Thursday, December 27, 2018

Dear, dear readers,

Our youngest son passed away suddenly last week at home. Our little family is devastated and heartbroken. Please keep us in your prayers.

Remember to always cherish and tell your family and friends that you love them.

Hubby and I will be off-line for a while.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Night Steam

We're off to Japan tonight!

Akita is often seen as the end of the famous 'Narrow Road to the Deep North', popularized in the writing of the poet Matsuo Basho.
This allusion certainly speaks to the isolation and remote beauty which the prefecture possesses even to this day. However, though Basho’s original narrow road has long since faded into memory of most folk in the Tohoku, in 2011, Japan Rail East determined that, as far as they could, the company would create their own take on the narrow road, by refurbishing one of their classic locos and re-establishing regular steam services up the beautiful Japan Sea rail link through the prefecture.
JR East already had two steam engines in regular service before engine C61-20 was restored for the Akita region at the cost of over three hundred million yen (about three million USD).
First going into service in 1949, this engine is a truly lady of the North, serving most of her career drawing passenger traffic between Akita and Aomori. That being the case, it is only fitting that, when her restoration was complete, she was given the name ‘Akita Komachi’ 「秋田小野」, after the name of the famed poet of the North Ono-no-Komachi, whose beauty won the heart of Emperor Ninmyō in the 9th Century.
Since the Summer of 2011 she has regularly steamed up and down the coast of Akita, carrying tourists back into the past on her own narrow road, and opening the beauty of the Japan Sea coast both to rail fans and to travelers who wish to take a more leisurely, and stately route up-country on the Gono Line in the Summer months.
In the Summer months JR runs several scenic trains every day from Akita to Aomori – known as the ‘Resort Shirakami’, using specially designed railcars which allow for unparalleled views of the spectacular volcanic sea coasts.
However, there is something about steam travel which cannot be equaled by the quiet functionality of an efficient electric car. Therefore, when planning train travel in Akita, we strongly recommend you consider the beautiful Steam Komachi as your vessel of choice, if she is running during your visit.


Today's funny :o)


A beautiful sunset...

.... on Wednesday night"

Even the moon was pretty!

But boy, was it ever cold overnight:

Frost was everywhere!

Even the 'Love Shack' was covered!

The grass crunched under my feet as I was getting ready to feed the gang:

A feather just covered in frost - it was so pretty!


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Stuff you never think about

Linen - why it is so darn expensive:

Some interesting info here, too:


Today's funny :o)



A pretty sunrise yesterday....

  ... but windy as all get out:

Afternoon treats for the poor, starving gang:

Charlie loves kidney beans!

Right before sunset:


Monday, December 17, 2018

Dot to dot....

An amazing artist!

David Bayo

See more of his work here:

Today's funny :o)


The weekend


The sky cleared for about 10 minutes when I put the gang in for the night:


I leave a peanut for Rocky on the rail every morning when I feed Charlie and the girls:

To darn wet outside to do anything, so I finished the tree:

Hubby saw this at the store - We named him Bullwinkle!

'Hope you guys had better weather than we did!


Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Night Steam

Do you love train whistles as much as I do?

Now THIS is music !  

Oh, how I miss that sound!!!!!


Today's funny :o)



Had light snow most of the yesterday:

And it stayed cold too!

The gang waiting for their afternoon treat/
Notice the wild birds flying in and out of the coop!

'Ya just gotta love the look on their faces when thy see the 'sketties!

They are soooo spoiled!


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A chicken tale.....

You REALLY do get attached to them - honest!



 Yesterday was cold but SUNNY!!!!

The gang couldn't wait to get out of the pen:

Betty couldn't make it back to the coop:
(She stepped on it and it broke)

One broken egg in the nest box:  :o(

And another one:   :o(

Now this is one good lookin' hen!


Monday, December 10, 2018

An amazing sea creature

A Giant Pacific Octopus!

The giant Pacific octopus grows bigger and lives longer than any other octopus species. The size record is held by a specimen that was 30 feet across and weighed more than 600 pounds. Averages are more like 16 feet and 110 lbs.
Life Cycle
They live to be about four years old, with both males and females dying soon after breeding. Females live long enough to tend fastidiously to their eggs, but they do not eat during this months-long brooding period, and usually die soon afterwards.
Giant Pacific octopuses have huge, bulbous heads and are generally reddish-brown in color. Like the other members of the octopus family, though, they use special pigment cells in their skin to change colors and textures, and can blend in with even the most intricately patterned corals, plants, and rocks.
Diet and Range
They hunt at night, surviving primarily on shrimp, clams, lobsters, and fish, but have been known to attack and eat sharks as well as birds, using their sharp, beaklike mouths to puncture and tear flesh. They range throughout the temperate waters of the Pacific, from southern California to Alaska, west to the Aleutian Islands and Japan.
Intelligence and Population
Highly intelligent creatures, giant Pacific octopuses have learned to open jars, mimic other octopuses, and solve mazes in lab tests. Their population numbers are unknown, and they do not currently appear on any lists of endangered or vulnerable animals. However, they are sensitive to environmental conditions and may be suffering from high pollution levels in their range.


Today's funny :o)



More snow of Friday.....  :o(

But it gave us a pretty sunset and

a beautiful Saturday sunrise!

'Twas cold again yesterday:

The 'sun' in the afternoon:

Hey Chickenmom - where are our treats?????

Thank you!


Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Night Steam

We're off to Africa tonight!

Steam train working the copper mines in Botswana:

Two ex-SAR 19D steam locomotives carry copper-nickel ore from two shafts to the BCL smelter. Occasionally, they also haul coal trains brought to an exchange yard by the Botswana National Railway. They can be regarded as the last service steam trains of Africa.

Between 1937 and 1949, the South African Railways placed 235 Class 19D steam locomotives with a 4-8-2 Mountain type wheel arrangement in service. Between 1951 and 1955, 33 more were built for other operators like the Rhodesia and Angolan railways and the Nkana and Wankie mines, which makes the Class 19D the most numerous South African steam locomotive type ever built.

The Class 19D 4-8-2 steam locomotive was the final development of the Class 19 family of locomotives. At the request of Colonel F.R. Collins, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the South African Railways (SAR) from 1922 to 1929, the original basic design of the Class 19 was done in the late 1920s by Test Engineer M.M. Loubser, who was himself later to serve as the CME from 1939 to 1949.
W.A.J. Day
The final development of the Class was done in 1937 by W.A.J. Day, CME from 1936 to 1939. The Class 19D was a revised version of the Class 19C with piston valves and Walschaerts valve gear instead of rotary cam poppet valve gear.
Between 1937 and 1955, 268 Class 19D locomotives were built in seven batches by six locomotive manufacturers in Czechoslovakia, Germany and the United Kingdom and delivered to the SAR and several other operators in Southern Africa.
  • The first forty were built in Germany in 1937, twenty with domeless boilers by Friedrich Krupp AG in Essen and numbered in the range from 2506 to 2525, and twenty by the Borsig Lokomotiv Werke in Hennigsdorf, Berlin and numbered in the range from 2526 to 2545.
  • In 1938, a further 95 locomotives were ordered, built by three manufacturers. Škoda Works in Czechoslovakia built fifteen numbered in the range from 2626 to 2640, Krupp built forty, this time with domed boilers and numbered in the range from 2641 to 2680, and Borsig built forty numbered in the range from 2681 to 2720.
  • Locomotive building was interrupted by the Second World War and post-war locomotive procurement saw European suppliers being replaced by British ones. In 1947, the first fifty post-war Class 19D locomotives were delivered by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns (RSH) of Darlington, England and numbered in the range from 2721 to 2770. Of this order, engine no. 2734, RSH works no. 7247, was lost at sea off the east coast of England. Its replacement with RSH works number 7360 was paid for by insurance and it was given the number 2734 of the lost locomotive
  • The final batch of fifty Class 19D locomotives for the SAR were delivered in 1949 by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) of Glasgow, Scotland and numbered in the range from 3321 to 3370. These engines were delivered with Type MX Torpedo tenders.
  • In 1951, six were built by NBL for the Caminho de Ferro de Benguela (CFB) in Angola.
  • Between 1951 and 1953, Henschel and Son built 21 more for the Rhodesia Railways (RR) and the Nkana copper mine in Northern Rhodesia.[
  • In 1955, four more were built by NBL for the Wankie coal mine in Southern Rhodesia.

The rest of the info from here:


Today's funny :o)


Some pretty things....

 A sunset:

A sunrise:

The best gang in the world:

 Carrots mixed in with a wee bit of cat food and crumble - Yummy!

They are so excited - an afternoon treat!

Still chilly outside, but NO rain or snow!