Monthly Archives: August 2015

For My Love of Bridges: Wheeling Island and Walkersville Covered Bridge

 

Wheeling Island Bridge deck and walkways

Wheeling Island Bridge deck and walkways

So as a creative person who loves to take photos almost more than any other free time activity,I spend a lot of time thinking about where and what I will take photos. Ten years ago I found my muse. Unlike some photographers  I do not take a lot of photos of humans or love to trek into the wilderness to find beautiful vistas or take photos of the night sky with a million stars. I can’t help it, I love to photograph bridges.

This summer I actually spent some time with two historic bridges here in West Virginia and wanted to add them to the collection of photos I have of them. Then if that is not strange enough… my husband recently started work for the State Wide Bridge Department for the Dept of  Highways here in WV. So I get to fallow him around our state taking more photos of bridges he works on and in the surrounding area of his locations. My love affair always seems to lead to him!

So I wanted to share some photos of where we have been this summer and what I have seen. My first stop was to see the oldest suspension bridge that is still open to traffic in the United States. The bridge passes over the Ohio River and connects Wheeling Island to the main city of Wheeling, West Virginia and the state of  Ohio. The Island is a large populated island in the Ohio River with a wonderful history of flooding and escaping the river. Bridge construction completed in 1849 and has been in continuous use ever since. The bridge looks almost the same as it appeared in the 1800 except for the decking was changed in the 1950’s to better deal with the problem of swing caused by the wind and traffic.

Stone Pier of the Wheeling Island Bridge, Island side.

Stone Pier of the Wheeling Island Bridge, Island side.

It is one of my favorite bridges so far because the bridge design has always included the two side walks you see in the upper photo… Meaning I get to walk across the 1010 foot span of the bridge and not get stuck on the road way to take photos and I get to feel the strong cables that hold me above the cold water of the Ohio. I spent some time imagining the many families who would walk the bridge in the early 1900’s to get to the city to buy necessities for their family every week. Then make the return trip before dark with tired children and arms full of produce and meats. The view from the bridge is lovely, it shows off the Ohio River Valley and some of the  historic homes of Wheeling island.

Barge moving slowly up the Ohio River from Wheeling to Wirton West Virginia

Barge moving slowly North up the Ohio River from Wheeling to Wierton West Virginia

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

New Life Church on the bank of the Ohio River on Wheeling Island… and my little silver car!

The bridge drops you on Main Street in downtown Wheeling and only about a block from the Capital Theater.  It is West Virginia’s largest and oldest theaters… and a career starting point of Brad Paisley’s musical life. It is beautiful and worth it to stop to enjoy its charm and if you are lucky see a show.

Front of Capitol Theatre, Wheeling West Virginia

Front of Capitol Theater/ Theatre, Wheeling West Virginia

Pediment of Capitol Theatre/ Theater, Wheeling WV

Pediment of Capitol Theatre/ Theater, Wheeling WV

The Bridge and Wheeling island are nice reason for a trip to downtown Wheeling. There are so many beautiful places hidden in the old down town area. I hope to spend more time walking the city streets at some point but for this trip the National road and Wheeling Island bridge were a great way to spend the afternoon.

The other bridge the my family stopped to take photos is not far from our home and is one of 17 restored Covered Bridges that remain in West Virginia. This one is pretty small in comparison to others, but It is still a wonderful place to enjoy the views. The Walkersville Covered Bridge is in the southern part of Lewis County in the North Central Region of the state. It crosses the Right Fork of the West Fork River and passes through several small communities. The bridge is a 39 feet 4 inches long and constructed in 1903 to help passage of farmers from their farms to the city of Weston. My family passes the bridge quite often and I love to stop and walk on the wooden trusses and wonder what it would have been like to drive a team of horse with a wagon through the bridge.

The bridge is off the main road and gets very little traffic. The bridge and the surrounding small farms and pastures make it a perfect country setting for photos.

front of the Walkersville Covered Bridge in Lewis County West Virginia

front of the Walkersville Covered Bridge in Lewis County West Virginia.

South side of Walkersville Covered Bridge in Lewis County, WV

South side of Walkersville Covered Bridge in Lewis County, WV

This last photo I took is my favorite of the collection. The inside view makes me think of all the “Sleepy Hallow” movies that I have loved through out my life. To ride a horse through the bridge on a cool foggy early morning would just make this little bridge come to life for me.

Inside View of the Walkersville Covered Bridge

Inside View of the Walkersville Covered Bridge.

The day we stopped to see the bridge the farm next door was taking a lunch break from bailing hay on the hot afternoon. I just could not keep myself from taking a photo of the tractor and bailer at rest for a short time in the field.

lunch time on the farm during hay season

lunch time on the farm during hay season.

The covered bridge will be part of a seasonal series that I hope to make. Because the bridge is so close to my home I can take time during winter and fall to try to capture some of the beauty that nature adds to such an old structure. I hope to grow my photo collection over the next couple of years and share them through a calendar at some point.

 

 

Categories: bridges, nostalgic, photo review, Photos, traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Apple Cider Vinegar Made from Scraps of Home Made Apple Sauce.

Apple sauce, apple butter, apple jelly and apple cider vinegar are things I try to make for my family every fall. I try very hard to forage my apples to use in these recipes. I hate to see one of my friends let a tree full of healthy organic apples go to waste. So every summer I start looking around at who has apples that they do not use and try to remember to ask them if I can have them. This summer I was a little unsure of where I was going to get my apples. We moved and I did know to many people who had apple trees in our new area. I remembered a huge apple tree at my favorite public library. Why not ask the librarian of the Lewis Bennett Library  what they were going to do with some of the apples…. it couldn’t hurt to ask right?

So after asking the  head Librarian Karen about the apples, she said no one had asked for the apples and most of the time the apples just fell and made a huge mess on the library side-walk. She let me have as many of the apples as I wanted. The tree is well over 100 years old and they do nothing to maintain the tree so they are again chemical free, of unknown species and cost me nothing, a perfect fit for my foraging personality.

front of Louis Bennett Library

front of Louis Bennett Library the tree is in the right of this photo three stories tall and full of apples

So after a couple of hours with my apple picker in the yard of this historical mansion I had filled my buckets with about 70 pounds of a soft yellow-green apples.

one 18 gallon tub and one 8 gallon wash tub full of apples about 70 pounds

one 18 gallon tub and one 8 gallon wash tub full of apples about 70 pounds

Most people call these deer apples and never plan to use them at home but let the deer enjoy them.Today I was able to make 6 quarts of apple sauce from 8 pounds of these little apples.( I have a DIY post about how to make  Home Made Apple Sauce here) They made a very nice sweet apple sauce so I am guessing they are a golden delicious type of apple developed in Clay County West Virginia around the time the house was built.

Quarts of home made cinnamon apple sauce

Quarts of home-made cinnamon apple sauce

collecting apple peals into bowl for vinegar making

collecting apple peals into bowl for vinegar making

To make Apple Cider Vinegar I took the peals and cores from these apples and split them between two gallon containers. I left enough room at the top to let water stand over the top of the cores and peals. The apples will begin to ferment under the water’s surface but Some mold may grow if a peal is sticking up to high.

Apple peals and cores in plastic gallon jars.

Apple peals and cores in plastic gallon jars.

Next I added 2 and 1/2 quarts of warm water that I had added 2 1/2 heaping tables spoons of white sugar to each jar. Making a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to water. The sugar helps feed the Bactria to get a good start to the fermentation. It also adds a sweetness to the vinegar. I use most of my vinegar for cooking so I want a strong apple flavor without much sweetness. If I was drinking this everyday I would add more sugar to make to flavor more drinkable. One recipe I read had 1/2 cup of sugar per gallon. It is not necessary to use this much sugar, apples ferment quickly! Apples have a lot of  natural sugars and yeasts that ferment so well it is hard to stop raw apple juice from turning to wine and vinegar in a matter of days with out a chemical to stop the fermentation. Believe me no sugar is really needed to ferment apples, we have had a few drunk cows on the farm from eating rotten apples in the pasture,what a funny sight !

Quart jar and sugar bowel

Quart jar and sugar bowel

I added a weight to apple scraps to hold them under the water

I added a weight to apple scraps to hold them under the water

Here I am trying to keep the apples under the water surface with a small bowel to prevent mold or scum from growing around the top of the jar. I then cover the jars with cloth to prevent bugs or dust from getting into the jars. I store my jars in our laundry room. Where the temp in the summer is more constant much like a cellar. It never freezes but is never as hot as the house on a hot summer day. The best fermentation happens between 60 and 80 degrees F.

Two gallons of apple peals and cores ready to ferment

Two gallons of apple peals and cores ready to ferment

Two gallons of apple scraps on shelf ready to ferment

Two gallons of apple scraps on shelf ready to ferment

Now I wait two weeks to strain out the apple cores and peels. The fermentation will actually take several weeks and the smell of vinegar will increase as the amount of sugar decreases. At about 4 weeks the sugar should be eaten up by the bacteria that converts the sugar to alcohol than into vinegar. At this time you can filter the vinegar to make it look clear or rack it just like wine. I will filter mine with cheese cloth just to remove the large pieces of apple and return the vinegar back to the shelf for two more weeks to make sure that all the fermentation is finished at 6 weeks. If by chance you notice that the apple cider vinegar has a slimy pad floating in it (smile really big)… you have grown a “Mother” or “Scoby” that should be removed and  stored to make the next batch of ACV ( apple cider vinegar) and reduce the time for fermentation to about 4 weeks on another batch.

Apple Cider Vinegar MOTHER

Apple Cider Vinegar MOTHER

The raw ACV can at this point be bottled and kept in the refrigerator and it will be good up to 1 year. My family goes through about 1 gallon in a year so this is the amount I try to make. If you want to keep it on the shelf for easy storage then the you need to cook and bottle the ACV. The cooking process does two things. It will kill the good Bactria growing in the ACV ( pasteurizing the ACV)  but will also stabilizes it so that you can store it almost indefinitely. ACV is processed like any other canned food with sterile bottles or jars and correct processing times.

So if you are a fan of raw apple cider vinegar you can make this for pennies. I think the most expensive part would be to get containers. Most families do not use as much vinegar as we do so with just an old spaghetti sauce jar ( 1 quart size) and 3 apples you could make enough ACV for at least 6 months. It is just another way to make some thing from free healthy foraged food.

So when I finally get the 18 quarts of apple sauce finished, the 8 pints of apple butter, the 10 jelly pints of apple jelly, and the gallon of apple cider vinegar finished in 6 weeks, I will feel like I stocked my pantry well from these free ugly old deer apples that no one wanted! Here at links to my post on Slow Cooker Apple Butter and Apple Jelly they are also made with free apples and made much like this with a two for one process.

Categories: apple butter, apple cider vinger, apple sauce, Apples, fermentation, Foraging, Lewis Bennett Library, organic food | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

#4 The Finished Remodel and Final Filming with the BarnWood Builders

The spring remodeling project with the Barnwood Builders has finally been finished. It is the most surprising and wonderful experience I have ever be part of. It is a gift to work on this project, be included in this T.V. show and be able to promote some of the wonderful things about my West Virginia. The filming crew will return on Aug. 28th 2015 to do the final filming with a small crew and star Mark Bowe. After time to edit and do all the “Hollywood” magic I will receive a rough cut of the Jane Lew Barn show around Thanksgiving and then around April of next year the show will air.  I am proud of the work that Tom, I and the kids have done but in some way I am a little sad to see it end. So here is a photo over view of where we started and where we finally ended with this project that started with this blog and my love for my home in Wild Wonderful West Virginia.

Just a quick over view, The Barnwood Builders are an antique building, cabin and restoration company in Lewisburg, West Virginia. They travel all over the east coast collecting, removing and restoring 1800’s buildings and cabins for reuse.Many of their projects take old barns and turn them into new modern homes or finding old barns that can be salvaged to use in other projects. My home is one of the salvage projects of a barn in my husband’s home town of Jane Lew, West Virginia. The production company found my blog while doing web research on Jane Lew and the surrounding area. The project just grew from the contact they made with me and my family. Now 5 months later the project that started as just an idea over a phone call from New York city turned into a wonderful family room that fits my families taste and style. Who knew that writing a blog would take me on this journey.

We start at the old barn and my before photos. You can read more at the first link above but this is a couple of my photos from the day before the barn got torn down.

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

The before photos of my family room before the work started. We had just bought our house in Dec and received a wonderful blog message from Barnwood Builders about a the end of April. We had just started to get things unpacked and we were just starting to think about what we wanted to do to update the house when we jumped in to take part in this project.

Family room from the laundry room door

Family room from the laundry room door

Famliy room from the front door

Family room from the front door

office portion of the family room

office portion of the family room

The Family Room is clean and neat, but noting out standing. As the photo shows the floor was divided carpet and linoleum and the walls painted white. We started by hauling lumber from the above barn to our home Buckhannon. Then removing the old flooring and replacing it with slate tile. You can read more about the remodel here

Family room floor with slate tile in place

Family room floor with slate tile in place

Then started to remove and repair the ceiling.

Cody Powers doing mud and tap repairs to the ceiling

Cody Powers doing mud and tap repairs to the ceiling

Then the wall got covered in the 120 year old oak boards. During the build we got delayed for a few days with some of the cutest baby squires hidden in the barn wood, and you can see them here.

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Covering the wall process went pretty fast compared to doing the tile floor. We trimmed each board to length and to straighten them, then applied the boards with an airnailer with 2 1/2 inch nails. Then added molding and base board and updated our lighting. We made our own chandeliers and you can see that project here. 

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working ... yea!

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working … yea!

So last week we finished up the cleaning, added curtain rods with drapes and finally the photos and stuffed animals back into the room.

finished family room from laundry room

finished family room from laundry room

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

 

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Here are side by side photos

finished family room from laundry room

finished family room from laundry room

 

Family room from the laundry room door

Family room from the laundry room door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Famliy room from the front door

Family room from the front door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place.

office portion of the family room

office portion of the family room

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other.

 

I know that this style of room and decor is not what everyone is looking for but with our families out-door life style and my love of art and photography it works for us. This room will inspire the rest of the house to slowly be remodeled in a similar way. With the use of hardwoods, stone and lots of warm colors. We are taking a break until next year when we need to do some work on the windows in these photos and hope replace the front doors. So as I get excited to see the Crew again I am also feeling a little sad that it will be a couple of years before Tom and I will have the time to head down to Lewisburg,West Virginia to see the guys again as we continue to add some of West Virginia history to our home.

Thank you to every one from the Production crew, to the friends, family, the guys ( Brain Buckner, Johnny Jett, Tim Rose,Sherman Thompson,Graham Ferguson) and Mark Bowe for his love and passion for West Virginia to make this all possible. It has been the funnest hard work we have done in a long time.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham.

 

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, slate tile, Squirrles | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

The Helsingian Pathfinder

the inward path is the way ahead

Daydreaming Millennial

Come for the thoughts, stay with the journey.

Monkeying Around

Monks, monkeys and monkeying around. An adventurous life.

Shreya Vikram

Blurring the lines between poetry and prose

Dreaming Reality

If Existence is a dream, let us dream perfection....

alifeofvanity.wordpress.com/

For anyone who has ever thought of attempting the #vanlife, A Life of VANity is an unfiltered, realistic look at the unglamorous day-to-day happenings of life in a Chevy G20 Conversion van. Unlike other #vanlife blogs, A Life of VANity is here to show you that it isn’t all roadtrips and ocean-side views, and that there’s nothing wrong with living in a backyard or two.

Beyond the Campfire

Stories of exploration

Mark All My Words

True Stories of Nature, Culture, and Everything in Between

Thrifty Campers

Nature knows no such barriers

Missmackenzierose

Dream-Explore-Discover

Camellia's Cottage

Lifestyle Blog

Free to express

thoughts, experiences, travel, feelings, stories, diaries and many more...

Appalachian Housewife

The Mullens' Family's Journey Running The Pioneer Farm at Twin Falls State Park

Recipes by chefkreso

Cooking with imagination

%d bloggers like this: