Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Corner View: Mineral--COAL

This is the last topic of a trilogy: animal, vegetable, mineral.
For posts on minerals quite different from mine, check out Francesca's

 I decided to do my post on coal.

You may want to do some selective reading.  I put some information in larger font and/or in bold and/or in italics to draw your attention to what I deemed more important and more interesting.

 My personal intro/history:
 Coal has been a vital and controversial part of Ohio's economy and history.
I have lived in four towns that have been a part of or affected by coal mining.
In my small town of Barnesville, the culprit has been strip mining.  The town's residents thought our green belt protected us from the strip mining coming into the outer edges of Barnesville.  Wrong. 
The coal company owned the mineral rights, so the green belt was in name only and useless.   The nicest and richest neighborhood in Barnesville has had the walls of their expensive homes shake with the digging, and the noise has become a way of life.  What is worse is what it has done to our beautiful fields and hills---reclamation is a poor substitute for the original.
Yet, many jobs are supplied by both strip mining and the new revival of underground mines. We have family and friends who work in both.

My husband's father worked at Hanna Coal Co. and was a welder on the huge bucket of the enormous Silver Spade. 

The first youtube VIDEO is of it.

Just take a peek so you can see the actual size of these 'monsters'.  You don't have to watch the whole video; in fact I skipped through one of them.

The second VIDEO gives you the history of the Big Muskie which was the biggest dragline.  Silver Spade was a digger bucket (in my simple terms--my husband could explain it so much better).  Slide through a little to where it starts about the Big Muskie.

Here is background on the Big Muskie.  Skip to the bottom for a short history of coal mining in Ohio.
McConnelsville, Ohio

"Big Muskie" was once the World's Largest Earth Moving Machine. What remains today is a monstrous metal bucket, vaguely resembling a robot dog head. The bucket sits on a rise, overlooking the beautiful valley that it once mined and destroyed, which has been renamed "Re-Creation Land."

Built in 1969, Big Muskie could move 39 million pounds of earth and rock every hour, revealing rich coal seams 100-150 feet down in southeastern Ohio. BM could swing its boom 600 feet, creeping across the landscape on four giant shoes. The immense dragline machine was churning along at full production until 1991, when power demands and other factors convinced the owners to shut down.

Big Muskie in the glory days.

For several years, visitors could tour the innards, and Big Muskie postcards could be found around Ohio. Then a bill called the Surface Mining Reclamation Act required its removal in the late 1990s. It was a familiar threat scenario. In other cases there have been happy endings: arch rival Big Brutus still stands today, a popular southeastern Kansas "heritage attraction."

Big Muskie Vital Statistics                                 Dedicated May 22, 1969

Total Weight 13,500 tons                                   Total Height 160 feet

Boom Length 310 feet                                     Scoop Capacity 325 tons/220 cub. yds

Overall Length 151 feet                                        Crew Seven

Best Job Oiling the boom by hand                    Top Speed 1/10 mph

Used enough power for... 27,500 homes

The "Save Big Muskie" campaign failed to raise the millions needed to maintain the goliath, despite pledges of funding from several sources, including "The Wilds," a animal preserve built over land once mined by Big Muskie. The area was closed to the public as of March 1999, when salvage started. My husband and I took my son's kids there last summer. It is an awesome place as far as what they are doing, though the land is not nearly as pretty as it was before the strip mining.

In May 1999, Big Muskie was destroyed. The slow walking, surface mining behemoth was dismantled for scrap; high explosives used to blow off its five inch thick cables. Muskie land owner American Electric Power turned the remaining giant bucket into the "centerpiece of a display about the Big Muskie, surface mining and reclamation ... to memorialize the men and women who helped mine and reclaim the area."

The park, a roadside pull-off on a slope along the valley's edge, is well maintained, with its own groundskeeper, by AEP. Covered garbage can lids at site have "No fish" written on them, maybe going too far in the other direction. There are picnic tables.

An interpretive display tells Big Muskie's story. One photo shows an entire high school band playing inside the bucket.

Big Muskie's Bucket               Miners Memorial Park

State Route 78, McConnelsville, OH

I-77 exit 25 (Caldwell). Head west on SR 78 -- a winding, hilly, two-lane road -- 16 miles to the Bucket in Miners Memorial Park.

This last is a brief bit of the history of coal mining in Ohio.  You may not find it fascinating, but I did.  I learned a lot last night when researching this topic. I have highlighted the spots that relate to where I live and to me personally.


Ohio is located in the northern portion of the Appalachian Coal Basin, which is one of the largest coal fields in the United States. Ohio’s coal region covers thirty-two counties, and is located to the south and east of a line that would stretch roughly from Portsmouth through Zanesville to Youngstown. It is estimated that Ohio has 11.5 billion tons of economically recoverable coal reserves

The first European settlers in Ohio recognized the presence of coal in natural outcrops in stream and river banks in the eastern part of the state. As the industrial revolution began, Ohio’s coal resources became increasingly important. The first reported commercial mining of coal in Ohio was in 1800 in Jefferson County, with just 100 tons being produced. Since 1800, 3.7 billion tons of coal have been mined in Ohio, 2.3 billion tons from underground mines and 1.4 billion tons from surface mines.

Most of Ohio's coal mines existed in eastern and southern parts of the state. Commonly, people migrated from coal regions in other states, such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia, to work in the mines.

In 1828, a Portage County man, began to ship coal on the Ohio and Erie Canal to Cleveland. Development of the Ohio canal system in the 1830’s and 1840’s permitted easy transport of coal from mines to markets. By the mid 1800’s, railroads began to replace the canals, allowing for faster and more efficient delivery of coal to consumers. By the late 1800’s, mechanization and improvement of mining methods led to a steady increase in the production of Ohio coal. Much coal was used to make coke to fuel the many steel mills that dotted the upper Ohio River valley.

In 1872, Ohio mines produced more than five million tons of coal. Production increased to ten million tons by 1886.
During the early to mid twentieth century, coal's value to Ohio's economy began to decline.
Much of the coal in Ohio has a high sulfur content, making it less desirable compared to other coals.
Until the time of World War I, coal mining in Ohio was conducted almost exclusively underground.
Currently, there are about 90 active coal-mining operations in 15 eastern Ohio counties that produce coal worth about $626 million annually. In recent years there has been a trend to return to underground-mining methods, particularly long-wall mining.

MY NOTE: We have friends and family working in those coal mines.

The Appalachian Field, considered to be one of the best veins of coal in the world was located in Guernsey (where I used to live)and Noble (where I teach) Counties.
 Deep coal mining was well known in the Appalachian Mountain areas. The Appalachian Field was located under Jackson, Center, Valley, and Cambridge townships. This vein also ran under Richland and Spencer townships in Guernsey County and on into Noble County.

The Ideal Mine was the most productive mine in Guernsey County. It is believed that this mine produced enough coal to fill a train 1,000 miles long. One train car could haul 50 tons of coal. In Noble County, deep coal mines were also very productive. During the years 1910 to 1913, Noble County was ranked in the top 15 of counties to produce the mot coal in Ohio.

MY NOTE: Noble County now ranks 6th in unemployment of all of Ohio’s counties.

Marietta and Pittsburgh Railway was built to haul coal out of this rural Appalachian region. Initially, the railroad was 103 miles. The rail for this freight train began in Marietta. This line traveled through Caldwell, Byesville, Cambridge and Newcomerstown. These are all towns in Ohio.
[MY NOTE: I lived in Cambridge--my son still does--in fact his dad was instrumental in saving the old train depot.]
For the entire article and cool photos, please click below.
Ohio mines

So folks, that's my take on the mineral topic.  I may have bored you, but I had fun.  Hopefully some of you will find at least some bits interesting. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Barn Charm #45

This is one of my favorite barns around my small town.
It is on Rt. 147 East towards the little town of Bethesda, Ohio.
The day that my hubby and I took a drive to capture barns around Bethesda,
I was finally able to get some shots of this one.
We have more of these quilt motifs in my area;
 some are simply quilt blocks,
whereas others feature Ohio dates.
This one was for our celebration of 200 years as a state.
It is an active farm as you can see with the farmer and his tractor.

He did not seem to mind me pointing the camera at his barn and him.
(Mike was able to pull off a little to the side of busy Rt. 147.)
I imagine the farmer is used to folks snapping pics of his barn and its lovely design.

Notice the cloud bank in the lower margin of the sky
directly behind the big barn.
I love our shades of blue skies interspersed with lovely white clouds!

Here is a close up of the design.
It's a little off kilter.
Mike was needing to get back on the road
due to an increase of traffic
and us not being able to pull completely off the road,
so my aim is crooked.

I straightened it up with my photo program,
so that the design is straighter,
but now the outer frame of the picture is off.

For more barns, check out Tricia's blog.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Supplying all our needs

 Faith allows us to continually
placed our

My God
will supply
His riches
Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

I'm joining with The Sunday Community at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I can do this!

Please click where it says my chronic illness blog at the top of my left-hand column. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong in linking it!  Hallelujah! (Some of this blogging stuff can drive a person a little crazy.)

{ Do I have to buy another domain?  Or do I register a new google account? Those of you with multiple blogs, what did you do to set up? I answered this question.  It's: Do not put a dot between www and whether.  It's also: Change my blog name; it was too much like someone else's.}

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Corner View:Vegetable

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme and hosted by Francesca.
This week's theme is  part of a trilogy inspired by the game "animal, vegetable, or mineral?"  It comes from  Dana. Last week we did animal, so this week it is vegetable.
Our local Farmers' Market started the last weekend of May and I made sure I was at the first one and each one since.  The fresh produce is limited right now due to Ohio's climate, but it will be picking up soon.
As you can see, I buy more than produce!  Such yummy deserts like fried pies of cherry or peach or black raspberry and fudge!  So delicious!

Ahem! I must get to the topic!

Fancy, red-tipped lettuce that makes a wonderful base for a salad.
 I am having a salad each day
and then fixing the vegetables another way for the other meal.

Fresh beets complete with dirt clinging to them.
I looked up recipes for beets
and found an interesting article on the beet leaves.
They are supposedly the 'new spinach'
and are packed full of nutrients.

(I don't have a photo of the actual leaves;
I didn't realize their importance at picture time.
Oh wait--one is peeking out by the onions but they are much bigger
than this one shows and more colorful too!)
There was a recipe for them:

Cut the leaves from the stems.
Rinse at least twice.
Blanche in boiling water for 2 minutes,
then submerge in ice water.
Wring them out in your hands.
They will store in fridge for three days.

To fix for a meal, lightly saute in olive oil with chopped/minced garlic cloves.

I was skeptical, but they weren't bad.
The recipe suggested lemon juice squeezed on them
and I think that would have improved the flavor.
I will try them again when I have lemons handy.

Finally, lovely onions that flavor stir fry and salads.

For more views on vegetables from the corners of the world
check out  Francesca's.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Barn Charm #44

Here is another barn
 from that Sunday drive
for jelly and eggs.

I was able to get a peek inside.

The first photo shows what a beautiful day it was!

I thought I would try black and white for the above photo.


Now for a glance inside the barn.
For more barn views,
please click below:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Corner View: Animal

If you are not a cat lover,
do not proceed any further!

(I do not know why there is a circle by Mike's head!)
When my husband was finally able to move up here
from Cincinnati,
we had the problem of what to do with the stray cat
he had taken in for almost two years.

"Cat" has FIV - the feline version of HIV.
We researched and still were leery of getting my cats vaccinated.
But without vaccination,
the first cat fight (which was inevitable)
could and most likely would result in them getting FIV.
Mike did not want to euthanize Cat--he really struggles with that solution.

Fortunately we were able to get Cat into a No-Kill Cat Refuge
with a huge section of rooms for sick cats--
specifically those with FIV and feline leukemia.

On one of our visits back, we visited Cat.
The above pic shows Mike petting his beloved buddy
while being greeted by the other cats in the room.
Cat is the striped one lying down.
The rest of the pics are of some of the cats.
It is a really nice shelter run by volunteers and donations.
It is clean with a bed for each cat and large rooms for them to roam around in.
A cat is only in a cage when it is first brought to the shelter.
 It is eventually assigned
to a room.


3. This one was really not feeling good that day.  You can see
the hair loss.






I got my share of attention and also gave plenty.

The cats in the pictures above are all sick.
The rooms below have non-sick cats in them.
Most of the cats, even the FIV ones, are available for adoption.
Obviously the FIV ones comes with restrictions and strict directions.
For example, it must be kept inside the home at all times.

One last show of Mike with Cat.

10. (Cat)
I numbered the single cat photos.
Which cat is your favorite and why?
(Now if this were an English class assignment,
you would have to state two reasons and write a paragraph of
at least five sentences. Luckily it's not!)

For more corner views on animals,
check out Francesca's Fuoriborgo.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Barn Charm #43

On a Sunday drive to get jelly and eggs,
I got lots of good barn shots.
Here are some of them:

We came around a bend as we climbed one of the many hills
and I spotted this to my right.
My husband was able to slow for two snaps of the camera.

This next one was in a spot
where I could barely get one shot.
Although, they are from the same angle,
I like the first one because it shows that it sits in the middle
of a stand of trees.
However, I cut off its back, so the next shot shows the entire barn,
but without giving a good sense of the setting.

I caught a glimpse of this barn yard scene
through the trees
and I couldn't resist snapping a pic of it.
I used my zoom to get this little bit.
We couldn't explore further as it was down a private drive.

For more barns, please click below:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Corner View: Imagine

 Two of the six grandkids showing how they imagine.  They are both two years older now.

I have a photo of her after
I've straightened her crown.
But I like this one best.  She dressed herself
and as far as she's concerned, she's 'just right'--
crooked crown and gown askew over t-shirt
and all! Gotta love that attitude!

Note his mouth working to help
him get that play dough jammed
in the contraption.  Love it!

For more corner views, check out Francesca's place.