There were so many incredible items in the recent historical display at the old Olive Hill High School, it would be difficult to determine which was the most significant.

It was not difficult, however, to decide which exhibit I found most personally amusing. What first appeared to be a construction photo of the arches beneath the “Honest Bill from Olive Hill” bridge, also revealed the presence of an elephant and a camel.

Jim Plummer, who owns the historic photo, said he has no explanation for the exotic animals, although some have theorized the elephant and camel were used to help build the elegant bridge, which spans Tygart Creek.

We theorized the unusual animals may have been stopped at the town’s old railroad depot and their handler decided to take them out for a stroll.

If anyone has a theory to explain what the elephant and camel were doing down there, get in touch at the address at the bottom of this column.

Country roads take me home

I’m attempting to once again get my food intake under control and shed a few pounds. Somehow it seems much harder to do this time around, but I am determined to try.

The problem, of course, is on the intake side of things. I like to eat, and must confess food just tastes better now that I have given up cigarettes. I have packed on the pounds, despite eliminating sugary drinks and seriously decreasing the amount of bread and potatoes in my diet. And, portion control is always an issue for me.

On the other side of things, I have not been riding the bicycle nearly as often as I should. I have been strapping my camera across my chest for a few recent rides, however, and am actively practicing the art of taking photos without looking through the camera.

It seems I’m drawn to scenes with old barns, river views and crops in fields, although those things aren’t always easy to shoot while rolling along on two skinny tires.

I got lucky with a few photos in the Hitchins community last week, and hope to expand my travels to some of Carter County’s more rural stretches. At this point I am looking for paths which are not especially mountainous, although you have to take the good with the bad on that if you want to ride around here.

If you know of any good rural routes, drop a note and we’ll consider the path for one of our Sunday afternoon rides. I’m especially interested in the scenery of western Carter County.

Home repairs needed?

Do you know someone who needs home repair work, but can’t afford the costs?

Or, do you have a little time and home-repair skills to spare yourself?

The Carter County Home Improvement Project (CCHIP) is looking for projects as well as volunteers.

“These could include handicap access ramps/bathrooms, minor roof repairs, replacement windows, floor repair, pressure washing, brush removal and other small home repair jobs,” organizers advised of the types of projects they hope to tackle on behalf of low-income residents.

Anyone in need of repairs will find there is a simple application form to complete and drop off at the Carter County Public Library.

CCHIP is also seeking new members to join their board of directors. Questions about the organization and services provided can be directed to Bob Caummisar at (606) 474-9522 or Steve Kuhner at 316-0487.

Berries abundant

I have not picked many of them myself, but can safely report 2018 has been an excellent year for wild blackberries in this area.

On my trail, I’m still seeing a lot of red berries waiting to turn black and I believe we’ll be picking berries for at least another two weeks.

I’m personally a fan of just eating them raw, although several people have already had me drooling when they posted online photos of their traditional blackberry cobblers. It has been a few years since I had any, but homemade blackberry jelly and jam are another personal favorite.

With a little luck, we’ll be able to get out and do a bit of berry gathering in the weeks ahead.

Tim Preston can be reached at tpreston@journal-times.com or by telephone at (606) 474-5101.

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