Monday, August 31, 2009

The Bridges of Union County

I live in Union County, Ohio, which is known in this area for its covered bridges. We have six wooden covered bridges and one steel truss bridge. I've been wanting to do a photo post about them for a while and when I joined a new photo challenge blog, guess what the first week's theme was....where I live! How convenient is that?!! So, without further ado, I present to you "The Bridges of Union County".

click on any picture to enlarge
First is Spain Creek Bridge which was designed and built by Reuben Partridge in the 1870s. It is the shortest span in U. C. at 64 feet in length. It was rehabilitated in 1988 when they built a bridge inside the covered bridge to support it.

The Pottersburg Bridge, sometimes called the Upper Darby Bridge was also designed by Mr. Partridge in 1868. The bridge was moved from another location in 2006 and renovated by the U. C. Engineer, Steve Stolte to preserve its 1930s appearance. Its windows with awnings are not original, having been added in 1949.  Partridge was a prolific bridge builder, having built more than 100 in Union  and surrounding counties. Most were covered wooden ones, but a few were constructed of iron. The bridge does not cross water, but a dry bed. There is a two-mile trail (which you can see in the photo directly above) to the town of North Lewisburg. We walk here often.

The North Lewisburg Road Bridge spans the Big Darby Creek and was constructed in 2006 by the Righter Company. The span is 130 feet long, is two lanes wide and offers beautiful vistas of the Big Darby Scenic River.


The Buck Run Road Bridge was constructed in 2006 also by the Righter Company and spans an impressive 160 feet. It is the longest wooden covered bridge in Ohio. We cross this bridge every time we go to Jaye's house.

Below is Bigelow Bridge, also known as Axe Handle Road Bridge, and named in honor of Eliphas Bigelow, a nearby resident. It was built by Reuben Partridge in 1873 and has a span of 114 feet. It has undergone extensive renovation.

Our last historic covered bridge is Culbertson Bridge, also known as Winget Road Bridge. The 100 foot bridge spans Treacle Creek and was built in 1868 by the very busy Mr. Partridge. This bridge is on a dead-end road and features a small "run-around" that is used by heavy trucks and farm machinery except when the creek is flooded. Notice the arched wooden supports inside.

The Streng Road Truss Bridge was built in 1914 and is presumed to have replaced a bridge that was destroyed in the devastating 1913 flood. Union County received special recognition for the renovation of this 200 foot Pratt Steel Truss bridge in 1993. The bridge is officially listed as an Ohio Historic Bridge. This is the only non-covered bridge with this recognition in Union County.

click to read the inscriptions

And last, but not least, we even have a replica covered wooden bridge at our Allen Township Community Center. This is the park where I often take the grandkids to play. It is a beautiful park and community center.

I hope that you enjoyed the tour and that you will visit the new photo challenge blog called Lens.Us.Together.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Lake

One week ago today in the early morning hours, I was scurrying around doing the last minute things on the to-do list, getting ready for departure to points north. Some of you might say that I'm pretty far north as it is, but this was farther north, namely in the middle of Michigan where there are lakes abounding. This particular lake to which I was heading happens to have on its shore a lovely, straight-from-the-sixties era cottage. It turned out to be my dream-come-true cottage. So much like the one where I stayed as a child with one of my friends (only much bigger and better), with the full screened porch across the front where we played cards and board games under the yellow bug light until her mom would send us off to bed in the loft that we reached by climbing a ladder, giggling and talking until we drifted off to sleep with the sounds of crickets and frogs and the occasional owl singing a lullaby.

Oh, look! There he is, sitting on the dock keeping the gray boards free of Canada goose poop!
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There were so many nooks and cozy little spots in which one could relax, unwind, drink a steaming cup of tea, read a book, nap or just look out onto the beautiful water and watch water-skiers fly by. This corner was my favorite spot. The air was chilly, so we wrapped up in soft afghans and sipped that hot tea.
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Sometimes the sky looked like this, with a few patches of blue peeking through the overcast sky.

Mostly it was like this, with light rain falling sporadically.

(Click on the pic to see what the dot is.)

Many cottages (some fancy and modern, some rustic) dotted the shoreline, with boats and rafts tied to every dock. I even saw a couple of them for sale which got me excited, but, alas, when I looked at them online, they weren't remotely anything like my dream cottage. Too modern.

On Sunday, the last full day of our visit, the sun started peeking out a little more and we went for a ride in the cottage rowboat. The captain of our ship (who was also our lovely hostess) proudly rowed us around the entire lake perimeter. I felt like a lazy sluggard while she manned the oars. I'm not sure she trusted us unskilled rowers with them (and rightly so, in my case), preferring to maintain her leisurely and smooth rhythm to see us safely around the shore.

It was the perfect weekend and I only had to wait forty-three years between my childhood lake cottage experience and this one. I hope it won't be another forty-three years until the next one. I don't know if I can even wait three.

Monday, August 17, 2009


It was the summer of 1965 and I had just acquired a new stepfather and a move to the country at the same time. I was missing my friends in town very much. We had hung out together all the time. I didn't want to attend my stepfather's church. I didn't like being the new girl.

The first time I walked into the little country Baptist church, I felt as though everyone's eyes were on me and my mother...sizing us up. I don't remember who spoke to whom first, but Jeanne says that I linked my arm through hers and said, "We're going to be best friends."

I had just turned twelve a month before, and Jeanne's twelfth birthday would be the next month. From the first day we met we were soul mates. She lived across the street from the church and I lived about a mile away. I rode my bicycle to her house almost every day and we would explore the tiny village, go inside the church where we would tinker around on the piano and sing, sing, sing. There were picnics on the creek that included a few slices of bologna, colby cheese and saltine crackers. We thought it was wonderful. She spent the night with me often, and we drove my poor mother crazy with our giggling and incessant talking.

When school started in September, I was scared to go into the classroom, but Jeanne helped me get over my fear and introduced me to our classmates. We were best friends throughout junior high and high school. We saw each other through heartbreaks, crazy stunts, boring or obnoxious teachers, and the annual slumber parties. I think we had a little tiff once, but it didn't last long and we made up as best friends do.

Jeanne at age seventeen.

We both got married young and I commiserated with Jeanne when she was going through a divorce and a very serious health problem. We both experienced the loss of a parent. Our oldest sons are only a few months apart in age. Our second sons both were diagnosed with Type I diabetes. We even have the same overlapping front tooth. There have been times when we lost touch over the years from moves to other locations or just being busy raising young families. But I know that whenever I pick up the phone and call her number, it's as if we just saw each other yesterday.

When Jeanne turned 50, her husband Rob planned a surprise party for her at one of their favorite restaurants. He sent an invitation to us and followed up with a phone call urging me to attend, because he said it just wouldn't be the same without me there. Of course I planned to go, I wouldn't have let anything keep me away.

There were probably about 50 people waiting inside the restaurant for Jeanne and Rob and a few of their friends to arrive. I was sitting at the bar, but facing the front door. We hadn't seen each other in a few years, so I wanted to see her face as she came in. When she walked through the door and we yelled "Surprise!", her eyes went straight to mine and she yelled, "Susan! You're here!". Totally ignoring her other guests and running straight into my arms for a huge hug. It was worth driving three hours for that hug. I'm ashamed to say that I pretty much monopolized her for the next few hours.

This past weekend, when Jeanne came to my house for a visit, she told me that my gift to her of antique aperitif glasses at her 50th is the only one she remembers getting, and they have an honored place inside her china cabinet. I was touched.

We had a wonderful time catching up, reminiscing, eating and looking at old photos and yearbooks. On Friday, we never stopped talking and laughing from the time she arrived at noon, until ten o'clock that night when we both dropped into bed from exhaustion. Then we continued the conversation the next morning as if we never left off. We met up for lunch with another friend from high school who lives near me and reconnected with her and had a very nice visit.

I hated to see Jeanne leave, because who knows when we will get together again, but we promised each other that we will stay in regular contact. And I'm very sure that we will live up to our promise.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In the Summertime.....

....when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky.

Summer is the perfect time for grandkids.

Matthew enjoying a snack.


Giggling at Grammy.


Lauren showing Goldie some love.


More love from Lauren. Goldie seems to be done with it.

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Nathan sporting a summer Mohawk. We were taking a short hike at the Big Darby Headwaters.


Gaige striking a tough pose.


This is Kaitlyn's only happy moment on the 30-minute hike. She screamed and shivered at every bug, leaf and sound. It didn't help matters any that her brothers kept talking about seeing coyotes. To give her credit, Nathan was a little freaked out by that kind of talk, too.

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And a few flowers that we I saw along the way.


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And a spider web glistening with the dew.


Mungo Jerry was a little freaky himself.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So, you like pine nuts, eh?

I've been doing some research for a roasted red pepper sauce recipe the last week or so. I have my own, but I'm just not that happy with it. There seems to be something missing and I can't quite put my finger on it. I've been in love with red pepper sauce since I had it five years ago at a seafood restaurant in Burlington, Vermont. It was served with seared scallops and linguine and it was so gosh-darned delicious that I had a hard time not sticking my whole face in the bowl and licking it clean. Thankfully, there was a nice crusty Italian bread served with the meal. It was the only thing that saved me from embarrassment and total humiliation in front of my husband, mother-in-law and a restaurant full of reserved-looking diners.

I will be making this same dish for a couple of friends in two weeks and I want it to be perfect, or as perfect as a self-learned cook can make it. Soooo, I found one that has garnered rave reviews on Pioneer Woman's blog, but in reading the comments I found this interesting tidbit of info from another blogger, ZoeSelina. Apparently, certain pine nuts originating from China can cause an adverse reaction. A day or so after consuming them, you develop a horribly bitter, metallic taste in your mouth that nothing, NOTHING will remove. Eating sweet foods seems to make it even worse. Sometimes it can take up to a week to dissipate and until that happens, you are miserable.

So, friends, if you have pine nuts in your pantry, RUN, do not walk, and read the package to see if the country of origin is China. One commenter said the same thing happened with nuts from Vietnam, so those would be suspect also.

By the way, I think David is getting tired of meals that include roasted red pepper sauce.