Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Squint Shot 093009

This is a very common sight around the outskirts of Fowlerville. Corn stalks, rows of soldiers, lined up and ready for harvest.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Barn Preserving

Thanks to a family in Fowlerville area, an old building with a colorful history has been put to good use.

But let me backtrack a bit. A couple of years ago, a grand plan was devised to level an area of the northwest quadrant where the now-defunct Fowlerville Lumber showroom and storage building stood along with an out-of-service water tower at the back of the property where years earlier an apple orchard had grown. A multi-business building and at least a hundred parking spots would be created in this void. But, alas, the national economy and in particular Michigan's situation took a very bad turn for the worse, and the project was put on hold.

This was after the water tower had been dismantled, the old buildings removed, and the initial ground work and first layer of paving had been completed. What stands there now is a very nice looking parking lot and an area of land for sale.

I pretty much thought that was the end of the story until the other day. That was when I found out the lumberyard's storage building, as shown in this picture, had been dismantled (not destroyed) and moved parts and parcels to a local farm to begin its third career. This time it would provide cover from the weather while equipment was being serviced. Now you may ask . . . third career? Yes. Its second career found lumber stored, stacked, and ready for the customer, but according to local lore and verified in the book Fowlerville Goes to War 1861-1865 compiled by Richard G. Hutchins, its first career was as a roller rink. But now onto today in Fowlerville. This 60' x 100' building was sectioned, loaded onto large flatbeds and trucks, and moved to the Krebsview Farm on Fowlerville Road. This picture shows the new bay doorways which have been created and how the outside has been finished . . . . . . . while this picture shows the original rafters and wallframes. As you can see in this wider shot, the building has been placed on a sturdy foundation. The only deviation from the original size and shape of the building is one corner where the walls had to be reconfigured due to land constraints. This building is still in the midst of some major work, including covering up the old siding and installing new, more efficient windows, but the vision at the end of the tunnel is already in sight.

In a society where we don't always value the older buildings, sometimes cost and efficiency winning out, it is gratifying to see this little bit of Fowlerville history still standing. So now from the laughter and fun of roller skating to the smell of fresh, new wood stacked from dirt floor to ceiling to a shelter for those working on equipment . . . this building has been given a third career.

Squint Shot 092909

Yesterday's squint shot showed a sign asking for the return of a trailer. Today's is an old, weather-worn, beaten up violation notice nailed to a tree at the back of property on South Grand. The plastic and paper is in such bad shape, it is hard to figure out what the violation is. So, again I wonder, will someone take responsibility for this?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Squint Shot 092809

This two-sided sign stands in front of an empty building across from Planet Video on Frank Street. It has been there at least a month, and I wonder . . . where is the trailer? Will it ever be returned?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Joys of Autumn

The joys of fall --

~~Autumn is a season for big decisions -- like whether or not it's too late to start spring cleaning.

~~Autumn -- time to drag out your winter clothes and see what kind of summer fun the moths had.

~~Autumn leaves are a lot like raising kids -- first they turn on you, then they fly away, and then the next thing you know, you look out the window and they're back.

~~I got tired of looking at all those leaves in my yard, so I got up off the couch and went into action. I closed the curtains.

~~I can hardly wait until all the leaves turn brown to match the grass.

~~Now for today’s lawn and garden tip. If you haven’t found the hedge trimmer yet, forget it. It’s almost time now to lose the leaf rake.

~~Autumn is a great time of the year. Soon those ugly patches of dead grass in your lawn will be covered up with ugly patches of dead leaves.

Squint Shot 092709

This is one of the entrances to Brigham Field where fans walk through the archway, pass by the concession stand for food and clothing, and head toward the football field. It is football season so every home game finds this place jumping with enthusiasm.
And now, as reported by the Livingston Press and Argus . . .
The Fowlerville football team set up a showdown next week for the CAAC Gold Division title with a 28-21 win over Haslett on the Gladiators' home field on Friday night. Joe Rajala rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns for Fowlerville (5-0 overall, 3-0 CAAC Gold).

Jake Larioza caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tim Wedesky and Josh Sefton scored from 1 yard out.

Sefton also recovered the Vikings' final onside kick to preserve the win.

Fowlerville will travel to DeWitt next week for a game that will determine the division title. DeWitt (5-0, 3-0) blew past Charlotte, 56-14.
The following Friday, October 9, is homecoming for Fowlerville High School - Go Gladiators!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Squint Shot 092609

Hardly a squint shot, since this picture was taken across a very long field -- maybe the length of a football field! These blocking dummies seem to be ready and waiting, taunting the real players to knock them silly. Football and Fowlerville makes for some very rabid fans and this year is no different.

Snack-urday 134

Head to your local cider mill for some apple cider, then stop at your favorite butcher and pick up pork chops, then make this wonderful dish:

4 pork chops, approximately 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced, fresh parsley
Cooked egg noodles

1. Brown the chops in the butter in a covered skillet over low heat for 15 minutes, turning frequently.

2. Add the cider and cook the chops, covered, for 10 more minutes.

3. Remove them to a platter and add the mustard, cream, salt, pepper, and parsley to the skillet.

4. Whisk the sauce--for, behold, it is a sauce now!--over low heat until slightly thickened.

5. Pour the sauce over the chops and serve with noodles.

Serves 4.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Squint Shot 092509

I noted in yesterday's squint shot there would be no picture of the southwest quadrant since it is a parking lot and an empty building. Well, my mind was changed when I came across this picture of an old postcard printed in Fowlerville Goes to War 1861-1865 compiled by Richard G. Hutchins. It is noted in the book this picture was taken some time around 1906.I headed into town and snapped a picture as close to the same angle; that is, with traffic all around me. Quite a difference 103 years makes. On a side note, one of The Ville's squint shots noted the door to nowhere of the second floor of the building on the corner of the southeast quadrant (formerly Ruth's Resale), which you can see by clicking here. If you look at the old postcard picture, it appears it was that way so many years ago.

Makes one wonder.

Shrieks and Hayrides

Each month, a member of the Fowlerville Business Association will host an after hours event and for the last few years Mayhew's Tree Farm and Nursery has grabbed the fall date in September for their turn. As luck would have it, the ghouls and ghosts were out enjoying the balmy weather as much as all of the lucky attendees. Food and drink was offered up by this "friendly" butler. And then after everyone was relaxed and had let their guards down, Jim Mayhew treated the brave souls to a hayride to the back acres. It was a bumpy ride but very pleasant passing by healthy cornfields and pine trees lined up like soldiers. Until . . . . . . we arrived at the "cemetary" where headstones were scattered throughout the fields. Young and old got a kick out "here lies Fred, he bumped his head, and now he's dead" or something like that. Too many to remember!
And then we
ventured into Tombstone where storefronts and caves and hanging bats and skeletons were at every turn, including this one poor fellow stranded by a tree stump. Maybe one of last year's attendees that got left behind? We'll never know.

But the poor soul that got the most attention was a fellow you can watch by clicking here . . . but be prepared. It's not a pretty sight.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Squint Shot 092409

This is the southeast quadrant, taken from the corner looking upward. The old Ruth's Resale building has been partially restored but empty downstairs, an insurance office upstairs. Jazzercise has taken over the next storefront, with Chase Bank next door. Then there are two empty storefronts -- what used to be Kelly's Kloset (and Buck's Pizza before that) and the BeeCharmer. Shear Image, Fowlerville Eye, and a hunting supplies store finishes off this block facing Grand River.Two pictures I didn't happen to take would be looking south on this block, where you would see Aleta's Flower Shoppe at the back of the corner building, and the southeast quadrant which is a parking lot and an empty building on Grand.

Fall Fun Fest

In all the years we have lived in Fowlerville, I have never ventured into the Fowlerville Fall Fun Fest at the fairgrounds. But this year was different. I'm not really sure if it was because of this blog, The Ville, or maybe it was the huge plume of smoke coming from this old-time tractor that made me turn the truck around and investigate. But I'm glad I entered the fairgrounds and wandered around for an hour. I was able to check out old, old equipment such as this, to watching miniature tractors navigate the bumpy ground, to listening to the high-pitched whistles as the operators unleashed the power in these machines. But then I was, with delight, able to walk into the buildings at the back of the fairgrounds where the historic village is housed. Earlier this year, I had taken time to photograph the outside of the buildings, which you can check out here and here and here. But now I could step into them. Following you will find some pictures . . . This is the inside of the cooper building. The schoolhouse showed various items, including an original chalkboard and the teacher's desk.Kids would sit at this long, low table for coloring exercises. The home showed off a typical bedroom and sitting room, including an "office" area in one corner. Off the kitchen of the home was a small "mud" room displaying children's wear along with these leather shoes.
The main part of the depot displayed where the operator would work as trains came and went. There's also a wealth of information regarding Charlie Gehringer's life and career on display inside the depot building.
The church was alive with music performed by a local group. The only building not open was the blacksmith shop, but even the side of the building had a hint of what may have been inside.
As I was leaving the fairgrounds, I heard a few snippets of a conversation made by one of the participants. It was to the effect, "If we don't try to preserve and show off the past, it will be forgotten."
And how sad that would be.
We are who we are because of the past. We have come so far in so many ways, whether it be awareness, science, technology, medicine. But we had to start somewhere and the Fowlerville Fall Fun Fest showcased all of that.
If I could pass along a recommendation, I would say check out the historic village the next time it is open for viewing. Take a minute to think about what had to be done a hundred years ago just to get through the day. It helps to put so much into perspective. I know it did for me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Writing and Remodeling

The Fowlerville Library may be going through a major remodeling project, but reading and writing goes on. And writing, in particular, is the subject. Head to the library's website by clicking here to read more about the Writing Group starting today and meeting every Wednesday for the next 8 weeks. If you are interested in writing, I can speak from experience when I say it is well worth the hour spent once a week to read other people's work, present your own work for review and comment, or to just listen and comment. It is a great motivator in my book.

So maybe I'll see you there?

But in the meantime, if you can't make it to the library, check out these pictures of what is happening. A large picture window has been added to the back wall bringing Centennial Park into full view.An addition on the west side of the building is making the library at least a third larger. Looks like more storage space will be available. This picture shows the new picture window and how the back of the library will look to those at the park. And this picture? Couldn't resist snapping this shot. The stuffed animals are coming down in order for the walls to get a fresh coat of paint. Will they be remounted? There's a question I'll have to ask when I head into the library for the writing group session today.

The remodeling is due to be finished by mid-December and from the changes I've already checked out, it looks like it just might be on schedule.

Squint Shot 092309

Back to the northwest quadrant, you can see the Grand River side of the Harmon building, Fowlerville Hardware, and a dentist's office. The remaining portion of the quadrant formerly housed Fowlerville Lumber for over 80 years. Plans for a new building to complete the block have been put on hold and now the area makes up additional parking for the downtown area.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wastewater Primer

Fowlerville has a new wastewater treatment plant, and this last Saturday the village celebrated with an open house and tour for anyone interested. Being somewhat intrigued, I decided to head to the location of the plant behind the fairgrounds. It turned out to be well worth the hour I spent there learning about this state-of-the-art equipment.

But first a bit of history. Before 1963, Fowlerville residents had their own septic tanks and drain fields. Then, that year, the village built its first wastewater treatment plant. Now, 46 years later, it was definitely time to increase the capacity and, with improved technology, cleaning the wastewater had become an even higher priority before it would go back into the Red Cedar River.

So, a little over 2 years ago, the work began. This ~$5 million project is finished, operational, and will be able to service the community for many years to come. As a matter of fact, only about half of the capacity is used on a daily basis.

And, now for a condensed version of the hour-long tour we took. A primer, of sorts:This building is the first place the raw sewage comes to. Approximately 400,000 gallons of waste per day comes through the large pipe, which houses a filter to capture larger items that may have gotten through and not degraded, such as a large wad of toilet paper. (As a side note -- it was the only place the smell was a bit difficult to take.) Some of the sludge goes into this lagoon to keep the water actively alive as particles in the sludge settle to the bottom and decompose. These are the pumps used to move some of the sludge to the lagoon and also to move the wastewater to the next station for treatment. This picture shows one of two cement tanks used to aerate the wastewater before separating out the waste from the water. About every 6 months to a year the tanks see alternate use.Typically, the wastewater circulates and aerates by use of a propeller-type bar for 21 days. For example, although water is coming in and going out on a regular basis, one cup of water circulates that long before moving on. The wastewater then moves to the clarifying tanks where additional particulates are screened out of the water and sent back to the first building for more filtering. There are 2 clarifying tanks.The clarified water then moves onto the polishing lagoon (the one on the right). This lagoon holds approximately 18 million gallons of water over a 10-acre area.The water eventually moves onto another lagoon where it is tested for such quality as how much oxygen is in the water. If it does not meet the standards required by the Department of Environmental Quality, then the water is cascaded down these steps to help aerate it further.The final location for the now cleaned wastewater is a building with these pumps containing ultra-violet lights. The water passes over the bulbs, which further disinfects it from pathogens so when it goes back into the Red Cedar River it is bacteria-free. As the clean water leaves the ultra-violet treatment building, it cascades one more time down cement steps . . . . . . and then drains to the Red Cedar River.

From brown, stinky, slimey muck to clear water . . . this wastewater treatment plant is sending water back into the Red Cedar River cleaner than what it meets as the two flows combine.

Squint Shot 092209

Moving around the block from yesterday's squint shot, this is the Grand River side of the northeast quadrant.The law offices of John Gormley, the front entrance of The Decorating Center, Edward Jones, a physical therapy storefront, the local pharmacy, another physical therapy place, Sweet Sensations, Save-On, the Bloated Goat, and Maria's Dance Studio are all squeezed into this one block.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Squint Shot 092109

Another portion of one of the quadrants at the main four corners . . . this time it is the northeast corner, looking north on Grand. You can see the law offices of John Gormley (which used to house Lockwood Insurance for many years), the side entrance to The Decorating Center, Olden Days Cafe', and a doctor's office.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Squint Shot 092009

My squint shots have usually been up close and personal but for today and the next few days, I'm recording the quadrants at the four corners. This is the northwest corner, looking north on Grand. You can see the tops of the Harmon building, Lucky's Pub, an apartment building, Reggie's Barber Shop, a pet grooming establishment, and Handy Township offices.

Slurp Slurp

There are dairy farms around the Fowlerville area, and I'm fairly certain this scene has been repeated a few times over. I especially picture a dear friend, in the day, when he was working in the milk industry . . . and since he is the one that sent this, I'll forever picture him squirting those cats with kindness!