Monday, November 30, 2020


 Having too much trouble with blogger. Google keeps asking me to sign in  when I want to do a post.

Still can't figure out why my videos are not working. Will try again to post on Friday. Doesn't seem to be a problem if there are no pics or videos! (Maybe they don't like chickens??  LOL)!

Pouring rain today and the gang is hiding in the coop! Dry and well fed!! The kitten is getting big - Hubby decided to name it "Simba"!  It's a boy - but not for long.......

Phyl  :o)

Today's funny :o)

 H/T to Glenn H.!


Just stuff from the camera.....

Found three dead baby birds!




 They must have fallen out of the birdhouse. Never thought there would be babies this late in the year!!!


 Damn deer.....


 A huge crow:

 Most of the neighbors burn wood too!

 The gang getting ready for bed. Benji goes in last!


Beautiful full moon!


 Still having problems uploading pics and video to blogger - don't know what 

is going on yet - maybe it's the laptop.....


Monday, November 23, 2020


 .... won't let me transfer ANY pictures or videos from my camera. I have no idea what is wrong this time.

I have a lot of stuff  to do this week - appointments, cleaning and cooking, so I am going to take the week off and try to get everything done.

Why is it that everything I do now takes me twice as long ?????


I hope all of you have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and love! May God continue to bless us and this great nation!

So true!


Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday Night Steam

 We're heading to South Africa tonight!



 (A long read, but worth it)!

South African Class 26 4-8-4

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

South African Class 26 4-8-4
3450 - Pretoria 250481.jpg
The Red Devil at Pretoria, Transvaal, 25 April 1981
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer South African Railways
Builder Henschel and Son
Serial number 28769 [1][2][3]
Model Class 25NC
Build date 1953
Total produced 50
Rebuilder South African Railways
Rebuild date 1981
Number rebuilt 1
Configuration 4-8-4 "Northern"
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge
Leading wheel
30 in (762 mm)
Driver diameter 60 in (1,520 mm)
Trailing wheel
30 in (762 mm)
Wheelbase Total: 81 ft 4.6875 in (24.808 m)
6 ft 10 in (2.083 m) bogie
15 ft 9 in (4.801 m) coupled
5 ft 6 in (1.676 m) trailing
38 ft (11.582 m) total
10 ft (3.048 m) bogie
32 ft (9.754 m) total
Length 91 ft 6.5625 in (27.903 m) total
Height 13 ft (3.962 m)
Frame Cast steel
Weight on drivers 76 t (74.8 long tons)
Locomotive weight 123 t (121.1 long tons)
Tender weight 97,300 lb (44.1 t) empty
113 t (111.2 long tons) w/o
Locomotive and tender
combined weight
236 t (232.3 long tons)
Tender type EW1
* 3 axle bogies
* 34 in (864 mm) wheels
* Length 42 ft 10.5 in (13.068 m)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 20 t (19.7 long tons)
Water capacity 10,500 imp gal (48,000 l)
Fuel consumption 700 km (430 mi) range
Water consumption 230 km (140 mi) range
Boiler 6 ft 4.125 in (1.934 m) inside diameter
19 ft (5.791 m) inside length
9 ft 1.625 in (2.784 m) pitch
Boiler pressure 225 psi (1,550 kPa)
Firegrate area 70 sq ft (6.503 m2)
Heating surface:
– Tubes
158 tubes 2.5 in (63.5 mm) diameter
40 tubes 5.5 in (140 mm) diameter
3,059 sq ft (284.190 m2)
– Flues 37 sq ft (3.437 m2)
– Firebox 294 sq ft (27.313 m2)
– Total 288.35 m2 (3,103.8 sq ft)
Superheater area 94.23 m2 (1,014.3 sq ft)
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 610 mm (24.0 in) bore
711 mm (28 in) stroke
Valve gear Walschaerts
Valve type 310 mm (12.2 in) diameter
Valve travel 156 mm (6.1 in)
Valve lap 55 mm (2.2 in) steam lap
4 mm (0.2 in) exhaust lap
Performance figures
Power output Maximum recorded:
3,350 kW (4,490 hp) at 75.5 km/h (46.9 mph)
Probable absolute:
3,750 kW (5,030 hp) at 100 km/h (62 mph)
Tractive effort 231 kN (52,000 lbf) starting
166 kN (37,000 lbf) at 25% adhesion
Operator(s) South African Railways
Class Class 26
Number in class 1
Number(s) 3450
Official name L.D. Porta
Nicknames Red Devil
Delivered 1981
First run 6 February 1981
The South African Class 26 4-8-4 of 1981 is a South African steam locomotive from the South African Railways era.
The Class 26, popularly known as the Red Devil, is a 4-8-4 steam locomotive that was rebuilt from a Class 25NC locomotive by mechanical engineer David Wardale from England while in the employ of the South African Railways. The rebuilding took place at the Salt River Works in Cape Town and was based on the principles developed by Argentinian mechanical engineer L.D. Porta.


The original locomotive from which the Class 26 was rebuilt entered service in 1953 as the last of the Class 25NC 4-8-4 Northern locomotives to be built. The Class 25 condensing and Class 25NC non-condensing locomotives were designed by the South African Railways (SAR) in conjunction with Henschel and Son and were built in 1953. The first Class 25, number 3451, most of the Class 25 condensing tenders and Class 25NC in the number range from 3412 to 3450 were built by Henschel, while Class 25NC in the number range from 3401 to 3411 and the other eighty-nine Class 25 condensing locomotives were built by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) in Glasgow, Scotland.

Trial run rebuilding

The rebuilding project suffered from the outset from, at best, half-hearted support on the side of the SAR management, who had by then already decided to replace all steam traction with electric and diesel-electric power.
Wardale, however, was determined to demonstrate that the efficiency of steam locomotives could be drastically increased by making use of a Gas Producer Combustion System (GPCS) to produce more steam for less fuel consumed, and the Lempor exhaust system developed by Argentinian mechanical engineer L.D. Porta to utilise steam with maximum efficiency.

Wardale Class 19D no. 2644
As a trial run Wardale was allowed to carry out extensive modifications on a Krupp-built Class 19D 4-8-2 branchline locomotive, number 2644. A GPCS and tandem dual Lempor exhausts were installed, along with some other small improvements that included high mounted smoke deflectors.
The modifications enabled the locomotive to achieve significantly higher power and lower fuel consumption than other unmodified Class 19Ds, which resulted in Wardale being allowed to continue with the building of a Class 26 prototype.

Red Devil rebuilding

Work on Class 25NC number 3450 started at the end of 1979. The manufacturing of all new items and modifications to existing parts were carried out at the SAR workshops at Salt River in Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Beaconsfield in Kimberley, Koedoespoort in Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg, the work being allocated to the workshop best suited to the particular task at hand.


The primary objectives of the modifications were threefold.
  • To improve the combustion and steaming rate.
  • To reduce the emission of wasteful black smoke.
  • To overcome the problem of clinkering.
This was achieved by the use of a single-stage gas producer, the GPCS, which relies on the gasification of coal on a low temperature firebed so that the gases are then fully burnt above the firebed. It minimises the amount of air being drawn up through the firebed, the main source of air required for combustion being through ancillary air intakes located above the firebed.
The most serious waste of fuel in a conventional steam locomotive is the loss of unburned coal particles from the fuel bed because of the rapid flow of air through the grate. With the GPCS the coal is therefore heated to drive off the volatile components which are then burned in the secondary air admitted above the grate. The result is improved combustion, thereby minimising black smoke, which is evidence of incomplete combustion with the result that unburnt coal particles are ejected through the exhaust.

Engine modifications

Amongst many minor detail improvements, other major modifications to the engine included the following:
SAR Class 26 3450 (4-8-4).jpg
  • A lengthened smokebox to accommodate the tandem double Lempor exhausts.
  • Offset double chimneys.
  • A feedwater-heater between the chimneys.
  • Improved lubrication on cylinder and valve liner rubbing surfaces.
  • A booster for increased superheating.
  • New piston valves.
  • Articulated valve spindles.
  • New cooled valve liners.
  • Redesigned chromium cast iron rings and valve liners with streamlined cylinder ports.
  • New cylinder liners.
  • Altered valve gear.
  • Herdner starting valves.
  • Air sanding.
  • An altered self-cleaning smokebox.
  • Enlarged steam chests.
  • Direct steam pipes.
  • Improved pistons.
  • Improved valve and piston rod packings.
  • An improved variable stroke lubricator drive.
  • Improved insulation.
  • Improved Walschaerts valve gear with computer calculated dimensions.
  • Continental European style high mounted exhaust deflectors, curved round but not parallel to the smokebox.

Tender modifications

The coal capacity of the Class 25NC’s type EW1 tender was increased from 18 tonnes (17.7 long tons) to about 20 tonnes (19.7 long tons).
When done, the total weight of the locomotive in full running order had been increased from 231 tonnes (227 long tons) to about 236 tonnes (232 long tons).


These extensive modifications justified reclassification and the locomotive became the first and only Class 26, although the locomotive’s original Class 25NC number 3450 was retained. The Class 26 number plates, builder’s plate and the Salt River rebuild plate that were attached to the cab sides at the time have since been replaced with plates inscribed "Transnet National Collection".
The Henschel works plates that were mounted on the cab sides of 3450 were not the originals, but were taken off Class GMAM 4-8-2+2-8-4 Garratt no. 4068, Henschel works number 28697, which was withdrawn from service and stored at De Aar at about the time no. 3450 was being rebuilt to Class 26. The Red Devil's actual builder's works number, 28769, had the same digits, albeit in a different order.


Test runs

SAR Class 26 3450 (4-8-4) Wing.JPG
The locomotive was painted in a red livery and was officially named "L.D. Porta" after the Argentinian engineer responsible for some of the ideas and developments incorporated in its modification. Initial steaming and yard running took place on Thursday 5 February 1981 and the first test trip, running light from Salt River to Bellville and back, took place the following day. On Monday 9 February the rebuilt no. 3450 hauled its first three-coach train filled with various railway officials, staff and media representatives to Dal Josafat, about 66 kilometres (41 miles) from Cape Town. In subsequent Cape Town press reports the locomotive was dubbed the "Red Devil". The nickname eventually became official and the locomotive now bears it on the Class 25NC type exhaust deflectors that later replaced the Continental European style exhaust deflectors.


Compared to an unmodified Class 25NC, the Red Devil achieved a 28% measured saving on coal and a 30% measured saving on water, measured during freight service, and a 43% increase in drawbar power based on the maximum recorded drawbar power. Its approximate maximum range in full-load freight service on 1% to 1.25% grades is 700 kilometres (430 miles) based on its coal capacity, and 230 kilometres (140 miles) based on its water capacity.
The Red Devil’s rated freight loads are:
  • 700 tonnes (690 long tons) on 2% grades
  • 1,080 tonnes (1,060 long tons) on 1.25% grades
  • 1,320 tonnes (1,300 long tons) on 1% grades
The maximum recorded freight load hauled relative to gradient was 900 tonnes (885.8 long tons) on 2% grades, and it can haul a 650 tonnes (639.7 long tons) passenger train at a constant speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour) on 1% grades.


The Red Devil’s great power, however, also turned out to be its one weakness. The Class 25NC had already proven to be on the slippery side and the much more powerful Class 26, with essentially still the same dimensions as the Class 25NC, was even worse. It was a poor performer at starting or at low speeds on steep gradients. On its first working run from Pretoria to Witbank in Transvaal, a signal stop on a 1 in 50 (2%) gradient resulted in great struggles to restart, eventually causing about twenty minutes delay. Neither the Herdner valves nor the air sanding seemed able to overcome these problems.

Final attempt

Dual Lempor no. 3454, "B.I. Ebing"

Class 25NC no. 3454's Dual Lempor chimneys and extended smoke deflectors
Following Wardale’s departure from the SAR, the Beaconsfield shops carried out a minimal modification on an NBL-built ex Class 25 condenser, number 3454 that had been converted to a free exhausting non-condensing Class 25NC named "B.I. Ebing".
Modifications on this locomotive consisted mainly of equipping it with a dual Lempor exhaust system and extending its smoke deflectors upwards and curved around the smokebox. In order to save the cost of extending the smokebox, the chimneys were installed side by side instead of in tandem like on the earlier Wardale locomotives. Apart from the blastpipe and chimneys, no other modifications were incorporated.
The modified no. 3454 was put to work in February 1985. Results as reported by locomotive crews and shed staff were noticeable savings in coal and water consumption when compared to a standard Class 25NC, although the amounts were never quantified. The locomotive was also noticeably more sure-footed than the Class 26, which tended to slip every time it started.

Steam’s demise

In a sense, the outstanding success achieved with the South African Class 26 can be considered as the final spasms of a dying breed. Although it ended up as the most efficient and powerful steam locomotive on South African rails, electric and diesel-electric locomotives had already nearly completely replaced steam by the early 1980s and the project was halted with only the one prototype ever built. It last ran on a steam excursion on 23 September 2003 and has since been mothballed, being preserved by private enthusiasts at Monument Station in Cape Town.
SAR Class 26 3450 (4-8-4) TNC ID.JPG
Even though the Red Devil project proved that locomotives, built according to the principles behind some of the modern designs for steam locomotives, will outperform older technology steam locomotives by a large margin, it came too late to prevent the demise of steam rail traction in South Africa. Similar projects with the American Coal Enterprises (ACE) in the United States and later in China also failed to resurrect official interest in steam traction.
The most recent such project was Wardale’s proposed 5AT Advanced Technology Steam Locomotive in the United Kingdom, but the same factors that prevented further development of modern steam locomotives in South Africa, the United States and China were likely to also prevent the 5AT proposal from becoming reality.


More information can be found here:





Today's funny :o)







.... cold again yesterday morning. Had a heavy frost and the grass crunched under my feet on the way to give the gang breakfast:



 Notice how Benji's new feathers have turned white after his molt - especially the feathers on his feet:



 Just some pretty clouds that popped up!


 Hey guys - you're heading the wrong way! Turn around and go SOUTH!


 The neighbor's horsed got new blankies!




Wednesday, November 18, 2020

It's that time again!

 No hints - you CAN do it!

Should I make them harder next time???


Today's funny :o)







A chilly day...

 The sun cam out for about  30 minutes late yesterday afternoon. We had snow flurries in the morning!

 Trying to enjoy a little bit of sunshine:


It was a pretty sunset, though:

Looking East, as the sun goes down:

Didn't have to scoot them in the coop - they were already getting ready to roost!

Found this monster in the nest box ... Ouch!





Monday, November 16, 2020

An ALMOST invisable butterfly!

 The Glasswing butterfly!

Clear-Winged Butterfly Facts

By Rob Harris

Clear-winged butterflies, also called glasswing butterflies, live mostly in Central America and South America, some venturing as far north as Mexico. They look like other butterflies in every way except one: Instead of sporting brilliant color displays, they have wings you can see through.


Their wings are shaped like those of other butterfly species, but clear-winged butterflies lack the tiny scales necessary to create color. The overlapping scales provide multicolor displays on the wings of many butterflies, but the clear-winged variety has only a few concentrated around the outer edges, often in brown or orange. Veins appear like webs throughout the wings, but these don't add much color -- they typically look brown.


Glasswing butterflies enjoy the tasty nectar of flowers, and they eat bird droppings. The bird droppings provide essential amino acids; the sugary nectar provides other nutrients as well as energy. These butterflies prefer flowers found in the Asteraceae and Boraginaceae families. Asteraceae includes flowers such as forget-me-nots and bluebells, while Boraginaceae includes those such as ragweed, goldenrod and marigolds. They target these flowers specifically because they help the butterflies produce alkaloids that make them taste bad to predators as well as help them produce sex pheromones during mating season.


Clear-winged butterfly males congregate in large groups when it's time to mate. They release pheromones from small hairs along their rear wings and wait until females decide to come their way. Females follow the scent of the group and fly to it to find a mate.


The interesting coloration, or lack thereof, doesn't start after the butterfly goes through metamorphosis. The caterpillar looks similar to many other species, sporting a brown color with long spikes. But when the caterpillar pupates, ithe creature creates a chrysalis that's different from those of other species. Instead of a typical brown or green color, this caterpillar creates a metallic-looking silver chrysalis. The chrysalis resembles a little mirror, earning the butterfly the nickname "espejitos," or small mirror, in Costa Rica.


Today's funny :o)

 H/T to BW for sending!!


Just stuff...

 All is quiet in Coopville, except for the boids....

A pretty sunrise....

A handsome horse.....

..... and some funky chickens!

'Hope you had a great weekend!


Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday Night Steam

 A big H/T to Terry for sending!!!!!

A great video of  'boys with their toys'!

421K subscribers
A double header of two live steam West Side Lumber Co. Shays (#14 and #15) both built by Richard Ulin of Ulin Locomotive Works. At the Bitter Creek Western Railroad in Arroyo Grande, CA.

More info on the railroad here:



Today's funny :o)

 H/T to Glenn H.!








Not much....

 .... to post about.

The weather turned cold, it's been raining and I have a rotten sinus infection....

No video of the gang - feel too miserable to stand outside in the mud and take pictures of them.

Instead, here's a pic of the kitty-cat:

Still doesn't have a name because we don't know if it's a she or a he!

Although "Scratch" would be a good name.....

..... because this is what my legs look like.....


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A bit of history you may have forgotten....






















 Remember to honor and thank a Veteran.



Today's funny :o)









Mor fog

 It really has been warm these past couple of days and the fog rolls in every morning:

A very large and long spider web:

Another 80 degree day!

It's been so warm the rhododendron has started blooming!


This bush was just beautiful! Soon the leaves will fall off:

The gang sunning themselves. When I let them out of the pen, they run for the garden!

This was a cloud that looked like it was scribbled with a pencil!

Another pretty sunset to end a perfect day!