Monday, March 31, 2014

Fun with.....

     ...... hedges!


Hedge, Boxwood, Garden, Decorative, Park


Have no idea on how long it took to shape these, but I bet it would keep you busy for a couple of years!

Today's funny :0)

The big birds return

My vultures have come back to roost!

 Here are some of the feathers that I found on the ground under one of our bigger trees.

 Glad they are coming back this year. They are such fasinating birds to watch. Charlie will sound a warning when he sees a hawk flying too close, but he doesn't even let out a peep when these huge birds circle above. Maybe in his tiny rooster brain he realizes they pose no theat to him or his girls.

 Some info from:
 Turkey Vulture Facts, Pictures, Information
Turkey Vulture
The most widespread vulture in North America, the turkey vulture is locally called “buzzard” in many areas. A turkey vulture standing on the ground can, at a distance, resemble a wild turkey. It is unique among our vultures in that it finds carrion by smell as well as by sight. When threatened, it defends itself by vomiting powerful stomach acids. Polytypic (4 ssp.). Length 27" (69 cm); wingspan 69" (175 cm).

Identification Overall, it is black with brownish tones, especially on the feather edges. Legs are dark to pinkish in color, the head unfeathered. Adult: the red skin color of the head contrasts with the ivory bill and dark feather ruff on the neck. Juvenile: the skin of the head is dark, the bill dark with a pale base. Flight: a large dark bird that flies with its wings held in a noticeable dihedral. Usually rocks side-to-side, especially in strong winds. Underneath, the silvery secondaries contrast with the black primaries and wing coverts, giving a two-toned look to the wing. The tail is relatively long.

Geographic Variation Three subspecies are found in North America (aura, meridionalis, septentrionalis). Only a few minor differences in size and overall tone separate them.

Similar Species The black vulture has a quicker, shallow flap, shorter tail, and obvious white patches at the base of the primaries on its shorter, broader wings. The zone-tailed hawk and golden eagle will mimic the wing dihedral when hunting, and dark-morph Swainson’s hawks and rough-legged hawks also can fly in a dihedral, but at closer range all have feathered heads and different wing shapes. Zone-tailed also shows banded tail and yellow cere and legs.

Voice Hisses when threatened.

Status and Distribution Year-round in southern United States, migrates into northern United States and Canada. Breeding: nests on the ground, using a shallow cave, hollow log, or thick vegetation. Migration: northern populations migratory, some heading to Canada. Winter: increasing numbers in snowbound states. Vagrant: to Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Newfoundland.

Population Stable.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Good Morning!

Have a hectic weekend planned! Will be back on Monday, but in the meantime, I hope this morning's post brings back some good memories!

As kids, my brother and I waited patiently on the front stoop for our Dad to bring home the Sunday newspaper. And if we were very, very lucky - an almond coffee ring.



File:Terry and the Pirates (comic strip).jpg

File:Ferd'nand 5 March 2000.PNG

Al Capp's Li'l Abner (October 12, 1947)

File:"Nancy", by Ernie Bushmiller (June 5, 1960).jpg




And my favorite:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Night Steam

Tonight - a classic:  "The General"....

Chicago World's Fair 1933
"An Interactive Virtual Tour"
"General" FAQs
The General as it appeared in the old Kennesaw Civil War Museum
Home Page The Tour Downloads FAQ Merchandise Photo Archive Search
LocomotiveGeneral – Frequently Asked Questions!
CIVIL WAR ERA Steam Locomotive
The "General” Specifications

The General is an American 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive. The Original Engine was built by Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor of Paterson, N.J., for the Western & Atlantic Railroad at a cost of $8,850 in 1855. The construction number is 631.
The General's seal and number on the firebox door"Locomotives were assigned numbers in 1866 according to the date placed in service on the road, and the number was painted on the locomotive as was the name assigned to the locomotive. The General had the honor of being the 39th locomotive to be placed in the service on the W&ARR, and that number was assigned to the engine. It also continued to carry the name, and until sometime after the restoration of 1892, the name General was painted in gold on the panel under the cab window. The modern General Brass Plate In 1880, the numbers were changed. Many of the early locomotives had been retired, sold or scrapped, and the change in numbering was apparently done to eliminate the gaps in numbers. Again, the numbers were assigned according to date placed in service of the oldest locomotive remaining on the roster. At this time, the General was the third oldest locomotive remaining in service, and she was assigned the Number 3, which it still carries."
The General weighs approximately 50,300 pounds empty (without water or sand). The General was originally built as a tank locomotive (Tank locomotives carry an onboard tank with water used to produce steam.) The modern General was rebuilt by L&N in 1961 to run on fuel oil. The engine is now dependent on its tender for fuel, water, power and braking compressor.
A specification drawing of the General
The General's Boiler Pressure GaugeThe boiler was a type known as "Wagon Top" (because it resembled the curved top of the famous Conestoga Wagons) and was covered with felt and Russia iron. The General carried a working steam pressure of 140 pounds. The boiler contains 130 flues each eleven feet long and two inches in diameter. The leading truck, with four wheels, was built with a rigid center. The tender has two trucks of four wheels each, 30 inches in diameter and with inside bearings. The old smoke stack of the engine was of the balloon type known as a Radley and Hunter stack, designed for burning wood as fuel. This type of stack has been simulated on the latest version of the engine. The CrossheadThe engine had no live steam injectors but instead took water from the tender(or the old tank) by a pair of ram type pumps which were activated by the crossheads. Therefore, the boiler could not be supplied with water unless the engine was moving.
The modern General's Drive Wheels and TiresThe Annual Report of the W.&A. RR for 1856 reflects that the General was placed in service on the Rails in January 1856 for use in freight service. With its five foot driving wheels, and a gauge of five feet and cylinders 15 inches in diameter and a stroke of 22 inches. The General was equally capable of handling passenger trains.
The General has a storied history and has been through many rebuilds and redesignations.
Where is the General?
The General is displayed at the Southern Museum of Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Can I see the real General?
Sure you can! The Southern Museum of Locomotive History is located at: 2829 Cherokee Street, Kennesaw, Georgia 30144
(770) 427-2117
Museum Hours: Monday thru Saturday, 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Is the General still operational?
Unfortunately, no; the General was retired from the rails in 1966, after its last run, from Padukah, Kentucky.

How much of the General is original?
Very little… The General has been through at least three major overhauls in the last 149 years.
  1. The General was restored after Sherman’s burning of Atlanta and the destruction of all evident locomotives. The General after Sherman's destruction
  2. The General was converted from wood burning to coal burning in the 1870s .
  3. The General was converted from coal to fuel oil burning during the 1962 L&N refit. The gauge of her drivers was changed by moving the tires in 1.5 inches on each side. It appeared that the pony truck wheels (front bogies) were replaced as were those of the tender with new trucks of the new gauge.
How much does the General weigh?
The locomotive weighs 50,300 pounds.

Did the General always appear as it does today?
After the General arrived on the W&ARR, she was moved to the State Road Shops in Atlanta where the distinctive strap iron pilot was installed. All W&ARR locomotives were equipped with pilots of this type. The entire cab (Pilot) has been rebuilt with new wood and iron during the 1962 L&N refit; and new paint has been applied as needed “to keep up appearances.”

What does 4-4-0 mean?
The Whyte Coding System was developed by Frederick M. Whyte in the US around 1900 e.g. This system denotes the wheel configuration of locomotives. The first number indicates the forward guide wheels or bogies. The second number denotes the drive wheels of the locomotive; and the fourth number denotes the trailing trucks or bogies.

What horsepower was the General?
220 to 240 h.p. “But, don’t quote me.” Horsepower varied widely dependant upon steam pressure, Tractive Effort is the measure of a locomotive’s pulling power.

How many people did it require to drive a steam locomotive like the General?
A minimum of two (Engineer & Fireman) and usually four.
  1. An Engineer – Engineers were oriented forward. Their duties were operational and critical regarding the control of the locomotive.
  2. A Fireman – The Fireman’s concern was fueling the boiler, its pressure, and maintenance.
  3. A Brakeman – Brakemen would break the train by climbing to the top of each car to break the train manually. There was no brake on the engine. The hand brake on the tender was probably used when the engine was idle during terminal layovers. The way the engine was stopped was for the engineer to pull back on the Johnson reverse bar and put the engine in reverse. Breaks were mechanically operated until the late 1880s. Westinghouse invented air braking. The General currently employs air brakes installed by L&N in 1962. The air brake compressor is contained in the tender and operated from the right side of the pilot.
  4. A Conductor – The conductor was responsible for the overall operation of the train including route, baggage, schedule, and recording keeping.
For further explanation of the General's parts and their operations see our "Interactive Tour" section!
For a complete history of the General, Texas and the Great Locomotive chase check out
The Museum is the Home of the General and much much more!!
Community Service Events Calendar Historical Focus
Little Genral Cloggers A Long Standing Tradition of Rail Events! E. Warren Clark Saved the General!

Portraits in Gray: A Civil War Photography Exhibition
Guest Curator David Vaughan lends his collection of rare original photographs of Confederate soldiers to help visitors get a glimpse of the men and boys involved in this tragic chapter of American history. July 14 – Dec. 31, 2007. This exhibit is a part of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution Affiliation Program Exhibits.
E. Warren Clark
(on Cow Catcher) photographer and lecturer, located the "General" in 1892 on a siding at Vinings,GA. He had the idea of restoring "General" and exhibiting it at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This led to "General" being on display for over 100 years!
Local Merchants! Museum Update! Contact Us!


Today's funny :0)

Woody Woodpecker

He's back!

Hubby says he wants that tree down anyway........

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chinese Shadow Puppetry

A fascinating look "behind the scenes" of  this beautiful ancient art.

If you would like to learn more about this ancient art and how the puppets are made, please visit:

Just click on the different tabs and watch. But be prepared to spend some time there!


A windy day

The storm that hit New England yesterday missed us for a change - we only had a VERY windy day!

One more cold day to go and the weather should start to warm up into the 40's.

It's about time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pictures from "Dad's Suitcase"

Just more pictures that my Dad made from old negatives that I found while going through his things.

The Great Paterson Fire of 1902
The Fire was discovered in the trolley car sheds of the Jersey City, Hoboken and Paterson Railway Company, on Broadway, at the head of Mulberry street, a few minutes past midnight, on the night of February 8th, 1902. A high wind was blowing, and the tinder-like building was swept by the flames. All the engines in the fire department were called out. The fire evaded the heroic efforts of the firemen to stay its progress. Fanned by the gale, it swept away the business center of the city. Its progress was not arrested until it reached Carroll street. Not counting sheds or outbuildings, 459 buildings were destroyed, among them large business houses, banks, City Hall, five churches and the Free Public Library, with its 37,000 volumes. The insurance loss is approximated at $8,800,000, and the property loss at $6,000,000. Five hundred families lost their homes and everything they owned. From the starting point, the fire burned in a southeasterly direction, destroying the blocks on the westerly side of Main street, from a point near Broadway, to within three doors of Market street. On the easterly side of Main street the flames wiped out the two blocks from Van Houten street to the Paterson Savings Institution, at the corner of Main and Market streets. On Washington street it swept the major part of the block bounded by Van Houten and Ellison streets and the entire block between Ellison and Market streets, with the exception of the Second National Bank Building. The flames also destroyed buildings on the southerly side of Market street from Hamilton street to Clark street, and the westerly half of the block bounded by Market, Church and Ellison street. From this point the flying embers fired the buildings east of the Erie Railroad and destroyed property on the northerly side of Park avenue and between Park avenue to the southerly side of Market street as far as Carroll street. It was the biggest conflagration in the history of the city, and takes rank with the largest in the United States. The fire burned from midnight Saturday until 1 o'clock the following day, at which time the danger of a further spread of the flames was considered over.

St. Joseph's RC Church

The Rectory

The way it looks today:

399 Market St, Paterson, NJ 07501
St. Joseph's was built in 1886 in the Gothic manner. The church was designed by Jeremiah O'Rourke, a Newark-based architect who was responsible for more than a dozen Catholic churches in the state.

 My Dad was born in Paterson and so were my brother and I. It was a great city at one time. Lots of good memories. I even had the sames teachers that he did!

If you want to see more, just leave a comment.

Today's funny :0)

(I bet his name is Charlie..)