Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Hairy Frogfish????

Today's funny :o)

Stump removal

Hubby was at it again with the backhoe!  This one was from a tree he cut down two years ago:

The gang working their way over to all the noise:

Lunch break! He got a lot of the rocks out!  I really think they grow around here....

More digging:

Hubby will level it out and plant some grass seed later.

That trusty backhoe worked hard and needed a good washing!


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Super-duper cool!

A wooden ball plays Bach’s Cantata 147 in a forest just by rolling down a track. The sound you hear is the sound that was recorded during filming.



Today's funny :o)

Still windy!

The lights flickered on and off over night, but we did not have a power outage!

 Lost some tree limbs, though:

 These were standing upright! They were driven pretty far into the ground, too!

 Hubby will chop these up and use them for firewood:

 It was a great day to hang the laundry out - just listen to that wind!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Got nothing, so...

... here is something that will definitely make 'ya smile!


Today's funny :o)

A little breezy!

The wind really picked up yesterday afternoon:

Hubby and I are just glad there are no leaves on the trees yet! The wind grew stronger as the day went on. I hope we don't have any trees fall over the power lines.

Finally getting a wee bit of color!

The gang likes to take their dirt bath under this forsythia bush:

 A lonely little daffodil:

 Have no idea where these came from:

 Kind of pathetic, but it smelled nice:

Hubby on his Wheel Horse:


Monday, March 28, 2016

Robber flies!!


Robber Fly

A picture of a Robber Fly (click to enlarge)

click to enlarge
Photo by:
Phil Devries/
Oxford Scientific Films Ltd.
Robber Fly, any of a family of medium to large predatory flies known for their fast flight, excellent vision, and their habit of catching large prey while in flight. Also called assassin flies, they are widely distributed. There are about 5000 species worldwide and about 900 species in North America. Robber flies are highly variable in size and body shape, ranging from 0.5 to 5.0 cm (0.2 to 2.0 in) in length. Most species are slender-bodied, with hunched backs and tapering abdomens; but some are stout-bodied and hairy, with rounded abdomens, resembling bees. They have large eyes that face toward the sides, and the top of the head is typically concave between the eyes.

Robber flies are impressive predators that typically specialize in flying insects, including wasps, bees, and dragonflies; the prey may be larger than the robber fly itself. Most robber flies frequent sunny, open areas and are active during the warmest parts of the day and year. They perch on branches, logs, stones, or the ground, and rush out to attack when suitable prey flies by. The robber fly uses its bristly legs to intercept the prey by grasping it around the head or back. Then, employing its needlelike mouthparts, the robber fly stabs the prey and injects a saliva that contains nerve toxins and digestive enzymes. This quickly paralyzes the prey and liquefies its tissues; the robber fly then sucks out the prey's insides, much as spiders do. Some robber flies closely resemble certain species of bumblebees. This may provide the flies with protection against potential predators, and it may enable the robber flies to more easily approach and attack the bees themselves.

The larvae, or immature stages, of robber flies are wormlike predators. They live in soil, rotting stumps and logs, and similar moist organic material. Larval robber flies live solitarily and in secluded places, so their ecology and habits are less well known than are those of the adults. The larvae feed primarily on the eggs and larvae of other insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and flies.
Scientific classification: Robber flies make up the family Asilidae in the insect order Diptera, the true flies. They are in the suborder Brachycera, along with the bee flies and horse flies, among others. Most North American bumble bee-mimicking robber flies are in the genera Laphria and Mallophora.

Today's funny :o)

Charlie's love shack.....

Poor Charlie! Not even Laverne is interested!

Maybe he should have played some music.....


Saturday, March 26, 2016

At the Hop!

The Angels

Source from:

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angels.jpg (55879 bytes)
The Angels were formed in Orange, New Jersey in 1961.
Originally sisters Barbara and Phyliss "Jiggs" Allbut, as a lark, went to a stret corner record your voice outlet and sang a few songs they had written. Overheard by another songwriter, they were asked to sing on his demos. Soon they added friends, Linda Malzone and Bernadette Carroll and called themselves the Starlets.
Originally called the Starlets, Barbara and Phyllis "Jiggs" Allbut were two sisters that sang together in high school. They recorded "P.S. I Love You" for Astro Records, a tiny New Jersey jazz label. They received airplay in the New Jersey-New York area and Canadian-American Records did the distribution. They also did "Better Tell Him No" for Pam Records. Neither which went anywhere. By mid-1961 Bernadette left for a solo career and was replaced  Linda Jansen in doing vocal back-up work in New York.
The Canadian-American connection led to a deal with Caprice, a small New York City label, by gerry Granahan. Their first Caprice release in the summer of 1961 the girls was "Till," a Top 30 hit five years earlier for Roger Williams. After signing with Caprice Records, Jiggs dropped out of college and Barbara ended her studies at the Julliard School of Music. Shortly before the release of their first record "Till," to choose a name, each girl placed a angels2.JPG (38237 bytes)name on a piece of paper in a hat. The name Blue Angels was drawn with Blue later being dropped. "Till" hit the charts in October 1961, rising to #14.
It was after their second release "Cry Baby Cry" (#38) that Linda Jansen left the group and was replaced by  Peggy Santiglia, who had sung commercials and appeared on Broadway in Do Re Mi. Poor material haunted the Angels for the next year and in the spring of 1963 they found themselves without a contract. Then two things happened: they signed with Mercury Records and they came up with a song written by Jerry Goldstein, Rich Gottehrer, and Bobby Feldman. Already familiar with the Angels having produced producing the B side of their last Caprice single, Goldstein, Gottehrer, and Feldman convinced Mercury to let them produce the Angels on a song they had written. By late summer "My Boyfriends Back" was number one nationally on Mercury's Smash affiliate. It even reached number two on the R&B charts.
Their next release "I Adore Him" went to number twenty-five and the B side "Thank You and Good Night" became the sign-off theme on the Murray the K's WINS radio show in New York.angels3.JPG (39683 bytes)
The Angels then went on tour in both America and Europe in 1964, performing with acts like Gerry and the Pacemakers. They also provided back up vocals for other singers, including Jackie Wilson and Lou Christie, continued to record, and did commercials until they signed with RCA in 1967. They broke up in 1969, then reformed in the early Seventies for rock and roll revival shows. Their last major label single was for Polydor Records in 1974, "Papa's Side of the Bed." They are still reportedly doing occasional oldies shows on the East Coast.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Night Steam

Let's take a ride to Shantytown, New Zealand!

Recreating a gold mining town back in the 19th century:

Shantytown is a tourist attraction in the West Coast Region of the South Island of New Zealand. Located 10 km south of Greymouth, the town was constructed and opened in the early 1970s and consists of 30 re-created historic buildings making up a 19th-century gold-mining town. The town is surrounded by native forest, and is one of the region's most popular attractions.


Born out of the desire of the Greymouth community to preserve the West Coast gold-mining history, Shantytown was started by a group of local enthusiasts forming the West Coast Historical and Mechanical Society in 1968. Most of the effort that has gone into the creation of Shantytown has been by volunteers and donated labour. Over the years, a collection of thousands of artefacts, ranging from gold-mining equipment to early settlers furniture, everyday items and clothing, as well as photographs, has been donated and collected from local people and businesses.
Victorian decorations and clothes on display
The collection and wider heritage park focuses mainly on the Victorian era between the middle of the 19th century to before the Great War, but extends as far as the 1940s. Many of the items are displayed in an authentic setting in the heritage park, while the more precious and fragile items of the collection are held in temperature- and humidity-controlled storage due to the damp weather on the West Coast and are viewable by appointment. Today, Shantytown Heritage Park remains under the stewardship of a local board and continues its tradition of extensive community involvement.


The township comprises two main streets lined with 30 historic buildings, including a church, and the two-storey coronation hall. The buildings are mostly original and transferred or re-built on site and house recreations of shops from around the late 19th century such as a bank, hotel, butcher, shoe shop, barber, carpenter, and a blacksmith. Some of the shops sell goods, such as traditional lollies. The town also contains a hospital, train station, fire station, a Masonic Lodge, a church, and a jail.
A foundry showcases the craftsmanship, tools and techniques of ironwork via interactive displays and preserved historic equipment.
Adjacent to the main township, a "Chinatown" area depicts the life and living environment of Chinese immigrant gold miners who had migrated to the West Coast in the 1860s from other gold fields in New Zealand as they ran dry, as well as directly from China.
Vintage train at Shantytown station
Shantytown also contains a re-created narrow-gauge bush tram line that follows a 19th-century sawmill tram track from the Shantytown train station to a stop at the Infants Creek Sawmill and a terminus 1.5 km from Shantytown for photo opportunities. Trains run throughout the day and are included in the admission. The train station is built as a 3/4 replica of original railway plans. Passengers can disembark at the Infants Creek Sawmill where a sluice gun is fired up to four times per day and tutored gold panning is available. The vintage passenger carriages are pulled by either "Gerty", an 1877 L-class steam engine from Avonside Engine Company in England, rebuilt by NZR Hillside in Petone and Newmarket in New Zealand, or by an 1896 improved F-class Kaitangata steam engine.
Other attractions include having an "old time" photo in costume taken, a holographic theatre show, and a playground. Short bush walks around the area lead to a surveyors monument and lookout.
The town's inter-denominational church, built in 1866, can be booked for weddings, and there is an education centre funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Education which caters for school groups wanting hands-on history education.
Shantytown offers a cafe and souvenir shop, and is open all year round with the exception of Christmas Day.


Name Manufacturer Maker's No Year Technical data Comment
Kaitangata or Katie Sharp Stewart & Co. Glasgow, Scotland 4270 1896 22 ton, 10.5 x 18 inch cylinders, 160 lb boiler pressure, 36 inch diameter wheels, TE 7000 lb This 'Improved F-Class Kaitangata' was similar to the New Zealand Railways (N.Z.R.) 'F' class. It was manufactured for the Kaitangata Coal & Railway Co. and used on their 8 km long line from the coal mine at Kaitangata to the N.Z.R. exchange sidings at Stirling. After the State Mines Department took over the mine and railway in the 1950s, the locomotive was still being used until the mine closed in 1969. In February 1971 the locomotive was donated to Shantytown.
508, Gerty Avonside Engine Company, Bristol, England 1206/77
20 ton, 10.5 x 18 inch cylinders, 160 lb boiler pressure, 36 inch diameter wheels, TE 7000 lb This L class locomotive is one of 10 built for the New Zealand Railways. It was sold to the Public Works Department in 1901 and renumbered 508. The locomotive worked on various construction projects in the North Island between 1903 and 1931. In 1946 the 508 was sold to the Portland Cement Co. in Whangarei and used until 1964. Tauranga Historic Village purchased it in 1974 and used it for 14 years. Shantytown purchased the support of a ‘Lottery – Environment & Heritage’ grant. After a complete overhaul it returned to work in 2002. The locomotive's boiler ticket expired in 2014. 
Climax Climax Locomotive Works in Pennsylvania 1203 1912 20 ton, 9 x 12 inch cylinders, 120 lb boiler pressure. 30 inch diameter wheels, TE 6000 lb One of the best preserved examples of 25 Climaxes remaining internationally. Built for the Potate Timber Co. of Matapuna near Taumarunui and assembled in the NZ Railways Petone workshops, it was sold a few years later to Pukaweka Sawmills Limited at Mananui. Used by the North Island's logging industry, e.g. for Ellis & Burnand, who owned several sawmills in the central North Island. During the 1940s it was used at E & B’s Mangapahei mill. Subsequently used as a yard shunter in 1962. In 1968 it was purchased by John Melse. In 1971 it was then leased to the society and stored until 1973 when restoration commenced. It was recomissioned in 1980. In 1988 John Melse donated it to the society. It was withdrawn from service in 2002 and has been in storage since.
The Opossum

One of the earliest New Zealand-built locomotives. It is the oldest completely existing example. Built for the NZR in 1875. When it arrived it was placed into storage at Foxton. It was then sold to Butler & O'Connor, GM in 1877. It only lasted a year there until being on-sold to Public Works Department, Harbour Works. Then to the Greymouth Harbour Board in 1884 and Ogilvie's, Gladstone in 1911. Stored in Greymouth from 1958 until 1986 when it was purchased by the society. Stored until 2009 when restoration commenced for it to be placed on static display. This was complete in 2012.
Heisler Heisler Locomotive Works 1494 1924
This geared locomotive is one of the few survivors of this manufacturer. Built for Midland Saw Milling, Camerons in 1924. It was then sold to New Forest Sawmills, Ngahere in 1929. Then to Unused, Kangaroo Creek in 1958. In 1966 it was placed into storage. In 1969 it was purchased by the society. Stored until 2010 when restoration commenced for it to be placed on static display. This was complete in 2012.
TR 107 (TMS: TR 396) A & G Price 176 1957
This diesel locomotive entered NZR service in May 1957. During this time it was reclassified as WW 4733 by the Ways and Works Department at Middleton. It was later reclassified back as TR 107. Renumbered as TR 396 in 1978 and withdrawn in 2005. Purchased by the society in the same year. It was used until 2007 when withdrawn from service for a restoration. This was completed in 2008 and it now wears a green livery with "Infants Creek Tramway" written above the long hood. It has named "Rosie" in preservation.
Nattrass Nattrass Rail Tractors Ltd. Wellington
This converted Fordson farm tractor was patented in November 1924 by Howard Nattrass, a car sales man. It enabled the sawmills to expand their operations into areas previously inaccessible with horse trams.[10]

See also

Today's funny :o)

This 'N That...

 ... from this past week.

 Charlie making stupid noises:

Sheets and pillow cases drying on the line. Nothing smells as fresh!

 Charlie looking at his reflection in the 'man cave' window:

 I went downstairs and tapped on the window - He looked up at the covered central air thingy:

 What keeps us nice and warm all Winter long:

 Hubby keeps the house TOO warm for me, though - I have to leave a window open upstairs.

 Maybe they see some bugs?

 No treats on the back deck, so they tried the front steps. No treats there either.

 The first dandelion!!!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tax time!

Off to see our accountant today !

Since it's about a 100 mile round trip to his office, we're going to make a day of it and stop by and see some old friends and have lunch! Enjoy YOUR day, too!.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Batty for bats!

From under a bridge in Houston, Texas:

More info on these creatures that live under a bridge, see:

Waugh Drive Bat Colony

There is something amazing going on underneath the Waugh Drive Bridge near Buffalo Bayou.
About 250,000 of Houston’s best-kept secrets have been quietly residing within the crevices of Waugh Drive Bridge for a number of years.  “The Waugh Bridge Bat Colony” consists of Mexican free-tailed bats that emerge nightly to stretch their wings and feed on area insects. HPARD has partnered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and enthusiastic area volunteers to begin counting and recording the activities of the Bat Colony.
Mexican BatUnlike other Texas bat colonies that opt for warmer climates by migrating southward during winter months, The Waugh Bridge Bat Colony remains in Houston throughout the year.  As far as we know, this is the only bridge in Texas that has such a large colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that reside all year, even through the winter months.  The huge majority of bats at other bridges migrate to Mexico for the winter.
Bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge Bat Colony in Austin (population 1.5 million), for example, begin migrating south to Mexico in the fall months, ending the twilight emergences until the following spring.
Bats play key roles in keeping a wide variety of insect populations in balance. In the U.S., brown bats often eat mosquitoes and can catch up to 1,200 tiny insects in an hour.  Large colonies of Mexican free-tailed bats eat tons of pests weekly.
In 2006 a bat observation deck was installed for your convenience. If you would like to observe the Waugh Drive Bridge Bat Colony, the following tips will help you have a safe, fun-filled, batty viewing:

Free public parking is available at Spotts Park, located at 401 S. Heights Boulevard at Memorial Drive. The park is a short stroll across Buffalo Bayou from the observation deck along the Waugh Drive Bridge.
If you would like to volunteer and help observe and monitor the bats at Waugh Drive Bridge or other locations around Houston then become a Bat Team Member Volunteer!
Bat Links:

If you are in the area:

Bat Fest


12th Annual Bat Fest – August 20th, 2016

What will you see at Bat Fest this year? 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerging from under the bridge at dusk, 3 stages with live music, more than 75 arts & crafts vendors, delicious food and drinks, fun children’s activities, a bat costume contest and other bat activities.

Location: Congress Ave Bridge
Address: 100 South Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704

Cost: Admission $15.00 cash at the gate. Kids 8 and under free with an adult.

Want to be in the front row? Get a VIP ticket. VIP is $150 and includes access to VIP only designated areas featuring front row standing area at the main stage in the Austin American Statesman parking lot, also a front row area at the North Bridge stage, private restrooms, a tented backstage area with seating and tables, a voucher to be used at the official event merchandise booth for any event t-shirt available, reserved VIP parking in the nearby TXDOT lot, a private cash bar with the only mixed drinks available at the festival including 2 complimentary drink tickets* for any adult beverage served at the bar (adult beverages can be purchased after drink tickets are used), 1 food voucher for the backstage catering area, unlimited water and soda. *Must be 21 or older to consume beer, wine, or liquor in Texas.

Hours: 4pm to Midnight

About the Bats:
Because bats are wild animals, it is hard to predict exactly when the emergence will begin but the flight usually begins between 7:00 – 8:45 p.m. For current emergence times call 512-327-9721 EX16. The emergence can last up to ½ hour as 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats head out for their nightly flight.
Bat Costume Contest: Prize is $100 for Best Adult Costume and $100 for best childrens costume. Participants will be lined up on Stage, and the crowd will be asked to yell for the costume they like the best. Originality is encouraged.

Today's funny :o)


Funny egg

Poor Sophia! She is Charlie's favorite lately and she is just worn out. Might have to separate them during the day until she gets some rest.

Maude usually lays her eggs early in the morning. This egg was in the nest box later in the day. Those are not cracks in the shell - just calcium lines. The darker spots are dents or hollows. It's just an odd looking egg!

Anywhoo,  I had a loud mouth visitor while I was in the kitchen. Can you guess?

He was upset because I didn't run to the door fast enough with a treat.

Stupid rooster......

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This is REAL love....

May you be so very, very lucky and be blessed with the love of your life.

Today's funny :o)

H/T to Barb!

A new flower planter!

Hubby tried digging this old tree stump out of the ground:

(The gang always enjoy looking for squirmy things):

Hubby decided not to dig anymore with the backhoe - it was just too close to our well. 
He boxed it in and now I have a place to plant flowers that will attract  butterflies!

 Sophia approves!

The forsythia is really starting to bud- I hope it blooms for Easter!