Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Memory Box Update

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — folkcat at 4:16 pm on Tuesday, July 26, 2005

As of the 24th, three days after we hid the Milford Memory Box, 9 people have logged a find there. Some have added some wonderful pictures to the gallery as well.

If you’d like to visit the listing and check it out, just go here.

Thanks to everyone who’s enjoying the cache so much!

UPDATE – Milford Memory Box – First to Find prize is won!

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — folkcat at 4:40 pm on Thursday, July 21, 2005

Less than 2 1/2 hours after the listing went live today, I received notice of the first find on the Milford Memory Box – hooray! Congratulations to solid-rock-seekers on taking swift action and gnabbing the Toadstool Bookshop gift certificate!

It’s sort of a special “First Find”, too – this was solid-rock-seekers 500th geocache find! Wow….Gryphon and I have only logged 10 finds so far. These folks must really spend a lot of time out there!

Now, don’t forget – just because the First Find prize is gone, doesn’t mean the fun is. Geocaches are an ongoing thing – the cache stays where it is for others to find, to share their memories, and to trade for treasures that geocachers before them have placed in the box. So come share the fun of the Milford Memory Box, won’t you?

LIVE, Thursday, July 21, 2005 – The Milford Memory Box – GCPQNY

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — folkcat at 7:35 am on Thursday, July 21, 2005

It’s here, everyone – we have hidden our first geocache! It’s called The Milford Memory Box, and the full description as it appears at www.geocaching.com is shown below. To visit the listing at www.geocaching.com, go here.

One detail that’s not mentioned at www.geocaching.com – we were fortunate to obtain a very, very, special First to Find prize for this box! The Toadstool Bookshop in Lorden Plaza has donated a $20 gift certificate to the Milford Memory Box. Whoever gets there first, gets to keep it!

Short Description:

The cache is located at N 42° 50.182′, W 071° 39.032′. General parking can be found in the vicinity of N 42 50.128, W 071 38.979, just a short walk away. If you decide to walk around town a little, keep in mind there is a 2-hour parking limit here.

For handicapped access to the cache site without a time limit, park at N 42° 50.238′, W071° 39.067′. This is the parking lot at the local Masonic lodge, but it is also the handicapped parking for this location.

Long Description:

Imagine a walk in a peaceful wood. You stop to rest a moment, and suddenly you hear soft voices speaking to you, telling their memories. A warm feeling washes over you as you feel connected to others who have passed this way before. You begin to speak your own memory to the trees, leaving it for the next to hear.

The Milford Memory Box is a place for sharing memories. You’ll find it in a relatively unknown, but beautiful, piece of woods in a park near downtown Milford, NH. The location is also used for public concerts and, as we found today, occasionally for weddings and other special events, but the cache is well away from the open space. Still, be mindful of muggles out for a stroll.

The box is a Rubbermaid Servin’Saver Plus container. Inside you’ll find a log book and a 4×6 photo album. The collection of pictures and postcards is the point of the box, and pictures should not be removed by geocachers. Rather, please add a picture of your own to the album, if you like, and write a story on the back of the picture to share the memory with others. Don’t forget to take the time to view the memories of others – that’s part of the magic.

Memories shared could be a picture of a party, a loved one, a childhood home, a postcard of favorite teen hangout – anything that you remember, and want to tell others about. I’ve started the photo album with pictures of some scenes that I consider special. While it’s called the Milford Memory Box, the memories don’t have to be from Milford – they just have to be special to you.

With your permission, I will be sharing the memories collected through my geocaching blog, Folkcat & Gryphon’s Geocaching Adventures. Important: Please e-mail me through the geocaching website with your contact information so that I may confirm your permission to share your memories this way. For security reasons, please do not leave your contact information in the box. Occasionally, again only with your permission, we may also offer a memory to the local newspaper, the Milford Cabinet to publish in their weekly edition.

If you wish to find this cache without sharing a memory, that’s perfectly welcome. The opportunity to share in the memories others have left, as well as this lovely woods, are worth the visit. Do, please, sign the log book. And feel free to leave trinkets or Travel Bugs to pass on

Besides the photo album, I’m starting this box with the following trade items: a wind-up alien; a genuine fake emerald ring; a mama bear/baby bear pin; some pencils. Please keep your trade items small, there isn’t a lot of room here, though it could accommodate small Travel Bugs as well.

As our first cache hide, this box will always be a special memory for us. We hope it will become a part of your memories, too.

Travel Bug – Rugrats Phil & Lil, and Watch This Space!

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — folkcat at 12:30 pm on Tuesday, July 19, 2005

TB Rugrats Phil & Lil got to accompany us for a photo shoot yesterday. They really enjoyed the scenery, and their vehicle took to the terrain well. Here’s the best picture:

I won’t tell you where this is, though, because it’s at the location where our first geocache hide is going to be placed on Thursday, July 21st. No, not the exact location, but in the same recreational site. The photo won’t give you any help in finding the cache. 8^)

Watch this blog for the official announcement on Thursday – the cache goes live at noon. At that time, I’ll have the full text of the cache description here, as well as a link to the listing at www.geocaching.com . You can also find it announced in the Milford Cabinet in Thursday’s edition.

Coming Soon – Our First Cache Hide!

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — folkcat at 9:47 pm on Friday, July 15, 2005

Gryphon and I have been working hard this week. We just got approval from the selectmen of a nearby town to hide a geocache in the piece of town-owned property that we wanted! Watch this space – the cache will go live next week, and I’ll post here with a link to the listing at www.geocaching.com when it does.

About that old piece of equipment…

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — Gryphon at 6:44 pm on Sunday, July 10, 2005

I guess Folkcat and I didn’t really discuss my thoughts on this thing. I’m no expert on industrial equipment, and I don’t have the proper references at hand, so my comments are educated guesses.

My take is that the beast is either a compound steam engine or a (big) two-stage air compressor. Based on my knowledge of how both items work, I’d vote for the air compressor. A compound steam engine would have required a complex set of valves that I just don’t see here. The big pulley on the left would then have been the power input. A large leather belt would have drawn power from a pulley on the main power grid.

Since Frye’s Measure Mill is about 3 miles away, I think I will go back and write down all the info on that maker’s plate. That will give me a start to do some real research.

If anyone else in the meantime has better facts to share, we’d love to hear them.

-= Gryphon =-

Measure for Measure; a Travel Bug’s Tale

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — folkcat at 6:01 pm on Sunday, July 10, 2005

We returned a travel bug to the wild today. Bruce’s Toy Plane has been with us since Wednesday, July 6th.

This is the second bug we’ve picked up, and the first to go back out into the wild from our care. Bruce’s Toy Plane’s mission was to “be photographed with woodworkers,in wood shops, or with hand tools.” I think we helped that project along nicely. Here are the pictures we took.

Bruce’s Toy Plane with Gryphon’s own tools
From left to right; a modern Japanese cross-cut saw; a homemade wooden mallet (made by Gryphon’s own hands); an antique bung hole auger; and a drawknife.

We took Bruce’s Toy Plane on an excursion to a special place here in Wilton; Frye’s Measure Mill. This is a working, water-powered mill making wood products that has been operating in the same location since at least the 1850’s. The name comes from the man who owned it from 1909 to 1961.

It’s called a “measure mill” because they made piggins, or measures – wooden, cylindrical, open-top boxes with a turned stick handle at one side, these were made in precise sizes and used for measuring various goods. Frye’s Measure Mill still makes and sells the 1- and 2-quart sizes of piggins today.


The sign you’ll see at the entrance to the property

We found a water-powered drill press in one of the outbuildings that housed a blacksmith shop.

Bruce’s Toy Plane with an old Drill Press

After exploring the smith shop, we headed to the main attraction.

Gryphon standing outside the main mill building


A piece of old equipment outside the mill

Even after reading the label below, I still didn’t know what this was!


How to order parts for the above machinery

We knew that interior photography is sometimes an issue with special places like this, so we found someone to ask before we tried to do anything. Good thing we did – we were exactly right. We got to talk with Pam Savage, daughter-in-law of the current owner, Harland Savage. We told her all about geocaching, and introduced her to Bruce’s Toy Plane. You could tell she was intrigued by the project, and trying to think of ways around the photo restriction that their insurance company placed.

It was Pam who thought of one of their more interesting pieces of machinery, a lapper. Lappers are used in making colonial-style lap-joint boxes. Specifically, the lapper has one task – shaving the wood for the lap-joint thin to reduce the bulk of the joint. Frye’s Measure Mill still uses one of these machines today to make colonial boxes; Pam brought us to a retired one that’s on exhibit in the store, and permitted us to take pictures of Bruce’s Toy Plane on it. We included a colonial box so you can see what the machine makes.

Bruce’s Toy Plane with a lapper, with one of the colonial boxes it makes.

A close-up of Bruce’s Toy Plane with the colonial box

From the sign on the lapper, you can see that the machine itself dates back to 1890.

Having fulfilled our share of Bruce’s Toy Plane’s mission, we dropped him off in the Route 101 Travel Bug Hotel today. I hope that whoever he visits with next has as much fun as we’ve had!

Blacksmiths and Butterflies

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures,Folkcat's Fotos — folkcat at 7:39 pm on Saturday, July 9, 2005

Today’s photos begin with a visit to Frye’s Measure Mill in Wilton, NH. We stopped by there to take pictures of a Travel Bug we’re hosting, Bruce’s Toy Plane. Bruce’s mission is to be photographed with traditional woodworking tools, and what better place than a working, water-powered wood shop that has been making things of wood continuously since the 1850’s – and still uses some of the original equipment?

You can see the pictures of Bruce’s Toy Plane at Stickers and Prickers, Earthbound and Airborne – as soon as I post there, at least. While you’re here, though, please enjoy these glimpses of the original blacksmith’s shop located in a small outbuilding. They’re followed by a portrait of a mourning cloak butterfly I met while shopping today – it posed very nicely on a warm gravel drive while I got it’s picture.


The entrance to the blacksmith shop at Frye’s Measure Mill

The shop interior

The workbench

The forge…

…and anvil

A Mourning Cloak Butterfly in Wilton

Stickers and Prickers, Earthbound and Airborne

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — folkcat at 10:04 pm on Thursday, July 7, 2005

For a better look at any of the pictures, click on them and you’ll get the full-size view.

With Gryphon on a week’s vacation from work, we had a rare opportunity for mid-week geocaching. Searching around the local listings at Geocaching.com , I noticed that an interesting Travel Bug was in residence at a geocache in Amherst, NH.

The Travel Bug is called Bruce’s Toy Plane. It’s actually a small, working wood plane, with a mission to be photographed in traditional woodworking shops, with traditional woodworkers, or with hand woodworking tools. Gryphon has an ongoing interest in traditional hand woodworking, so this was a natural for us!

Pond Parish Marsh is actually called Pond Parish Town Forest. The central feature is a lake created by beavers, but the place also abounds in marvelous flora and fauna, and a nice system of trails leading throughout. This is the geocache that Bruce’s Toy Plane had last been set in, and Amherst is only a couple of towns away, so we decided to go for it.

I like to find at least one more geocache in the area when we go, since some of these are completed quickly. I didn’t have to look far, though – one of the log entries for Pond Parish Marsh mentioned that the geocacher had stumbled across a letterbox while looking for the cache! He even provided a link to it for those interested. The letterbox, called Build a Margarita, turned out to be a set of five boxes – when completed in order and per instructions, the rubber stamps created an image of a Margarita!

What a bonanza – a total of six boxes to find, all in one nature preserve! We gathered our equipment and set off after lunch.


Raspberries (l.) and wild strawberries (r.) were everywhere

Almost as soon as we got there, Gryphon drew blood on his thumb by sticking it on raspberry thorns. The place was thick with berries of all kinds; raspberries crowded the trails, wild strawberries carpeted the forest floor, and later on the walk we found high-bush blueberries in abundance. Nothing was ripe yet, more’s the pity, but one of these days, the wildlife is going to be feasting!

The creators of the letterbox did an excellent job of making sure you saw the sights. Their directions to the boxes always took sidetrips to the scenic points. The first stopping place was a bench, where we were advised to “admire the huge beaver lodge”.

Pile of sticks in the lake? No, a beaver lodge!

Next, we’re told to continue down the path to “see how busy the beavers have been.”

The beaver dam itself, just a few yards beyond the viewing bench for the lodge

Close-up of the dam – amazing what these beavers can do!

Then, we cross the boardwalk over part of the beaver pond…

Gryphon having some fun – on, not under, the boardwalk.

A lovely patch of water lilies.

…and go tromping through the woods a bunch. Some of the trees were pretty old, and had grown into interesting shapes.

One of the gnarlier landmarks in this patch of woods


Luxurious beds of ferns were everywhere

The final destination in the preserve was a narrow, winding, very overgrown path that led to this observation deck.

Gryphon and Folkcat pause to rest before starting the hike back

Pond Parish Town Forest is a beautiful place – even if you’re not geocaching or letterboxing, you ought to visit it sometime! It’s definitely one of New Hampshire’s natural treasures!

Lest I forget, here’s a picture of the Travel Bug we picked up:

Bruce’s Toy Plane TB makes a stop at my desk

We’ve already taken pictures of it with Gryphon’s best hand woodworking tools, and we’re planning to take it to Frye’s Measure Mill here in Wilton to be photographed with their still working, leather belt-driven, water-powered wood tools. I’ll make a separate posting about this TB’s photo sessions before we send him on his way.

Oh, yes – I told you about the “Earthbound Stickers”, but haven’t mentioned the “Airborne Prickers” yet. Well, it’s July, and it was a hot and humid day spent at a beaver pond. It doesn’t take Ken Jennings to figure out we were eaten alive by mosquitoes!

Gryphon checking in…

Filed under: Folkcat & Gryphon's Geocaching Adventures — Gryphon at 10:00 pm on Monday, July 4, 2005

Since geocaching is a shared adventure for Folkcat and me, we wanted to blog about it. She had already created a blog, so she invited me as an author to give us a shared forum.

This last weekend was our most interesting yet. Folkcat is composing a pretty serious post about it even as I type this. Check out her latest post…

-= Gryphon =-

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