Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Distracted on our morning walk

Each year during our summer travels we spend a week or two with our fifth wheel home parked at the Darke County Fairgrounds in Greenville, Ohio.   We had lived in Greenville prior to our retirement and we still have a small storage locker here where we keep genealogy records, a few things of sentimental value, etc.   We also like to visit friends while we are here.

The fairgrounds is also a delightful place for a two-mile walk in the morning and again in the evening.  However, our morning walk today was distracted by the sound of cement mixers -- an unending parade of them.  So we just had to stop and watch with fascination as crews were pouring one-half of the floor of a huge new building.  It is being constructed to replace the beef palace and dairy palace which were destroyed in a million dollar fire in December of 2013.

Mixer truck after mixer truck dumped its load into the pump truck
which pumped cement through its long boom to its destination.

The man in the green shirt holds a device with radio controls
enabling him to control the flow of the cement as well as the
movement of the pump truck's boom arm.

The two arms high above the front of this unit receive laser
signals to automatically set the level and depth of the cement.

Although the fire occurred on December 27, the harsh winter delayed the complicated investigation.  An "all interested party’s scene examination" took place on the morning of February 5th, 2014. This scene examination had fire investigators present that represent the insurance carriers both for the building and items located within the building that were lost in the fire.  The interested parties all determined that evidence could not be examined that day because of the snow.

Investigators finally were able to gather again in April to conduct their examination of the scene.  When the scene was finally released to the Fair Board, demolition of the damaged structures commenced and the rebuilding efforts were set in motion.   While the entire project will not be completed in time for this year's Fair in August, there is hope that portions of the building will be at least usable.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Traveling Back in Time

We traveled back 12,000 years, but not in a time machine!  It was our sister Joyce's Honda Accord that took us to Dickson Mounds Museum, near Lewistown, Illinois, overlooking the Illinois River.

Dickson Mounds Museum welcome monument

This 85 acre site is part of a large settlement of Native Americans of the Mississippian-era, between 500 and 1300 C.E.  Several near-by towns also have found artifacts of that ancient culture.  Dickson Mounds, however, was apparently a central burial center for the area.  Archeologists estimate that there are perhaps as many as 3000 individuals buried in the mounds there.

The burial mounds were discovered in 1927 by Chiropractor Don Dickson on his family farm.  He carefully excavated some of them by removing only the dirt and leaving the skeletons and artifacts in place.  He operated a private museum of his finds until 1945 when he sold the property to the State of Illinois.

In 1965, the property was transferred to the Illinois State Museum and, in 1972, they opened there an educational and impressive three-story museum.  In 1992, in response to Native American protests, the skeletal remains buried there were protected from public view.  The current exhibits, however, illustrate the culture, lifestyle, social organization, health status, and religious beliefs of those ancient people who inhabited the Illinois River Valley up to 12,000 years ago.

We were also able to view some of the current archeological excavations being done at the Dickson Mounds.    Based upon these finds, they will continue current research underway in anthropology and ecology.  It was a great day for a museum lover like me!

Peoria Bach Festival

Again this year we planned our visit with my sister and her daughter to correspond with the annual Peoria Bach Festival.   In its 12th season, the 2014 Peoria Bach Festival featured concerts at noon each day Monday through Friday as well as evening concerts Thursday through Saturday.  The festival closed with Sunday morning worship services which featured the Peoria Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra performing Bach's Cantata 34, "O Eternal Fire."

Trinity Lutheran Church

Kyle Dzapo, flute; Stephen Alltop, harpsichord;
EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, violin; Adriana La Rosa Ransom, cello
performing at the Thursday evening Chamber Concert.


Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano soloist &
Stephen Alltop, organist.
The noontime concerts early in the week provide opportunities for young musicians of Peoria to perform in public.  In addition, each year the Peoria Bach Festival features acclaimed guest artists.  This year's guest artists were Stephen Alltop, an orchestral and choral conductor as well as a keyboard artist, and Josefien Stoppelenburg, a soprano regularly featured in opera and oratorio performances in the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States.

We are grateful for a wonderful visit with my sister and her daughter and for their kind hospitality as we parked our fifth-wheel trailer in their driveway for the duration of our visit.