her dad had brewed and day by day, he noticed a little color returning to her face and a little strength coming back to her body.

Sometimes the best cures for our aches and pains have been given to us in the natural world around us if we just know how to use them.

Today, Crystal enjoys going to school and laughs when her dad tells the story about Sheriff Totten thinking he had a still to brew alcohol.

His wife’s rheumatism has improved remarkably as well. There has to be something to that old Indian recipe.

Lightning is seriously thinking about bottling his brew!

Would you be willing to try some? 

Sophisticated Handcrafted Chocolates at Coblentz Candy Co.

Life happens. Chocolate helps!

Coblentz Chocolates is located in beautiful Amish country at Walnut Creek.

People come from miles around to see Coblentz Chocolate Company especially as the holiday season approaches. Located in the heart of beautiful Amish country on Route 515 in Walnut Creek, chocolate seems to be the favorite word here as everyone has a favorite chocolate treat.

Chocolate covered strawberries are one of their special occasion treats.

When you walk inside the shop, a heavenly smell surrounds you – the smell of chocolate. Then you are greeted with the friendliest workers who are eager to help you make your selections or answer your questions.

Dark chocolate coconut bonbons have been a favorite since opening.

Perhaps first, you would enjoy going back to the viewing area to actually watch them making the chocolate treat of the day. Watch through their special viewing gallery as it is made and hand-dipped. The gallery is closed during the pandemic.

Things have changed since those early years when Jason and Mary Coblentz and Jason’s brother Mark purchased a residence, which they still use today, and began making Coblentz Chocolates in 1987. Their main goal was to provide customers with quality caramels and chocolates. Those early creations are still favorites today.

If you like chocolate, you’re sure to like their fudge.

In the beginning, Coblentz had only two full-time and three part-time employees. They made 30 different kinds of candy. Then, Jason attended Pulakos Candy School for a three-week course in 1990 to perfect his chocolate-making skills. More additions were made to their selections.

Smooth and creamy Buckeyes are a popular item and in 2002, Coblentz made the world’s largest Buckeye, which weighed 277 pounds. Now that’s a lot of peanut butter and chocolate!

There’s plenty of parking right beside the store.

Finally, Mark decided to try a different business venture and sold his share of the company to Jason and Mary. Since that time, they have added a second story to the residence for additional candy manufacturing.

This showcase contains those early favorites of caramels and bonbons.

Some tempting treats include sea salt caramels and chocolate covered marshmallows, dark chocolate orange peels, chocolate covered cherries, and a large selection of sugar-free. All their cream centers are made from scratch. One lady told her friends, “If it’s from Coblentz, I know it will be good.”

Use these autumn treats on your holiday table.

It’s no surprise that Christmas is their busiest time of the year, but October is the busiest tourist month. Many tour buses stop on their way through Amish country to get a taste of this great tasting chocolate.

Coffee with a chocolate covered spoon makes a special gift.

Christmas Open House is usually held the middle of November. Get samples of their high-quality chocolate, sign up for door prizes, and sip their great coffee samples. There’s bound to be some great sales happening that weekend.

Mary and Jerry Coblentz traveled to Chili to see cocoa beans firsthand.

Jason and Mary can’t make candy all year long. Once in a while they take a break as both love to travel. Some of their favorite places include Florida, the Caribbean, England, and Ireland. My guess would be that they check out chocolate companies along the way.

Their caramel corn varieties will tickle different taste buds.

When asked about their future, Jason explained, “We want to maintain the quality of our candy so customers are getting what they expect.” You can’t go wrong with any chocolate that you buy here. You’ll have a hard time choosing just one.

Pick up a stuffed animal while you’re there. It’s more than a candy store!

If you can’t make a trip to the candy store right now, please visit Coblentz Candy at their website at www.coblentzchocolates.com . It’s the perfect place to find a gift for any occasion and they ship anywhere in the U.S.

Next time you visit Amish Country, plan a stop at Coblentz Chocolates at 4917 OH-5 15, Walnut Creek, Ohio. Parking is easy as there’s a large parking lot right beside the store. Treat yourself to the scrumptious taste of mouth-watering chocolate.

Road Trippin’ in the USA at McPeek’s Mighty Maze

If you want to get lost, McPeek’s Mighty Maze is the perfect place with Roadtrippin’ USA as the theme of their corn maze for 2020. Located at the Coshocton KOA Campground on County Road 10, it’s more than just a maze. They have many activities that those young at heart from 0 – 99 will enjoy.

This all began in 2015 after Ryan McPeek had purchased a campground near Coshocton and was trying to create something extra that campers and area residents would enjoy. A corn maze came to mind.

That first year was a learning year and a busy one for Ryan as he married Camille in August. They spent their honeymoon at McPeek’s Mighty Maze! This was a new experience for both of them as they had never created a corn maze before.

The entire Mighty Maze is shown in this overhead view.

The maze is more difficult to create than you might think. First, Dave Phillips of Maize Quest draws the maze for the year. After the corn is planted by Brian Mason in the spring, about July 4 the maze is created while the corn is knee-high, young, and tender making it easy to cut down.

Climb the steps to the platform for a great view of the maze.

Tim Day of Maize Quest then arrives with his tractor, rototiller, and GPS unit. Phillips’ Road Trippin’ USA maze is placed into the GPS and the tractor cuts out the maze in a few hours. Day is very busy as cuts about sixty corn mazes each year around the country.

Maize-O-Vision glasses help you see a special map of the maze.

Since the pandemic has made traveling on vacations a bit more difficult this year, the maze takes the shape of Road Trippin’ USA . You can take a fun road trip right here in Coshocton. The Route 66 logo is in one corner of the maze. Another section features a camper and you’ll find a few mountains along the edge.

Along the way, you’ll find stations to help you explore the USA.

At the end of August, holes were drilled to set up nine game stations. Colored ribbons were placed along the miles of pathways inside to help people find their way. Each section has a different color ribbon to help people know where they are. While at this giant corn maze you will learn a bit of history as you play the games and travel through the cornstalks for answers. Play Word Game and learn about 18 different National Parks.

Enjoy the challenge of the Rat Wheel – similar to what a hamster might use.

There’s also a Kid’s Corn Maze for little ones who don’t want to get too lost. Cornelius M. Quest’s Picture Find has children discovering nine Ohio animals hidden at picture stations inside the maze.

McPeek’s Giant Corn Maze is the best place to get lost in the stalks for the 6th season. Enjoy a tasty treat from their three food carts – mini donuts, ice cream, and special favorites like hot dogs and french fries or lumpia and chicken fried rice.

The Jump Pad is the perfect place to use up some extra energy.

There’s all kinds of Fall Fun available as well as the maze. Their giant Jump Pad will have you bouncin’ for joy. Or you might try your luck in a Rat Roll, which is similar to a hamster wheel. Even adults have fun with these! There’s also a Barrel Train ride for the youngsters. Don’t forget all the pumpkins.

Ryan McPeek enjoys driving the tractor for the hayrides.

A hayride winds through the corn maze as it heads to the top of Mt. Everest. Seating will be limited for each ride to assure social distancing. Some traditional events will not be held this year due to pandemic guidelines. The corn box is closed as well as the playground.

Have a different kind of experience at Flashlight Night, which was held earlier this season. Imagine the darkness surrounding you as the cool night breeze moves the cornstalks with eerie sounds. Be sure to pick up a map so you don’t get lost for the night. Take a Glow Hayride that same evening. You’ll have to come back another year for all the fun!

The barrel train ride is great fun for youngsters.

McPeek’s Mighty Maze will be open four weekends in October on Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 6 so plan ahead for a time of family fun roadtrippin’ through the corn or maybe gettin’ lost in the stalks.

Ryan and Camille will help make your adventure a memorable one. Check their website for further information and additional events at www.mcpeeksmightymaze.com or visit them on Facebook.

All ages enjoy the Duck Race to see whose duck will win the water race.

Admission at the gate is $10 per person with children under 2 free. If you register online ahead of time, admission is $8 per person. Staying at the KOA Campground in Coshocton gets you free admission to the Mighty Maze and a chance to enjoy the night air sitting around a campfire.

Sounds like Roadtrippin’ USA could be great fun for everyone at McPeek’s Mighty Maze. Get lost in the stalks!

​McPeek’s Mighty Maze is located at the Coshocton KOA Campgrounds on County Road 10 just east of Coshocton. You can’t miss their signs!

Barefoot McCoy Captures Real Life in His Songs

 

Surrounded by music since childhood, Jake “Barefoot” McCoy of Newark, Ohio now provides musical entertainment all over Ohio and across the United States. His popular folk music developed step by step throughout his life.


Barefoot as a child

Even as a child, Jake attempted to play his dad’s musical instruments.

   His family was homeschooled and piano instruction was part of the curriculum. At the age of five, he began classical piano lessons from a teacher who came to their house every week. A half-hour of practice was required daily.

   Jake feels lucky to have started his musical training at an early age. Music filled his heart and soul so by the time he was eight, he played as much by ear as by reading the music. It wasn’t until age 13 that Jake wrote his first songs using piano and guitar as accompaniment.

Barefoot at Apoxee Trail Florida

The Apoxee Trail in Florida is a great place to go hiking with your guitar.

   When attending Newark High School, Jake also participated in cross country and track. Running and being in nature got in his blood too, and he still gets pleasure from hiking today or taking long walks in the woods.

   Jake attended Asbury College in Kentucky for four years where he earned a degree in music and performance, with minors in accounting and agriculture. In that small town of Wilmore, locals met on the porches or in local clubs and enjoyed sharing music. That’s where he developed as a banjo player.

The same teddy bear is available in multiple, playful settings.

Historic Roscoe Village featured Jake at their grand piano for a Christmas concert.

   It was while enjoying music on those hot summer evenings along the Kentucky River that Jake began playing without wearing shoes. A couple of his friends, Rainwater, a Cherokee, and Gail Roe gave him the Indian name of “Barefoot” at that time and this unique name distinguishes him easily from other performers.

   While in Kentucky, he performed with many local bands from 2010 to 2014 and immersed himself in Appalachian culture, including readings of Thoreau and Wordsworth. If you listen closely, you can hear traces of his beliefs and values in the songs he writes.

Barefoot at South Florida Fair - West Palm Beach

Fairs are a popular venue. Here he performs at the South Florida State Fair in West Palm Beach.

   2015 created a memorable year for Barefoot as he went to California to visit a relative. He stayed the year playing every day as a street performer on the Santa Monica Pier. In the evenings he would play at local clubs and bars. While surrounded by all that music, he wrote over 100 songs that year.

   He began performing solo in 2015 and has since delighted crowds at over 1200 shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, and California. His most recent festival took place in March at Dawsonville, Georgia.

Barefoot April

Jake Barefoot McCoy writes meaningful lyrics for his folk songs.

   A special relative that influenced his music tremendously was Doc Watson. His folk guitar playing inspired much of Barefoot’s technique today. During the American folk music revival in the 1960s, the award-winning Doc played acoustic guitar and banjo with a special picking style.

   A multi-talented young man, Barefoot is a singer, songwriter, and musician. A specialty he has mastered is putting poetic lyrics together that tell stories of yesterday and tomorrow. Barefoot is a truly great lyricist able to capture beauty, happiness, frustrations, and pure fun.

Barefoot at Keyboard

The keyboard is a central part of his performances.

   He varies his performances by playing guitar, banjo, harmonica, and piano. No matter what instrument he picks up, his skill and feelings come pouring through. Those bare feet keep him in close touch with his foot percussion, which is often his guitar case.

Barefoot at Cherokee, NC

Cherokee Nation in North Carolina has a festival that he thoroughly enjoys.

   While playing around on the piano at home, he often just happens across his next song. He loves telling a story through his music and usually is working on several new songs. Sometimes he might work on a song idea for years, but often it happens in just one day, maybe even ten minutes.

Barefoot Latest Album

His album “Back to Virginia” takes you on a musical adventure from valleys to mountaintops.

   His albums are Bye Bye Bluebird, Ballyhoo, American Lady, and Back to Virginia. At concerts, Take Me Away and Cali top the list of requests. Summer in My Soul is his latest hit.

I will not grow old

While my heart is full

The world outside is so cold

But it’s Summer in My Soul.

Tourism Barefoot McCoy

He was a featured entertainer at Ohio Tourism Day on the Ohio Statehouse steps.

   Some of his favorite concerts have occurred at the Cherokee Festival in Cherokee Nation, the Paul Bunyan Festival at Old Washington, and Apple Butter Festival in Coshocton. My first concert of Barefoot’s occurred on the Ohio State House Lawn at a State Tourism Show and later listened when he performed at the Guernsey County Senior Center Picnic.

Barefoot at Senior Diner

Guernsey County Senior Center asked him to play for their Senior Picnic in the park.

   Like all young men, he has his dreams. One of those would be to go on an international tour. He’d also enjoy playing with Tommy Emmanuel, who he admires for his complex fingerstyle technique on the guitar. The talented Jake “Barefoot” McCoy certainly has a wonderful chance to fulfill his dreams.

Barefoot Tee

This Barefoot tee shirt could be a fun gift.

   Visit his website at www.barefootmccoy.com to hear some of his music. It’s an easy place to order an entertaining CD. Bluegrass fans might like to pick up a Barefoot Raglan Tee Shirt or Hoodie for themselves or a friend.

   Watch his schedule and plan to listen to his delightful musical creations sometime soon. Barefoot McCoy is a pure American Folk Music treasure.

The Camels Are Coming – Father’s Day Story

Dad, Mom and Bev 001

Mom, Dad, and a shy gypsy enjoy Father’s Day long ago. 

Dad would truly “Walk a mile for a Camel.” He thoroughly enjoyed his Camel cigarettes. No other brand would do. Why at that time their advertisements stated, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” Purchases were made by the carton.

   Needless to say, Dad always knew how many packs of cigarettes he still had left. One day when Dad and Mom returned from town, he found some of his packs of cigarettes missing. Mom questioned him as to whether he had smoked more than he thought. “No, Kate, I didn’t smoke that many packs. Someone had to take some.”

   Two weeks later, the same thing happened. This time they noticed that someone had come in through the cellar door while they were gone as the door was still wide open.

   Then Dad decided to play detective. He sent Mom to town at the regular time with me, wearing his work hat and white shirt, driving their car. We headed down the road to Indian Camp as we didn’t plan on staying away too long just in case Dad needed help.

   Before long, Dad heard someone pushing open the cellar door. Now was his chance to see who had been taking his cigarettes. He patiently waited at the top of the steps as he heard what sounded like young laughter.

   When the door to the upstairs opened, there stood Dad to greet the intruders. They happened to be two neighbor boys who wanted something to smoke and of course, their parents would not permit that.

   How surprised they were! He told them to come on upstairs and sit down in the living room. “Well, boys, should I call your parents? Will they approve of what you have done? You both know that stealing is wrong.”

   “Oh, please, Rudy, don’t call them. We’ll be in big trouble. We promise never to take your cigarettes again if you don’t tell.”

   Then Dad surprised them both by saying, “It will be our secret. If you ever want to smoke a cigarette, come over and ask me for one.”

   When Mom and I came back to the house, Dad was sitting on the porch with a smile on his face. “I caught two young boys and taught them a lesson. I don’t think it will ever happen again.” He was hoping that might cure their desire to take things that didn’t belong to them…and it did!

Ohio Sunday Springtime Drive

Sunday drives have been part of our family tradition since I was a child. Dad always loved to travel those back country roads to see what we could see. Today this gypsy is trying to carry on that tradition as often as possible.

Spring Salt Fork Lake 2   On a recent Sunday afternoon, my car headed out to one of my favorite spots for thinking and dreaming at Salt Fork Lake Dam. From there, it was a matter of luck where the next stops might be. Ride along and see what interesting places appeared along the way.

Spring Hillside   Along the way the trees were finally getting their leaves in that beautiful spring green with some colorful redbuds thrown into the mix to add a little color.

  Spring Plainfield flags     The small town of Plainfield made my heart swell as their main street was lined with the US flag. Houses and businesses all along the street had a flag in their front yard to show their support of our country.

Spring depot   Coming into Coshocton, I spotted an old depot no longer in use but a great reminder of how railroads were an important part of our past.

Spring Roscoe   A drive through Roscoe Village always gives pleasure. Today there were a few people out walking but not much traffic. The little shops along the way looked like they were lonesome for customers.

Spring Clary Gardens   Nearby Clary Gardens has not only a flower garden, but a hillside amphitheater for entertainment and weddings. There is also a lovely Quilt Barn on the premises.

Spring Basket   Down the road at Dresden, you can witness the largest basket in the world. This delightful, small town continues to make handwoven baskets at Dresden & Co.

Spring Whit's   Coming through Zanesville, a Whit’s custard ice cream cone called to me. The flavor of the month was Almond Joy, a delicious treat.

   Hope you enjoyed the ride!

LEGOLAND Discovery Center – The Ultimate Indoor Playground

LEGO tub of bricks

Use your imagination with a tub filled with LEGO bricks.

Kids love LEGO bricks! There’s no doubt about it. They enjoy the creativity involved in designing their own building, vehicle, or person by using their imagination. Not only does it grab the interest of youngsters, but many dads and moms had their own collection of LEGO years ago.

LEGOLAND front

LEGOLAND Discovery Center can be found at Easton in Columbus.

     Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton in Columbus for a unique indoor attraction based on the LEGO bricks. Since it was specifically built for children ages 3-10, all adults must be accompanied by children. You’ll want to plan your visit so you have two to three hours at LEGOLAND, which was opened in September 2018.

LEGO leaders

Their leadership team includes Benjy Johnson – Guest Experience Manager, Maxx Davidson – Master Builder, and Chris Shoemaker – General Manager

     With the assistance of a great guide, Benjy, my tour of the facility covered every aspect from building blocks to rides and movies. LEGOLAND is highly interactive in numerous areas.

Lego Interactive

The Friends section holds a special interest to girls and moms.

     LEGO began back in 1932 when a toymaker in Denmark began making wooden toys and blocks and called them “leg godt,” meaning “play well.” It wasn’t until 1958 that LEGO bricks were made out of plastic with their interlocking design so all would fit together easily.

LEGO building

How tall can you build your tower before it falls at Earthquake Shake?

     It would take forty billion LEGO bricks end to end to reach the moon. The company makes forty-seven billion bricks each year. A special addition in 1978 was the popular minifigure. Since that time there have been enough minifigures made to wrap around the earth eighteen times.

LEGO OSU

Miniland has an interactive section of the OSU Stadium built of LEGO bricks.

     An interactive Miniland attracts adults as well as children. In Columbus, you will see parts of the city built with LEGO bricks. They also have highlights of Cleveland and Cincinnati. There are over a million and a half LEGO bricks in Miniland. Little details will have you exploring the sites carefully.

LEGO Build and Test 2

Families have fun building vehicles and racing them at Build and Test.

     Several play areas give youngsters a chance to build their own LEGO creations. LEGO Build and Test entices families to build their own vehicles so they can race them on extreme ramps and see how fast they can go. Earthquake Tables are the perfect place to erect buildings and see how they withstand an earthquake.

     With all the children handling bricks, special attention is paid to cleaning and sterilizing the bricks on a daily basis. Anytime a brick is dropped on the floor, it is swept up and taken to the room for cleaning. At the end of the day, all the bricks that children play with are taken to the washroom where they are washed and sterilized.

LEGO movies

Everyone will enjoy a LEGO 4D Cinema adventure.

     Want to take a break from building? Sit back and watch a fantastic LEGO 4D Cinema. Here you will experience rain, snow, wind, and bubbles while you watch the LEGO excitement. There are four different movies for your enjoyment. The 4D glasses are also disinfected after each use.

LEGO ticket booth

Even the ticket booth to the movies looks like a LEGO brick.

     You won’t want to miss two rides that take you on LEGO adventures. Kingdom Quest takes you on a laser journey to free the captured princess. Hop aboard a chariot and use blasters to zap beastly trolls and sneaky skeletons along the way. Rescue the princess!

merlins-apprentice-1

Fly to new heights as Merlin’s Apprentice.

     Merlin’s Apprentice Ride takes place in Merlin’s magical chamber. Here you pedal the enchanted cart as fast as you can to soar to new heights of up to 12′. Only the most powerful charms will reach the sky.

LEGO clock

The dragon emerges every fifteen minutes from the LEGO clock to Rock Around the Clock.

     Many special events are held throughout the year so check out their website at www.columbus.legolanddiscoverycenter.com to find all the activities. They even have special Adult Only Nights for grown-ups who always enjoyed LEGO bricks and would like a chance to be a kid again.

     Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton in Columbus to experience building and creating with LEGO bricks. There’s free parking close by in the West Garage.

LEGO birthday

LEGOLAND is the perfect place for a birthday party.

     This is a great place for a birthday party or a school field trip and it’s open every day of the year – all 366 days this year! The children will certainly remember this unique indoor adventure.

     Go inside and play!

LEGOLAND is located inside Easton Center just off I-270 at Exit 33. Their address is 157 Easton Town Center with free parking close by in West Garage. Put the address in your GPS and go play!

Gypsy Highway

Snyder's BluffWhile visiting Vicksburg, Mississippi to do some research for a Civil War Diary, my journey took me to Snyder’s Bluff, one of the places frequently mentioned in the diary. This is where my GPS took me that hot, southern day.

   Dust settled over my gypsy car while exploring a dirt road not far from that grand Mississippi River that divides our country. With temperatures near 100 degrees as the sun beat down, I felt fortunate that the Chevy’s air conditioning worked properly.

   Soon the road went through a narrow pass cut into the ground with sides ten feet high and trees extending their roots like tentacles reaching out to capture something or someone. Because of the desire to do research for the book, my curiosity led me forward. After a few miles, no end seemed to be in sight so when the road widened, giving an opportunity to turn around, I maneuvered the car back and forth until it was headed out.

   Returning through the pass, a loud sound reached my ears and there was more dust up ahead. Around a slight bend headed straight toward me rumbled a semi loaded with logs. Imagine they were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

   Somehow we passed with inches to spare between us and between the banks of the road with tree roots waiting to grasp. No walls came tumbling down!

   After that close call, it was necessary to stop for a few minutes. With my hand resting on my chest, I could feel the rapid heartbeat. The smell of dust filled the car.

   My lips felt like sandpaper from the dust and heat, and my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. Perhaps back on the main road, there would be someplace to buy a cold ice tea to wet my whistle.

   You never know what you might encounter when taking a Gypsy Highway. It made me wonder how Pvt. George Painter, the writer of the diary, handled the dangers in the area back in 1863 when he was a member of the Mississippi Marine Brigade.

Find Handmade Unique Gifts at Jane’s Dolls & Things

Jane Booth

Jane currently has a booth at Deal Busters Marketplace in Byesville.

Dolls, bears, and doll clothes are just a few of the things created by Jane Parks of Kimbolton. When she talks about her creations, you can tell by the sparkle in her eyes that she truly enjoys what she does.

Jane Barbie dress

She got her start at making doll dresses with clothes for Barbie.

   She remembers those first clothes she made back when she was fifteen. That was a time when Barbie dolls were very popular. Jane made clothes for Barbie and sold them to children on the school bus. That year she made enough money to buy Christmas presents for the entire family.

   For a while, life took over and Jane was busy with work and family. She did find time to make some doll clothes for her daughter.

   1978 was the year when she became more interested in making dolls and their clothes. She and her husband, Bill, were at a Steam Engine Show where they saw someone selling doll clothes in one of the booths. Bill told Jane that her doll clothes looked much better and she should try selling hers.

Jane doll dress

Creating a fancy pinafore for an 18″ doll takes much time.

   That next year, Jane took all the things she had made to the Steam Engine Show at Stumptown. She sat on the tailgate of an International Scout with her creations spread on wooden boards between two wooden horses. She charged fifty cents a dress and made $40 in four hours. She was hooked! Her business, Jane’s Dolls & Things began.

   One of the first patterns she purchased was for a Shirley Temple doll as that doll had always been special to her. She still has that doll at home but it looks rather rough compared to what she makes today.

Jane Katie Dolls

Her Katie Dolls are cheerful and soft to hold.

   Her file cabinet is now filled to overflowing with patterns for dolls and dresses. Of course, Jane adds her personal touch to each item. Her biggest challenge is finding just the right peach-colored fabric for skin tones on the dolls.

Jane Memory Bear

These Memory Bears were made from a loved one’s suit jacket.

   Memory Bear might be made from a pattern, but each bear takes on a different presence. These bears are made in memory of loved ones who are deceased. What a comfort to hold a bear that is dressed in the material from a favorite suit, dress, jeans or scrubs of your loved one.

Jane Memory bears.jpg

These are just a few of the requested Memory Bears.

   As a wife and grandmother, Jane has many chores that must be done but she smiled, “I’d rather be sewing.” If she was free, she could make ten Barbie pioneer dresses in one day. Or sometimes with interruptions, she could be working on a Memory Bear for a week. But there are times when she is so busy with orders that she can do nothing else.

Jane My Sweet Baby

My Sweet Baby has four faces that can be turned to match the mood.

   An unusual doll is called My Sweet Baby. This doll has four faces which can be turned to fit the mood of the child…or the adult! The sides include faces that are sleeping, angry, crying, and happy.

Jane dragons

Dragons have become popular with young boys and even teens.

   Jane also makes all the jewelry, shoes, and hats that go on the dolls. One of her most recent creations for the girls is a mermaid dress, which became popular after Disney’s “Little Mermaid.” Boys from child to teen prefer Elliott, the dragon.

Jane Wooden dogs

Layered wooden dogs, which look exactly like your dog or pet, can be made from pictures sent.

   Another recent venture has been making layered wooden animals. People will send her a picture of their dog or horse and she will make a small wooden replica that looks remarkably like the picture. What a talented lady!

   During the year, Jane and Bill set up her display at Roscoe Apple Butter Festival, Utica Ice Cream Festival, and the Caldwell Harvest Festival. Word of mouth from these and other festivals have sent many customers her direction. My first contact with Jane was at her Ohio State Fair display.

Jane Raggedy Sandy

Jane holds her Raggedy Sandy doll, who has a brother Raggedy Sam.

   Jane belongs to the Ohio Canal Doll Club, which makes dolls and clothes for children who have had traumatic events in their life. The Glad Rags of Strasburg usually make doll clothes, but this year they had a special project of making dresses out of pillowcases to send to the young girls in Africa.

   What would a dollmaker collect? Dolls! But she also admits to having an overflowing collection of books. Jane has a great sense of humor about life, as she laughed, “I’m older than dirt and slower than molasses.”

Jane Tea cup doll

This tiny Tea Cup Doll gets its name from its teacup size.

   Her life is a busy one with three children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Wesley Chapel is very important to her and she teaches Sunday School there as well as helps with many of the youth activities.

   Squeezing in time to make dolls, stuffed animals and their clothes is sometimes difficult, but the end result is appreciated by all her customers.

Jane doll in swing

Little girls like to play house with Doll in a Swing.

   Right now you can find her display at Deal Busters Marketplace on 2nd Street in Byesville. If you would like to get in touch with her personally call 740-498-8806 or email her at dollmakerparks9@gmail.com .

   Jane’s Doll’s & Things make so many special items that you’re almost certain to find something that would appeal to someone in your family – children or adults. You’re never too old for a teddy bear!

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