You Can Do It

This is your Monday morning reminder that you can handle whatever life throws your way. No matter how big it may seem.

Now go do it. And if you’re interested in this big place, it’s Ash Cave in Ohio’s Hocking Hills.

Cheated

I feel cheated.

It is winter in Ohio and we have yet to see any measurable amount of snow this year. It has been warm and rainy with sunshine mostly on days when I’m at work and unable to get out and enjoy it.

We did have a white Christmas but it didn’t last very long at all. It prettied up the landscape for a few days but now we notice the ugly dead foliage and brown grass more than ever.

This week, the forecast is for highs in the upper thirties and forties with snow showers possible one day. That’s barely cold enough for a jacket – much less my collection of cute winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves. I look forward to wearing each year.

Meanwhile, my Wyoming friend has complained that she is shoveling several inches at a time. Maybe we should trade places.

Sigh.

Here’s hoping February will be better.

Note: the photo used here is from last January when Old Man Winter understood the assignment.

Peaceful Fishing

He was all alone. A man, a bucket and a line. The sky was blue but the water looked muddy. Still, he looked so peaceful on this cool January day I couldn’t resist capturing his silhouette.

The picture wasn’t so interesting in color but converting it to black and white gave it all sorts of character and interest. Some might call it lonesome but I think it’s peaceful and calming.

Weather Whiplash

The high last Friday was below zero. Today it will be 62 degrees. That’s Ohio for you. If you don’t like the weather right now, look out for the whiplash you’ll get when it changes again.

It was warm enough yesterday I ditched my jacket and rolled down the windows while out and about. It was my last day of holiday bargain shopping before the start of my annual No Spend Challenge which begins today.

This is the last Friday of 2022 and the next to last day of the year. It feels like vacation is rapidly slipping through my fingers but I’m hoping to spend these last few days enjoying some quiet relaxation and nursing my weather whiplash.

I don’t know why I bother because it will change again soon!

Franklin Park Conservatory Aglow

Friday night found me shivering in the cold outside at Franklin Park Conservatory. I was there with friends to look at the pretty Christmas lights.

It’s called Conservatory Aglow and features thousands of lights throughout the property. You enter through the wonderful rainbow tunnel above.

Then you can meander through lights, through a giant model railroad and even step inside a gingerbread house.

This tree is made with hand blown glass balls.

There is one area inside that’s nicely decorated too. I really wish they did more inside but this was all lovely.

You can warm up by walking through a gingerbread competition and enjoy the rest of the Conservatory which is filled with interesting plants and Dale Chihuly glass art.

It was freezing cold and there were snow flurries in the air, making it even more festive. It was a great night to be out with friends! This spot was my favorite both because it’s pretty and because they play classical music here. It’s like an oasis where you just might meet the man in the moon.

Want to see more pictures? Check out the Make The Journey Fun Facebook page! Plus, it’s not too late to visit this year! Click here to visit the Conservatory online.

Christmas At Haslett House

There’s a restoration project underway at a historic home in Wellston, Ohio. The owners have moved mountains bringing this gorgeous old house back from the brink. I got to see inside yesterday as they have been opening it for tours during the holidays.

A man named Charles Haslett had the home built and his family moved in around Christmas in 1909. The home cost about $8,000 to build – well over a million dollars in modern money.

The property was originally an 800 acre farm. Tunnels were built from the home to the barns and one still exists. A small ballroom graces the third floor and all of the rooms have large windows and beautiful woodwork.

Haslett was a local politician and the youngest person to ever be Jackson County Commissioner. He ran for state office, operated a highly successful dairy, owned coal mines and had a number of other business interests. To say he was a hard worker is an understatement.

Here’s the entrance to the tunnel that runs from the home to the carriage house. Imagine being able to get from the house to the carriage without going into the cold!

As part of the tour, they sat our group of 47 participants in the newly restored carriage house, fed us refreshments and told us stories. We learned about the house, the Haslett family and the restoration. We also saw pictures and learned about the golden age of mining in Wellston and nearby Coalton.

In case you don’t know, Wellston was home to one of the finest veins of coal you’ll find anywhere. There was great wealth there and abundant opportunities to be entertained, to shop and to drink.

Mr. Haslett operated a race track very close to his home, a popular destination for harness racing enthusiasts from far and wide. When he grew tired of operating the track, he donated the land to create permanent county fairgrounds.

Countless people have benefited from his generosity and business acumen, particularly the generations of kids who have been involved in 4H.

One of Mr Haslett’s daughters inherited the home after his death by suicide in 1939. She eventually sold everything by auction before the property changed hands a number of times.

The home was vacant for a decade or more, left vulnerable to vandals, homeless people and drug deals. At one point, someone pulled up with a truck and carried out doors, stained glass windows and other architectural pieces. They even used chainsaws to remove priceless pocket doors.

I was indignant at the very idea.

The new owners have done beautiful work breathing new life into the place when many others might have jumped ship. They shared pre-renovation pictures and it’s practically unrecognizable. The floors are especially gorgeous.

I really liked the areas with personal touches, things that belonged to the original owners.

It’s so well done, especially given that this is a family working together rather than an organization that might have more volunteers or access to grant funding. Our tour guide was the owners’ daughters. She’s a local teacher who has been doing the research into the home, property and the place in this world occupied by Mr Haslett and his family. She has clearly done her homework and gave a fun tour.

She said they will have more work done in time for the Christmas tour next year. I will absolutely go back. Admission was free but they were accepting donations for the Wellston High School Band.

I’ll share a few more pictures in the Make the Journey Fun Facebook page so be sure to check over there for more.