Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday Night Steam

Nighttime steam shovel - Lots and lots of sparks, too!

Model 21, 3/4 yard coal burning steam shovel, operating at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, Labor Day Weekend 2015. As they swing the machine around in circles, they feed sawdust into the firebox to make the sparks. A traditional fireworks show normally done with steam tractors.

Marion Steam Shovel Company

The Marion Steam Shovel Company was founded in 1884 in Marion, Ohio. The company built steam shovels. Business boomed during the late nineteenth century, as railroad construction occurred in the American and Canadian West. With the United States’ acquisition of the Panama Canal Zone in 1903, the federal government turned to the Marion Steam Shovel Company to provide the steam shovels necessary for the canal’s construction. Marion became known as the “city that built the Panama Canal,” thanks to the Marion Steam Shovel Company.
The Marion Steam Shovel Company continued to prosper during the 1920s and the 1930s. During the 1920s, the company manufactured the largest shovel to exist up to that point in time. At this time, as steam power became less popular, the Marion Steam Shovel Company changed its name to the Marion Power Shovel Company. During the 1930s, the firm manufactured an even larger steam shovel. This one weighed approximately three million pounds and took forty-six railroad freight cars to ship the shovel to its destination point. During the twentieth century, the Marion Steam Shovel Company’s shovels were used primarily for road building and strip mining. Its shovels were also used to build the Hoover Dam and the Holland Tunnel.

The Marion Power Shovel Company also assisted the United States in the exploration of outer space. The company manufactured the transporters used to carry the Apollo rockets to the launch pad. The various Space Shuttles continue to use the haulers today to travel to the launch pad.
In 2003, a Wisconsin company purchased the Marion Power Shovel Company. At its peak, the Marion Power Shovel Company employed 2,500 workers, but as of 2003, the firm had only three hundred employees.

A simply WONDERFUL old catalog from the company can be found here:


Today's funny :o)


A quiet day

Not much going on in Coopville

Charlie and the girls looking for bugs in the front yard after supper yesterday:

Think we need to thin these out for next year - just have too many of 'em!

Have no idea who lives in this hole (and I don't want to find out, either)!

Thelma and Charlie are an "item" lately:

What was left in the fire pit 

More woodpecker damage:

Lettuce and basil:

Just another funky mushroom:


Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Have fun!   


Today's funny :o)

Ah, Summer.....

Perfect to be outside yesterday....

Hubby cut the grass:

My favorite spot to sit now:

The potatoes are growing fast:

Just planted some more in an old tree stump:

The poor, neglected gang:

Louise like to perch here - Betty can't nip her:

A BIG bug:

Charlie posing with one foot on a rock - he thinks he is soooo cool:

In the afternoon the clouds started rolling in:

They were building up fast:

Plenty of thunder...

...but no lightning or rain:

Hubby dragging the love shack back by the coop:

Just a typical summer day in Coopville!


Monday, June 26, 2017

A wee widdle one

Our neighbor had company yesterday and they arrived in this:

A baby Mercedes!!!!

Here are the specs:

  • 65.47 in
  • 106.10 in
  • 56.3 in61.22 in
ENGINE CONFIGURATION3-cylinder turbocharged engine3-cylinder turbocharged engine
DRIVE CONFIGURATIONrear wheel driverear wheel drive
POWER (HP)8989
POWER (KW)6666
TORQUE (LB3FT)100100
ACCELERATION (0-60)10.1s10.5s
FUEL ECONOMY (CITY/HWY/COM)[4]31/39/3433/39/35
WEIGHT (LBS)2,0502,127



  • Panoramic sunroof
  • All-season tires
  • Silver Tridion with matching mirrors and grill
  • Lockable service hood
  • 15” 5-twin-spoke light alloy wheels
  • Fog lamps
  • Lighting Package
  • Rain and light sensor
  • Powered and heated mirrors
  • Tire pressure monitoring system


  • Air conditioning with automatic climate control
  • 3-spoke multi-function steering wheel
  • 3.5” color display in instrument cluster
  • Black leather upholstery
  • Ambient lighting
  • 3 cup holders
  • Height-adjustable driver seat
  • Heated seats
  • Powered and heated mirrors
  • Cruise control
  • Power windows
  • Center console with pullout compartment
  • Dashboard mounted tachometer and clock
  • Flat folding passenger seat
  • Retractable cargo cover
  • smart radio
  • Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming
  • Sunglass boxes and coin holder
  • Lockable glove compartment
  • Tailgate storage compartment


  • ESP® - electronic stability program with hill start assist
  • Anti-lock braking system (abs)
  • 8 airbags
  • Alarm system
  • Central locking system with remote
  • Crosswind Assist

The fuel tank is not a conventional one - the fuel is stored in a "bladder". The trunk is really tiny - He had a pair of sneakers and a soccer ball in it. Don't think it could hold a week's work of groceries, though.

The owner loves it - his company has a fleet of them. I'd be afraid to take it on the highway!
(But it would be fun to use to round up the gang)!


Today's funny :o)

A wonky egg...

.... from Maude.  She's my oldest hen now and doesn't lay an egg every day. But when she does, they are quite large though, but this one is a bit different:

At first I though it was a "rubber" egg, but the shell was hard:

One of the girls probably stepped on it - there was a small crack in the shell:

Heard Charlie making stupid noises right under my window:

He was trying to lure one of them into his love nest:
(Who could it be? She ran into the bushes to hide)

It was Thelma!

 A colorful mushroom:

Lilies!  Lots and lots of 'em!


Saturday, June 24, 2017

At the Hop!

The Six Teens!

The Six Teens

The Six Teens
The Six Teens were an American pop group from Los Angeles, California. All of the group's members were teenagers, or younger, at the time of their first recordings: the oldest was 17-year-old Ed Wells and the youngest, 12-year-old Trudy Williams. Their first release was the song "Don't Worry About a Thing", released by Flip Records under the name The Sweet Teens in 1956. Following this was the single "Teenage Promise" b/w "A Casual Look", released on Flip later that year under their new name. "A Casual Look" became a hit at radio and hit the national charts, peaking at #7 on the U.S. Black Singles chart and #25 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Night Steam

We're off to Wales tonight for a delightful narrow gauge train ride!

Your Journey on the Bala Lake Railway

Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake Railway) offers a delightful 9-mile (1 hour approx.) return journey alongside Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), through the beautiful and natural Snowdonia National Park. The journey offers extensive views of Llyn Tegid, its surrounding countryside as well as the Arenig Fawr, Aran Benllyn and Aran Fawddwy mountains. Keep a look out for the herons & buzzards that nest near the line - a perfect example of nature and machines living side by side.


The railway's HQ is located in the pretty Welsh village of Llanuwchllyn, where ample free car-parking, refreshments, small gift shop, toilets, picnic tables plus all the railway's storage and repair facilities can be found.
All trains start and finish their journey at Llanuwchllyn and early visitors may be able to view the day's engine being prepared prior to the departure of the first train of the day. After each trip to Bala and back (except the last journey), the locomotive is serviced at the water tower at the western edge of the Llanuwchllyn station site, where this fascinating process can be viewed.
Llanuwchllyn Station features an original Great Western Signal Box that is often open to visitors and provides an unique perspective on the station.

Llanuwchllyn Village

Sited at the head of the lake, the village has a long history. In the church there is an interesting old communion plate showing the story of the Temptation in relief and there is also a recumbent effigy of a mail-clad knight of the 14th Century in the church.
Sir O.M. Edwards and his son Sir Ifan ap Owen Edwards were born in Llanuwchllyn. The latter founded Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Welsh Youth Movement in 1922.
The village is home to a famous mixed choir called Côr Godre’r Aran, a keen amateur football team and one of the Members of the UK Parliament.

Arthurian Legends & more

A mile or so down the main road to Bala, unmarked, is Caer Gai, once the site of a Roman Fort. The Fort was garrisoned from AD 75-130 and contained a civil settlement and a cemetery. The Fort was positioned on an important strategic route near sources of gold, lead and manganese. Tradition has it that it was the home of Sir Hector from the King Arthur legends and the name commemorates his son Cai Hir (Long Kay) – that’s the Sir Kay of the legends.
In latter times, during the English Civil War, one Rowland Vaughan, an ardent royalist, lived at the farm built within Caer Gai. After the battle of Naseby (1645), Oliver Cromwell instigated a hunt for Royalists and his army tracked Rowland Vaughan to his farm. Although Vaughan escaped, the property was destroyed by Cromwell's men.


After leaving Llanuwchllyn, the line heads straight out for a mile, on the way descending the 1 in 70 Ddolfawr Bank toward the lakeside offering expansive views of the lake, water meadows and surrounding hillsides.
Passing through the request only stop of Pentrepiod Halt the train rolls through a short cutting to Glanllyn Flag Halt and onto the first of a number of embankments beside the lake before gently gliding to a stop at the railway's passing loop station, Llangower.


Llangower provides access to the lakeside for walks, picnics and bird watching. The stop also offers access to the car park and adjacent toilet facilities provided by the Snowdonia National Park.

Llangower, or Llangywair, (Llan-Gower) Village

Llan in the Welsh language means enclosure, yard or church or parish. Llangower is a small hamlet, with a beautiful old church, 3 miles from Bala beautifully situated on the south-eastern side of Bala lake. The village is on the (original) turnpike-road leading from Dinas-Mawddwy to Bala and Corwen.
Llangower church is dedicated to St. Gwyr, or Cywair. It is described as being an ancient structure, in the early style of English architecture. In the churchyard is an old yew-tree of remarkable growth. The church can clearly be seen from the train.
The line leaves Llangower on an upgrade, passing under a road bridge before dropping down through a wooded cutting to join the lakeside again. The line climbs an embankment beside the lake and then enters a rock cutting at Bryntirion before continuing its climb into a wooded area. Dropping down from the woods, the railway again travels along a lakeside embankment, offering views of Bala town, before crossing a steel girder bridge and entering the grassy cutting and long curve leading to Bala (Penybont) Station.

Bala (Penybont)

Apart from a simple waiting shelter, there are no passenger facilities at Bala station. Parking is restricted to on-road parking. Trains normally wait here for 10 minutes while the engine is run round, passenger loads changed and tickets issued by the guard, before the train departs on the return journey.
Although the sign says Bala station, this was neither Bala nor Bala Junction but Bala Lake Halt on the Ruabon - Barmouth Junction/Morfa Mawddach line.

Bala Town

Bala town is about half a mile (10 minute stroll) away offering a range of interesting shops, inns, restaurants.

Norman Castle Motte

The street layout, set up by Roger de Mortimer from Chirk Castle in the 14th Century is marked out in square courts. Stryt Fawr, the main street, is wide and has shops along its length - it is where the original markets were held.
Two side lanes, Arenig Street and Plase Street were attached to the old Tomen. ‘Tomen y Bala’ is a typical large Norman castle mound or "motte", located at one end of the town and now accessible as a public garden. It is well worth a visit, as from the summit there are wonderful views of Llyn Tegid (Lake Bala) and the mountains beyond.

Llyn Tegid / Bala Lake

This is the largest natural body of water in Wales at 1,084 acres, much used by water sports enthusiasts who benefit from the winds sweeping through the mountain valley in which it is set. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) long by a mile (1.6 km) wide and is subject to sudden and dangerous floods. It is of glacial origin and used to extend to some 8 miles long.
It is crossed by the River Dee and its waters are famously deep and clear. The lake now forms part of the River Dee regulation system and the level at its outflow is automatically controlled. Depending on flow conditions and the level of water in the nearby Llyn Celyn, water can flow either into the lake or out from the lake at the normal outflow point.

Place of Legends

The lake has been a fishery of importance from early times. It is said that on moonlit nights you can see towers and buildings under the waters, and that bells can be heard. These buildings, according to legend, were the palace of King Tegid, husband of Ceridwen who was the mother of (Prince) Taliesin. Llyn Tegid is also home to the rare and protected whitefish called the Gwyniad (a kind of land-locked herring, that is said to date back to the Ice-Age) which roams the deeps.



Today's funny :o)


This 'n That

Lots of mushrooms from all the rain we had: 

Hubby digging out another stump:

It's a big 'un"

Weeds growing on inside of a tree:

Louise and Thelma looking for bugs:

Charlie just being Charlie:

My one and only rose finally dried out:

Our wonderful neighbors gave us two nice wooden rocking chairs!