Friday, June 28, 2013

Summertime Cruise Night

Cruisin' is a popular event in many towns on warm summer evenings. One such long standing seasonal event happens every Friday night in Somerville, NJ, where I once lived. Local businesses and restaurants stay open late and classic and vintage cars line the town's main drag, which is actually called Main Street
AutosNJ 22
Earlier tonight, Grenville and I were able to do some cruising too as we admired these classic beauties after enjoying dinner at a Portuguese restaurant in town. We're back in our home state this weekend for another family event — a niece's high school graduation party happening Sunday. We came earlier to visit long-time friends and Grenville also plans to visit a rail yard on Sat morning. Why doesn't that NOT surprise anyone?
While touring Somerville, We noticed there were less vintage models than on previous visits. That could be since it's been a rainy week in NJ and with threatening skies during our visit. Many of vintage car owners prefer not to risk inclement weather. Some cars were leaving well before the event's usual end time of after sunset.
During our short walk around town, we saw some colorful classics — both front . . .
and rear views — vintage and hot . . .
Plus, a colorful summer sunset to end our visit.

Friday Funnies

Filling up . . .

filling up0627Eastern Yellow Swallowtail on in a day lily

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Backyard “Wildlife”

Yes, we have wildlife in our backyard. This little bunny comes regularly to munch away, IF only he would bring lots of friends so we could skip the weekly mowing.
bunny collagebunny 0623 (1)garden frog (1)
And, there’s also a few garden frogs who like to hide in the wildflower garden. They blend in very well with the surroundings — as you can see.

We’re still waiting for the a penguin or more to drop in. Now, all we have are these garden flamingoes.
flamingo collage
After all this isn’t The Frog & Flamingo.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Our Garden is Growing

Grenville set up the much smaller F&P veggie garden near the end of May planting doubles of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. While this is not a lot compared to previous years output of squash, beans, corn, beets, and lettuce, these veggies will be more than enough. They'll be supplemented with contributions from a friend’s larger garden, drop-offs that local gardeners leave at the  YMCA, and purchases at a couple of area farmers markets.

This week, we have one green pepper with others on the way. There are blooms on the eggplant (center), tomato (upper right) and cucumber (bottom right) plants.

Grenville is sure looking forward to some fresh 'mater sandwiches soon. I saw him standing in the garden with bread and mayo in hand this week.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Catching Up

chicken RV0618 (1)Enjoyed all the great comments on last week’s Friday Funnies about the portable chicken coop. Grenville gets the credit for calling it a chicken RV. Can you tell that we have fun seeing what’s on the road with us?

It was great to read your comments on What’s on Your Key Ring and to see how few of these (or even none) other folks carry. When we finally get “smartphones” (ours are still “dumb” ones) we may follow the suggestion from Triumph and Odd Essay and just use a phone app instead. Thanks, Daisy for cluing me on the called key tags name;I also have one for the “Y” but it’s on a separate lanyard in with gym gear. Christer, we like your use of a padlock for a key ring.

The butterfly collage on the Flying Flowers post was created in Windows Photo 0625 WPG butterfly collageGallery (formerly Windows Live Photo Gallery) Free and similar to Goggle’s Picasa. 

However, unlike Picasa, it requires a minimum of 7 images for collage creation. WPG provides  management, tagging, and searching for digital photos, also an image viewer and a photo import tool to acquire photos from a camera or other removable media. 

WPG also lets you share photos by uploads to SkyDrive, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook. There’s no shortage of FREE editing and sharing SW available, just a shortage on time to try all the features.

But, it is a lot of fun as well.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Flying Flowers in F&P Yard

NO, there are not flowers with wings in the Frog & PenguINN gardens. Sorry to disappoint you and us too.
BUT, every day, we’re seeing more and more butterflies as perennials are blooming around the F&P yard in the (finally) summer temps here on the VA Eastern Shore.
So far, we’re spotted these varieties — painted lady, white sulphur, eastern yellow swallowtail, black swallowtail, zebra swallowtail, buckeye, silver spotted skipper, fire skipper, viceroy, and monarch as well as some we have not ID’ed.
butterfly collage1  . . . flowers that fly and all but sing (Robert Frost)

The line above is from the poem, Blue-Butterfly Day, by Robert Frost, American post and holder of 4 Pulitzer Prizes for poetry. It foretells the coming of springtime when snow starts to melt, butterflies begin to come out, and flowers begin to bloom.
Blue-Butterfly Day
It is blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire
Are there flying flowers in your yard ?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What’s on YOUR Key Ring?

IMG_0722Chances are you too have 1 or more of these small plastic things that slip onto a key ring.

Not even sure about the correct term for these, but it made me wonder . . . what did we do BEFORE these came into popular use at SO many places from the supermarket to the library?

IMG_0720This week, I decided to organize  ones I’ve been carrying on my key ring and even put them all on a separate “O” ring. This way I don’t have to take my car keys with me when going someplace that requires using one of these things and Grenville is driving. Car and house keys have separate “O” rings too.

Here’s where the ones on my key ring are used  (There used to be a few more, but I never used then and finally removed them.)

  • County library
  • Local supermarket
  • CVS and Rite Aid
  • Panera Bread (a road trip favorite)
  • Ikea (ditto)
  • Shop Rite NJ supermarket (when we visit my mom in NJ)
  • Shaw’s supermarket (when we visit the grandkids in RI)
  • Duke Farm, NJ (allows us to use bikes provided there)

OK, your turn — how many of these do you carry on your key ring. Do you use any/all of them and where ?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

She’s a Cutie

YUP, there’s no other words to describe granddaughter. This nearly 2-year old is a charmer can’t you tell?

ellie collage7 

She is a cheerful and loving child, like her brother, whose kindergarten graduation was why we were recently visiting, not that we need a reason.  Below, she poses with (L-R) aunt, mom and grandparents.ellie family collageTaking photos of this granddaughter is fun — she’s a very willing subject.ellie collage30615 ellie collage2

We visit again in July to celebrate her and Grandpa’s birthdays. grandkids collage1

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Funnies

How do chickens take a trip ?

. . . in a chicken coop RV.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Travelling Home Blues

We took a road trip the past week and a half going to RI for a milestone event —  grandson Bobby’s kindergarten graduation. Along the way, we spent time visiting other family in NJ and PA. Our final stop was in Altoona, PA. WHY? to visit RR-related places, of course. (Grenville will post about those adventures later.)mountain collageBeing the passenger gave me with some great photo opportunities as the Allegheny Mountains passed into view. The vistas were very impressive we travelled from RI to PA on a good travel day.

Everyone gets the blues, BUT the trip home was really a downer as the weather was NOT as travel0618 (3)blue mountain collageCrossing over the Bay Bridge near Annapolis,MD, visibility was extremely poor as Grenville maneuvered through torrential bridge collage2These photos are all SOOC (straight out of camera) WITH a couple of alterations: the light setting was on tungsten (from earlier shooting indoors) and a vivid color setting was used. The results looked interesting “as is” and NO changes were made using photo editing software.

blue bridge collage1FYI — the camera used to take all the photos was a Canon Digital PowerShot Digital Elph.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Where Dinner is the Show

Ichigo Ichie is a hibachi and sushi restaurant where Grenville's daughters treated their he and I for a pre-Father's Day dinner during our RI visit. Grandson and granddaughter joined us.
At this restaurant, the dining experience is all about the show. Up to 9 people are seated around a hibachi grill. Meal orders are placed, then a chef comes with a cart containing ingredients for all the dinners, then it's showtime !
Grandson tried his hand at dining with chopsticks after some pointers from mom.
If you are curious about the restaurant name, Ichigo Ichie stands for one chance, one encounterHave you ever dined someplace like this?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Celebrating Fathers Today

“You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You’re her oracle. You’re her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you’re in a constant state of panic.” Stanley T. Banks (Spencer Tracy) in the 1950 film, Father of the Bride

Pat daughters2

"The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, 'Daddy, I need to ask you something,' he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan." Garrison Keillor, American humorist.

Today (June 16) is Father's Day in the U.S. Luckily, this weekend, Grenville was able to celebrate time with daughters in RI where we all converged to celebrate grandson's kindergarten graduation last week.

Wishing all fathers a wonderful day and remembering those who are no longer with us, like our own.

World's Foremost Outfitter

WHERE were those wild creatures in the It's All Happening post?

INSIDE an upscale outdoorsy retail store complete with high ceilings, a centerpiece indoor mountain of slopes and ledges teeming with wildlife — all dead and preserved in realistic poses in Cabela's off I-78 in Hamburg, PA (as Doris, Mona and Elaine correctly figured out). 

Cabela's Hamburg PA

This outdoor retail store is one of the biggest "tourist" attractions in this area. We found it accidentally when returning from a visit to the Reading RR museum, also in Hamburg.

world's foremost outfitter

Cabela's, based in Sidney, Nebraska, calls itself "The World's Foremost Outfitter" with 39 stores across the U.S. and in Canada.We had NEVER been in one, so finding this one, chain's largest U.S. retail store, was a surprise. This mega-store sits atop a hill and is visible for several miles. Inside the massive 250,000 square foot store is an educational and entertainment show room, featuring animal displays in various ecosystems that recreate their natural habitats. The setups look like something seen in museums — but here it's all free, if you can resist shopping, which we did. 

The taxidermy and other attractions form Cabela's key marketing strategy: Make each store a destination and visitors will spend time and money. The large retail stores look like huge stone hunting lodges attracting hunting, fishing, outdoor minded enthusiasts and just plain curious folks (like us0. Typically situated on a hill that overlooks a major interstate highway, these large retail stores annually attract close to 4 million visitors, many travel over 100 miles to reach one.

Conservation Mountain, a 30-foot-tall fiberglass creation filled with preserved wildlife, is the centerpiece exhibit. Displays are realistic, including some animal savagery scenes — bears "maul" a moose behind the mountain, a lynx chases a snowshoe hare beside a waterfall, an arctic wolf has designs on some musk ox, a mountain lion surveys a some big-horn sheep.

0608 Cabelas6

The Africa Diorama has gruesome scenes on its simulated slice of the African plains — a pride of lions chase down a panicked assortment of herd animals and two alligators attack a wildebeest. 

0608 Cabelas9

Cabela's has a taxidermy product manager  in charge of designing displays and collecting animals, buying hides from hunters, then hiring local taxidermists to create the appropriate poses and scenes. Mounted animals are bought from hunters wanting to free up space in their homes. According to online sources, all animals are donated; none were hunted in an illegal manner or for the purpose of being used in the retail stores.

0608 Cabelas10

This retail store (and others) are proof that you don't have to go far to see the outdoors as it's now indoors.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We'll Remember Always . . .

Grad balloon

The 1st Graduation Day for grandson was this week as it marked the first of such celebrations to follow in years ahead.

This was his kindergarten graduation and as dutiful and (very) delighted grandparents, Grenville and I travelled to RI to be there. We were present for his birth and marking the milestones of his young life is what we continue to do. (Bobby is the letter "R" in the photo below.)


Of course, there was the anticipation waiting for his name to be called, accepting his diploma and smiling proudly at his accomplishment.

Bobby grad1

Afterwards, posing alone and with his family, father, mother, sister.

Bobby Grad3

He's ready to take a bite out of life — and already did that to the cake !

Grad cake

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Funnies

It's not uncommon to see horse and buggy traveling along roadways in Lancaster, PA. What was unusual last week was to see this young man using his own mode of transportation as well.

He's holding onto the rear of the buggy and roller blading. A little further down the road, he hitched a ride on the buggy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley…..

AGAIN. Todays trip had a short side trip, detour, or should we call it an unscheduled stop. Just north of New Haven on I-95 is East Haven, home of the Shoreline Trolley Museum.
From the mid 1800's to the mid 1900's a person could conceivable ride trolleys from Philadelphia Pa. to Brunswick Maine. Now why anyone would want to do this instead of just taking a train is beyond me. BUT Mike, our motorman for todays adventure, says it would have been possible. Today hardly any of the trackage is still in place. Most trolley tracks were laid next to roadways, and much of that has been tarred over for roadway widening. (Automobiles,,,,,, just a passing fancy!!!!)
Shoreline Trolley Museum2
The Shore Line Trolley Museum has been an important part of the community since its incorporation in 1945 as the Branford Electric Railway Association. Founded to preserve the unique heritage of an endangered species -- the trolley car -- it now boasts a collection of nearly 100 vintage vehicles as well as artifacts and documents from the trolley era. It continues to operate predominantly through the dedication and support of its over 1000 member/volunteers.
A visit to the museum is a multi-sensory voyage into the past, from the moanful growl of the motors, to the smell of the electric arc, to the feel of rattan seats and varnished hardwood detailing.
The Shore Line Trolley Museum operates the Branford Electric Railway, a National Historic Site. The railway is the oldest continuously operating suburban trolley line in the United States.
The museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization; donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law
Motorman Mike took us to the end of the line in Trolley 357 which ran until the late 1950's in Johnstown Pa. Amazingly it still had many of the original poster ads.
Shoreline Trolley Museum
Do you think the bottom center ad would be allowed today??????
On our way back Mike stopped at the car barns and took us through the shops. Trolleys there are in various states of repair. Hurricanes Irene and Sandy caused major flooding along their line and car barns. Salt water is definitely not good for electric motors. Many of them had to be removed and re-wound which is not cheap. The barns that are open to the public house mostly restored trolleys. I want you all to know that I looked high and low but could not find "Judy" singing in any of the cars.
Shoreline Trolley Museum3
Being in the New Haven area, home to Yale University, Mike told us that for the old time football games, trolleys would be brought in from all over to take the fans from the train station (NewYork, New Haven & Hartford RR) to the stadium and back. The average car would hold about 80 folks comfortably. On game days that would swell by 2 or 3 times. According to Mike the record was set at 240 people on one trolley car….OUCH!!!!!
Shoreline Trolley Museum4
A law in Connecticut required the President of every trolley company to personally inspect all of his lines each year. Since the Shoreline was owned by the New Haven Railroad its president had to preform this inspection. Of course a railroad President wasn't going to ride in just any trolley. NO NO…. he had a specially outfitted one for his inspection.

Special comfy seats, separate porters station, single motorman station, AND……..INDOOR PLUMBING!!!!!! Yep,,,, right there in the trolley car. We were not able to get into this car, but it is here in one of the barns.
For more information and directions to the Shoreline Trolley Museum go to