Excursion 12, Part 2 (From Farm to Forest)

In which our intrepid hero  visits one of his frequent crossroads…

I have a long history with the television show “I Love Lucy.”  In fact, when I was three or four years old, “I Love Lucy” taught me a valuable lesson.  Sometime in 1969 or 1970 I was watching an episode of “I Love Lucy” and my mother walked into the room and announced that the family was going somewhere.  She turned off the television and we got into the car and left (I have no idea what the destination was).  When we returned, some time later, I turned the television on so that I could finish watching “I Love Lucy.”  But it wasn’t on!  That was when I discovered that when you turned the television off, the shows on TV did not stop playing but continued while you were not around!

[Remember that you can click on each image below to see a larger, better image]

In 1955, the “I Love Lucy” television show featured a series of episodes in which the Ricardos and the Mertzes travel to California.  I watched them all, among the many re-runs of “I Love Lucy” that I saw during my childhood (and adulthood).  One of the early episodes in this sequence was an episode titled “First Stop,” in which the cast travels through the wonderful state of—you guessed it—Ohio!  I remember this episode pretty well because it contained one of my favorite scenes.   The “gang” (let’s call them) are ravenously hungry but the only place they can find to eat is a run down shack/restaurant where, despite an extensive menu, the only thing actually available to eat is cheese sandwiches at exorbitant prices.  The gang refuse to eat there and leave, but despite their best intentions follow some trick signs that lead them right back to the shack!  Hijinx ensue, you may rest assured.

I mention this not only because of the Ohio connection (something I did not remember), but because I have discovered there are places that I keep coming back to unintentionally.  There are some crossroads that I am pretty sure I have approached at one time or another from every single direction over the course of the past year.  In some respects, such places are like an old friend and immediately re-orient you if you have been following a road blindly.  On the other hand, they also make you paranoid:  have I already driven down this road before?  Am I merely retracing my steps?  One of the places I encountered here for the first time has turned out to be one of those little crossroads I somehow keep coming across.


These photographs are from my continuing trip around north central Ohio.   At this point I was more or less paralleling I-71, but I actually found myself having to swing back across the highway momentarily (I don’t remember why) on a deserted rural overpass.  So I decided to pull over and take a shot of I-71 (since you won’t ever see a shot here from me while I am on I-71).  I-71 is the major north-south route through Ohio; it goes through all three of Ohio’s major cities:  Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland.


I see tons of mobile homes but I rarely take photographs of them, because they all look so similar and they rarely ruin well.  The above was an exception; something about the old place just caught my eye.


In this close-up, you can see that someone is an optimist!  I just can’t quite imagine them ever selling that mobile home.


I probably should not have included the above photograph, as it is essentially a failure.  I came across this interesting gnarled old tree, in the middle of a pond, dying but still struggling.  I just could not get it to stand out from the surroundings.  With more experience than I had at the time, and perhaps a different camera than I had with me, I might have been able to have a shallower depth of field such that only the tree would have been in focus.


I thought this “town hall” for “Chester Township” was an interesting old building.  Chesterville, Ohio, is a tiny hamlet of some 228 people (salute!) a couple of counties north of Columbus.  “Chester Township” is not a town but simply one of about sixteen subdivisions of Morrow County.  Confusingly, a number of other counties in Ohio also have a “Chester Township.”  The building was originally a fraternal lodge meeting hall built in 1867.  For a wooden building built in 1867 it has been maintained very well.


This gnarled stump is another example where good use of bokeh would have made a better picture.


On the other hand, I like this idyllic farm landscape shot quite a bit.  Farm buildings on the horizon are surrounded by a sea of young corn.


Here is another photograph of a farm field.  It is amazing how fast corn actually grows.  Not much more than shoots in this photograph, they would reach full growth or close to it only a short number of weeks later.


I liked this farm, which was generally very well kept up, but had this collapsed old barn in the back, with some overgrown silos standing sentinel.  The contrails are a distraction and I suppose some would have used Lightroom or Photoshop to get rid of them, but I am not too comfortable with changing reality for this blog.


As one heads east, the terrain turns into rolling hills and becomes much more wooded.  Ohio does not have any vast forests separate from the population (its single national forest, the Wayne National forest, is split into several non-contiguous parts, all of which have some human population within their bounds), but it has a great many small forests or patches of forest, more than one might think, all up and down eastern Ohio.


I was struck by this particular abandoned house because the house seemed of recent construction, at least relative to the majority of such abandoned residences.  It strikes me that this house must have had a fairly short life of human occupation before coming to this state.  Perhaps only one generation of one family ever lived there?


At last we get to my crossroads.  This is a picture of a car show in Danville, Ohio (the Danville Turkey Festival Car Show, to be exact).  Danville is a 200-year-old small village (population 1,044, salute!) located at the western edge of what is the largest concentration of Amish in Ohio (the one surrounding Holmes County).    In fact, Danville bills itself as the “gateway to Amish country.”  Just a short distance from this car show was a store in front of which were parked a number of Amish carriages.


I didn’t take me very long before I was on a gravel road inside one of Ohio’s many small forests.


One of the interesting things about driving around in Ohio’s woodlands is finding little oases of “civilization” in the middle of them.  I emerged from the patch of woods to see an outpost in the form of a little row of houses.  I am not really sure if that ruined part in the middle is an independent structure or actually attached to the house to its right.


When I looked right, I was greeted by this fascinating old building, which I think is a residence of some sort (there were signs, such as a trash fire, that it was inhabited), but clearly doesn’t resemble any standard type of residence at all.


In fact, when you begin to travel around the less common highways and byways, you find many unusual structures, the original purposes of which may be hard to divine.  I believe I took this photograph of a mysterious old building in or near Walhonding, Ohio, an unincorporated hamlet in Coshocton County.


This old house is from Walhonding as well.   I confess to having a significant weakness for houses with turrets.  But what struck me about this particular turret was that it had no windows up top.  Is the turret simply empty?  Is there a mini-attic there?  I suppose I will never know.

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