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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Chapter 80 When You Really Need A Good Coat


Oh my, it’ s COLD outside!

Originally posted on Mostly Lab:

What can you do when winter comes and you’ve got a great natural fur coat, water-resistant and multilayered? You can park your butt in the snow and just sit there waiting for a rabbit to hop by, that’s what. And you won’t be shivering.dogs in snow 2015-02-22 003
Naked apes shiver when we are cold. Dogs usually don’t. If your dog is shivering, experts say it could be from illness, pain, excitement, but usually not because she’s cold. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/my-dog-shivering-trembling
Okay, Boston’s got it all over us, but outdoor temperatures have dipped into single digits around here lately. The human would happily stay indoors until the snow melts and spring comes over the windowsill, but indoors 24/7 is not an option for canines. So we traipse out, with Greta, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever—coat made for Canadian waters and winters–and Rusty, the Cocker spaniel with a nice soft, curly coat not made for serious…

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We’ve had a few snow storms in the mid-Atlantic states, none of them rivaled what the New England states had, and I hadn’t had the webcam set up. But when the forecast last night came in with 6-10 inches expected, I set up for a time-lapse. This video starts about 0500 and shows till after the snow stopped 14 hours later. 14 hours of snow Less than 2 hours later Here Comes the Plow

All’s that left it to dig out the car.

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Chief Smusher

Originally posted on What Challenge:

A few years ago, almost 2 decades ago, my son’s in-laws invited me to Thanksgiving diner. I was going to bring desert in the form of Pumpkin Pie. Now when I make Pumpkin Pie I don’t use that canned stuff, but will chop up, cook then mash the real thing. That is a bit of work, but then I have done all the work, sorry Libby.

This particular Thanksgiving my older grandson, probably about the age of 3 or 4 said he’s like to help. But his comments about Pumpkin Pie went about like “Yetch!” and that he didn’t like it. But he would come help me do all the work.

Now making pumpkin pie from scratch does involve a bit of work, scrape the innards from the pumpkin, cut it into small pieces and cut off the hard outer skin. I handled the knife, my grandson was too small…

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Tale of two dinners

This is the story of two dinners, one a great success, the other sort of. Further back than I want to remember my wife came to me with an idea, The conversation went like this.

Her, “I’m thinking of inviting Father Tom to dinner in a couple weeks.”
Me, “That sounds great, what’re having?”
Her, “I don’t know yet. You can cook anything you like!”
Me, “Ok, I’ll come up with something.”

I do like to cook, and had been collecting the “Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cooking” ( sadily it sees that eBay is the only place to find that 12 volume set.), the mid 1960s edition in the grocery store every month or so. Yes it was that long ago.

I worked a day or so mulling over the books till I came up with a menu I had never cooked before. I do have some confidence in my abilities in the kitchen. The combo I came up with was based out of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” section and consisted of “Pork Balls with Noodles”, “Sour Beans”, hot Popovers, and ending with “Rhubarb Pie”. And this would be on a weekday evening after I worked all day.

I could go on with how I timed everything so that I spent almost no time in the kitchen after Fr. Tom arrived. The dinner was a great success.

The second great dinner was probably about 5 or so years later. We were hosting a Thanksgiving dinner to include my sister and her husband. And again I was the cook. Almost disaster. I wanted something that looked traditional, but not Turkey. So out of the same set of cookbooks I came up with “Crown Roast of Pork.” Man that thing was huge. It just barely fit in my oven! Add to that, I had no pan large enough to hold it. Two cookie sheets covered with aluminum foil wouldn’t do the trick either. In a panic I knocked on a neighbor’s door and asked her if she had any idea. Luckily she had a sheet cake pan large enough and would loan it to me. One disaster averted.

All but one enjoyed my creation, including mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and if I remember, cranberry sauce (out of the can). There was one holdout that didn’t like it, “It’s NOT turkey and this Thanksgiving!”

Both of these were so far back that I don’t have any pictures, the crown roast photo if from What’s Cooking America

for the Daily Post Shaken and Stirred Nov. 26, 2014

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