Saturday, March 1, 2014

Frolics In the Hinterlands

Being cooped up here with the invalid this weekend, my mind has been turning to what we will do here in better weather.  Now that it is March, in past years this has meant that good times are just weeks away.  Of course, this was during global warming when April 1st meant when we could be eating outside at a local restaurant.  We did last year at Fisher's Tavern in the park. But now that global warming seems not only less warm but less global, we may still have bad months ahead. Heck, we can remember the bad old days when May still wasn't sufficiently spring like. Added to this is that many of us for a variety of reasons need to stay fairly close to home most of the time so we need to appreciate what's here. With no further ado, we will be looking at images of what around here is hopefully our future by April 1st again. Ah, yes, frolics in the Hinterlands or the Provinces, that's what this entry is about.

This is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) behind us.  We hope to move out of the snow scene you can see on one of our covered bridges and soon be out on the bike path (tow path of canal). I can only use a recumbent at this point. I am too shaky with the bad knees on anything more complex. Even though CVNP is the third most used national park, it is basically all locals using it.  I can prove it too! See the big farmhouse to the left? That is Brandywine Inn. That is the sole accommodation for rent here other than a youth hostel. Otherwise, "get a motel in Akron or thereabouts" is the park philosophy!

I have spent time at the Falls and the wetlands at CVNP, shown left, but I prefer riding in my convertible through the park rather than riding in the train. They have beer and wine tasting evenings on the train but I worry about getting back home from one of those. In Ohio, two glasses of wine or beer is about it for being able to pass the DUI test. I am never surprised that the Falls are lovely but I never expected wetlands to look like much.  They too can be surprisingly beautiful.

Moving north westward, this is Huntington Reservation Beach which is part of the Cleveland Metroparks. I mainly began to use this when I was undergoing chemo for colon cancer. It was not far from the hospital and I got in the habit of stopping at the art gallery across from the beach and getting myself some small piece as a reward for going through hell that day. In the photo, it is shown at night during an opening. I bought myself a big fish sculpture there when I was entirely done which now hangs over my sofa. Then I would eat next door and then go take a walk on the beach. There is also an ice cream stand I use when Jim is along as he is a fiend for ice cream. There is also the Huntington Playhouse but I gave up on going to plays because of my hearing problems.  As far as I know, no one is subtitling plays yet.

The Baycrafters art gallery there offers many classes including beach glass jewelry classes. I debated taking up lake erie glass hunting which is what many local artists do on this beach. That is, they comb the beach early in the morning looking for glass pieces the waves have tossed in that have been polished by the sand. Then they make it into jewelry, shown left with actual beach glass pieces. I always end up not taking this up as my new craft because it is a bit too subdued looking for me. Subtlety has never been my own tendency in the arts. I like it and have bought a few pieces but I as yet have no desire to make it (or hunt for the pieces on the beach). If this strikes your fancy, the 2014 Erie Beach Glass Festival is already set for Memorial Day Weekend in Erie, PA. If interested, go here. You do not need to live on a Great Lake to do this, however.  Oceans do the same thing to glass pieces, resulting in sea glass. Tip: the lakes and oceans do their best work on light colored glass. Skip the darker colors.

We've also gone to the state lodge in Geneva on Lake Erie.  It now produces first rate wines. It did this by introducing hybrid grapes as a crop favorable to the weather along the lake. Wine tastings are in the lodge and B&Bs so one does not have to worry about the drink-drive problem. One can get a room with fairly short notice if one is willing to stay other than Saturday or Sunday. With longer range planning, one can stay on weekends. There is an indoor and outdoor pool plus bike trails, boating and so forth. We've been to other Ohio state lodges and they are also very nice.  There is one near Toledo called Maumee Bay which is almost identical to this but it also has an authentic Scot's golf course. The Cedar Point amusement park is right on the lake too in Sandusky but Jim and I both get sick on rides so that is out for us.

Presently all I have the energy for is looking at pictures.  Jim's surgery adventure wore me out and we have his second eye surgery coming up on Thursday. So I am looking forward to doing more than looking at pictures while lolling around the condo after we are done surgically.

how collage work is done--everyone tells me they want to do this but shies away from learning how.  I am going to show steps in my entries, just one or two at a time so it is easily digestible.  

I collage in the free Picasa software owned by Google.  Here are two image captures of how one starts out making a collage in Picasa.  The first image, left, is after I pressed the button telling it to collage my selected pictures.  

The second image, right, is of the tool that comes up when you click one of the images.  You pull on that tool with your cursor and are able to make it bigger, smaller, twirl it around and so forth. That tool comes up on every image as you click on it.

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