Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bacon History

Bringing home the bacon


Bacon history

Until well into the sixteenth century, bacon or bacoun was a Middle English term used to refer to all pork in general. The term bacon comes from various Germanic and French dialects. It derives from the French bako, Common Germanic bakkon and Old Teutonic backe, all of which refer to the back. There are breeds of pigs particularly grown for bacon, notably the Yorkshire and Tamworth.

In England, a side of bacon is called a gammon, and a slice of bacon is known as a rasher. Seventy percent of the bacon in America is consumed at the breakfast table.

You are probably familiar with the phrase "bring home the bacon." In the twelfth century, a church in the English town of Dunmow promised a side of bacon to any married man who could swear before the congregation and God that he had not quarreled with his wife for a year and a day. A husband who could bring home the bacon was held in high esteem by the community for his forebearance.

In this health-conscious day and age, you would think that bacon would be low on the list of preferred foods due to its fat content. Yet, as anyone who dabbles in pork belly commodities can tell you, bacon is solely responsible for giving a boost to the pork market. Bacon has become so popular as a sandwich ingredient and a favorite of chefs in fine dining establishments that bacon shortages have caused prices to soar. However, bacon is still a bargain that can't be beat when it comes to adding flavor. With low-sodium and lean varieties available, even the dieter can partake in moderation.

Today's funny :0)


Pretty sunrise yesterday morning. It was only 17 degrees outside! We only get to see the mountains in the winter because the leaves are finally off our many trees.

Love to watch the sun come up!

Hmm.... never noticed there were so many darn wires!

Looking West at Sunrise Mountain. The mountain turned pink, just like the sky.

It's pretty up here, but I still sometimes miss our other home on top of the mountain and the scent of all the lovely pine trees.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Boy, did I goof up!

This was supposed to be for Friday Night Steam!!!!      Sorry!  :o(

Nothing like it in the world: China's time-tripping steam railway

By David Akast, for CNN

Bagou -- a coal town that's seen its population fall from 20,000 to 1,500 since its mine ceased operation -- is an anomaly in China. It's a town that's actually worse off in 2013 than it was 50 years ago. The narrow-gauge rail line was built in 1958 to connect Bagou with the river town of Shibanxi and has six intermediate stops along its 19.8-kilometer (12.3-mile) route. Bagou -- a coal town that's seen its population fall from 20,000 to 1,500 since its mine ceased operation -- is an anomaly in China. It's a town that's actually worse off in 2013 than it was 50 years ago. The narrow-gauge rail line was built in 1958 to connect Bagou with the river town of Shibanxi and has six intermediate stops along its 19.8-kilometer (12.3-mile) route.
China's incredible Jiayang Railway

  • China's Jiayang Railway offers spectacular mountain scenery and a window into the Industrial Revolution
  • Trains headed for the coal town of Bagou are powered by one of six working steam engines
  • Buildings next to the platform at Huangcun, the final stop, are covered in Cultural Revolution slogans and artwork
(CNN) -- No city better exemplifies China's investment in its western interior than Chengdu, the booming capital of Sichuan, famous for pandas and spicy food.
The city recently hosted the Fortune Global Forum and announced that visitors from 45 countries can enjoy a 72-hour visa-free stay, further cementing its rise as a major tourism destination.
Yet only two hours from this metropolis of 14 million people lies a town that has remained fundamentally untouched by the economic changes that have transformed so many lives in China over the past 35 years.
Bagou -- a coal town that has seen its population fall from a peak of 20,000 to 1,500 in the years since the mine ceased operation -- is an anomaly in China. It's a town that's actually worse off in 2013 than it was in 1963.
The vast workers' auditorium, miners' cottages (several built by the British in the 1930s), schools and hospitals are all empty and in a state of abject disrepair, but the fact that more tourists are arriving on the steam railway means the town's worst days may now be behind it.
The narrow-gauge rail line was built to connect Bagou with the river town of Shibanxi in 1958 and has six intermediate stops along its 19.8-kilometer (12.3-mile) route.
Although used primarily for the transportation of coal, it continues to provide a passenger service.
In fact, until 2012 there was no road to Bagou and the town could be reached only by train or on a motorbike running alongside the tracks.
Tickets for "local" trains cost 5 RMB (about 80 cents) to ride the line in its entirety, while those for the new tourist trains from Yuebin are RMB 50 ($8).
These services are air-conditioned, provide a seat (not guaranteed on local trains) and will usually stop in Jiaoba to allow passengers to photograph the most scenic part of the route.
All trains are powered by one of six working steam engines that are housed and serviced in Shibanxi.
The final stop on the old line is Huangcun Station.
The final stop on the old line is Huangcun Station.
China's industrial heritage
Most passengers, both locals and tourists, disembark in Bagou, but an interesting alternative is to continue to the final stop, Huangcun, to take in the Cultural Revolution slogans and artwork that decorate the buildings right next to the platform.
Huangcun is also home to the coal mine Bagou and its surrounding villages relied on for more than 70 years.
The mine has been open as a tourist attraction since 2008 and daughters of former miners (the guides are all female) lead informative tours.
After emerging back into daylight, the 20-minute walk to Bagou through plantain groves passes many buildings of interest, including the former Occupational Disease Clinic, hospital and middle school.
With a well put together museum in Bagou, housed in the Soviet-built former town-administrative center, the mine and steam engines mark the beginning of a nascent interest in industrial heritage in China.
Steam enthusiasts arrive from, chiefly, the UK, Germany, the U.S. and Japan, but it's Chinese tourists that the town is trying to attract in larger numbers.
An increasing number of chartered trains bringing in groups from Chengdu and further afield attest to the success of the local campaign sign-posting the railway as "a living fossil of the Industrial Revolution."
Along with the industrial heritage appeal, Bagou is attracting tourists interested in the social history aspect of a town that has been frozen in time.
A superintendent of the former Workers\' Theatre proudly looks after old images of Hua Guofeng, Sun Yatsen, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.
A superintendent of the former Workers' Theatre proudly looks after old images of Hua Guofeng, Sun Yatsen, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.
Cultural Revolution artwork and slogans that adorn many buildings have been repainted and the original "Mao stage," where only 40 years ago "struggle sessions" viciously humiliated supposed class enemies, has been authentically restored.
The Jiayang Railway makes a fascinating addition to the well-established local itinerary of Emei Mountain and Leshan Big Buddha. With outstanding hiking opportunities in the bamboo-covered hills that surround the line, fresh, fiery and delicious Sichuan food and accommodation at RMB 50-100 per night it also makes for an ideal weekend excursion from Chengdu.


Also, please copy and paste into your browser for more detailed information on the trains!!!! :

Railography : Chinese Steam Locomotive History

The website has some terrific insights to the railroads!

Today's funny :0)


An out-of-towner slid on an icy road drove his car into a ditch.

 Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull." Buddy didn't move.

 Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull." Buddy didn't respond.

 Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Jennie, pull." Nothing.

 Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull." And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

 The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.

 The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind, and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"

Oh my!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving wishes
for simple pleasures,
warm memories,
and much to be
thankful for always.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Classic

My very, very favorite movie to watch on Thanksgiving Day EVERY year!

 Make some popcorn, curl up on the couch and enjoy!

(There is a colorized version, but I like it better in the original black and white.)  CM

UPDATE:  If you cannot see the film please go to YouTube and enter: Laurel and Hardy Babes in Toyland 1934 Full. (The run time is: 1:17:20) 

Today's funny :0)


A color film from the 1939 Macy's Day Parade - How different it is today!
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the most famous parades in America and the world at large. Held annually every Thanksgiving (which always falls on the last Thursday in November), the parade is a staple of the holiday of Thanksgiving and an event that is instantly associated with New York City. The parade is also symbolic of the impending Christmas season via the appearance of Santa Claus at the end of the procession. At present, the parade is televised in full and broadcasted internationally; it begins at 9am and lasts three hours.

The Thanksgiving Day Parade was started in 1924 and funded by the department store Macy’s. In the 1920s most of Macy’s employees were immigrants from Europe who wanted to use Thanksgiving as a way to celebrate their new lives in America. Initially the parade was called the “Macy’s Christmas Parade” which was later renamed to the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Parade.” In present times, the parade is known simply as the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” but the tie-in to Christmas (with Santa’s appearance at the end of the procession) remains intact.

The initial Thanksgiving Day Parade was conducted by Macy’s employees and some professional entertainers who were hired to march from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street. Although the first parade featured none of the now-famous balloons, the marchers wore colorful costumes and there were live bands and floats. The Central Park Zoo even allowed some of their animals to take part in the event! The parade was such a success that Macy’s decided to turn it into an annual tradition. In 1927, large animal-shaped balloons replaced the live animals and this began the tradition of giant balloons that are now iconic of the parade.

Every year the parade grew in popularity and by 1933 over one million people came out to watch the procession! In 1934 the first Mickey Mouse balloon appeared to delighted crowds. Before television was widely popular, the parade was broadcasted on the radio between the years of 1932-1941 and 1945-1951. The parade was suspended from 1942-1944 as a result of World War II and the dire need for rubber and helium during that time. The parade resumed in 1945 and became especially famous after it was featured in the 1947 hit film “Miracle on 34th Street.”

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is still going strong and it is expected to entertain millions of viewers from all over the world on November 28, 2013. Television and the Internet has made it easier than ever to access information about the parade. However, if you live in New York, it is certainly worth taking the time to see the parade in person!

This giant dragon balloon in the 1931 parade.
This giant Mickey Mouse balloon, shown here in Glendale, Calf., floated down Broadway in 1934 and required 25 handlers.
Here balloons float down Broadway for the 1937 parade. Seven musical organizations, twenty-one floats and balloon units and 400 costumed marchers participated that year.
This cop balloon, shown here at Broadway and 56th St., was also featured in the 1937 parade.
The dragon balloon roared down the parade route at the thirteenth annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in 1937. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Ever wonder how marshmallows are made? I did!


Today's funny :0)

Hide 'n seek!

Too funny - Today's post was about the wild turkey - look went through just now!
(might have to make the pictures bigger to see 'em - and yes, it's snowing!)


Thought this was an interesting read to start the day off with. We have wild turkeys that pass through here all the time. Charlie doesn't like them and once he even chased them back into the woods!

Wild Turkeys Are Back, A Century After Severe Decline

Wild turkeys are found in 49 of 50 states, an enormous turnaround after having disappeared from much of the country early in the 1900s.
Wild turkeys are found in 49 of 50 states, an enormous turnaround after having disappeared from much of the country early in the 1900s.
Credit: Dendroica Cerulea/US Department of the Interior
In the early 1900s, wild turkeys seemed to be on the road toward extinction, as unregulated hunting and widespread logging had wiped them out over much of their range. In the last few decades, however, the birds have made an incredible recovery, reaching levels near those of their precolonial days.
The birds are now found in virtually all parts of their former territory, and some new places where they hadn't been previously, said wildlife biologist Thomas Hughes of the National Wild Turkey Federation, an organization that has reintroduced the animals into the wild. They can be found in 49 U.S. states, with the only exception being Alaska, Hughes said.  In total, about 7 million wild turkeys live in the United States; prior to 1500, an estimated 10 million turkeys existed, he added.
In some places, the growth of wild turkey populations has been so dramatic it has caused minor problems, said Kelsey Sullivan, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Bangor. In Maine, for example, the birds have been known to damage strawberry and blueberry crops. They have also been found rummaging in the fodder of dairy cattle, which they can contaminate with their droppings, Sullivan said.  [Gobble, Gobble: 8 Terrific Turkey Facts]

Minor conflicts
There have also been conflicts with homeowners, particularly in areas that have recently been developed. "There have been problems from [turkey] droppings on the lawn, to roosting on the roof, to pecking the side of a car where they see their reflection, to chasing the mailman from time to time," Hughes told LiveScience.
But by and large, these conflicts are minor and isolated, Sullivan said. They are also not usually difficult to fix; loud noises and dogs are effective at keeping the birds away, he added.
Furthermore, the birds are often blamed for damage that they have not caused. Animals that are active at night, like deer and raccoons, are more likely than wild turkeys to destroy most crops, according to work by researchers at Purdue University. One 2005 study, for example, found that less than 0.1 percent of the crop damage in Indiana is caused by wild turkeys. But when the turkeys show up in the morning, often in the same areas that have been damaged, they get wrongly blamed, said Duane Diefenbach, a wildlife researcher at Pennsylvania State University.
Gobbler restocking
Prior to the 1950s, efforts to restock the wild turkeys mostly failed, Hughes said. That's because researchers tried to use domestically bred wild turkeys, which couldn't survive in nature. By the 1950s, biologists had developed a special type of cannon-propelled net that allowed scientists to catch groups of wild turkeys more effectively, to translocate them to new areas, he added. Since then, the bird has slowly made its way back.
While populations continue to grow and spread in some areas, particularly the Midwest, populations in some Northeastern states appear to have leveled off, according to Diefenbach and Sullivan. In the Southeast, the traditional stronghold of the iconic animal, populations have declined in some areas, Hughes said. The reason isn't yet clear, although it may have to do with changes in forest management that have allowed dense underbrush to grow, as well as increased urban development. Wild turkeys can live in forests and farmland, but don't do well in dense thickets — they need open spaces where males can display to females as a part of their breeding ritual, Hughes said.
Hughes first got interested in wild turkeys when hunting them with his father as a child in northern Florida. And he still hunts them "at every opportunity," he added. In most areas, turkey-hunting season occurs in the spring and fall, with catch limits designed to keep populations stable or growing, Hughes said.
"We consider them a real delicacy on the table in my house," Hughes said. Especially at Thanksgiving, he added.
Email Douglas Main or follow him on Twitter or Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook or Google+.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Native American Headdresses

Native American Warbonnets

Warbonnets (or war bonnets) are the impressive feather headdresses commonly seen in Western movies and TV shows. Although warbonnets are the best-known type of Indian headdress today, they were actually only worn by a dozen or so Indian tribes in the Great Plains region, such as the Sioux, Crow, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, and Plains Cree. In the first photograph, you can see a Dakota Sioux warrior wearing a trailer warbonnet (native headdress with single or double rows of eagle feathers descending in a long 'tail' all the way to the ground). In the second photo, modern Crow elders attend a formal event in halo warbonnets (native headdresses with eagle feathers fanned out around the face in an oval shape). The third photograph shows a Blackfoot man wearing a straight-up feather headdress (taller, narrower headdresses where the eagle feathers stand up straight.) All three types of Indian war bonnets were made from the tail feathers of the golden eagle, and each feather had to be earned by an act of bravery. Sometimes a feather might be painted with red dye to commemorate a particular deed. Besides the feathers, Plains Indian warbonnets were often decorated with ermine skins and fancy beadwork.
trailer war bonnet 

                                                                             halo warbonnet                                 straight-up warbonnet

Native American warbonnets were important ceremonial regalia worn only by chiefs and warriors. Also, only men wore warbonnets. (Women sometimes went to war in some Plains Indian tribes, and there were even some female chiefs, but they never wore these masculine headdresses.) Plains Indian men occasionally wore warbonnet headdresses while they were fighting, but more often they wore roach headdresses into battle (see below) and saved their war bonnets for formal occasions. In particular, long feather trailers were never worn on the battlefield. It would be impossible to fight while wearing them!

In the 1800's, Native American men from other tribes sometimes began to wear Plains-style warbonnets. Partially this was because of the American tourist industry, which expected Native Americans to look a certain way. Partially it was because many Native American tribes were forced to move to Oklahoma and other Indian territories during this time in history, so tribes that used to live far apart began adopting customs from their new neighbors. In most cases, the feather warbonnet did not have the same significance among the new tribes that adopted it. For them, wearing a feathered headdress was a matter of fashion or a general symbol of authority. But for the Plains Indian tribes, feather warbonnets were a sacred display of a man's honor and courage, and each feather told a story. Eagle feathers are still sometimes awarded to Plains Indians who serve in the military or do other brave deeds today.

Roach Headdresses (Porcupine Roaches)

Feather warbonnets are better-known to popular culture, but roach headdresses (also called porcupine roaches or artificial roaches) were the most widely used kind of Indian headdress in the United States. Most Native American tribes east of the Rocky Mountains were familiar with some form of roach headdress. These native headdresses are made of stiff animal hair, especially porcupine guard hair, moose hair, and deer's tail hair. This hair was attached to a bone hair ornament or leather base so that it stood straight up from the head like a tuft or crest. Often the hair was dyed bright colors and feathers, shells, or other decorations were attached. In some tribes, men wore their hair in a scalplock or crested roach style (frequently given the name Mohawk or Mohican after two tribes in which roached hair was common), and the artificial roach was attached to the man's own hair. The Caddo man in the first picture is wearing his roach headdress this way. In other tribes, porcupine roaches were attached to leather headbands or thongs and worn over long hair or braids. This is how they are most commonly worn today.

          Caddo warrior's roach                powwow dancer's roach                             Indian roach for sale

Roach headdresses were usually worn by warriors and dancers. Like war-bonnets, the porcupine hair roach is traditionally men's headwear, not worn even by female warriors. Their use varied from tribe to tribe. In many tribes, roaches were worn into battle, while more formal tribal headdresses (like warbonnets, otter-fur turbans, or gustowah caps) were worn to ceremonial events. In other tribes, roaches were worn primarily as dance regalia or sports costume. In some tribes, individual men chose to wear porcupine roaches while other men did not. Like other clothing styles, roaches sometimes went into and out of fashion. They were not generally as spiritually meaningful as Native American warbonnet headdresses, though a boy earning the right to wear a roach for the first time was an important ceremony in some tribes. Today, porcupine roaches can be commonly seen at powwows, where they are still worn as regalia by male dancers from many different tribes.

Basket Hats

Basket hats (also known as twined caps or basketry hats) were the most common type of Native American headdress west of the Rocky Mountains. Different tribes made basket hats in different shapes and styles. California Indian tribes usually made small rounded or fez-shaped basket caps from tightly coiled sumac, like the Hupa Indian hat below. Northwest Coast tribes like the Haida and Salish often made larger hats in more conical or brimmed shapes from fibers such as cedar bark or spruce root.

             Hupa basket cap                                          Haida basket hat                               Nootka whaler's hat

In California and the Plateau tribes, basket hats were normally worn only by women and girls, and their designs were mostly decorative. On the Northwest Coast, both men and women wore basketry headgear, for dance regalia and ceremonial purposes as well as everyday life. Northwest Coast basket hat designs often conveyed information about a person's clan, achievements, or status within the tribe.

Feather Headbands

The Indian headband is also well-known from movies and other popular images of Native Americans. However, this style of headband was typically only used by a few tribes of the northeast Woodlands. Usually the headband consisted of a finger-woven or beaded deerskin strip with tribal designs on it. This band was then tied around the brow with a feather or two tucked through the back. Not only eagle feathers but turkey, hawk, egret, and crane feathers were also used for Woodland Indian headbands.

              Abenaki headbands                                    Lenape Indian headbands

Unlike many of the Native American headdresses on this page, both men and women wore headbands, which were not associated with war. The number and type of feather did not usually have special symbolic meaning, though in a few tribes that bordered the Plains eagle feathers were reserved for warriors. For the most part, Woodland Indian head bands were worn for their beauty, and were often decorated with intricate patterns, wampum, beads, and quill work.

Buffalo Headdresses (Horned Warbonnets)

Like feather war bonnets, buffalo horn headdresses were traditional regalia of certain Plains Indian warriors. These were helmets of buffalo hide with a pair of buffalo horns attached, frequently adorned with shaggy buffalo fur and a buffalo tail trailing behind. In many cases ermine skins and war feathers were hung from the headdress, as in the second picture. Sometimes a horned headdress was even combined with a feather trail, as in the third picture.

           Sioux buffalo headdress           Piegan horn headdress                            Buffalo warbonnet

The spiritual and ceremonial importance of horned headdresses to the Plains Indians was similar to that of feathered warbonnets. Only distinguished male warriors wore this sacred kind of regalia. Horned headdresses were rarer than eagle-feather warbonnets, because they were used by fewer tribes (only the Sioux and a few other tribes of the northern Plains wore this kind of headdress) and also because only warriors of certain clans or who had accomplished specific deeds wore bison horns.

Otter Fur Turbans

Otter-fur turbans (also known as otter-skin caps) are ceremonial headdresses worn by men in certain Prairie and Southern Plains tribes, such as the Potawatomi, Pawnee and Osage. These are round hats made of otter fur with the otter's tail either hanging behind or jutting out to one side in a beaded sheath. The turbans and tail sheaths were often elaborately decorated with beaded and painted designs symbolizing the owner's war honors, and a chief and his descendants usually attach eagle feathers to the back of their turbans.

             Pawnee chief's turban                  Otter turban                                 Otter cap with sheath

Otter-skin turbans were formal head dresses with great symbolic importance. They were worn at ceremonies or other solemn occasions, not by warriors entering battle (who usually wore porcupine roaches.) Even today, otter-fur caps are sometimes worn at formal events by Southern Plains Indian men.

Other Tribal Headdresses for Men

                     Iroquois gustoweh cap                    Hupa flicker headdress                           Seminole cloth turban          

The gustoweh cap is a formal feathered skullcap used only by men from the Iroquois tribes. The big eagle feathers on top of the cap were symbols that showed which specific tribe an Iroquois man belonged to. (The three straight feathers on the cap in this picture mean that the owner is Mohawk.) In some northern California tribes, men wore flicker headdresses as dance regalia. These California Indian headdresses are made of wide leather strips decorated with the red scalps of woodpeckers. During the 1800's when cloth became more readily available, cloth turbans decorated with feathers became stylish among Cherokee, Seminoles and other southeastern Indian men, and cloth headbands became everyday wear for men from the Navajo, Apache, and Pueblo tribes.

Interesting - something else I never knew about.... CM

Today's funny :0)

Thanksgiving turkey.  Funny but clean picture


Last night the temperature was going to be around 10 degrees. The wind had not stopped howling. To protect Charlie and the girls, we wrapped plastic sheeting around three sides of the pen to keep the wind out. The gate to the run is not covered just in case they want to exercise in the run. The back of the coop is wrapped in plastic, too. Extra hay is put in the pen for them to snuggle into.  Drafts can kill your chickens and frost bite could be a problem too. Check their combs and wattles every day. If you see any signs of frost bite, make sure you put Vaseline on them - this will protect them from injury. Also check their waterer often. It can freeze solid in a matter of hours.

During the week we will make it a lot neater, but right now I just want them to be protected. The whole setup doesn't look pretty right now, but I don't care - their health and well being is far too important to me than how it looks.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Huge statue

Found this quite interesting!

Approximate heights of various notable statues:
1. Spring Temple Buddha 153 m (incl. 25m pedestal and 20m throne)
2. Statue of Liberty 93 m (incl. 47m pedestal)
3. The Motherland Calls 91 m (excl. plinth)
4. Christ the Redeemer 39.6 m (incl. 9.5m pedestal)
5. Statue of David 5.17 m (excl. 2.5m plinth)

Today's funny :0)


Here's the results of the "painting" from last week:

The actual color is "Sea Foam Green". Have absolutely no idea why it looks grey. Maybe I should read the camera instructions on how to work all the doo-dads on it.....