Friday, October 2, 2020

RAFTING the East Race Waterway!

This was right before we geared up and ran the course.

Most people from around here (Northwest Ohio) have never heard of the East Race Waterway.  I'd bet that most people in Northern Indian have no idea what it is either.
If live in northern Ohio and you've ever wanted to go whitewater rafting without having to drive to Pennsylvania or Michigan or Kentucky or Tennessee or West Virginia then head to downtown South Bend Indiana's East Race Waterway!  The ERW is a man-made whitewater course that is open to the public on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

No experience required...although this is a self-guided course so you're rafting at your own're only looking at class II no big.

A MUST MUST add to your summer adventuring list of things to do!!  $6 bucks per person to go down this course, which also includes use of the South Bend Parks and Rec equipment (raft, paddle, life-jacket, helmet).  It takes maybe about 10 minutes to run the whole no worries...every so many feet there's a trained professional with a throw-rope waiting on the sideline to help you if you get into trouble.  Except in my case...which I'll tell you about more here in a second.

This was after we ran the course...notice how much less dry we are...and maybe slightly more haggard looking.

Funny thing here is...this year...I was determined to experience the ERW again!!  It hadn't rained for weeks....but the ONE DAY we are able to go (which happened to be a Sunday) it stormed buckets...and eventually the course was closed down due to lightning in the area.  Ironic.  But least they were still open and running during this blasted Covid year from hell.

Chris, Isabella, Isaac and I got to run the course one time in a raft...and then I ran the course a second time in a ducky before they closed the course for the weather safety factor.  Everyone had a blast...and some fun stories came out of the experience (like Isaac accidentally whacking Chris in the helmet in between paddle strokes throughout the run...which is really the main reason you're required to where a protect yourselves from yourselves...hah!)


I had run this course years and YEARS before and it was very interesting to see what had changed and what hadn't over those years.  The course looked exactly the same...but one of the big changes...and at  least in my mind...was if you went down this course by yourself in their 2-person ducky they no longer offered kayak paddles (the double ended sort of paddle versus the single canoe paddle type you see me holding in the photo above).  Why does this matter you may ask??  Well...I'll tell you.  It takes some serious finesse to effectively maneuver your own boat having to either adjust your stroke type (power, direction, angle) or switch from side to order to control the direction and speed of your boat.  Why might speed matter you make ask?  Well...I'll tell you.  Whitewater comes in all shapes and sizes....and there's one particular type that can be a bear....and that one is a recirculating wave...that is one that pours over and over itself like a washing machine turned on its side.  On the edge of the particular recirculating wave that I discovered on THIS day...has a reverse sucking sort of power to much so that if you didn't have enough momentum to get through guessed sucks you right back into it.  Which happens to be exactly what happened to me.  I saw this rapid coming....tried to gain as much speed as I could (which I could tell was no where near enough) I paddled with all the gusto I could create with my one-sided-paddle and just as I crested the edge of the wave...I could feel my boat just simply stop....hold for one second and then reverse suck right back in.  The only thing I could think to do...was paddle harder (which in retrospect was futile...nature is gonna win these sorts of tug-o-wars 100% of the time...but what I SHOULD have tried was to simply get as low in the boat as possible and try to ride it like a surf board...I'll try that next year when we return for more adventure)...My futile act of trying to brute-strength-out-of-this predicament...failed.  surprise.  My boat flipped, my feet went straight into the air, my head went under water, I get tossed around under water by the force of this wave and then I shoot out and get caught up in the current flowing downstream.  

Here was my first reaction...Look for a rope to be thrown at you.  But when I got my bearings and looked around...there WERE NO helpful whitewater crises professional workers anywhere in site??  I floated through the next rapid and started looking around for where my boat paddle was still tightly gripped in my right hand.  A few seconds passed then I realized...well...guess I'm going to have to save myself.  (there's some sort of life-message wrapped up in that)  So I did what NO experienced whitewater rafter should ever do...I tried to drag my feet on the bottom of this channel to slow myself down...for the mere reason that my boat was floating down stream behind me.  (This was when I learned that being man-made...there were NO under-water hazards to cause foot-entrapment, just slimy concrete on which I was sliding because of the force of the current. Note here also that the water level was shallow enough that I could stand up and my head would be out of water no problem.  This was when my boat caught up to me and after 2 tries I jumped in...and continued on down that course like a champ-who-could-save-herself would!!

I was a bit shaken by my little swim the ERW experience...but always always one learns a lot about oneself after crossing through life's little challenging pathways like these.  I suppose this is EXACTLY why I seek out such experiences...because in the end...I come out a better person for it.  Not to mention have really fun stories to tell!!

GO BE DO!!! Adventure!

If you're looking for something super fun and definitely out-of-the-ordinary to do with your friends or family...head to downtown South Bend, Indiana for this fantastical fun adventure!!

for more info see





Thursday, January 23, 2020

Winter hiking...because sometimes you just gotta bundle up and get outside!

I've been perusing through some photos today and came across this one from last year (at least I think this was like last January or something).

Chris and I went for a mini-retreat to Hocking Hills, Ohio, rented a cabin and hiked our buns off.  (we took both dogs with us too, but Reese general is the better hiker of the two.  Willy was enjoying some R&R back at the cabin).  This photo was taken at the Upper Falls in the Old Man's Cave area of Hocking Hills along a rim trail that runs along Old Man's Creek.  There was a ton of ice along many of the overlook trails so we opted to stick to dirt covered forest trails this day.  (We now have spikes for our hiking boots so this won't stop us next time).

If you'll look in the upper right hand corner of this photo you can see our little toy Fox Terrier, Reese, standing and well who knows what she's doing really other than standing, hah!  You can also see Chris' legs in the faint distance in the same upper right hand corner.  I guess they were both patiently waiting while I was screwing around snapping this photo.  I have no idea who the folks are at the waters edge of this photo down below.  Guess we weren't the only ones this day that needed to get outside.

If you've never visited Hocking Hills, Ohio it's a hikers paradise!  But we did discovered that the crowds are nada in the winter months and the cabin rates are MUCHO cheaper.

Peace out.

yearning for warmer, sunny days

Oh for the warmer temps to arrive sooner than later!  Sitting here sipping hot coffee this afternoon looking through some pictures and came across this one of me kayaking on a local reservoir this past fall.

There's a little bit of snow left on the ground from last week's winter storms...although it's beginning to melt of as daily temps are eeking up just above freezing during the day.

Hopefully in just a few short weeks I can be throwing my kayak in some local water and be back at it again.  Until then...just gonna bundle up and head to the woods for a hike I guess.

Peace out.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Spooktacular Delta, Ohio Halloween Homes awarded!

I came up with this crazy idea last year...and finally got around to acting upon it this Halloween.  Thanks to and a little bit of effort a crazy idea turned into a whole lot of fun!
Here's a copy of what I sent to the local newspaper outlets (even though neither of them opted to publish...which was kind of a bummer...but we still had tons of fun doing this anyway).

Delta, Ohio, October 29, 2019:  If you enjoy Halloween then you probably enjoy driving around looking at your community homes to view the extravagantly lavish displays of ghoulishness and witchery.

Two Fulton County citizens have been doing just that for the past few years, driving around the Village of Delta admiring Halloween home décor.  They decided that the most FAB-BOO-LOUS displays summoned an award! 

This year, Rachel Dickson and Christina Summers of Delta had trophies made to bequeath upon the appropriate winners.  “We thought it would be grand fun to walk up to some strangers door in our community in honor of their creativeness and effort and hand them a trophy for having such lavish Halloween décor displayed,” Rachel said.  “Our communities deserve simple acts of good will. Just because.”

The categories selected were, “Most Creative”, “Most Elaborate” and “Most Creeptastic.” Thursday evening Dickson and Summers drove the streets of Delta deciding which homes would be pronounced winners of the 2019 Halloween Homes Décor contest.

The 2019 winners are:

Most Creative: 202 Adrian, Delta. Thom Gorman and Bonnie Weimer-Gorman

Most Elaborate: 406 Palmwood, Delta. Paul and Ashley Todd

Most Creeptastic: 308 N. Madison, Delta. Allen and Sheila Naiber

“We were glad folks were home when we knocked on the door. It was absolutely fantastic to see the elated reactions of everyone we presented trophies to,” Christina Summers said.  “Congratulations to this year’s winners and we’re excited to see what next year will bring.”

 And if you're wondering...yes, the choices for some of the categories were a bit difficult to choose. There are some SERIOUS Halloween decorators who live in Delta, Ohio.  It was tons of fun to walk up to each winners front door and present their award.  All were very thrilled and excited to be awarded our fun trophies!

SEE, artistic, creative ability comes in all shapes and sizes.  I'll always tip my hat to anyone who chooses to express their creativity in whatever form its presented.  Here here!!

Who knows what next year will bring!!  Halloween Home decorators beware!  You might just be the 2020 award recipients. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Where is your art for *&^$!@ sake you may ask?

I picked up the pen again...and have started dabbling in some small projects.  I'm not sure why but I enjoy drawing on business sized envelopes.  Makes new art very portable.  All I have to do to move it around the world is address said envelope to someone and on the move!

Here's some samples of things I've drawn recently and not so recently.


Next up....abstract paintings!!!!!  Get ready....I have 2 in the works as we speak.


Chicken wars...and the end of it.

I've had enough.  Since my last post all of our guinea hens are gone. Poof. Sucked up by the wildlife vortex.  The culprit? Fox and great-horned owl.

While I can't do anything about the great-horned owl (besides making sure every living thing is indoors before nightfall for some reason the guineas started perching in the trees at night...and well...I couldn't really get them down from there or stop them from doing this...but a great-horned owl sure can.) However, I CAN do something about the fox.


I can't say I had much of a choice at this point.  After losing countless chickens and now guinea fowl to the local wildlife...and also learning that two neighboring farms have also lost every last one of their chickens to what was likely the fox...enough is enough.

After trying everything else I could think of (trapping, hunting, baiting, watching out...etc etc..I bit the bullet, figured out what supplies I needed and then spent a day installing a simple single-wire electric fence.  Ironically, I haven't lost a feathered-friend since that day!!  So far...100% successful.

I had previously bucked the idea of an electric fence because I couldn't seem to figure out how to incorporate a three-wire, 4 foot high fence into the fencing that already exists and still be able to access gates and so forth.  Not to mention the expense of all of THAT.

One day in my conundrum, I came across Robert Plamondon's blog talking about this very subject.  Very informative information regarding his successes using a simple single or double-wire electric fencing.  I HIGHLY recommend you read his blog post about the "chicken saver" electric fence.

Made perfect sense to me what Robert was saying about a single-wire fence at just 10 inches off the ground. (Nose level for most chicken predators.) Why hadn't I thought of that??!!

Click here to read Robert Plamondon's blog post.

I went with a step-down version of the Parmak Super Energizer.  The one I chose is good for 30 miles of fence instead of 50 miles. Still WAY more than I need...but I like Robert's input regarding bigger is better. I have no problem zapping the CRAP out of any predator that comes sniffing around.

I found the whole process much less difficult than I expected...although one snafu that I dealt with was the electrical receptacle in the barn that I'd be working with.  Turns out most electric fence energizers don't work with the type of receptacle that has the test and reset button on it. Otherwise known as GFCI plugs.  The GFCI type plugs are supposed to be installed anywhere there is moisture present or humidity...hence why these receptacles are commonly found in barns, bathrooms and kitchens.

I didn't really like the idea of coming home from work one day and finding the barn burnt to the ground because of my war with the chicken I called the electrician.  He swapped out the plug for me and assured me that all would be well with what I was trying to do with an electric fence.  (Sure enough...has worked flawlessly since!)

The steps to install my single-line electric fence turned out to be fairly straight forward and simple.
First, I picked out where I was going to put the wire for the fence, figured out where I was going to hang the energizer inside the barn and how I would run the wires to the outside of the barn to the fencing and grounding rods.
I then walked all around the outside of my existing fence and pulled up all the weeds so there would be no issue with grounding because of weeds and tall grass touching the wire.

Next, I placed my plastic fence posts that would hold the wire.  And then I ran the aluminum wire attaching it to each post as I went.

Next I pounded the three 6 foot grounding rods into the ground and then finally I hung the energizer and ran the wiring through the outer barn wall and clamped it to the rods and the aluminum wire of course to the other connector on the energizer.

Our barn is incredibly I also stapled a piece of a feedbag to hang over the energizer as a shield of sorts.  (seems to be working very well to keep dust off). 

With the fence complete and everything attached per the instructions from Parmak and tips from Robert's blog...I held my breath as I plugged the energizer in.  VIOLA!  Just as I immediately started clicking (the normal click, click, click you hear from any electric fence) and the digital meter on the front read 13.4.  That should zap em!!  ( I also took a voltage tester just to be sure the fence was working and tested the voltage flowing through the wire.....yep it was zappin!)

And so far...I haven't lost a chicken yet.  Maybe...just maybe...this will do the trick and I can keep the flock size to about 36 birds or so.

Time will tell....

oh RATS!

I have a hunting camera in the barn to keep watch over the goings on in there after dark.  And I kept getting these photos of this long-tailed blur.  RAT!

These little buggars are much smarter than I expected. After multiple attempts using various bait (peanut butter of course was one I used that failed)...turns out left-over chicken wing bones from any restaurant that serves wings does the trick.  (Mice and rats both gnaw on bones and I suppose they can't resist the smell from the sauce of the remaining bits of chicken on the bone).

I couldn't believe the speed and acrobatics this rat could do inside my trap!  Amazing climbing, zipping around and maneuvering skill.  I can't imagine having one of these get in your house.  Ewww.

I actually caught two rats over a period of about 2 weeks (elusive, smart buggars).  And haven't had any more photos so I'm thinking done for now with rats. Never a dull moment.

Always something going on in that barn.  The gift that keeps on giving.