Visiting The Stone House Museum

July 7, 2009

A few weeks ago we traveled to West Virginia to visit with my Dad, sister and her family.  We like to go on little mini-vacations with Dad, so The Farmer, Dad and I headed over to the Winterset and Cambridge, Ohio, area.

Dad wanted to drive through Winterset to see if he could find the farm where one set of his grandparents lived, but although we went through the town two or three times and traveled several side roads, we couldn’t locate it.  I’m afraid too much time had passed and there were too many changes.

We did see this flock of sheep on our way into town, however.


Since I like sheep, they really caught my eye.

Another thing that caught my eye as we drove through town was this unique building at a local greenhouse.

Building Shaped Like Clay Flowerpot

I guess you could say they went to pot in a really BIG way!  I thought it was a rather clever idea to make a building look like a huge clay flowerpot though.

Since we couldn’t find the farm Dad was looking for, we headed to Salt Fork State Park, where we planned to stay the night.  On the drive into the park, we were greeted by a groundhog.  He seemed unconcerned to see us go by.


We decided to check out the Stone House Museum located in Salt Fork State Park.  Built in 1837, the Kennedy Stone House was home to several generations of Kennedy descendants ending with the great-grandson of the builder, Don Kennedy, who occupied it until 1966.

Geneology of Kennedy Family (occupants of Stone House)

Being Celtic immigrants, the Kennedy clan brought with them memories of the stone cottages and castles common to Scotland.  Since there is sandstone in abundance in the foothills of the Appalachians, their home reflected this Scotch-Irish influence on early American architecture and was created entirely from stone.

The state of Ohio purchased the Kennedy property and surrounding lands to create Salt Fork State Park, which is obviously how the house got to be part of the park. 

Kennedy Stone House Museum at Salt Fork State Park

The house was built from locally-quarried stone cut into 3′ x 1′ x 1′ blocks.  Because of its unique and enduring construction, the house is listed in the National Register of Historic places.  It sits back in a lovely wooded area, nestled among the surrounding hills. 

Then in 1967, the valley below the house was impounded to create Salt Fork Reservoir, so today the house overlooks the lake created then.

Salt Fork Reservoir

When you drive up to the house, one of the first things you come to is an outhouse.

Outhouse at Stone House Museum

Well, after all, it’s a necessary part of living!

We were also greeted by the sight of another flock of sheep on top of a hillside behind the house.

Flock Of Wooden Sheep at Stone House Museum

These didn’t move around much.  I think they were a little bored (board?).  Did you notice one little sheep in front splintered off from the rest?

On the hillside below the sheep, there was a little building with some honeysuckle growing up the side.

Farmer Peeking In Building

The Farmer tried to peek in-between the cracks to see what was in there, but couldn’t really see much.

There was also a bell down the hill from the flock of wooden sheep. (And who wooden like such cute sheep?)

Dad by "The Amos Bell" at Stone House Museum

Dad took a picture of “The Amos Bell” which once hung in a one room schoolhouse in Guernsey County.  It was saved from destruction by the Amos family who placed it in their garden.  Later the bell was moved to the Stone House property in honor of Robert Woodrow and Hannah McCleary Amos of Cambridge, Ohio, to honor their efforts in the preservation of the Stone House.

One of the first things we noticed at the house was  a bulletin board with a lot of pictures showing the house at various times in its’ history.

Pictures of Stone House On Bulletin Board

We peeked in through one of the windows to check out the interior.

Stone House Interior

I noticed a couple more sheep were in the house. But then, I notice sheep wherever I go!

Toy Sheep

It was hard to get a good picture since the room was dim and they were against a brightly lit window, but I couldn’t resist trying.

We also checked out the big root cellar.

Root Cellar At Stone House Museum

It’s huge!  You could put a whole lot of food in there!  Of course, a root cellar was an important part of preserving foods for the winter before people had electricity readily available.

Dad and The Farmer walked along the bank in front of the house to check out the view.  The Salt Fork Reservoir is lovely.

Dad in front of Salt Fork Reservoir

All along the front of the house, there is a stone retaining wall.  The Farmer decided to take a rest and lean on it for a while.

The Farmer by the stone wall at Stone House Museum.

It was an interesting place to visit.  As we were leaving, I took one last picture, this time of the weathervane.

Weathervane at Stone House Museum

If you’re ever in the area, it’s worth checking out the Stone House Museum.  We enjoyed our visit!

Hummingbirds And Butterflies

June 18, 2009

Hummingbirds and butterflies are two of my favorite summer visitors.  That makes it double the pleasure, double the fun, when I see both at the same time.

Hey Butterfly! What are you doing at my feeder?
Hummingbird looking at butterfly on feeder.
Okay, I guess we can share.
Hummingbird and butterfly sharing a meal at the feeder.
Guess you’re full up, huh? See ya!
Hummingbird watching butterfly leave.

Just Coolin’ It.

June 10, 2009

It’s been up in the 90’s here lately, and when you’re covered in black fur that means it feels REALLY hot!  So our farm collie, Toby, is always looking for the nearest patch of shade (between bouts of frenetic activity – liking chasing squirrels, or zipping through a pack of guineas so he can watch them fly, or … you get the idea).

Toby, our American Farm Collie

We’ve got lots of huge walnut and oak trees in the back yard, so all the animals like to congregate there.

The notable exception to this shade seeking is the sun seeking turtles who seem to thrive on sunning themselves.

Turtle On Log

They have a new log to float on as the first eventually sank, presumably because the dead wood became… well, water-logged!

Around here the critters are either soaking up the sun or have it made in the shade, but they all seem to be enjoying summer.

I See A Skink!

June 8, 2009

I mentioned back in an earlier post, “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!” that we have Southeastern Five Lined Skinks hiding in the crevices of the retaining walls of the rose bed.  They’re other places as well – that just happens to be where I most often see them.

Now I may not be right about what kind of skinks they are.  These are interesting little critters and the young Southeastern Five Lined Skink and immature Broadhead Skinks look pretty much the same.  It seems small skinks are “best identified by close examination of the scales: broadhead skinks have an enlarged row of scales under the tail and five labial (along the upper lip between the nose and eye) scales.”

Well, to check that out, first you’ve got to catch one, and these little devils are FAST. 

As it happens, this weekend on the way out to do evening chores, we happened to spot one that had skittered up onto the back porch and was trying to figure out how to get away again.

Southeastern Five Lined Skink

Now I might have caught this one to check out the scales, but they have another interesting little quirk – they drop their tail and run.  Yeah, seriously.  If you catch one, it will let its’ tail break off so it can get away.

I figure that’s a lot of work for the poor little skink to grow a new tail, so I didn’t bother trying to catch it so I could look at the scale patterns, especially as I wouldn’t guarantee I’d know anymore than I did before I looked. 

As for it getting back off the porch, that’s not quite as simple as it seems, since there is wire mesh under the decking so he couldn’t just slip between the cracks of the boards there.

However, the porch is far from being entry or exit free if you’re skink size!  For that matter, there’s a huge dog door there that Toby goes in and out, so there’s 82 pounds of critter getting on and off the porch without any trouble.

One way or another, the little guy had figured out a way to get off the porch by the time we got back from doing chores as he was no where to be seen.  His brief moment of modeling was over with just a couple of pictures, and now he’s back in obscurity hiding somewhere.

Fame is fleeting (and so are skinks).

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

May 14, 2009

Seems like a lot of the critters around here like to hide. 

Our parrot loves to hide under the couch and behind the curtains.

Parrot peeping out from behind curtains.

If she can hurry into the kitchen and get in a cupboard before I close the door, that’s one of her favorite hiding places.

Parrot in Cupboard.

She gets in all kinds of hidey holes: under desks, in the pantry, in boxes… just any place she can find.

But many of the outside critters like to hide too.  For instance, can you guess what’s hiding in this can out in our feed room?

Can in feed room.

Did you guess a mouse?  Naw, come on now, that’s too obvious.  And it’s not a snake either, though it’s happened before and I’ve reached in and grabbed one by accident.  (Trust me, I wouldn’t grab it on purpose!)

Well, think about it while I show you some other animals in hiding.

Our cat likes to hide under shrubs or other flowering plants.  Here he is hiding in one of my flowerbeds under some hostas.

Spot under hostas.

Toby would like to know what the cat is doing in there.

Toby looking for the cat.

However, the cat is unconcerned with what Toby wants to know and ignores him.

Cat looking out from under hostas.

He continues to peer out from under the hostas totally oblivious to what the dog is doing.

Sometimes animals can hide in plain sight.  You know, blending in with the surroundings, a sort of camouflage kind of thing.  Just look at this picture:

Rabbit among the hens.

Maybe this rabbit figures if it grazes with the chickens, the dogs won’t notice it’s there and chase after it.  Frankly, the rabbits around here seem to think this a safe haven anyway, and don’t get too excited when we’re out walking around.

Of course, little chicks like to hide under the Mama Hen.

Chicks under hen.

You can only see one little derriere still sticking out, but there are 5 little chicks under the hen.  Here they are before Mama settled down so they could scoot under her.

Hen with 5 chicks.

My favorite hen, Peepers, has a little chick peeping out from under her too.

Peepers chick peeps out from under her.

She had 4 little chicks last year, but for some reason, only came out from under the shed (her nesting place) with one this year.

The adult hens like to hide under The Farmer’s utility trailer.

Hens under utility trailer.

 Toby occasionally likes to hide out under the back porch.  The goats hide behind the llamas at night.  There are even little Southeastern Five-Lined Skinks with their bright blue tails hiding in the crevices of the retaining walls around the rosebed.  Critters are hiding all over the place!

Oh, and as for what was hiding in the can. 

Rooster in can of corn.

Did you guess it was a rooster?  He jumped in there while I was getting feed, and managed to knock the lid back over top of him on his way in.  When I took the lid off, he was contentedly munching up on all the cracked corn.

You just never know what you might find hiding around here… so come out, come out, wherever you are!