Who do we celebrate next?

Today’s “The Daily Prompt” brought up a thought provoking question.

Many countries celebrate Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. If you could dedicate a holiday to a more distant relative, who would it be — and why

There have been many answers; brothers/sister, Aunt/Uncle, cousin. My first thought came to a close member of the family. At times (s)he isn't thought of as a relative, but none the less a real member of the family.



Yes the family pet. As a constant companion it is always there, sometimes more loving than the ‘people’ of the family. They are always there, even in your saddest moments, they are at your side to bolster your spirit. They deserve their own day, actually many days.

As a side note, my mom once agreed with me when I told her’ “Everyday should be Mother’s Day”.

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Portals to the other side


I found this door along a country road, in Carroll County. Maryland (USA). I don’t think that anyone will be entering or leaving soon.


Then there is this Garage door with an “Eyebrow” in Gratitude, Maryland.


Finally this old door with the warning


This is on the “Psychopathic Building – 1914” at an semi-abandoned local State Hospital. Looking closely you can read “LiL BL” carved into the door but no other graffiti is visible.

For July 3rd Photo Challenge DOOR

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Watch those wings

Today was just like most other days, warm with hardly a breeze blowing. My daily habit was to cruise up 16th Street in DC. My usual was to start about Newton St where 16th starts to head downhill to “Tiger Bridge”. You see I’m a pigeon, some call me a ‘winged rat’.

Today’s flight was a bit different. I would normally glide down as the traffic light at Newton turned green and glide just a yard or two above the front of a car. As the cars accelerate they form a wave of air over their hood. Some of the larger cars and buses have quite a “Bow Wave”, not unlike the wake made by any ship in the water.

But today I was going to get into trouble. Here I was doing about 25mph at an altitude of about a yard above a car when I looked down and saw angle wings. Ok, this is a Rolls with a rather blunt front end, it makes a huge ‘bow wave’. Those cars with great streamlining are not good to soar over. The next thing I knew I was almost scraping my beak off the paving. The driver of the Rolls had hit the brakes, killing the lift I was soaring in. As I flapped to gain altitude I looked back. The darned driver was laughing. Obviously he knew a bit about flying a glider and what would happen when my source of lift was cut off.

for Sunday Photo Fiction – June 28th 2015

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The Magic Ingredent

The Challenge

by Ben Huberman

What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

I hadn’t thought much about it since it’s been hiding in a cabinet for a couple of decades, till I heard an interview on The Splendid Table podcast a few months ago. That episode got me thinking and searching. Now I use it almost exclusively. When I say it, I really mean them. I have two but normally only use the larger sister, letting the little kid brother wait for special times.

“What is it you ask?

6" Wagner 10" Grizwald and Wagner lid

6″ Wagner 10″ Grizwald and Wagner lid

Yes Cast Iron Skillets. After I listened to the podcast I dug into the cabinets and found the 10″ skillet and searched YouTube for some guidance on seasoning it. I watch a few and found them are quite similar. Thoroughly clean the skillet then coat with Crisco and bake in a hot oven for a few hours. Let it cool the repeat a few more times. After seasoning the large one I remembered that I had a small one. I dug the kitchen cabinets again, and found it. I repeated the seasoning process on the smaller. Now about once every 2 or 3 weeks, if the oven is hot I will wipe the pan with a light coating of Crisco and bake it at 400°F for about 2 hours. The next morning I’ll take it out of the oven and wipe it clean, ready to use once more.


Now that I have two seasoned frying pans I hardly even think of using a “non-stick” pan, except for a “ceramic” coated pan which I reserve for cooking eggs. Yes I do rinse with soapy water, and occasionally need to use a scrubby to loosen some slightly stuck food.

I do cook some scrambled eggs in the smaller pan, but I find it’s a bit small for any serious cooking, even for one person.

The lid, yes I found that I still had the “Wagner Drip Drop” lid, also Cast Iron. The underside is ribbed so any condensation will drip back into the pan and baste food. So for much of the cooking I find that medium-low (4 out of 8) on my gas range is ideal. Cast Iron is not a great conductor of heat, so hot spots do occur but if it centered over the burner the heat is well distributed, or adjust the position so that the items that need more heat are over the heat, while the rest is simmering in the same pan. The results of this is that I have only one pan to clean up, and the entire dinner is ready at one time.

Where’d They Come From?

There are no date marked, indicating that they were made before 1960. I remember my Mom cooking with the large one and the lid. The smaller one I don’t remember at all. They may have come to Mom from my Grandmother.

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Let Nature take it’s course at Breakfast time.

There was a time when a good friend and I regularly had breakfast together. Those were good times, it lasted about six years. Then we began to communicate less, we talked more to each other than with each other the good time ended. It’s been quite a while since I shared my breakfast table with anyone. I miss those times and pray that we begin to communicate once more and resolve our differences so the breakfasts those might resume.

Today the lonely mornings changed. I was eating outdoors enjoying my last cup of Golden Monkey Tea, one of my favorite teas. I’d just finished a breakfast of bacon and eggs and toast with some honey. Then I heard or was it felt a humming behind me. Could this be a mystery companion joining me for breakfast?

She came closer, and began cleaning up my breakfast plate while I sipped my tea. This was a treat not to be missed. What did I do? I couldn’t resist, so I just sat back and let nature take it’s course, and grabbed my camera to get some videos of this treat.

Let the guest clean up after breakfast Those Dishes Won’t Do Themselves (the daily post 05/12/2015)

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Heading East, Heading West

“Life should be an adventure”

Everybody is using that line, so I am joining the crowd.

Oh-Dark-Hundred came early one recent Saturday morning. Time to get out with a friend and his son for a day of “Train Chasing” We’d been on the road for a couple of minutes when I realized that they didn’t know where they were going. Not only that but they didn’t know how to get there. But that didn’t deter the intrepid duo. After an hour of driving, we arrived somewhere near, that is within 20 miles of their destination. So we explored all sorts of back roads in West Virginia. Then back into Maryland for a bite of lunch. Once we were fortified again we set out for parts-unknown. After another half hour of what seemed like aimless wandering we finally arrived at a suitable location.

Now that we were here, we didn’t know where we were, nor what we were looking for, That seemed to make for a good story. Consulting his ‘droid, the son said that the Capitol Limited would be passing in less than half an hour. Good, our first goal was within reach. We’d started out to ‘film’ that train on its eastbound run.

The Capitol Limited is one of two Amtrak trains connecting Washington, D.C., to Chicago, running 764 miles (1,230 km) via Pittsburgh and Cleveland (the other is the Cardinal via Cincinnati and Indianapolis). Service began in 1981 and was named after the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Capitol Limited which ended in 1971 upon the formation of Amtrak. It carries the Amtrak train numbers 29 and 30, which were previously assigned to the discontinued National Limited.

from Wikipedia

We were early, I took advantage of the time available for some random shots

Seaboard System (CSXT) 3-Bay Covered Hopper 223056

Plenty of snow on the ground.

The snow covered switching yard.

We’d heard via a railroad scanner that it was running a bit late, so when it passed us it was still late, but running fast attempting to make up as much time as it could.

We were at the small WVa town of Cherry Run, where not only does the CSX – ex B&O mainline cross its one road, but meets the Western Maryland tracks.

The whole time were waiting, a westbound freight was waiting, so after the Capitol Limited passed with expected the freight to move out, but no, the signals stayed red. After a short wait we saw why. A freight was headed eastbound, at first it appeared to be on a collision course with the waiting train. But about half a mile off, it switched to the Western Maryland tracks to cross the Potomac River into Maryland.

Then our westbound train lumbered on, gaining speed as it passed us.

That part of our morning’s adventure over we wandered eastward, sort of toward home. But since it was still early afternoon, we decided to stop in Harpers Ferry Wv to get some photos. Leaving the station, headed east the tracks cross the Potomac River into Maryland and enter a tunnel under the Catoctin Mountain near Weaverton.

We soon felt cold and getting hungry, evening time was coming. So we left Harpers Ferry and stopped at Point Of Rocks, Md. Why? you may ask. Of course to see the Capitol Limited once again, this time headed westbound. Point of Rocks has one of the most photographed stations in the US. After a short wait, we heard scanner report “Passing PEPCO, with 24 axles” good the train was less than 5 miles away pulling 6 cars. The sun was getting low, but we still had enough light to get some good pictures.

All in all, we did have GPS with us and we did have some idea of where we were, not really lost at all, just felt like it at time.

See some video of the Capitol Limited passing through Point of Rocks.

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