Sunday, July 14, 2019

Jefferson County Fair - Book Show

I had a great time at the Jefferson County Fair last week. I met a lot of nice people and even learned a thing or two.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Mossy Feet Books at the Indiana State Fair

Come on out and enjoy the Indiana State Fair. I will have my books set up eight days during the fair in the Exposition Hall.

Mossy Feet Books at the Indiana State Fair
Exposition Hall

Friday, August 2nd, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday, August 5th, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday, August 7th, 9:00 AM  - 9:00 PM
Thursday, August 8th, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday, August 12th, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday, August 14th, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday, August 16th, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday, August 17th, 9:00 AM  - 9:00 PM

Friday, June 28, 2019

2019 FARM Club Antique Tractor Show

What do a chainsaw artist, a blacksmith, wood turners, a quilt show and amazing exhibits of hit and miss engines?
It’s a visit to the 2019 FARM Club Antique Tractor Show.
Not only can visitors watch a blacksmith practice their craft and a chain saw artist work his magic on a hunk of wood, they can feast on home made ice cream made by a hit and miss engine powering the ice cream machine, they can turn out a Purple Heart pen on a wood lathe or visit the Tradin' Post where they will find all manner of goods. Visitors will find many other vendors inside the commercial building and outside selling tools, farm toys and other interesting wares.
The star of the show is, of course, the antique tractors on display. History buffs and tractor enthusiast will find dozens of restored antique tractors of every type from John Deer to COOP tractors. Watch a live demonstration of a threshing machine or an old time sawmills turn out boards from logs.
Events include live music, a demolition Derby and a truck drag.
The show runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday from June 27 through June 29 from 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM daily. Enjoy the show.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Mossy Feet Books at 2019 Jefferson County Fair

Mossy Feet Books at 2019 Jefferson County Fair
JULY 8 - JULY 13, 2019
See our full display of books while enjoying the farm animals, 4-H exhibits, rides and grandstand events.
Enjoy the fair. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Mossy Feet Books at 2019 Ripley County Fair

Mossy Feet Books at 2019 Ripley County Fair
JULY 21 - JULY 27, 2019
Sunday - 5 PM - 7 PM
Monday - Friday - 5 PM - 8 PM
Saturday July 27 - 5 PM - 7 PM
See our full display of books while enjoying the farm animals, 4-H exhibits, rides and grandstand events.
Enjoy the fair. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Photo of the Day - Quiet Cove in Ogle Lake

Photo of the Day
Quiet Cove in Ogle Lake
Brown County State Park
Nashville, IN

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Photo of the Day - Ducks on Ogle Lake

Photo of the Day
Ducks on Ogle Lake
Brown County State Park
Nashville, IN

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Photo of the Day - Wetland Above Lake Ogle

Photo of the Day
Wetland Above Lake Ogle
Trail 7
Brown County State Park
Nashville, IN

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Photo of the Day - Ogle Lake

Photo of the Day
Ogle Lake
Trail 7 - Brown County State Park
Nashville, IN

Monday, June 10, 2019

Photo of the Day - Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower

Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower
Hoosier National Forest
Elkinsville, Indiana

Indiana Lookout Tower System

Fire was a common problem in the rural countryside in southern Indiana. During the 1930's the state began building fire towers with the goal of having no visibility gap in the system. The first fire towers were simply platforms in tall trees with a ladder steps nailed into the tree leading up to them. Over time, they refined the design to reflect that of the fire towers at McCormick's Creek State Park and Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower in the Hoosier National Forest. The state had constructed thirty-three lookout towers by 1952. The equipment and facilities surrounding the fire tower included communication equipment, a psychrometer, an alidade, a cabin or guard station, a latrine, and a garage. 

Communication Equipment

The communication equipment could include a telephone, radio or both. Since most of these lookout towers were located in remote areas they often served as the communications link between the rural population and the outside world. Many times the telephones or radios were the first ones installed in the area. Telephones required the installation of miles of cable that then had to be maintained between the various towers.


The tower man used an instrument called a psychrometer to measure the relative humidity. This was important to know as the lower the relative humidity, the greater the fire danger. The psychrometer uses two thermometers, a dry one and a wet one, to determine humidity. The tower man measured the temperature difference between the wet thermometer and the dry thermometer and calculated the humidity using a special chart.


The aliade is a circular device invented for use in surveying and map making. It consisted of a circular disc that had compass points marked around outside edge. Two vanes with sighting slits on opposite sides of the wheel attached to a rotating wheel, also on the outer edge of the disc. This is called a swivel range finder. A thin steel rod, called a sighting wire, connected the vanes. A printed topographic map was glued to the disc. The aliade was located in the center of the cabin. When the tower man sighted smoke, he could line up sighting wire with the smoke. The tower man then fixed the precise location of the tower by using a mathematical calculation measuring the angle of intersection with another nearby tower. The tower man could then dispatch a fire crew to the fire's location.

Cabin or Guard Station

Usually located at the base of the tower, the cabin housed the tower man during times of high fire danger. Usually it was a two room cabin.

The Tower man

The tower man spent many hours at the top of the tower during periods when fire danger was high. At other times the tower man helped survey land lines, mark timber, route signs and worked on forest maintenance projects. When fire danger was high, the Forest Service hired local farmers to help staff the tower. During these times they would sometimes station a small fire crew near the tower that could be dispatched out as soon as a fire was sighted. During dry weather there would sometimes be four or five fires a day for these crews to extinguish. Usually staffed by men, women also made up a portion of the tower man ranks, especially during World War II. The tower man had to pass a vision test and be physically fit enough to climb the tower several times a day. In addition to watching for smoke plumes, the tower man coordinated fire crews while they were out fighting a fire, kept records of the fires, kept weather records, cleaned the privy and maintained the grounds around the tower.


The advent of using airplanes and other modern methods of detecting fires has made the fire tower obsolete. Only nine fire towers remain in Indiana.

Follow this link to see the list.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Mossy Feet Books at the FARM Antique Machinery Show
I will have a full display of my books on display during the three day event. 
June 27 - 29, 2019
Featuring the Massey Family of Tractors | Ripley County Fairgrounds
Schedule of Events for the show
Video of 2018 Show
There will be a limited number of activities on Sunday, June 30, from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. however it is a clean up day and by late in the day most displays and vendors will have departed.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Cavehill Road - Peaceful Summer Drive

Cavehill Road
Summer Beckons
The fine summer weather invites travelers to take to the road seeking peaceful country drives. One of the author's favorite drives is the ten mile stretch of asphalt that connects US Route 50 with Indiana State R
Guide to Indiana's Historic Sites
South East Edition
oad 62 at the western edge of Friendship, Indiana.
Starting in Friendship
Starting at the quaint little hamlet of Friendship in southeastern Ripley County, the traveler will find a lovely drive through the Laughery Creek Valley by cruising north on Cavehill road. This quiet road passes through a lovely mix of woodland and small farm fields as it hugs Laughery Creek on its way to its terminus on US Route 50 near Versailles State Park. Cavehill begins at an intersection with Indiana State Road 62 on the western edge of Friendship, Indiana and proceeds generally northwest as it winds along the valley. The creek is visible on the left as soon as the traveler turns onto the road and will stay in sight for most of the roads ten mile length. A short distance from the beginning of the road a small cemetery surrounded by a limestone wall looms into sight. This is the Connell  Cemetery.
Connell Cemetary
Connell Cemetery
Located on Cavehill Road this cemetery has gravestones dating from 1851, although there could be older ones. About half an acre in size, many of the gravestones have broken off and the wall has toppled in several places. A short walk west through an opening in the wall leads to a wooded hillside overlooking Laughery Creek.

Laughery Creek
Scenic Views of Laughery Creek
The stretch of road past the cemetery has two or three places that allow the traveler to pull off the road safely to admire lovely Laughery Creek as it tumbles over rocks, forming large pools of tranquil water. Herons wade along the bank and songbirds warble in the trees blend their song with the soft gurgling of the creek. One of the pull offs is actually a small dirt lane that veers to the left towards the creek. The driver can pull in about ten feet to get off the road and walk a short distance to the creek.
Forested Groves
The road continues along past wooded groves of trees under laid with a knee high carpet of vegetation on one side and hay fields on the other before reaching a large farmhouse and barn located on a sharp curve. Just past the farmhouse as the road curves back the Locust Grove Schoolhouse (1904 - 1925) appears. Just past the schoolhouse, Cavehill Road turns sharply left, proceeds down a hill and reaches Cavehill Road Truss Bridge.

Cavehill Road Truss Bridge
Cavehill Road Truss Bridge
Indiana’s Timeless Tales
Pre-History to 1781
Constructed in 1920, this all riveted, Parker through Truss Bridge
carries Cavehill Road over Laughery Creek in southeastern Ripley County between Versailles and Friendship. The total length of the bridge is 174 feet with a width of sixteen feet. It stands fifteen feet above Laughery Creek. The bridge is one lane only and is open to traffic. The bridge features a metal grid floor that may pose challenges for the motorcycle rider; however it is safe to cross. The creek is visible through the grid as one walks out on it. Another grand view of the creek is visible from the middle of this fine bridge.
A short distance from this bridge, Cavehill Road once again crosses Laughery Creek on the Cavehill Road Arch Bridge
Cavehill Road Arch Bridge, Bridge # 9
Cavehill Road Arch Bridge, Bridge # 9
Located on Cavehill Road, this concrete, two span bridge crosses Laughery Creek between Versailles and Friendship. Built around 1910, the bridge has a total length of 202 feet and a width of 13 feet. The single lane bridge is still active. A dirt track leads off to the right here, allowing the driver to stop. A short walk down to the creek bed affords a view of the bottom of the bridge as well as lovely views of the creek both upstream and downstream. A stroll across the bridge affords a different perspective of the creek.

Blair Cemetery

Blair Cemetery
Proceeding along, the next point of interest is the Blair Family Cemetery, established in 1838. This well kept cemetery, like the Connell Cemetery, has a limestone wall surrounding it. Several Civil War veterans are interred in this quiet cemetery near the banks of Laughery Creek.
Ascending the Hill
Shortly after passing the Blair Cemetery the road begins to ascend out of the valley through densely wooded slopes. Below, along the creek, small homesteads occupy the valley below with steep driveways branching off the road towards them. The traveler can catch glimpses of the grand view through the trees on the way to the top.

Versailles State Park
The road levels off and passes the Christian International Family Worship Center CT Central Training Center, after which it turns north and passes through Versailles State Park. Watch for equestrians here, as one of the horse trails crosses the road here. A short drive brings the driver to US 50 a short distance east of Versailles State Park. The town of Versailles is about a mile to the west.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Photo of the Day - Indiana State Tree - Tulip Tree

Photo of the Day
Indiana State Tree
Tulip Tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip Poplar

Liriodendron tulipifera
Family - Magnoliaceae - Magnolia

The stately tulip poplar is so called because of the tulip-like blossoms it sports in early spring. Unfortunately, by the time the tree is large enough to begin blooming; it is so tall that the attractive blossoms are too high for most people to enjoy.

The leaf is an easy one to identify, as it is tulip shaped, thus lending another reason to name the tree tulip tree, or tulip poplar. The leaves in autumn change to a lovely shade of yellow, contrasting nicely with the gray, smooth bark.

The yellow poplar is one of only two species of tulip poplars inhabiting the earth. North America’s representative is native to the eastern United States, occupying nearly every state east of the Mississippi River except the extreme northeastern states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Liriodendron tulipifera is a member of the Magnolia family, it being the northernmost member of that tribe.

Tulip poplar is a valuable wildlife tree, as the seed is consumed by various birds, squirrels, mice and rabbits. Rabbits and deer browse the twigs and foliage of young trees and rabbits also sometimes eat the bark of young trees during the hard winter season.  The lumber is also a valuable resource, good for furniture, interior woodworking and plywood.

The majestic yellow poplar, state tree of Indiana, with its golden yellow autumn leaves and smooth gray bark is a lovely addition to the fall woodlands. Easy to identify with its tulip shaped leaves, the seeds are a valuable resource for all types of wildlife.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Photo of the Day - Anderson Falls

Photo of the Day
Anderson Falls
3699 N 1140 County Rd E
Hartsville, IN 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Photo of the Day - The Narrows Covered Bridge

Photo of the Day
The Narrows Covered Bridge
Trail 7, Turkey Run State Park

Friday, May 31, 2019

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Photo of the Day - Bridgeton Covered Bridge and Grist Mill

Bridgeton Covered Bridge and Grist Mill
Perched on the banks of Raccoon Creek, Bridgeton Grist Mill is the oldest continually operating grist mill in Indiana. The mill has been open at some point in every year for over 180 years. It is not the oldest gristmill, but none has been in continuous operation for that long. The mill began as a log sawmill that eventually included a gristmill as well. That mill burned down in 1869. The mill reopened in a new building. After conversions to a roller mill in the 1880's and to an electric mill in 1951. In 1969 new owners converted it back to a gristmill with the installation of 200 year old, forty eight inch French Buhr Stones. This family owned mill is continually being updated and improved. The picturesque mill stands beside the pretty Bridgeton Covered Bridge which spans Raccoon Creek over the dam that provides the gristmills power.
The Bridgton Covered Bridge Festival occurs annually in mid-October and runs for ten days. There are other festivals throughout the summer.
For more information, contact:
8104 Bridgeton Rd
Bridgeton, IN 47836
(812) 877-9550

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Monday, May 27, 2019

Friday, May 24, 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Photo of the Day - Versailles Lake

Photo of the Day
Versailles Lake
Versailles State Park
Versailles Indiana

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Lanier Mansion - Madison, Indiana

Lanier Mansion - Madison, Indiana
The Lanier Mansion is an Indiana State Historic Site owned and managed by the Indiana State Museum. The 1834 mansion, built by James Lanier, is open for public tours and is well worth visiting.
Learn more in the book, Indiana's Fascinating Museums - Southeast Edition

The Bookshelf
101 N Walnut St,
Batesville, IN 47006

(812) 934-5800
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sample Chapter - A Guide to Indiana State Parks - Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

A Guide to Indiana State Parks -
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the trails, shelters and other facilities in the earlier state parks during the Depression years of the 1930’s.
History of the Civilian Conservation Corps
Established by executive order on April 5, 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the CCC served as one of the most important parts of Roosevelt's New Deal program to deal with the high unemployment during the Great Depression. The United States Army helped provide transportation for the men that would work on environmental conservation projects around the United States. By July 1, 1933, the CCC had established 1433 camps around the country, providing jobs for 300,000 men. By 1935, the CCC would have 2600 camps with almost three million workers. The CCC built 97,000 miles of roadway, planted 2.3 billion trees, developed 800 state parks and over 13,000 miles of hiking trails in those parks. Additionally, the men of the CCC stocked lakes and rivers with over one million fish and constructed 3470 fire towers. To enlist in the CCC the men had to be United States citizens, in good physical shape, single and between the ages of 17 and 23. The CCC later increased this age to 26. The monthly pay was $30.00 per month. They had to send $25.00 per month home to their families. The CCC added an educational program, which enabled over 40,000 illiterate men to learn to read and write.

Sample Chapter - A Visit to Dunes State Park - JD Marshall Underwater Nature Preserve

JD Marshall Underwater Nature Preserve

A Visit to Indiana Dunes State Park
On June 11, 1911, the ship JD Marshall sank in stormy seas just offshore of Dunes State Park. Four sailors died in the tragedy. The sunken ship still lies there, just offshore, its historic artifacts preserved by statute as the JD Marshall Underwater Nature Preserve.
JD Marshall
The JD Marshall was built in 1891 in South Haven, Michigan. The ship had a beam of thirty-three feet and a draft of twelve feet. The ship had originally hauled lumber and industrial goods from port to port in the Great Lakes. The ship had been converted to a barge to suck sand from the lake bed and haul it to port to use for construction. Historians believe the boat had 1000 tons of sand on board when it capsized.
The Wreck
The JD Marshall had been dispatched to salvage the wreck of the Muskegon, which had been in the dock at Michigan City. The Muskegon had caught fire and sank on June 10, 1911. The ten man crew of the JD Marshall had completed the salvage job and had anchored just offshore to patch a leak that had occurred. Three men dove into the water to repair the leak. An unexpected squall created twenty-foot waves, which overturned the loaded ship. The three divers drowned. Captain Leroy Rand escaped and swam to shore. He commandeered a boat to use as a lifeboat to save the rest of the crew. He managed to save five crew members. Rescuers found the first mate, Martin Donohue, dead.
JD Marshall Underwater Nature Preserve
The 100-acre nature preserve is Indiana's first underwater nature preserve. Intended to promote understanding about the JD Marshall and other Indiana shipwrecks, the Preserve offers archeological protections to the site.  DNR staff mark off the boundaries with buoys seasonally at the four corners, with additional markers along the north boundary. Boats are forbidden to drop anchor within the boundary to prevent anchors snagging and destroying underwater artifacts. DNR staff conducts periodic interpretation programs about the site throughout the year. Visitors can see a display of a reconstructed pilothouse as well as artifacts from the boat at the Nature Center in the park. For more information, contact Dunes State Park.
Link to Site

Sample Chapter - A Visit to Chain o' Lakes State Park -Chain o' Lakes State Park History

Chain o' Lakes State Park History

A Visit to Chain o' Lakes State Park
The massive ice sheets that covered most of North America during the Pleistocene Epoch, which lasted from approximately 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, formed the terrain that makes up Chain o' Lakes State Park. This event, commonly called the Ice Age, formed the landscape of northern Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and the rest of the Great Lakes states. The movement of the ice created the chain of kettle lakes that form the chain in the park.
Kettle Lake
Retreating glaciers form kettle lakes when they calve huge ice blocks. These massive blocks break away and carve depressions in the soft ground adjacent to the retreating glacier. When the ice melts, they leave behind shallow lakes that fill with sediment. Sudden breakage of an ice-dammed lake can also create a kettle lake. These lakes are seldom deeper than about thirty feet.
Chain o Lakes
The lakes in the state park formed between 13,000 and 14,000 years ago. Waters melting from the retreating glaciers carved the channels that connect the lakes.
The Miami and Potawatami tribes inhabited the area at the time of white settlement. They had a village on the north shore of Indian Lake, now called Bowen Lake. The lake derives its name from the first settler, William Bowen.
William E. Bowen (Feb. 7, 1810 - May 5, 1881)
The son of Jonathan Bowen and Catherine Ermentrout, William was native to Lebanon in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He and Elizabeth Whitesell married in 1831. The couple would have seven children. The Bowens moved to Noble County in 1837, inhabiting the area now included in Chain O' Lakes State Park. William constructed a cabin on the north shore of Indian Lake in 1840. Bowen would serve as township justice of the peace, county sheriff and treasurer of Noble County. He and his wife are interred at Albion Cemetery.
Stanley School House

Constructed in 1915, the school is the fourth schoolhouse to occupy the site. The first structure, a log building, was built around 1845. A wood frame structure replaced the log one in 1855. This school burned down in 1880 and was replaced by a brick schoolhouse. This one burned down also and the current schoolhouse replaced it in 1915. It was common practice at the time to name a schoolhouse after a nearby farmer, thus the Stanley Schoolhouse derives its name from local farmer, Henry Stanley. The school remained open until closing in 1954. It was the last one room schoolhouse in Noble County and possibly one of the last ones in Indiana. After closing, the school stood vacant until Chain o' Lakes State Park opened in 1960. The park initially used it as a nature center until 2011. The National Register of Historic Places listed the schoolhouse in 2015, after the park restored it to its original appearance. 
Park Development
The precursor of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Conservation, recommended that the area around the chain of lakes be developed into a state park in 1955. The Indian General Assembly supported this in 1956. Commissioners from Noble, Whitley and Allen counties formed a joint board to purchase the land necessary for the park. This board acquired 1200 acres, with the State of Indiana purchasing an additional 300 acres. Dedication ceremonies for Chain o' Lakes State Park took place on June 12, 1960.