Monday, February 25, 2019

Want to see a Vampire Squid eat?

What a STRANGE creature!

Vampire squid

Vampire squid

A sole survivor in Vampiromorphyda order, vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) is a living fossil that has remained basically unchanged since the age of dinosaurs, over 3 million years ago. Originally discovered in 1903, it was named the vampire squid from hell although it actually isn’t neither a vampire nor a squid.
The most distinctive feature of this science fiction looking creature are unusually large deep blue or red eyes. It fact, vampire squid has largest eyes relative to body in the entire animal kingdom. It has eight long arms with light producing organs covering the entire body. Vampyroteuthis has very good control over these organs which gives it unique ability to camouflage itself in order to avoid predators or disorientate pray by flashing, making it easier to capture.
Despite its intimidating appearance, vampire squid is a smaller animal, reaching maximum length of  11 in (28 cm) with a 4 in (10 cm) long mantle. Human encounters are rare as they inhabit regions between 300 ft (90 m) and 3000 feet (900 m) below the sea surface.
Vampire squid captures prey, such as small shrimps, by surrounding them with the webbing between it’s arms. Once the victim is trapped, it is pushed inside towards the mouth. When it is threatened or startled, it curls its webbing around the entire body, forming a defensive web which confuses the predator.
Vampire squid 

The body composition of the vampire squid is similar to the one of a jellyfish. When it wants to move, it uses fin flapping and jet propulsion, reaching impressive speed of two body lengths per second. This is definitely one adapt survivor, as oxygen levels are very low in its environment and temperatures are often near the freezing point. It is neither threatened or dangerous to humans.
Vampire squid



Today's funny :o)


Not much....

... going on in Coopville.

Foggy, damp and cold:

But I did get some new fish!  (and a green snail)
((Oh, the excitement!  /S))

Too muddy for the gang to be let out:

It was a good day to make pea soup - just finished adding the ham to the crock pot:

It was finished by suppertime - Yummy!


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Easy Listening for a Sunday Afternoon

Vaughn Monroe

I love you, there's nothing to hide,
It's better than burning inside,
I love you, no use to pretend,
There! I've said it again.
I've said it, what more can I say,
Believe me, there's no other way,
I love you, I will to the end,
There! I've said it again.
I try to drum up,
A phrase that will sum up,
All that I feel for you.
But what good are phrases,
The thought that amazes,
Is that you love me,
And it's heavenly.
Forgive me for wanting you so,
But one thing I want you to know,
I've loved you since heaven knows when,
There! I've said it again


Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday Night Steam

What a beauty!!!

The SP&S 700

SP&S 700 smokebox by David Roy

The SP&S 700 is significant in almost every way. Its history is as important as any other locomotive in the Pacific Northwest, having provided the power for the premier passenger trains connecting one of the largest cities on the west coast with the Midwest and East. The locomotive is noteworthy from an engineering perspective as well, as it represents the state of the art of practical design, manufacture, and operation when steam was king on the nation's rails. It sports then-new features like Timkin roller bearings and boasts the highest axle-loading of any Northern-type locomotive ever produced in North America. Finally, the 700 is remarkable simply for the rare fact that it still operates more than 75 years after it was built, making it the largest steam locomotive currently in operation. And then there's the locomotive's obvious sensory significance: it's big, strong, hot, loud, smelly, and fast! This page explores the SP&S 700's place in history, facets of its engineering and design, the locomotive's restoration and maintenance by the PRPA, and its thunderous impact on the senses.

SP&S Service History

From 1912 onward, the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway provided the best freight and passenger route from Portland and the Columbia River Valley toward the east. Despite the fact that the railroad formed this important link, traffic on the new line was slow to develop, partially due to the intra-family competition between its builders, the Great Northern and Northern Pacific. Having no real need of the newest and most powerful locomotives, at first nearly all of the SP&S's engines were hand-me-downs from its parents. However, by the mid-1930s the railroad was woefully underpowered. Its largest passenger locomotives were Pacifics (4-6-2s), and its largest freight engines were Mikados (2-8-2s), with the newest of these having been built in 1920. The SP&S had a hard time competing against the newer, larger power owned by the Union Pacific and operated on the competing ex-OR&N line just across the Columbia River. Finally, in 1937, NP and GN allowed the SP&S to purchase its first new locomotives: three Northerns (4-8-4s) classed E-1 and six Challengers (4-6-6-4s) classed Z-6. The new SP&S engines were added onto Northern Pacific orders and were identical in design to NP's class A-3 Northerns and class Z-6 Challengers except that they were built to burn oil instead of coal.

The 700's Baldwin Locomotive Works builder's plate
Baldwin Locomotive Works delivered the Northerns to the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway in 1938 as numbers 700, 701, and 702. The 700 was the first to arrive and was shown off to communities along the company's mainline before entering regular service. The new 4-8-4s were specifically purchased to power the SP&S's premier passenger service. This train—No. 1 westbound from Spokane and No. 2 on the return from Portland—included the Portland segments of GN's famous Empire Builder and NP's North Coast Limited. Both originated in Chicago (running over the CB&Q from Chicago to St. Paul) and were broken into two sections in eastern Washington, with one segment bound for Portland via the SP&S and the other bound to Seattle over the Cascades. Two of the locomotives, typically 700 and 702, were employed almost continuously in this service, with the 701 operating freight on the mainline except when filling in for one of her sisters when they required servicing. The engines' good looks and graceful operation soon earned them the nickname "The Ladies." As the 700 was the first on the property, she became known colloquially as "The First Lady of the Northwest" or simply "The Lady."

During its regular service life, The Lady played an important role in developing and maintaining the prominence enjoyed by the City of Portland, and it is an integral part of the city's history and culture as well as that of the Columbia River Valley and eastern Washington. Recognizing this, the SP&S donated the 700 to the City of Portland in the final days of steam, sparing it from the scrapper's torch. The locomotive remains the property of the City, but it is officially under the care of the PRPA. Visit our page on Portland's railroad history or peruse the websites of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway Historical Society to deepen your understanding of the important role that railroads played in the development of the Northwest.


Today's funny :o)

Two elderly gentlemen had been friends for many decades.

Over the years, they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures.

Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards..

One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, 'Now don't get mad at me .....

I know we've been friends for a long time, but I just can't think of your name!

I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is....

His friend stared at him for at least three minutes -- he just stared and stared at him.

Finally, he said, 'How soon do you need to know?'


More ice!

Snowed on Wednesday and ended with sleet:

Thursday morning:

Everything was coated with ice!

The dogwood tree:

Forsythia bushes:

The pine tree:

It was beautiful!

Then the fog rolled in and everything started to melt - sounded like rain!


I was surprised the gang walked out on the ice!

The temps went up into the 40's in the afternoon and a lot just melted away!


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Like to draw?

How pencils are made from graphite, clay and wood at the production site of Faber-Castell AG in Nuremberg, Germany.


Faber-Castell is one of the world's largest and oldest manufacturers of pens, pencils, other office supplies and art supplies, as well as high-end writing instruments and luxury leather goods. Headquartered in Stein, Germany, it operates 14 factories and 20 sales units throughout the globe. The Faber-Castell Group employs a staff of approximately 7,000 and does business in more than 100 countries. The House of Faber-Castell is the family which founded and continues to exercise leadership within the corporation. They manufacture about 2 billion pencils in 120 different colors every year.


Today's funny :o)

Mr. Smith climbed to the top of  Mt.  Sinai to get close enough to talk to God.  
Looking up, he asked the Lord.. "God, what does a million years mean to you?"
The Lord replied, "A minute."  
Mr. Smith asked, "And what does a million dollars mean to you?"  
The Lord replied, "A penny."  
Mr. Smith asked, "Can I have a penny?"  
The Lord replied, "In a minute."


Gettin' ready.....

.....  for MORE snow!

Hubby testing the generator:

Monday morning ice:

The neighbor's horses taking a nap:

The gang wandering about in the sunshine:

Looked up and noticed this icicle hanging from inside the limb- never saw THAT before!


Monday, February 18, 2019




Today's funny :o)

A really BIG H/T to Donna!

As I get older, I realize:
#1  -  I talk to myself, because there are times I need expert advice.
#2  -  I consider "In Style" to be the clothes that still fit.
#3  -  I don't need anger management. I need people to stop pissing me off.
#4  -  My people skills are just fine. It's my tolerance for idiots that needs work.
#5  -  The biggest lie I tell myself is, "I don't need to write that down.  I'll    remember it."
#6  -  I have days when my life is just a tent away from a circus.
#7  -  These days, "on time" is when I get there.
#8  -  Even duct tape can't fix stupid - but it sure does muffle the sound.
#9  -  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes, then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?
#10  -  Lately, I've noticed people my age are so much older than me.
#11  -  "Getting lucky" means walking into  a room and remembering why I'm there.
#12  -  When I was a child, I thought nap time was punishment.  Now it feels like a mini vacation.
#13  -  Some days I have no idea what I'm doing out of bed.
#14  -  I thought growing old would take longer
#15  -  Aging sure has slowed me down, but it hasn't shut me up.
 #16  -  I still haven't learned to act my age.

A big treat!

Bought the gang a BIG treat at TS last week. It was filled with lots of good pecking at goodies - especially mealy worms!


They loved it!


Then they went for a walk:


There was quite a bit of snow on the ground:


By yesterday, most of it had melted:


Charlie pretending he's found goodies for the girls to eat:

The official Coopville Clean Coop Clucking Inspector:


I hope all this cold weather will be over soon....... sigh.......


Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Night Steam

Let go and visit Jay!

Traction engine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A typical preserved traction engine: 1909 Burrell 6 nhp general purpose engine, at Great Dorset Steam Fair in 2018.
A traction engine is a self-propelled steam engine used to move heavy loads on roads, plough ground or to provide power at a chosen location. The name derives from the Latin tractus, meaning 'drawn', since the prime function of any traction engine is to draw a load behind it. They are sometimes called road locomotives to distinguish them from railway locomotives – that is, steam engines that run on rails.
Traction engines tend to be large, robust and powerful, but heavy, slow, and difficult to manoeuvre. Nevertheless, they revolutionized agriculture and road haulage at a time when the only alternative prime mover was the draught horse.

They became popular in industrialised countries from around 1850, when the first self-propelled portable steam engines for agricultural use were developed. Production continued well into the early part of the 20th century, when competition from internal combustion engine-powered tractors saw them fall out of favour, although some continued in commercial use in the United Kingdom well into the 1950s and later. All types of traction engines have now been superseded in commercial use. However, several thousand examples have been preserved worldwide, many in working order. Steam fairs are held throughout the year in the United Kingdom, and in other countries, where visitors can experience working traction engines at close hand.
Traction engines were cumbersome and ill-suited to crossing soft or heavy ground, so their agricultural use was usually either "on the belt" – powering farm machinery by means of a continuous leather belt driven by the flywheel – or in pairs, dragging an implement on a cable from one side of a field to another. However, where soil conditions permitted, direct hauling of implements ("off the drawbar") was preferred – in America, this led to the divergent development of the steam tractor.

Aveling & Porter traction engine 'Avellana'
Limits of technical knowledge and manufacturing technology meant that practicable road vehicles, powered by steam, did not start to appear until the early years of the 19th century.
The traction engine, in the form recognisable today, was developed from an experiment in 1859 when Thomas Aveling modified a Clayton & Shuttleworth portable engine, which had to be hauled from job to job by horses, into a self-propelled one. The alteration was made by fitting a long driving chain between the crankshaft and the rear axle. Thomas Aveling is regarded as "the father of the traction engine".  Other influences were existing vehicles which were the first to be referred to as traction engines such as the Boydell engines manufactured by various companies and those developed for road haulage by Bray. The first half of the 1860s was a period of great experimentation but by the end of the decade the standard form of the traction engine had evolved and would change little over the next sixty years.

Until the quality of roads improved there was little demand for faster vehicles and engines were geared accordingly to cope with their use on rough roads and farm tracks.
Right through to the first decades of the twentieth century, manufacturers continued to seek a solution to realise the economic benefits of direct-pull ploughing and, particularly in North America, this led to the American development of the steam tractor. British companies such as Mann's and Garrett developed potentially viable direct ploughing engines, however market conditions were against them and they failed to gain widespread popularity. These market conditions arose in the wake of the First World War when there was a glut of surplus equipment available as a result of British Government policy. Large numbers of Fowler ploughing engines had been constructed in order to increase the land under tillage during the war and many new light Fordson F tractors had been imported from 1917 onwards.


Preserved Burrell road locomotive pulling a water cart, near Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, England
Road steam disappeared through restrictions and charges that drove up their operating costs. Through 1921, steam tractors had demonstrated clear economic advantages over horse power for heavy hauling and short journeys. However, petrol lorries were starting to show better efficiency and could be purchased cheaply as war surplus; on a busy route a 3-ton petrol lorry could save about £100 per month compared to its steam equivalent, in spite of restrictive speed limits, and relatively high fuel prices and maintenance costs.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s there were tighter restrictions on road steam haulage, including speed, smoke and vapour limits and a 'wetted tax', where the tax due was proportional to the size of the wetted area of the boiler; this made steam engines less competitive against domestically produced internal combustion engined units (although imports were subject to taxes of up to 33%). As a result of the Salter Report on road funding, an 'axle weight tax' was introduced in 1933 in order to charge commercial motor vehicles more for the costs of maintaining the road system and to do away with the perception that the free use of roads was subsidising the competitors of rail freight. The tax was payable by all road hauliers in proportion to the axle load and was particularly restrictive on steam propulsion, which was heavier than its petrol equivalent.

Initially, imported oil was taxed much more than British-produced coal, but in 1934 Oliver Stanley, the Minister for Transport, reduced taxes on fuel oils while raising the Road Fund charge on road locomotives to £100 per year, provoking protests by engine manufacturers, hauliers, showmen and the coal industry. This was at a time of high unemployment in the mining industry, when the steam haulage business represented a market of 950,000 tons of coal annually. The tax was devastating to the businesses of heavy hauliers and showmen and precipitated the scrapping of many engines.
The last new UK-built traction engines were constructed during the 1930s, although many continued in commercial use for many years while there remained experienced engineers available to drive them.

From the 1950s, the 'preservation movement' started to build up as enthusiasts realised that traction engines were in danger of dying out. Many of the remaining engines were bought by enthusiasts, and restored to working order. Traction engine rallies began, initially as races between engine owners and their charges, later developing into the significant tourist attractions that take place in many locations each year. It has been estimated that over two thousand traction engines have been preserved.

Hornsby chain tractor (working scale model)
Although the first traction engines employed a chain drive, it is more typical for large gears to be used to transfer the drive from the crankshaft to the rear axle.
The machines typically have two large powered wheels at the back and two smaller wheels for steering at the front. However, some traction engines used a four-wheel-drive variation, and some experimented with an early form of caterpillar track.

Traction engines saw commercial use in a variety of roles between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. Each role required a machine with a different set of characteristics, and the traction engine evolved into a number of different types to suit these different roles.

Agricultural (general purpose) engine

An agricultural engine, towing a living van and a water cart:
Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Ltd 6 nhp Jubilee of 1908
"Big Lizzie", a purpose built tractor with two trailers, designed and built by Frank Bottrill using the Dreadnaught wheel which he designed. When built "Big Lizzie" was the biggest tractor in Australia and thought to be the biggest in the world, at 34 feet high by 18 feet wide, and weighing 45 tons.
The most common form in the countryside. They were used for hauling and as a stationary power source. Even when farmers did not own such a machine they would rely upon it from time to time. Many farms would use draught horses throughout the year, but during the harvest, threshing contractors would travel from farm to farm hauling the threshing machine which would be set up in the field and powered from the engine – a good example of the moveable stationary engine.

US (agricultural) traction engine

Favourable soil conditions meant that US traction engines usually pulled their ploughs behind them, thereby eliminating the complexities of providing a cable drum and extra gearing, hence simplifying maintenance. American traction engines were manufactured in a variety of sizes, with the 6 nhp Russell being the smallest commercially made, and the large engines made by Russell, Case, and Reeves being the largest.

Ploughing engine

A John Fowler & Co. Ploughing Engine - the winding drum is mounted below the boiler (the 'drum' on the side is actually a hose for refilling the water tank). A lockable tool box may be seen on the front axle; the 'spud tray' would be mounted in the same way, behind the axle.
A distinct form of traction engine, characterised by the provision of a large diameter winding drum driven by separate gearing from the steam engine. Onto the drum a long length of wire rope was wound, which was used to haul an implement, such as a plough, across a field, while the engine remained on the headland. This minimized the area of land subject to soil compaction.
The winding drum was either mounted horizontally (below the boiler), vertically (to one side), or even concentrically, so that it encircled the boiler. The majority were underslung (horizontal), however, and necessitated the use of an extra-long boiler to allow enough space for the drum to fit between the front and back wheels. These designs were the largest and longest traction engines to be built.
Mostly the ploughing engines worked in pairs, one on each side of the field, with the rope from each machine fastened to the implement to be hauled. The two drivers communicated by signals using the engine whistles.
A variety of implements were constructed for use with ploughing engines. The most common were the balance plough and the cultivator - ploughing and cultivating being the most physically demanding jobs to do on an arable farm. Other implements could include a mole drainer, used to create an underground drainage channel or pipe, or a dredger bucket for dredging rivers or moats.
The engines were frequently provided with a 'spud tray' on the front axle, to store the 'spuds' which would be fitted to the wheels when travelling across claggy ground.

The man credited with the invention of the ploughing engine, in the mid-nineteenth century, was John Fowler, an English agricultural engineer and inventor. However a ploughing engine, devised by Peter, Lord Willoughby de Eresby and his bailiff George Gordon Scott, and constructed at Swindon Works, was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, some years before Fowler's system appeared. Lord Willoughby had indicated that his design could be copied freely, and Fowler had visited Grimsthorpe Castle, the estate where the ploughing engines were deployed.
Ploughing engines were rare in the US; ploughs were usually hauled directly by an agricultural engine or steam tractor.