Category Archives: Blog

Early Safety Equipment

My working career was spent in hospitals. Part of the dress code which was common across the years and in the multiple states in which I worked was: No Open Toed Shoes.

This makes sense in hospitals and in many other workplaces. We worked with chemicals would could spill and sharp objects (needles & blades) which could be hazardous. Ignore for a moment that many people, including yours truly, have moments of KLUTZ.

So how did workers more than a century ago protect their feet? You could not order a pair of steel toe safety shoes of either a paper catalog or on-line. And they didn’t carry them at the local general store either.

The idea was imported. They quickly became manufactured locally. And while they have gone out of style and I doubt they’d be permitted on a construction site today — these examples protected many toes from dropped tools and rocks.

Wooden shoes – good for the muddy jobs plus the hazardous ones.

One Hundred Heads Per Head

Yes, you read the title correctly.

Recently I visited a tourist site as part of a day trip with an out-of-state guest. So I’m not sure if I caught the words correctly. So this may be a recommendation or it may have been a requirement. Either way, gardens were part of life for the early settlers in Missouri. So when the German immigrants arrived after several years in an Eastern city, it was natural that part of the association “rules” would include each family to have a garden.

The surprising part to me was not the idea of a garden. It was the specific amount of a specific crop. In addition to the usual beets, carrots, and potatoes, this group requested one hundred heads of cabbage be grown for each member of the household.

No — they were not going to sell coleslaw to their American neighbors. These were Germans. The great majority of the cabbage would be shredded, salted, and fermented into sauerkraut. The people who organized the immigration society determined that this was the amount of cabbage which needed to be grown to sustain a person through the winter and early spring until the garden was producing fresh vegetables again.

A demonstration garden of the German immigrants. The actual garden would have been larger, with more of these defined square planted areas. And several of them would have been row upon row of cabbage plants. Their primary source of several essential vitamins.

 

Open With Care

A good mystery catches my attention.

As an author, I ask and attempt to answer the question — What if?

What if the house really is haunted? Or a tornado takes the old barn? Or your sister gives birth to twins?

So imagine this, a girl is running away from an abusive situation at home. She sees lightning and hears the thunder coming closer. Will she open this door?

What lies beyond?

Good luck as you think about some of the “what if” possibilities.

Built to Last

Strong wood. Intelligent designer. Capable workmen.

The result is a structure which functioned for well over a century. After a few decades, the makeup of the burden carried changed in character. And grew in both size and weight.

Located in Southern Indiana, this covered bridge served the local residents from 1863 until the final decade of the 20th century. According to the sign above the entrance, it is 150 feet long and cost a total of $5,700 to construct.

I walked it during my visit. Imagine crossing it on horseback, horse-drawn wagon, or bicycle.

Carpenter’s Delight

The building trades have my respect. The skill and ability to work with metal, electricity, stone, and wood to create useful items and structures is worthy of much admiration.

On a recent road trip, my friend and I visited a fairly new tourist attraction. Based on ancient plans you can see the use of new methods and admire old-fashioned workmanship at the same time.

Size. Scale. Ingenuity. Use of simple concepts like gravity to the advantage of humans. Storage facilities using materials at hand.

I think if I visit this reproduction of Noah’s Ark again, I’ll bring a carpenter along to explain the construction details.

 

Worth a Pause

You’ve heard the saying “Stop and smell the roses.”

It can be a polite way to request or advise a person to slow down and notice the world around them. When not moving at a blur…little bits of beauty (and scent)… have a chance to be noticed. And the beauty of the natural world, from either side of the building’s window, can have a calming effect.

On a recent vacation, I only took part of this advice to heart. I wanted to see more. A bus tour was great for an introduction to a new city. And while it didn’t really stop at he sight below — it did slow enough in traffic to capture an image.

Power and Responsibility

For a good share of my life, I’ve lived close enough to the Mississippi River to be able to watch the barges with only a short drive to a viewing point.

It takes skill and attention to detail to control fifteen large floating containers (more on the Lower Mississippi) from a position of center rear. Other vessels, as small as canoes, share the same river. Pilots are also responsible for a crew. The men who ensure the barges remain cabled together, assist in all sort of ways when locking on the Upper Mississippi (or other rivers), and maintaining the equipment. It’s not an easy life. Perhaps an adventure for a strong, young person.

Not long ago, I happened upon the place on the Ohio River where many of these river pilots are trained.  Across the street from their training center a talented artist gives his interpretation of their “view.”

Sing Out a Welcome

American music. Think Country, Jazz, Blues, and Folk.

While is music is a form of entertainment and communication that crosses boundaries, it also has roots. And the Mid-South region of the United States has a jumble of them. The plants they support have grown, evolved, and even seeded new forms through the decades.

On our recent road trip (another great American institution) we found a state proud to proclaim their musical heritage.

TN Welcome Center

Yes, we make a point to enjoy a little music during our stay.

Second Look Required

Like most tourists, my friend and I sought out lunch. As we walked along, looking for and evaluating restaurant signs in the downtown area, I spotted this bright fellow across the street.

After a fine lunch a block away, we continued with our sightseeing. Hours later, our path again intersected this spot. And I discovered I’d not photographed a Red Bull. No, I’d captured a more elusive creature. A RED YAK!

 

Watch your Step

Today our title is good general advice. And it comes to the forefront in special situations.

Walking across an uneven pasture –keep an eye out for “gifts” from large animals. Climbing up or down steps –even familiar ones can be tricky. Along a hiking path — is that a stick or a snake?

Recently I was a tourist. I enjoy exploring the riverfront in various cities I visit. It’s spring. The American Midwest. (Did I mention it was a rainy spring?) It was good to step careful and keep my feet dry.

The Ohio River showing a town along her route that she’s in charge.