When the world is a monster     Bad to swallow you whole     Kick the clay that holds the teeth in     Throw your trolls out the door    

The One-Legged Sandpiper

November, 2008

Coming Soon

A Barnegat Bay Sunset
Last Beach Day Protocol
Seagulls... Not flying rats.
Who is John Five?
Osprey Osprey Osprey - A story about racism... Or lack thereof.
Missing in Action - I wonder where they could be?
Darwin's Leach field (It must be the water) - Stories from Danielson, Connecticut.
More Old Sandpipers Online
The Oar - Having a beer on Block Island. One of life's perfect moments.
Even the Women are Missing Teeth - Bringing a trawler down from Portsmouth, Maine.
The Dock - A very worthy enterprise.
Peeing on Plymouth Rock
Smells Like Weaseldorf
Cantaloupe - An excellent little sailboat.
More Coming Soon

Saturday, November 1, 2008

   Pretzel Jetzel   
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Union Carbide plant?
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Nope... Pretzel Jetzel!!!

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Maybe heez one of Zsa Zsa's ex huzbandz no?

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Even the box lies.

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Look at them stacking up!

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It was the Jet Age all right.

Cynicism Born of Disillusionment

At Least You Can Believe Everything You Hear On TV Now

     One of my earliest "food" memories is of eating pretzels at my Grandmothers house in Woodbridge, New Jersey. They came out of a Mr. Salty tin stored in the unheated pantry off the kitchen and they were cold, but they were good. Mr. Salty seemed to be dressed like a sailor, and they were served with ginger ale in a brown plastic glass with no ice. The bubbles formed a frothy little geyser in the center of the glass and the whole moment is preserved in my mind to this day. Boy did I like pretzels.

     I always remember being fascinated with cooking. It was like playing with food... only you were allowed to do it. Girls had Kenner Easy Bake Ovens to cook with but boys were discouraged from participating. We wouldn't want them turning out like Little Richard or Liberace now would we... But this was the Jet Age and even boys should be cooking with light.

     Back then you could advertise automobiles on TV with the actors smoking cigarettes and drinking liquor without wearing their seat belts and there wasn't as much of a hint of truth in advertising laws. Enter Pretzel Jetzel! When I first saw it I couldn't believe anything could be so wonderful. A factory... I could have my own pretzel-making factory. I could make enough delicious mouth watering pretzels for me and everyone else for that matter. I could be a pretzel-making industrialist Pretzelmeister with a cheesy Bavarian accent.
All I needed was... Pretzel Jetzel!!!

     It was the first thing I ever remember wanting for Christmas. I saw commercials for it every interminable day until Christmas. It seemed like a lot to ask for... this massive orange industrial facility belching steam and seething with ductwork and pretzel making power. I was sure there wouldn't be enough room in the house for it. I could imagine feeling the ground shake as it huffed out pretzels like machine gun bullets. It was going to be wonderful... if only I could get Pretzel Jetzel for Christmas.

     The first thing that seemed wrong when I came downstairs to open my presents was that there wasn't a box big enough to hold a present as substantial as a pretzel factory. There was a good-sized box under the tree, but not what I expected. Maybe it was just one of the conveyor motors... and the rest was elsewhere. I remember feeling the first pangs of disappointment even before I opened the box. I ripped into the wrapping paper and refused to look at what I knew was the truth until the paper was nearly all off. There it was. The mighty pretzel factory. The picture on the box even made it look lame. The anger over being "had" tempered what excitement I could muster. The moment would have been saved if we could have plugged it in and started it up right away to have it fill a basket with crispy delicious pretzels, but it took what seemed like hours of setup time, what with putting in the light bulb (not included) and all. Mixing the small batch of batter took minutes. Baking the first crispy delicious pretzel took forever. The light bulb seemed to heat the whole thing to a dangerous temperature, to the point where burning plastic was the predominant smell in the kitchen. After the better part of an hour the pretzel had dried, cracked and pulled away from the side of the mold and looked like dried snot. It still had to be dug out of the mold with a knife and tasted like mucilage. The disappointment was overwhelming. The anger was directed mostly at myself. I remember feeling ashamed I had been so gullible. Never Again! Never!!!

     I like seeing things for myself now. I don't trust what I'm told blindly. So when I heard that Darter Snails were in danger... I needed to see for myself. I heard there was a place where you could see them dead and dying in their natural habitat, so I was ready to go to the National Park where the trouble was. Because of the coal smoke obscuring their vision, the giant Sequoia the lumberjacks were felling there hit an oil drilling rig which fell on a Darter Snail that had died from feeding on a spotted owl, covered with oil, caught in a leg-hold trap because people making over two-hundred thousand dollars a year are paying too much tax on dividend income. The evidence I sought was lost, but all in the name of National security.

Pretzel Mr. President?

From Friday, January 17, 2003

Thanks to Julie and Todd Johnson, and EBay, for rekindling the spirit.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

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What A Difference A Day Makes
It's suddenly winter.

     Yesterday was a gift. It was warm and sunny with almost no wind. I got to go kayaking again with my new kayak seat. We got to walk around barefoot all day and it stayed warm even when it clouded up in the afternoon. Kelly made two batches of fresh salsa for the party at her grandmother's house and all seemed right with the world (on a limited basis) for the last normal day of sunlight before the darkness of winter overtakes us before five O'clock.
     One of the things that make the beach so appealing is the sudden change possible weather wise. That change can also be traumatic. Today is a completely different animal from yesterday. It's bright and sunny and the ocean is covered with the blinding reflected sparkles that chopy water and sun create. You have to get your fill of that effect before the sun passes over head. There's a cold wind blowing strong out of the northeast and the fishermen are all of a sudden like so many hooded druids facing the pounding surf. This is what winter feels like. It was summer only yesterday.
     True beach people don't lament foul weather for long. We throw on another sweatshirt or two and go about whatever activity we can under the new conditions. I'll be doing my boardwalk walk tonight in the dark on a deserted boardwalk in a deserted town. It might be a great day to drive to the park after sleeping late and making a big breakfast. It could be a great day for an afternoon nap before the sun sets. It might be a great day to take sunset pictures on the way to the A&P for cocktail sauce. It's still a good day for a beach walk. Who knows what kind of sea glass may have washed up? There are less people looking for it when the weather turns bad so odds at finding a blue or something even more exotic are improved. Today will be the day we recreate my grandmother Dot Trautman's amazing stuffed clams with clams that were frozen after September's last successful clamming run. We'll be watching the Simpson's Halloween special while eating stuffed clams and the last of the giant rock crab claws Kelly got for my birthday. I've got Oktoberfest beer and ice wine (both birthday presents) left as well. See... things are looking up already.

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   A brand new kayak seat ready for testing.   

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   Still sitting in the summer spot.   

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   The view from my "spot".   

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Lined up with the sign in Lavallette and the tallest tower on the Seaside boardwalk.   

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   Triangulated with Nick's house.   

The Last...
A perfect fall beach day and
A new Kayak seat

      Life at the beach revolves around the rhythm of changing tides and seasons. The cyclical ebb and flow is marked by milestones typically divided between firsts and lasts. This time of year, the lasts are almost as traumatic as the firsts. Any day could be the last swim; barefoot beach walk, fish caught, clamming or any number of important events. Any day could be the first snow, the first time its dark before five O'clock, the first one beach walk only day or worse yet... No beach walk day. This means that every second counts double and if you have a chance to do the last of something you go for it.
      Friday was warm and sunny and I had a new kayak seat to test. A birthday present from Kelly, it's my first new seat in close to ten years. A first to balance out a possible last. The seat made me realize how bad the old one was and how much I miss kayaking the beach when I can't. The Rez is nice, but it's no beach. With any luck this won't be the last kayaking of the season. I should probably find my dry suit and try again at Thanksgiving or Christmas. For now... It doesn't get any better than this.
      Friday was probably the last swim. To count... You need to be submerged completely. Hair wet and all. There's no time requirement so... This one counted. To be a true beach day, you have to be able to walk up the beach in bare feet, sit in a chair for a while and walk back in bare feet. Usually that happens in November during the Thanksgiving trip.

Monday, November 3, 2008

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   Choose your weapon.   

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   The Shopping Cart... The very first one.   

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   Number two... The Catchers Mask.   

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   Darth Vader.   

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   The Clam Killer. The best rake of all.   

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   The New Shopping Cart... not as good as the old one.   

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   The Farmer. My personal favorite.   

If it's worth doing... It's worth doing well.
Don't dwell on the negative.

      Clamming is a lot like beachcombing. The differences are that you can eat the results of successful clamming and usually not so with beachcombing, and clamming is a much greater time and resource commitment and a heck of a lot more work. The similarities are as strong as the differences. Both are enjoyable outdoor activities. Both have elements of skill as well as coincidence or luck. Both result ideally in treasure that can be enjoyed immediately as well as the future (clams and broth freeze very well). Both activities are conducted next to, or in, water. Both can be weather dependent for participation and results.
      The first time we went kayaking at Island Beach state park, Kelly dug a toe in to the sand in the ankle deep water south of Tices Shoal and dug up a clam. We were soon armed with out first clamming rakes, an anchor, a traditional bushel basket in an inner tube to hold the clams and lunch in a twenty year old Playmate cooler. We made our way out to the sand flats west of the winter anchorage near the southern end of the park. We passed a canoe full of Pineys ( denizens of the Pine Barrens ) that seemed amused that we were wasting our time on the sand in clean ankle deep water while they slogged chest deep in murky water and knee deep muck feeling for clams with their toes. 92 clams later we felt we had a formula for success.
      There are some rules to be followed. You need a license to clam. One for each person clamming. You can't clam on Sundays... Clams are Methodists I believe. The most clams you can get in one day is 150 per person. We have yet to catch our limit but... That limit leads to counting, which leads to statistics. We do a rough field count as we catch them. We had a day where we only got one. We had a day that we got two-hundred fifty-two. We seldom get less than a hundred. Some times we get them consistently from the time we start. Some times we have to roam over huge areas to find a sweet spot. We've caught 3042 all together since we started counting... and not so much as an upset stomach from eating them. That is a tribute to how well New Jersey has done when it comes to cleaning up the coastal waters and keeping them clean.
      Quite a few times we have been chased off the flats by thunder storms and cold weather. Biting green flies can be a nuisance. Crabs can attack regularly. Cow nosed rays can be a little scary when you encounter them... They like clams as well. Above all... Clamming is hard work. Try dragging a long tined rake through deep soft sand in the burning sun and drying wind for hours at a time while swatting flies and dodging crabs. Then we have to paddle back to where we put in, dead tired, carrying anywhere up to a few hundred pounds of extra weight in the form of clams. Hating to have to get up out of the kayak to portage over the shallow spots. Kelly even had a kayak sink due to a crack near the foot rests and barely made it across the deep spot before the put-in area.
      In spite of all of the trials and tribulations, there's nothing more rewarding than a day of clamming. We get the clams back to the house and sort them on the patio before hosing them down with fresh water every half an hour for a while. This method, shared with me by David Sardinha of David's Seafood in Fall River, Massachusetts, results in virtually sand-free clams without any corn meal, cayenne pepper or any of the other old wives tales about de-sanding clams. The best part of the whole process may be the first batch of roasters off the grill. A batch of Uncle Pat's Clam Chowder is a great way to use a few more and there's nothing better than raw clams when they're this fresh. Ten days on ice and they are still better than store bought. Stay tuned for a New England clam chowder recipe, clams Negra Modelo, Mexican clam chowder and Dot Trautman's stuffed clams. Check in the Danger Kitchen online cookbook.
      One of the goals for this trip was to get clamming one last time. The weather was just too cold and uncooperative this trip. The best haul in October was eight clams. Good thing we always keep a good supply of frozen clams and broth for special occasions. Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthday clam dishes have become a regular part of the celebration.

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   A pretty good haul... Just out of the mesh bag.   

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   Still a load of gear to get out of the truck and put away.   

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   Sorted by size and grouped by tens.   

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   Collateral damage... A bucket of crabs.   

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   Roasters AND crabs... This is as good as it gets.   

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Poor Capitalism Poor
Poor Socialism Poor
Poor Share Poor
Karl Marx Barack Obama Joe Stalin Osama bin Laden Fidel Castro

Austin McCain... Yeah Baby!

Yeah Baby!!!

The Truth?
Evil is as Evil Does

      Karl Rove, the man widely credited with engineering President Bush's two successful White House bids, is predicting the Illinois senator will take the White House in an Electoral College landslide, winning 338 votes to John McCain's 200. That would be the largest Electoral College victory since 1996, when Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole in a 379-159 rout.

Election Day 2008!!!
Make sure you vote. This one is for all the marbles!
We might be able to recover. I know we wouldn't survive.

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   A great night for a sunset walk past the old Wheelhouse Marina... Gateway to Island Beach State Park.   

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   Still a few boats in the water in Seaside Park.   

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   Sunset boat ride? Sure!   

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Walking south along the bay beach.   

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   The town dock, south of the yacht club.   

A Sunset Walk in Seaside Park
It seems more important as the days grow shorter.

      Sunset is a special time at the beach. Some times it's even worth leaving the beach for the bay side of the island to watch the spectacle. I've taken thousands of sunset pictures but can never find an excuse no to take more. It's as worthwhile to collect sunsets as it is to collect sea glass. They can be a little sad sometimes. They mark the end of a beach day and that's never good. They also mark the beginning of a beach night and that is good.
      Each sunset is different. The reddest ones seem to excite the seagulls that leave the beach settle in the sedge islands in the bay for the night. They all call loudly in unison until the last light of the sun is below the western horizon. Yellow, orange or pink sunsets don't seem to affect them the same way.
      This sunset walk started on 24th Avenue in Berkeley, the last town on the island before the state park. 24th Ave. is the location of the Berkeley Seafood Market and restaurant, which is a great place to have dinner and a great place to watch sunsets from the second floor dining room. The dining room has views of Barnegat Bay and the ocean side dunes of Island Beach State Park. Our walk took us west past the old Wheel House Marina to the intersection of 24th Ave. and the bay road. We walked the beach along the bay road north into Seaside Park. We stopped at the big town dock just south of the Seaside Park Yacht Club. The walk back was dark as the last red glow slipped below the horizon to the west over Bayville on the other side of Barnegat Bay. A few red running lights passed by as the last few fishing boats returned from the open ocean through Barnegat Inlet. We could see the light of Barnegat Lighthouse ten miles to the south across the Inlet.
      The saddest part of this sunset walk was seeing all of the boats washed up and possibly damaged from the fierce storms that hit hard most of October. The whole scene reminded us of how we found Cantaloupe, our own long suffering Mutineer sailboat after letting someone use it for the season. Someone who didn't look after her.
      We stopped at Georges Mexican grocery and deli on the boulevard in Seaside Heights for fresh cilantro before hitting the A&P for the rest of the ingredients for fresh salsa for the party Saturday. It was a great end to a great beach day... and the first test of the new kayak seat.

See the Complete Sunset Walk in all it's glory.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

There's a Chance

We might be able to pull out of the nose dive.

      Yesterday a good thing happened. A majority of people decided they didn't believe the lies and scare tactics that have brought us to the brink of ruin after eight years. I keep forgetting the real significance of this election. Without the Republicans constantly reminding me, I keep forgetting Obamas half black. I guess I just voted for the smart guy. We need a president and vice president that aren't parodies or caricatures of themselves.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anticipation and Expectation

Anatomy of a Beach Trip

      A trip to the beach always begins with planning and anticipation. There will be things to be done as the seasons change… Chores and pleasure. There are always first and last milestones of some sort. Most of these events require a bit of planning. Some require extra or special clothing. Some require kayaks or clamming equipment. Special meals may require special utensils or ingredients that can be purchased less expensively up here in Connecticut. Part of the ritual is to make a list ten days out. That’s when I start looking at the weather.com ten day forecast. It’s not important… and usually wrong… but its part of the ritual. The last trip was supposed to include the first beach fire and the last clamming of the year. The weather and circumstances didn’t cooperate. That doesn’t necessarily result in disappointment. It’s the beach after all.

      In days past, my mind would be free of encumbrances and stress as soon as the truck was headed south. I used to leave in the morning to arrive before dark. Now circumstances prevent that but the rest of the arriving ritual is the same. I park the truck and walk up the beach. During warmer weather, the footwear comes off before I cross the Brielle Bridge on to the island. The first beach walk ends with bare feet in the water weather permitting. The next step is to unload the truck completely and stow all the gear as soon as possible so it feels like I’ve been there all along. A Dark and Stormy or two later and all is right with the world.

      The first morning is another important part of the ritual, but no less important than every morning. Making coffee and opening the blinds in the dining room is always the first order of business. I usually check email while waiting for the coffee to finish, and see what’s happening on cnn.com. That’s as connected to the world as I need to be except for sticking my head out of the door to check the weather. As soon as the coffee is done it’s time for a walk up the beach with a coffee in a Sponge Bob mug. If the weather is decent I walk down to the water and stick a toe in or at least check for beachcombing possibilities.

      Food is an important part of ever beach trip. This last trip had some high points. A fine batch of New England clam chowder made with clams frozen after what is now the second to last clamming safari of the year on July 7, 2008. We got 244 clams that day; the second best performance ever. Ham and Cabbage was another important meal, made with Connecticut cabbage from the farmers market in Danielson. We had spaghetti and meatballs at Kelly’s grandmother Agnes’ house. She makes a great sauce… I mean being Irish and all. She made a full-boat turkey dinner the following weekend for Kelly’s Aunt Sheila’s birthday. It’s hard to imagine twenty or more people for dinner in a traditional Ocean Beach house but it happens all the time there. We invited Agnes over for a roast pork dinner that turned out better than expected thanks to herbs from the herb garden, garlic and bacon.

      We didn’t get any boardwalk food or pizza this trip but did do burgers and dogs on the grill one stormy night and Kelly did her best to catch a striper for dinner. She caught a total of eight shorts (under 28 inches) and carefully threw each one back. No bluefish either but there’s still some fishing left to do this year. We had rock crab claws one night and great Black Angus steaks on the grill another night. It always seems to be wild and stormy on grilling nights… or perhaps Dark and Stormy as well. The grand finale was a delicious white scallop and cheese sauce over pasta on election night. Some Harpoon Oktoberfest beer, a 2005 Reif Estate Vidal ice wine and a bottle of Goslings Black Seal rum made the whole trip a gourmet experience. Kelly’s chorizo frittata and two different fresh salsas will be Danger Kitchen recipes soon as well as the second attempt to recreate my grandmother Dot Trautman’s stuffed clam recipe. Too much sage this time and not chunky enough. Old paprika and surf clam shells gathered at the last minute worked against us but they were pretty good any way.

      The beach isn’t just about eating. It’s about the things you do and the things you don’t but might next time. Beach walks are always a big part. North and south each have their own unique features. Sometimes we even go to another beach to walk but not too often. Walking the boardwalk is something I try and do every day rain or shine. Every day reveals something different somewhere. The ritual is as important as almost any. There is the day, yet to happen this season, that I’m the only one on the entire boardwalk. The last boardwalk walk of the trip can be emotional. It seems to have greater impact if it’s through sunset. Coming back to a cheery warm beach house after a brisk lonely walk during the winter is one of life’s simple pleasures. Whatever’s in the crock pot always smells better under those conditions. Walking the boardwalk in Seaside Heights or Point Pleasant is another option. The deserted grittiness of the Seaside boardwalk contrasts with the just-closed-for-the-season cleanly order of Point Pleasant. The four bars usually open on the Seaside boardwalk punctuate the walk nicely with a few lights and a few people visible through the condensation on the windows. We did two Seaside boardwalk walks this trip.

      Sunsets are always special at the beach. They always induce a nostalgic sort of melancholy over the end of the day. They also mark the beginning of a night at the beach which is better than a night almost anywhere. The last sunset of the trip is always tough. It’s better if it rains… Less traumatic that way. We did a sunset walk a week ago that took us from the old Wheel House Marina on Twenty-Fourth Avenue in Seaside Park to just south of the Seaside Park Yacht Club. We finished the walk just as the deepest last reds of the sun disappeared behind the trees in Bayville across Barnegat Bay. Sometimes just a quick drive to the bay beach in Lavallette for sunset has to suffice. We did two of those this trip.

      The last day of any visit is a day to think about the ups and downs of the trip. I could still walk up the beach barefoot… That’s a good thing. We didn’t get clamming… That’s a bad thing… But half expected. That made the last Clamming, Friday, September 5, 2008 with 133 Clams; the 11th best ever. We didn’t make it to the park either… That’s rare. We got a few beach days in... Did plenty of fishing. Took the last swim October 31. Went for the last kayak paddle (more than likely) on November 1. We found a piece of sea glass on the last beach combing walk in the rain so that was a good thing. Oh yeah… we elected the first black president… That's a good thing... Or the first half black one anyway. The first smart one in a while at least... That's the important part. So I guess it wasn’t a half bad beach trip.


Rain Desert Update

     The lights were still on in the Rain Desert tonight and Jan was busy working on the website and packing up mementos. Jan has been busy with Vegware natural starch based cutlery and tableware, a new business located in the Siri Wire mill. The key is to hit the ground running.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Big High Five
Don't Lie to the Wrong Guy!

      There's an unwritten rule that says "Never lie to your attorney." A good additional rule of thumb is "Never lie to mercenary urban commando and bounty hunter John Five." I just recently received a call from my old friend "Five" looking for some addresses in New Jersey and New York State. I met John quite a few years ago at the Coombs-Gates terminal at Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks waiting for a flight to Miller's Market in West Sand Lake, New York. He told me he was in the "importing" business. I didn't ask any more questions. What a small world it really is. Seems like John is going chicken hunting when he gets back from a "business" trip to Cambodia. Old ties are the ties that bind. The chicken's goose may be cooked in short order. I'd hate to have "Five" after me. The chicken doesn't have a wing or a prayer. Stay tuned for more...

Under Destruction

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Nordic Lodge
Display models and the Boston Produce Expo.

      The Boston Produce Expo A-Team convened again Friday night for a trip to the Nordic Lodge before it closes for the season. Half the team... Chris and Joe Ciccanesi were MIA for this one but we tried make them proud. The Nordic Lodge is an all-you-can-eat buffet style restaurant. The menu includes lobster, prime rib, strip steaks, shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops and almost anything else you can think of for side dishes and salads. The food is good all the time. This time everything was great!
      The first trip to "The Lodge" was to celebrate a successful showing in the booth theme competition in the Boston Produce Show two years ago. Joe Ciccanesi was determined to take first prize after years of trying. Some Scale Coast display models were to be a part of the plan.
      The team worked all day the day before the show, even skipping the catered meals for the show participants. We went out for a seafood dinner and walked around the waterfront before heading off for a cocktail party on the 38th floor of some glassy tower overlooking the skyline. Our efforts paid off, but only with a second prize. Gilligan and the Skipper trumped our entry. Joe suspected politics were involved. I suspect the Soviets. A good time was had by all in spite of the loss.
      Thanks again to Joe Ciccanesi of Tourtellot Produce, the founder of the feast... And all the previous ones for that matter. He must have been a grandmother in a previous life because he sure seems to enjoy seeing people eat. Thanks Joe!

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   The Empire State Building   

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   We had all the stuff.   
   We just needed to put it in the right place.   

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   The Empire State building was visible everywhere.   

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   Chris and Ken Muserlian look over the setup.   

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   Chris as Julius Caesar   
   Joe as the "Die Reck Tor"   

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   The Queen... In all her glory.   

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   Second Place!!!   
   We was robbed I tell ya.   

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   Kong enjoys his celebrity.   

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   The African Queen... Best picture.   

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A Very Lucky Hermit crab

     Crabby fans have been asking about our favorite crustacean since his rescue at The Rez. He recently traveled to the Jersey Shore in his fish tank. We cleaned out his tank and replaced the corn cob bedding with beach sand, bought three new shells for him at the Bait and Tackle Shop and hooked him up with a natural sponge fresh from the ocean. He seems to be loving life and spends his nights romping around his tank now and climbs to the top of his horseshoe crab cave regularly. He munches on his sponge and bathes in his salt water clam shell pool. He's a changed crab. The trauma of his abandonment to the wilds of CT seems to be over.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

No... Not Lysergic acid Piethylamide

      It stands for Life's Simple Pleasures. The one in question can be traced to the most recent beach trip. I had to stay an extra day and didn't have to travel on Tuesday, November 4, 2008... Also known as election day. This in itself was a pleasure. Kelly and I left the beach for Brick so she could vote at her local polling place; a senior center. We stopped at her house before hand to see if her mother and grandmother would like a ride to vote as well. They didn't. Kelly decided to check her dad's garden for any remaining produce. John's garden reminds me of a miniature farm. There's a variety of terrain and it seems much larger than the fifteen or so by thirty feet it measures. Kelly discovered eggplants and bell peppers, Italian frying peppers and green tomatoes. We picked everything that was still good and headed off to vote. Kelly sent all of the produce north with me on Wednesday afternoon and tonight I got to make tomato sauce with fresh garden peppers and herbs from the Church herb garden in Attawaugan. This may be the last occurrence of this kind for eight or nine months. It'll be worth waiting for. It's one of life's simple pleasures.

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What A Difference A Day Makes
What's That Glare in the Sky?

     What's that glare in the sky from? Oh yeah... It's the sun. This is the first day it hasn't rained all day since election day at the end of the beach trip. I like taking "River Breaks" and didn't get to do one until today. There's plenty of sparkly-stuff on the water looking south towards the 195 Bridge at the head of Narragansett Bay.

Here's Why!

      I keep hearing discussions concerning Barack Obama's capability as a leader. Let's see... Two years ago he was a freshman senator that looked a little like Erkle. Today he is the most powerful, admired and respected human being on the planet... Probably ever! AND... He has Bill and Hilary Clinton kissing his butt. All in two years. Tell me again why he isn't capable??? I thought so...

One-Legged Sandpiper Update

Bringin' Back The Old Stuff

The One-Legged Sandpiper The 02/02/99 Sandpiper, #0, Cold Gray Dawn, is back on line. This one is number zero because it was discovered on an old computer system's email outbox long after the one thought to be number one was online. The color scheme is great with the dark grainy 320 x 240 pictures. This one is what started it all.

More Unpublished Piper

Danger Kitchen's Lost Archives

      The following Danger Kitchen recipes were for a 2001 One-Legged Sandpiper that was never published. The old material is slowly being collected from hard drives on a half dozen old computers and all kinds of interesting stuff is turning up. Things that were in the works eight years ago may yet make it online. This recipe is another great one. I made three of these last year with pumkins grown at the Train Station in the garden area along the railraod tracks.

* Punkin Head Willy's
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
     This is a great fall desert that's easy but looks kind of exotic on the average table. Have this for desert after a Docktoberfest Dinner. What a great way to end a great fall day of Leaf Peepin'. This is just one of the Things I Like About Fall.


> 1 4 to 5 pound short fat pumpkin.
> 2 to 3 TBSP melted butter.
> 2 to 4 TBSP brown sugar.
> 1/3 cup sugar.
> 2 cups milk.
> 1/4 cup butter.
> 2 cups stale bread cubed, with or without crusts.
> 3 eggs.
> 2/3 cup raisins.
> 1 tsp cinnamon.
> 1/2 tsp nutmeg.


> Clean out the punkin and keep the "lid".
> Pour in the melted butter and turn the punkin to coat the inside.
> Sprinkle the brown sugar over the inside and put the lid on.
> Bake on a baking pan at 350 for around 20 minutes.

While It's Baking:

> Scald the milk.
> Add the 1/4 cup butter and 1/3 cup sugar.
> Pour the mixture (after the butter melts) over the bread cubes.
> Let it sit and soak for 5 minutes.
> Beat the eggs.
> Mix in the raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg.
> Mix with the soggy bread and pour into the punkin.
> Bake at 350 without the lid for about an hour and a half. Until the bread pudding "sets up".
> Let stand for a bit before serving... It stays quite hot.
> Slice into wedges and serve like pie with good ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

* My friend Doctor Bob Green told a story of asking for "Punkin Head Willy" instead of "Mountain Top Willy" at a book store for a fourth grade reading assignment. Now... Doctor Bob's cosmetic surgery skills could help Punkin Head Willy lead a normal and happy life.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas Music???
Isn't it just a little early?

      So my clock radio goes off this morning and what to my horrified ears does appear? CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!! I can't stand it. We haven't even eaten Thanksgiving dinner yet. I can thank one of the only two radio station I can get here at the Train Station for that. Go to www.lite105.com for streaming audio just in case you might want to suffer along with me.
      The good news is I paid $2.15 for gas last night in Johnston, RI. $20.00 actually puts some gas in the tank now. I hear the average is $1.89 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The bad news is our illustrious government is bailing out AIG again. At least they're limiting golden parachutes and compensation packages for the top 70 executives this time... Until the legal team finds a loophole.

I bought a roll of toilet paper yesterday.

Merry Christmas

Christmas Sandpiper. See the Santa hat?

An Occurrence At
Haven Harbor

Strange goings on in New England...

On a bizarre little island...

Off a different kind of coast

You aren't from around here are ya?

      Palmer Hamilton’s life was in equilibrium. He was relaxing on his sailboat as the summer waned and the leaves began to turn colors when the invitation arrived. It was time to weigh anchor and move on to the next project and this one sounded interesting. Pardon Ellengton, the quirky reclusive developer of a strange and unique island community in New England had granted Palmer an exclusive interview, and extended an invitation to create an online travel guide to his own little island world. Palmer would find himself attracted to the little society just as it encountered the first challenges to the peace and harmony that brought its residents there in the first place. Everyone seems to have heard about the little island, but no one seemed to know any details. What, where and how were going to be answered soon. Who and why would consume his every thought and might even turn him into the next victim.
      Were they random acts of violence and terror, or the calculated actions of a monster? Was there a bigger motive than jealousy or hatred? Why didn’t anyone seem to know what was happening at all? How tight was Pardon’s control over reality and fantasy? Was he involved, or was he trying to make his little world right again? Palmer Hamilton wasn’t in the business of solving gruesome crimes but his keen eye to the color and texture that make up the details of everyday life that most people don’t even notice enable him to get into the fabric of Haven Harbor life. As an outsider on the inside, Palmer’s precise analytical mind pieces together the facts, rumors and suspicions into a picture of events that only the criminal and victims witnessed. One isn’t talking. The others can’t. He contributes to the success of Pardon Ellengton’s noble experiment in way’s the island’s residents can only imagine and develops a taste for excitement in the process that will affect the rest of his life.

One-Legged Sandpiper Update

Bringin' Back The Old Stuff

The One-Legged Sandpiper The 04/19/99 Sandpiper, #23, Spring? is back on line. This one is one of the first bigger Sandpipers. Weather, shop news, Adirondack Style Outdoor Furniture news and the Green Side Up gardening department are just some of what's in number 23. Some local history, Church history, Alexander Lake pictures and two Danger Kitchen soup recipes round out the offering. Try the HTML lesson for a challenge. Lots of links, a Here's the Church photo section and a home page contest announcement make this the biggest Sandpiper ever. Even so, it's only a hint of things to come.

Unpublished Piper

Danger Kitchen's Lost Archives

      The following Danger Kitchen recipe was for a 2001 One-Legged Sandpiper that was never published. The old material is slowly being collected from hard drives on a half dozen old computers and all kinds of interesting stuff is turning up. Things that were in the works eight years ago may yet make it online. This recipe is delicious. The first time I tried it Ken Muserlian and I ate a six pound pan of it by ourselves.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts And Chestnuts
Get Ready For Thanksgiving

Nancy Starziano

Executive Chef - Eastside Marketplace
Providence, Rhode Island

Need a different, yet delicious, side dish for Thanksgiving?
Try this on for size. Trim up the sprouts the day before and used canned or frozen chestnuts for a dish that takes little time but tastes Big Time.


> Three to four pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed.
> One pound peeled chestnuts, not roasting on an open fire.
> One quarter pound butter (1 stick).
> Salt and pepper to taste.


> Cut the sprouts in half top to bottom.
> Place in a baking dish with the Chestnuts and butter.
> Put in a 350 degree oven.
> Mix well to coat everything with butter.
> Add salt and pepper to taste.
> Roast until sprouts and chestnuts are tender, stirring occasionally.


> Add crumbled crisp fried bacon before serving.
> Add chunks of browned sausage before roasting.
> Mix any or all of the above with broth and bread cubes for stuffing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Click here for a larger version of picture 1
   Always worth the effort... A "Rez" sunset.   

Click here for a larger version of picture 2
   Looks like a storm coming in from the west.   

Click here for a larger version of picture 3
   My cormorant buddy. I've kayaked within two feet of him.   

Click here for a larger version of picture 4
   He arrived this spring.   

Click here for a larger version of picture 5
   Ok... One last picture before heading home.   

Another Sunset at the Rez
It's always worth making this part of the day.

      Sunset at the Rez is always worth the effort. I try and plan the day's activities around getting there by sunset when I'm here in town all day. I was pleased to see my cormorant buddy perched in a tree on the point just south of the main swimming beach. He has a commanding view of the whole body of water from there. He arrived early this spring and has been a regular all summer and fall so far. I've kayaked to within a couple of feet of him when he's in the water. He seems to be part of the reason the fish population is down. The heron, a regular for two years now, has a mate now. The three birds seem to be doing a good job keeping fish scarce and on the run. I only saw one fish related ripple while I was there. The water is down to winter levels and the trees are mostly bare. Winter comes to the Rez.

Click here for a larger version of picture 1.

Click here for a larger version of picture 2.

Click here for a larger version of picture 3.

Red Tag Sale

How much is that seagull in the parking lot?

     This seagull inhabits the parking lot in front of Michaels in the Killingly Commons shopping center in Dayville, CT. I though someone may have stuck a price sticker to him but he seems to have a band around his ankle also so I think he's been tagged. Many people have no respect for seagulls but I've always considered them rather special. They have some bad habits but so don't us humans. I've seen them playing in the updrafts in front of big waves and riding the air currents rising over the berm in a strong east wind... Apparently just for the heck of it. I've seen one carry a shell in the air, drop it, and chase it to the ground a dozen times or more in play. There's usually one that will ride the thermals of the accumulated heat of day over the island hundreds of feet in the air. They leave the beach to roost in the sedge grass of the bay islands around sunset. If the sunset is red they will all call in unison until the last light is gone. The redder the sunset, the more noise they make.
     I've saved many of them from fishing line entanglements over the years. Fisherman will cut the line rather than untangle the hapless bird sentencing the bird to eventual and tragic death. I've paddled out in the kayak in the worst conditions to catch seagulls tangled in line and struggling in the surf... Sometimes tangled two together. They may put up a fuss, but the largest seagull can be immobilized by folding up its wings and pinching its beak shut. They calm right down then. Even the biggest ones can't break the skin on your fingers easily. I feel bad seeing them in parking lots eating McDonalds French fries but don't use that as an excuse to run them over.

The Numbers Don't Lie

But someone we all know does.

One would have Two be crazy. It would happen faster than you could count to Three Four John Five to deep Six you Seven days a week. I hear he Eight Nine guys for breakfast in one sitting. On a scale of one to Ten... I'd say you've got Zero chance.

The Chicken is Cooked

It Was Bound To Happen

      Today... Monday, November 10, 2008 at 5:38pm it happened. I heard that hideous Christmas shoe song for the first time. It's not quite as bad as that cake-out-in-the-rain song you hear once in a blue moon but...

Christmas Shoes... The horror!

Sort of...

      Make sure you visit www.change.gov and keep up with the transition of the administration. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting in the White House. Things seem to be off to a good start. I'm hoping we see Colin Powell as secretary of state or defense. I think that would be a great thing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Danger Kitchen
Danger Kitchen

      The Danger Kitchen online cookbook has a new index on top. The recipes are grouped by type and this index makes it a little easier to look for them. There's about 75 recipes now, but I've got that many more to add at least so it's best to get organized. Danger Kitchen needs a complete remodel. The appliances and decor are 60s vintage... At least as far as web design goes. No time for a remodel right now so let's call it retro. Yeah... That's it! Watch for new categories soon.

Appetizers     Blackened     Desserts     Drinks     Main Dishes     Beef     Chicken/Turkey     Fish     Lamb     Pork     Pasta     Side Dishes     Smoked     Soup    

      Now is the time I usually begin to think about Christmas shopping. Money has been an issue for the past few years so I have resorted to making a lot of presents. Before that I made presents for pleasure as time permitted. Before the shop in the church was abandoned for real-estate projects in Danielson, there was a great project on the drawing board and under construction. Felix, my nephew of four or so at the time, was absorbed by steam trains and Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas is based on a real type of steam train engine. The tank engines were small self contained, or tender less, engines that were designed for short hauls and light loads, reducing the amount of coal and water needed. The water tank was build over and around the boiler in front of the cab, hence the name. They had a stocky friendly sort of look. I decided to build Felix a "Stepney". Stepney was one of the Thomas characters and his personal favorite. The design was quickly compiled from a mix of sources and construction commenced. The tracks were built first and the jig for the big band saw was built and the wheels cut. I created this graphic for the Sandpiper Pages devoted to the project. Unfortunately the project was sidetracked by the disastrous Danielson drama. I can't wait to get back in the shop.

The Official Stepney project animated gif
The One-legged Sandpiper Presents
Creating The Official
Stepney The Tank Engine Project
Color Graphic

     Every successful project starts with an idea, or in this case, an idea and a picture. The idea was to build my Nephew Felix something for the yard he could play on and in. The original plan called for a tugboat, one of my personal favorites. Felix has taken a shine to trains and train engines. This tank engine seems to be one of his favorites. It's used as a character in the Thomas The Tank Engine stories.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 00

Click here to see a larger version of picture 01
     Part of a projects success is determined by the availability of materials. A steel drum seems like a natural start for a train engine, so the first step was measuring a standard fifty-five gallon steel drum. Twenty-Four inches in diameter by thirty-four inches tall. The next step is developing a side view of the engine in proportion to a steel drum. The drum was laid out with MS Paint, using four pixels per inch for scale. The profile can now be drawn to proper proportions, with final dimensions taken from the drawing.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     The first problem that surfaced is that the boiler, the main "tube" of the engine body, is longer than two barrels, and the tank doesn't conceal the entire second barrel. This means two complete barrels, and a small section of sheet metal. The tank held water on either side of the boiler in the actual engine. This way the engine didn't need a tender, could operate in closer quarters, and the water was pre-heated before it entered the boiler tubes.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 02

Click here to see a larger version of picture 03
     Steel barrels have ridges that provide stiffness. Those need to be included in the drawing to see what effect they'll have on the appearance. They should work well as part of the engine.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Trimmed down to proportion, the ridges seem like part of an authentic tank engine, at least to the casual observer.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 04

Click here to see a larger version of picture 05
     Time to rough out the cab, the bridge of Captain Felix's rail-bound tugboat.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Circles created with the ellipse function are copied into place to form the radius of the cabs windows.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 06

Click here to see a larger version of picture 07
     The base will be built of plywood and 2x4s and be four feet wide by twelve feet long to make efficient use of materials. A four-foot wide engine on thirty-six inch gauge 2x4 rails should do the trick. Big enough to play in for a few years, but small enough to move without heavy equipment.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Sizing the wheels to look in proportion, yet go easy on materials is important. Each wheel will be built from three layers of 3/4-inch plywood, with cosmetic spokes added later. Six wheels. Three layers each. Eighteen blanks. Three sheets of plywood.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 08

Click here to see a larger version of picture 09
     Hubs and spokes next. The wheels will be the toughest part of the project.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Three or four attempts were needed to get reasonable looking wheels. I tried a few hub sizes and spoke arrangements. This was the least of all the evils.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 10

Click here to see a larger version of picture 11
     Using the copy function makes quick work of completing the wheels. The wheels overlap the foot walk to start.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Chop the tops off the wheels to make them appear to be behind the edge of the foot walk. A few details and the cab begin to take shape. The tank needs to be trimmed up as well.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 12

Click here to see a larger version of picture 13
     Time for the name on the side of the tank, and the chassis frame and some brake shoes.

Stepney The Tank Engine

          The drawing needed something... Rivets!!! That'll help. Not much change in this frame.

Stepney The Tank Engine
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Click here to see a larger version of picture 15
     Can't have a steam engine without a smoke stack. Plenty of other details to go on top of the engine as well.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Creating a few circles trying to reproduce the curve of the wheel well over the first wheel.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 16

Click here to see a larger version of picture 17
     The wheel well in place and time for more details.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Steam engines are covered with pipes and valves and all sorts of interesting details. Fun to draw, but time consuming to build. Maybe this will be a kindergarten graduation present instead of Christmas 2002.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 18

Click here to see a larger version of picture 19
     Bumpers front and rear, and more details below the "waterline" give the chassis a more realistic appearance.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     How much of this detail will appear on the finished "model" remains to be seen. The finished product will be approximately one half the size of the original, but disproportionately wide. That concession is needed to make room for two in the cab.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 20

Click here to see a larger version of picture 21
     Coupling levers and sanding hoppers add to the complexity of the undercarriage. The sanding hoppers released sand onto the rails in front of the wheels to improve traction on wet or icy rails, or pulling heavy loads from a dead stop.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Many of the features of the undercarriage appear in mirror image pairs. This is handled nicely with MS Paints "Copy to" and "Paste From" functions.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 22

Click here to see a larger version of picture 23
     Hoses and levers complete the running rigging. Plenty of articulated parts connected to the drive wheels.

Stepney The Tank Engine

          Time to try a little color.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 24

Click here to see a larger version of picture 25
     Pulling color from the original digital picture doesn't help much. The colors can't be "picked up" successfully from a picture in most cases since the resulting color is an average of dozens of individual colors.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     Browsing the color chart and fine-tuning the results against the original image by eye proves to be a more successful approach. Small color swatches allow the color to be picked up repeatedly and various areas of the drawing filled as needed.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 26

Click here to see a larger version of picture 27
     Stepney in full color with a little sky blue background.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     The final version seemed a little out of balance. Changing the proportions of the surrounding blue field seems to solve the problem... and makes for a better cover picture.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 28

     Another look at the original... or at least a digital photograph of a page out of Felix's train book.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 00

Click here to see a larger version of picture 29
     The bumpers front and rear are a good example of how a small part of the image was copied, reversed, and then pasted on the other end of the drawing.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     I don't even remember what this part of the drawing was copied for. Probably in case something I was trying didn't work. Who knows now?

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 30

Click here to see a larger version of picture 31
     These color samples were picked up from the original jpeg photo and saved to a 24-bit bmp file to be pasted into the drawing where the colors can be picked up and painted onto the appropriate areas.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     The coupling and uncoupling levers and brake hoses were copied and reversed as well.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 32

Click here to see a larger version of picture 33
     All that glitters is not gold. After five or six attempts, this looks like the correct color.

Stepney The Tank Engine

          Brake hoses copied and reversed to be pasted into the drawing.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 34

Click here to see a larger version of picture 35
     The connecting rod image was separated from the drawing to help create the animated gif at the top of this page. It was pasted over four sets of wheel images rotated ninety degrees each time.

Stepney The Tank Engine

     These are the sand hoppers that sit in front of and behind the drive wheels. They release sand onto the rails to provide traction when the wheels are slipping as power is applied. Ice, snow, rain or even a heavy load can cause the drive wheels to slip.

Stepney The Tank Engine
Click here to see a larger version of picture 36

Click here to see a larger version of picture 37
     Two steps to get into the cab, copied over the running gear. This was used to create the animated GIF file, where the connecting rod was rotated with the wheels... and that's that... for now.

Stepney The Tank Engine

The final Product

Meet me in the shop

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coming Soon
A Things-To-Do list for the Sandpiper

      There's a new feature in this mess tonight. There's a short "Coming Soon" list just below the calendar at the top of the page. Oh yeah... The double calendar is a new feature as well. Use it to jump to every date on the home page, not just the current month. There's always a month's worth on the home page. Use the "Coming Soon" link on the menu bar to the left, or the "More Coming Soon" link at the bottom of the short list above to see the whole list. The "Home" link on the menu bar has been fixed so it doesn't jump to the Classic Sandpiper page. That will be the Sandpiper as it was left six years ago for nostalgia's sake.

One-Legged Sandpiper Update

Bringin' Back The Old Stuff

The One-Legged Sandpiper The 04/26/99 Sandpiper, #24, Landscaping and Wisdom Teeth, is back on line. This one is the first multi-page Sandpiper. There's weather, landscaping, outdoor Church repairs and furniture computer system report examples. This is the first big Green Side Up that tells a bit of a story. The Piper Geographic department is born and there's a local walk along the Five Mile River. The History of Ocean County part four and an HTML lesson about creating tables rounds out the informational parts of this monster. See some sunset pictures, a tentative timeshare proposal, another chapter of Church history and a great fish recipe. This issue set the direction for future expansion. It's still pretty primitive, but it has a certain charm.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Barbed Wire
Can The Economy Be That Bad???

John Five Economizes?

      Could if be that the economy is even affecting John Five? I was driving to Plainfield on Monday evening just after taking some sunset pictures at the Rez. Who to my wondering eyes should appear but John Five driving a CHEVY AVALANCHE??? Last time I saw him in person he was driving a Hummer... Black of course. Not an H2... A real hummer! This seemed like a demotion for him but explains why I've seen it around town lately. You get to recognize the locals after a while. I swear I've seen him in a burgundy H2 as well. If Five's driving this... Is the rest of the team in Yugos? Only kidding JF. Any way... It figures John Five would be driving a vehicle named after something that slides down mountains out of control killing people.

John Five has a new ride

Barbed Wire

Billybobjoedon's Punkin Ravs wif Autumn Vegs
( Pumpkin Ravioli with Autumn Vegetables )

Chef Bill Andrews

Chef and former owner of Providence's Leon's on the West Side

     This is an amazing fall dish that's easy to make but can compete, flavor wise, with the best of meals. Chef Bill Andrews pulled this one out of his... ah... IMAGINATION at a moments notice and it's a meal you could turn into an event that would become a yearly tradition. "Hey... Are you going to make that ravioli thing again this year? Yer gonna invite me aren't ya?"


> 2 lb pumpkin ravioli.
> 1/2 lb porcini mushrooms (frozen ok).
> 1 lb cooked chicken breast (breaded) sliced 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick.
> 1 lb peeled cubed butternut squash.
> 2 green apples halved, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick.
> 1/4 cup butter.
> 1/4 cup olive oil.
> 2 cups heavy cream.
> Sage, fresh or dried.
> Ground nutmeg.
> Salt and pepper.


> Cook the squash cubes in boiling water until barely tender. Drain, reserving liquid.
> Cook the ravioli in boiling water until barely done.
> Start Reducing the squash liquid in a sauce pan for making the sauce.
> Heat the oil and butter in a pan.
> Cook the mushrooms until tender in the butter and oil.
> Add the chicken, butternut squash and apple slices and turn coat well.
> Add the ravioli to the rest of the ingredients and keep on gentle heat.


> Whisk the cream into the reduced squash liquid to make.
> Add some sage... just a little at a time to taste.
> Add a few pinches of nutmeg and heat gently for a few minutes.
> Pour some of the sauce over the pan of other ingredients.
> Garnish with chopped apples if desired.
> Serve in large bowls or deep plates with sauce on the side and crusty bread.

Options *

> Add chicken or pork sausage, sliced, cooked and drained in addition to, or in place of, the chicken.
> Use lobster or monkfish instead of, or in addition to, chicken.
> Use shrimp or crab clusters instead of, or in addition to, chicken.
> Use sweet potato instead of squash.
> Use pumpkin instead of squash.
> Use a mix of glazed carrots, sweet potatoes, rutabagas and parsnips instead of, or in addition to, squash or pumpkin... Mix it up.
> Use baby bella, portabella or combination of wild or other mushrooms.
> Add a chopped red onion to the butter and oil before anything else.
> Add a splash of Champagne if using lobster or monkfish.
> Add warmed Apple Jack and flame before serving.
> Add crisp fried, drained and crumbled bacon to the dish as a garnish or mixed in before saucing.
> Add crumbled blue cheese, Stilton or Gorgonzola just before serving.

Click here to see a larger version of this dish

Click here to see a larger version of this dish

Click here to see a larger version of this dish

* Did you think there was a recipe that I wouldn't suggest adding bacon to? You'd be wrong.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Thirteen Nine

Now this is more like it.

      Stopping for gas on route 6 East in Johnston, Rhode Island this morning I paid $2.13 9/10. It seems like my last gas-related prediction was for Obama to be elected. That was October, 19 by the way. I want to see it get below $2.00 before Christmas. I can actually get three days worth of gas in the tank for $20.00 now.

Click here for a larger version of picture 1
   Seagulls seldom sit by themselves... Unless there's a problem.   

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   This guy let me get quite close to him.   

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   Ah... There's the problem.   

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   He quickly settled down when he realized I meant him no harm.   

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   Great eyes and beautiful markings. Quite a specimen this one.   

Click here for a larger version of picture 5
   He was more than happy to ignore me.   

Stumpy the Seagull
A noble bird deals with his inconvenience.

      Seagulls have a hard enough life without handicaps. This guy was around for the whole time I was in New Jersey this last trip. He's missing his right leg from the knee down, and his driver side leg is broken and useless. He can hobble on what's left of his legs but spends most of his time sitting quietly by himself rather than participating in the big squabbles for food that the rest of his brethren waste most of their time with. He's good at catching food thrown to him in mid air, preventing any other bird from getting it. I fed him a big chunk of leftover pork roast this way while he was sitting on the dune near the benches. He likes to sit with his butt over the rut from tire tracks on the beach so he doesn't have to move every time he poops. He seems to be dealing with his "inconvenience" rather well. He reminds me of Limpy before that bird went MIA.

Stumpy... One heck of a seagull.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Click here to see the entire Sunset Walk page
A Sunset Walk

Along Barnegat Bay in Seaside Park, New Jersey

      The complete Sunset Walk Page is finished. See pictures from a walk along the bay road next to Barnegat Bay in Seaside Park, New Jersey. There's links to some great old Sandpiper pages about beach people and sailboats Bat and Cantaloupe.

Kelly's Chorizo Frittata

A Major Mexican Inspired Italian Recipe

     This is great breakfast dish that Kelly created on a cold windy October beach day. It has a distinct Mexican flair to it. If filling and comforting is what you're looking for; this is what you need.


> 12 oz Mexican chorizo sausage, skin removed.
> 1 medium red onion.
> 2 cans sliced potatoes, rinsed and drained.
> 5 eggs, lightly beaten.
> 4 slices American cheese.
> Garlic powder.
> Onion powder.
> Fresh ground black pepper.


> Make as many 3/4 inch meat balls out of the sausage as you can.
> Fry the sausage balls in a cast iron skillet until lightly browned.
> Drain and set aside the sausage balls.
> Chop the red onion and add to the pan with a little sausage grease.
> Cook the onion until tender.
> Remove the onion from the pan.
> Put the sliced drained potato slices in the pan and spread the onions over evenly.
> Pour the beaten eggs over the ingredients in the pan and cover with the sausage balls.
> Season to taste with garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. No need to add salt.
> Cook on the stove top for a few before moving the pan to a 350 degree oven.
> Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
> Cover with cheese slices and let the residual heat melt the cheese before serving.
> Slice and serve like quiche or scoop it into a bowl.

Options *

> Add green pepper and/or hot peppers to the pan with the onions.
> Use crumbled chorizo instead of balls.
> Use breakfast or Italian sausage instesd.
> Add mushrooms if you're using breakfast or Italian sausage.
> Add shredded cheese to the pan before adding the egg mixture.
> Top with crumbled bacon.

Boat/Camp Considerations.

This works well for boats or camping. There's just one pan. Cover with a lid and keep on top of the stove or fire if there's no oven available.

Click here to see a larger version of this picture

Click here to see a larger version of this picture

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* Did you think there was a recipe that I wouldn't suggest adding bacon to? You'd be wrong.

Danger Kitchen Online Cookbook

Pumpkin ravioli with Autumn Vegetables is
"In the book"

      There's some big changes at Danger Kitchen lately. The first new Danger Kitchen recipe in 8 years 5 months and 4 days; Dark and Stormy, is online. That recipe was followed by seven more including two that were ready for a 2001 Sandpiper but never published. The new recipes represent six contributors, five of who are new to the Sandpiper. Two are professional chefs. Two of the recipes are for drinks and one is the first Eastern European recipe. Ireland is represented and a Mexican inspired Italian dish is coming up next.
      The new recipes have been added to the Online Cookbook and a new index at the top of the cookbook will help you find what you're looking for easier. Old issues of the Sandpiper are being restored one by one. Sandpiper number 3, News From the Front 2/6/99, is back online and contains the first mention of food in a One-Legged Sandpiper; Blackened Ostrich Burgers. The first ever Danger Kitchen recipe, @#$&% Beit Bros. Out Of Salmon Chicken , is back online in Sandpiper number 6, The One-Legged Sandpiper 2/12/99. The URL dangerkitchen.com was registered and now point back to the One-Legged Sandpiper. Danger Kitchen might soon walk on it's own. Stay tuned for more.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Click here to see the Bat page

Bat has this emblem on her sail cover
 Bat The Cat
Sits Phat...

Photos By Kelly Jean Walter

      The Bat the Cat page is back online. See pictures from the exciting rescue of a beautiful old A-Cat sailboat from a violent and rapidly advancing thunder storm.

The One-legged Sandpiper Mutineer Logo
The Mutineer
A Fifteen Foot One Design Class Sailboat
A Gradual Recovery
Lavallette, New Jersey
Read the whole story.
Online again after all these years.
Click here to see the Cantaloupe web page

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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   The far north end of the Seaside boardwalk... Near where the indoor batting cages were. The Wine Cellar used to be down this end also.   

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   Some of the bars are still open all year.   

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   The Aztec was king of the boardwalk style wise in the late sixties and early seventies. Now it's the Seaside Crab House.   

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Lucky Leo's Arcade has been here forever. It's open because schools were closed for election day.   

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   "Seaside" found us in a dark alley and wanted food.   

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   Walking north just past the Carousel Arcade on the south pier.   

A Lonely Seaside Boardwalk Walk
You can almost hear a Bruce Springsteen song in the wind.

     I remember my very first trip to the Seaside boardwalk. I was four or five years old or so. I was walking with my cotton candy trying to keep up in the crowd when a woman wearing a big bulky fur jacket of some sort rushed past me and snagged half of my cotton candy on the fur. I tried telling someone of my group but they were all busy talking and walking and not paying attention. I turned to watch fur bimbo disappear into the crowd sporting what looked like a pink skunk-stripe on the fur. My grandparents made a fuss about getting saltwater taffy. The machine that makes it is cool to watch but… the taffy never did anything for me. The boardwalk itself and the wheels and carousels and rides always held a special fascination. They used to have a ride with old fashioned cars that rode around a track that I remember like it was yesterday. The boat ride was always appealing. I have to wonder how many new species of parasite and contagion evolved in the fetid pool of filth that the boats floated in… And we happy boaters trailed our hands in while boating, before eating cotton candy or Belgian waffles without washing our hands. Good thing we lived back in the days before that stuff was bad for you.
     I loved the carousel near the saltwater taffy place. Not so much because you could ride on a tiger, which was great, but they usually left the door open to the center and you could see all of the gears and belts and motors and such that drove the carousel and… the pinup calendar that the creepy maintenance guy had tacked up on a cabinet door of some sort. Skee-ball was fun and playing the wheels occasionally paid off. Most of my younger years were spent in the company of a stuffed snake won on the boardwalk. The last one I remember was lime green and about five or six feet long. The tongues and eyes were made of felt glued on. The tongues usually didn’t last too long. Crane machines were always tempting and seldom rewarded the effort. I always made a spin painting or two back then. I still have some of them. The Chatterbox was a noisy busy boardwalk bar that seemed a little scary when I was young. It was open to the boardwalk and was the first bar I ever remember seeing. I’m glad I had the chance to patronize it before it closed or moved or whatever happened to it. The Saw Mill used to be a great place to stop for a beverage or two as well. They used to sell the worlds largest pizza slices with a small soda for $1.25. $3.75 bought many a filling meal at the end of a long cold off-season boardwalk walk.
     For all the hustle and bustle during the summer, and weekends close to the beginning and end of the season, the boardwalk takes on a different character as the weather gets colder. As goes the rest of the beach, so goes the boardwalk. Post season weekends stay busy as long as the weather is favorable… until mid October or so. For the next five months the place takes on the look of a post-apocalyptic movie set complete with nuclear mutants. The Point Pleasant boardwalk gets a “Sorry… we’re closed” look to it. Seaside has a gritty creepy kind of desperate desertedness that you just have to experience. There’s an oasis or two of light and condensation fogged windows every so often from the three or four bars that stay open all year, and the arcades that do the same on weekends. The same tragic group of boardwalk rats always seems to be sitting in the same bar stools in the same bars. The highlight of the last walk, besides the ghost town atmosphere, was the young cat that tried his best to make friends. He was just too skittish to be petted but definitely wanted something to eat. I hope for the best for him. We’ll check on him next time we get a chance to walk the boards.
     If the idea of walking down a deserted boardwalk with the wind howling and the ocean waves pounding sounds a lot like a Bruce Springsteen song to you… Try it, you’ll like it. This is what he writes about. This is the Jersey Shore. There’s no place like it.

See the Complete Seaside Boardwalk Walk...
tonight in jungle land.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Highlights of the Year

(so far)

Kayaking Alexander Lake for the first time.
A trip to the Nordic Lodge.
Hiking the bay trail in Island Beach State Park.
Kelly's summer vacation in Connecticut.
Finding Crabby at the Rez.
Hiking the cliffs above Ross pond in Killingly, Connecticut.
The Boston produce show.
Seaside boardwalk walks in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Reviving the One-Legged Sandpiper.
Making mortgage payments.
Reclaiming a good portion of the Church yard.
Clamming in Island Beach State Park.
The Rez... Kayaking, fishing, hiking and photographing in Brooklyn, Connecticut.
Fire pit Fires at the Train Station in Danielson, Connecticut.
Beach fires.
Beach walks.
Dinner at Berkley Seafood in Berkley, New Jersey.
Having Work... That's interesting and different all the time.
Making my first "professional" videos.
Being hired as a wedding photographer.
Having many of my photographs published.
Spending time at Ocean Beach, New Jersey.
Starting the year on the beach with a fire in Ocean Beach, New Jersey.
Live music at the Rain Desert in Danielson, Connecticut.
Planting the herb garden.
Cooking with fresh herbs from the garden.

Danger Kitchen

The Danger Kitchen Online CookBook has three new sections; Breakfast, Squalid Splendor and Mexicanish. The Squalid Splendor section will have recipes that allow you to eat well for next to nothing. Stay tuned for a Boat/Camping section, Irish, Portuguese and Eastern Europe sections.

Danger Kitchen Macaroni & Cheese

Living in Squalid Splendor

     This concoction was first hatched around 1982 after a layoff that lead to a rather lean period. The Squalid Splendor concept was born then. A rich, luxurious meal can often be the best revenge and there's no reason it has to cost a fortune. In this case, probably a dollar a serving.


> 2 boxes house brand macaroni & cheese - $1.00.
> 2 cans chunk light tuna fish - $1.00.
> 1 lb bag frozen house brand peas, cooked and drained - $1.00.
> 1 cup milk - $.50 for the sake of argument.
> 1/2 stick butter - $.50 worst case scenario.
> Garlic powder.
> Onion powder.
> Fresh ground black pepper.


> Prepare the macaroni & Cheese according to directions.
> Drain the tuna fish and flake into the mac with a fork.
> Add the cooked drained peas.
> Mix well.
> Serve immediately.

     This is great by itself but can be served with a salad and/or Italian or French bread if the price is right and you're stacking carbs. It's a little salty, but the taste is satisfying. You should get four meals out of this recipe at around $1.00 per meal. To get even more mileage out of it, serve over a baked potato, split or mashed and swimming in butter or sour cream.

Options *

> Add or top with crumbled bacon.
> Add sliced or chopped leftover breakfast sausage.
> Add chopped leftover cooked hamburgers or hotdogs.
> Add leftover shrimp. (Like you'd have shrimp if you're eating this!)
> Top with grated parmesan cheese.
> Top with or mix in any shredded cheese you have.

Boat/Camp Considerations.

Perfect for boat or camp. 1 pan. Great for the day after the night before.

* Did you think there was a recipe that I wouldn't suggest adding bacon to? You'd be wrong.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hace Frio!!!

18 degrees on the Wing Bridge this morning... A new record this year.

Where is this global warming Al Gore is talking about when you need it?

I hope all of the herbs survive. Especially the Rosemary.

We need fresh herbs for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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   The far end of the "Sky Ride" or whatever it's called.   

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   In all the years I've only been on it once.   

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   A cheese steak, fries and calamari sounds good right about now.   

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   I don't know if I'd ever stay HERE... but I bet that second floor room would make a great apartment... even during the winter.   

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   Looks bright, colorful and inviting but...

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   There used to be a whole place called Big Peckers. I have a yellow long sleeve T-shirt from there that I bought in 1980 or so.   

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   Three Brothers Pizza is pretty good. There are at least three of these places on the boards. Maybe one for each brother.   

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   "Bennies R Welcome". That's you if you aren't from around here.   

More Seaside Boardwalk Walk
Eight more pictures from Election Day 2008

See the Complete Seaside Boardwalk Walk...
tonight in jungle land.

Correction Detection

Before there's an insurrection.

      Saturday afternoon... Or maybe Sunday, the black Chevy Avalanche stops at the bike shop under the pretense of looking at a bike. The shop was closed at the time. I've been informed that he goes by "John 5" not "John Five". He's very tolerant of an honest mistake. He's not tolerant at all of being played for a fool.

John 5

He's everywhere... And Nowhere.
Spinning Chicken
Coming Soon

Who is John 5 ?

Some online research and personal experiences may answer this question.

Stay tuned for more

Friday, November 21, 2008

Click here to see the TK page

TK Resting In Peace
A Memorial Web Page

      The TK Memorial page is back online. See pictures and read stories about a great old cat who was more than just a pet. TK died eight years ago this month.

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   The Rez was quite stirred up from the high winds on Saturday.   

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   The waves were breaking over the Loch Ness Rock here just a few seconds before I had the camera ready.   

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   Even the cormorant was holed up somewhere in this wind.   

Tempest in a Tea Cup
High winds whip the Rez into a froth.

      The Rez can be interesting in bad weather as well as good. Saturday's high winds had this little body of water looking like a miniature ocean at times. The breakers were rolling in to the north shore and whitecaps were visible a hundred yard south or so. The picture quality is not great due to the low light and high wind but it's always great to visit Waureegan Reservoir.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

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   We have to eat here one of these days just to check it out. Even the crabs seem to be enjoying it.   

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   Listen closely. You can still hear the music coming from EJ's there in the distance.   

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   The alley below the roof top miniature golf course is dark and deserted. The north pier, the one with the haunted house ride, sticks out over the ocean just east of here.   

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   Sunny's & Rickey's arcade opens on weekends most of the winter. Coin Castle and Lucky Leo's are usually open on weekends as well. We usually stop in so Kelly can play the claw machines... or the quarter machines in the Carousel Arcade.   

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   The Spicy Cantina closes for the season earlier than the other bars.   

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   The Midway Steak House is a good place to get lemonade. Steaks Unlimited is the new cheese steak place of choice.   

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   Uncle Spud's has been here forever too. They have good cheese fries. The picture is a little blurry. The boardwalk just doesn't seem like the place to set up a tripod. Just a quick click and we're on our way. Maybe next time.   

Still more Seaside Boardwalk Walk
Seven new pictures from Election Day 2008 The last six new pictures from Election Day 2008

See the Complete Seaside Boardwalk Walk.
tonight in jungle land.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


TK - Resting In Peace After Nineteen Years.

Thursday, November 2, 2000
Dayville, Connecticut

     I finished up the last few chores to get ready for the trip to the beach Friday morning. I decided to sit on the couch, relax, and watch a few minutes of ER. TK was in my lap in seconds purring the loud rattling purr that's been a great source of comfort and amusement for as long as it took me to get old enough to drink and vote. The phone rang a few minutes later. I answered the phone, but soon realized TK had just slid limply onto the floor where she remained on her side, rather than the graceful leap onto the coffee table that was her trademark. I went back to the living room, picked her up, returned to the kitchen and sat her in my lap as I talked on the phone. She seemed weak and frail for the first time ever, but managed a quiet purr, and pulled herself up close to my face where she sat for the duration of the phone call.
     After the phone call, we moved to the living room and sat in her favorite chair. She found a comfortable position and purred quietly to me until nearly her last breath a while later. TK completed her last assignment with the same quiet grace and dignity that she used to conduct the rest of her affairs.

It was a short ending to a long friendship.

     The following pictures and accompanying text are from TK's frequent appearances in the One-legged Sandpiper. There's a link to that issue below the pictures. "The Longest Toes And Loudest Purr" is some of the highlights of TK's long, exciting and mostly happy life. More than enough excitement for ten cats.

Click here to download this picture or see a larger version
It was such a nice day; even TK came out for a while.
Sandpiper #5 - 02-11-99 - One-legged Sandpiper 02-11-99

TK was out enjoying the slightly warmer weather parked here on the tracks. She stopped hunting chipmunks across the street in the millrace this year. She's close to eighteen years old, time to start slowing down a bit. Click here to download this picture or see a larger version
Sandpiper #6 - 02-12-99 - One-legged Sandpiper 02-12-99

TK's Story
The Longest Toes And Loudest Purr

     TK was born some time in 1981 in East Hampton Connecticut. Her mother was Moon (Moon Unit), a gray tortoise shell stray that came with the apartment I was living in at the time. Moon had a total of four litters of kittens before being spayed. The kittens were either beautiful colorful long hairs, or nondescript gray short hairs. TK was one of the latter. All of the kittens sported a white blaze on their chests no matter how they looked otherwise. TK started her career as Thunder Kitten. She had freakishly long toes on over sized front and back feet. For that reason, and possibly others, she sounded like a herd of kittens as she ran around the bare wood floors of the dining room. She was certainly not the cutest of kittens, and I ended up keeping her. No one else was interested. She quickly became an affectionate and loyal friend.


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Speaking of mammals from another continent, here's Marley and TK trying to make the best of a gloomy day.
Sandpiper #9 - Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine

TK keeping an eye on the snow. She's too old to hunt chipmunks, but she's still scouting the weather. Click here to download this picture or see a larger version
Sandpiper #11 - 02-21-99 - You Can Read All About It In The Sunday Piper

The Longest Toes And Loudest Purr


     Her life was happy but filled with troubles almost from the beginning. She was scheduled to be spayed as soon as she was old enough, but caught wind of the project and ran away long enough to return pregnant. She was barely old enough for kittens, and looked like she had swallowed a watermelon. She refused to stay inside as kitten time drew near, preferring to have the kittens in an upside down wood and canvas kayak in the yard, as far forward in the hull as she could fit her kitten filled body. Two of the kittens didn't survive, but the remaining three were healthy, and they each had the white blaze that identified them as members of the Moon tribe. A few days into motherhood, TK managed, according to the vet's best guess, to get her chin cut off by the fan of a car. The whole family was extracted from the kayak in a canvas C-section sort of procedure and packed off to the vet. Apparently there was nothing to be done but let the injury heal and hope for the best. There was nothing to stitch anything to, so Teaks resumed motherhood duties with no chin, missing her lower lip in front, part of a fang and three kittens. She never could seem to settle down and tend to the kittens properly although they all turned out fine anyway.


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By 10:00 the sun was out and TK was enjoying a nap in the window. By noon, after an adjustment at the Chiropractor, the temperature in the shop had reached sixty and the sun was beating in the windows making for a very pleasant afternoon.
Sandpiper #13 - 02-25-99 - Special Report - The Big Snow Storm

Caught in the act. TK editing this issue with her butt. Click here to download this picture or see a larger version
Sandpiper #13 - 02-25-99 - Special Report - The Big Snow Storm

The Longest Toes And Loudest Purr


     Her troubles were far from over. The next problem she faced was her side damaged beyond repair from getting hit by a car, or worse yet kicked by someone. With nothing but damaged muscles in her side, her "guts" bulged out alarmingly whenever she meowed, coughed, sneezed or jumped. The vet said to push them (guts) back in whenever the opportunity presented itself to keep them from becoming kinked and obstructed. The procedure never seemed to cause her any discomfort, but always made a loud gurgling noise. She managed to cling to life for another fifteen years suffering this minor inconvenience.


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TK enjoying some morning sun. Looks like a good day to be a cat.
Sandpiper #14 - 02-27-99 - Weekend Warrior Piper

This hasn't been Modified. This is TK (Face) enjoying her first day out in quite a while. Click here to download this picture or see a larger version
Sandpiper #19 - 03-20-99 - www.adirondackstyle.net

The Longest Toes And Loudest Purr


     TK was always a gentle cat and not very aggressive despite her impressive strength. She was uneasy being picked up, and would sink her claws into anything within reach whenever she was picked up. The long toes and razor sharp claws made for a dangerous package, not unlike someone tossing you a running skill saw with the blade guard removed. Once you had her front and rear feet immobilized, she would calm down and begin to purr her loud rattling trademark purr. The loudest I've ever heard. She would drool through the missing lips and gurgle and blow bubbles when she was really enjoying her lap time. To keep the claws sharp she would scratch on a telephone pole outside the apartment. She would tear chunks of the pole out in the process she was so strong. While most of the other cats bulked up in their later years, TK remained a fat free package of muscle until the very last. In spite of her great strength, she was picked on and beat up even by Postin, my handicapped cat. She spent most of her inside time at the apartment up on the back of the dish washer where Postin couldn't get at her. She learned to jump down and eat or go outside when I was vacuuming or some other noisy activity. Postin would hide from the loud noise giving Teaks the opportunity to go about her business in peace. Another of TK's favorite spots was the bathroom sink. She would appear from nowhere to curl up in the sink as anyone tried to brush their teeth. She did this without fail for a number of years.


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TK the great hunter, back from the mill race with another trophy. If you're TK, it doesn't get any better then this. The first kill put steam in her stride, now she hunts every day.
Sandpiper #25 - 05-10-99 - It May Or May Knot Get Warm

Eighteen years old and still in the game, TK relaxes on the front lawn on a hot midsummer day. Plan on seeing more pictures of "Teeks"... Just in case. Click here to download this picture or see a larger version
Sandpiper #28 - 07-05-99 - The Wicked Wind Of The West

The Longest Toes And Loudest Purr


     The next big event in TK's life was being rescued from a burning building. The apartment below the one I was living in caught fire when the occupants oily rag collection, stored on top of a fish tank and heater stolen from me out of a basement storage room, went up in flames. I called the fire department and they extinguished the flames quickly. Due to a lack of communication on the part of the volunteer fire department, a "rescue" party scaled a ladder into my bedroom window after I had checked out the apartment and determined that every thing was fine. They managed to stomp all over my bed with muddy boots before discovering TK cringing in a corner. On a good day TK was nervous around strangers. One in full fire gear that had come in through the window in the midst of all the commotion, while another was trying to chop through an unlocked door in the kitchen, was unacceptable. His first big mistake was grabbing her. His second big mistake was trying to pass her out through the bedroom window to a comrade on the ladder. She clawed the respirator off of his face as he was attempting the hand-off. She grabbed the window as she passed through, slamming it down on her rescuers head. The guy at the top of the ladder was smart enough to refuse the hand-off, but was still raked with claw marks as she shifted into four wheel drive after knocking his hat off. She hit the ground running and didn't return until later that day.


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TK and a bag of garbage on the spooning chair. TK is the one on the left.
Sandpiper #29- 08-23-99 - I've Been Framed

TK enjoying some outside time next to a pile of hoses on the lumber dryer tracks. She doesn't get out much now after the weather turns cold. Click here to download this picture or see a larger version
Sandpiper #30- 10-04-99 - Docktoberfest

The Longest Toes And Loudest Purr


     Teeks settled into a comfortable routine in her new surroundings, the church, after a traumatic move in the beginning of what would normally be her golden years. She quickly located all of the sunny spots in the yard, and discovered the pleasures of warm air blowing through her fur as she sat on the registers of the forced hot air heating system. Trouble found her once again, in the form of Reebok, the dog of a visiting friend. While I was attempting to put TK outside, away from the incessant of Reebok, the dog came in low and inside to grab TK by the hind leg in its teeth and began to yank with all its might. TK, not knowing that this wasn't my doing, began to bite my right hand in earnest, sinking her fangs in to the gums. I was able to break free from her attack only after beating the dog nearly unconscious with my free hand, causing it to release TK, who quickly bailed out through the screen in the dining room window, having had quite enough of inside. After the arterial bleeding from over a dozen fang deep puncture wounds had subsided, I went outside to look for TK. She was nowhere to be found. I hoped that after all those years she hadn't run away for good. She was gone all night. The next morning, with only the pinkies on each hand working, I went out again to look for TK. After nearly an hour of calling her, she responded timidly from beneath the car trailer. I guess she was worried I was angry with her because she wouldn't come out. After trying unsuccessfully for a while to coax her out, I resorted to using my secret weapon: A can of tuna fish. Biological warfare. TK has always been quite happy eating the cheapest dry cat food available, going after a fresh bowlful like\it was the best stuff on earth. She never went in the garbage or up on the counter for scraps but... She did have one weakness. The "T" in TK may well have stood for tuna. Armed with an open can, I walked slowly towards the car trailer with the wind at my back. Her head popped out from underneath before I was halfway there. She limped pathetically out of her hiding place, almost dragging the leg Reebok was gnawing on. It was a miracle!!! The limp suddenly went away and we were purring and all was forgiven... But she refused to come back inside. The limp had returned by the next morning and required another application of tuna fish. Feel the healing power of tuna!!!


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The "Teakster", my favorite old cat, sitting in her favorite old chair, Friday, October 20, 2000.

The last picture of TK. November 2, 2000.

She looked old and tired for the first time in her life. It was the first time she didn't come to greet me when I arrived home.
Click here to download this picture or see a larger version

The Longest Toes And Loudest Purr


     The next few years could be considered TK's retirement. She began to slow down a bit, spending less time hunting, and more time napping in the sun. More time inside as the weather turned cold. By her seventeenth year she stopped hunting chipmunks, to a collective sigh of relief from the local chipmunk population. TK was still a constant companion whenever there was any yard work to be done, and she waited on the front steps for me to return whenever she was out all day. She would trot over to the driveway to greet me as I got out of the truck with her famous silent meow. I think she was nearly deaf by age eighteen and couldn't hear herself meow. She compensated very well for her inconvenience, looking carefully both ways a half dozen times or more before crossing busy Ballouville Road to the old mill race and woods across the street, only to return unsuccessful from her favorite hunting grounds until... One day in the spring of 1999, her eighteenth year. My Dad was visiting from New Jersey and we were working on a variety of landscaping projects. This seemed to spark some interest from TK. Maybe it was just all the fresh dirt exposed for digging in and worse. TK was keeping my Dad company until she disappeared for a while, only to return strutting across the yard with a Chipmunk in her mouth, head and tail held high and purring to beat the band. She went to the Church street entrance and waited, then staked out the driveway for a while, and finally rushed the front door into the shop, knowing full well she wasn't allowed in there. She went right over to my bedroom door on the far end of the shop and waited. She was looking for me... To show me her prize. I always made sure I rewarded her when she left a present for me. It's a wonderful sign of respect and should be appreciated for what it was. She was doing the best she could for me, besides just being there. She hunted every day after that for a few months, with continued success. She had spring in her stride and seemed quite pleased with herself for the rest of the summer. It was great to see her have at it for what I knew would be the last time. It was time to retire gracefully from the sport as the weather turned colder in the fall. I'm sure she dreamed of the hunt until her last day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

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   The Beachcomber is usually open most of the year.   

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   This is usually a hub of activity during the summer. Wheels and games line both sides with pizza and seafood stands and restaurants galore.   

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   Why is someone power washing the Octopus or whatever the ride is in the dark on Election night?   

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   That looks like the old Himalaya way in the background I believe... or maybe the Swiss Bob. Kind of a merry-go-round rollercoaster sort of ride with loud music and a frustrated DJ in a booth. "Seaside" the cat found us near the gate.   

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   The Saw Mill is always inviting at night. They make the biggest pizzas and slices.   

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   This is the southern end of the real boardwalk... The one with rides and wheels and bars and all. Funtown Pier is the south end and Casino Pier is the north end.   

Even more Seaside Boardwalk Walk
The next five new pictures from Election Day 2008

See the Complete Seaside Boardwalk Walk...
tonight in jungle land ( Bruce Springsteen reference )

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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   "Seaside" wants to be a pet so badly.   

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   Kelly is tempted by the crane machines but we keep walking.   

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   Nearing the north end of the boardwalk again.   

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   A cheese steak, stromboli or calzone would hit the spot right about now.   

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   This poor palm is not handling the cold very well. I guess the condos are not selling well. I feel sorry for the palm.   

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   This is where the boardwalk road turns west and heads back towards the boulevard in Seaside Heights. That's it for the Seaside Boardwalk walk.   

The last Seaside Boardwalk Walk
The last six new pictures from Election Day 2008

See the Complete Seaside Boardwalk Walk...
tonight in jungle land ( Bruce Springsteen reference )

Check out another Seaside Boardwalk Walk web page.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Click here to visit the New England Steamship Foundation (NESF) website.

Nobska is no more!
The tragic story of a beautiful old steamship.

      I just learned through the New England Steamship Foundation website that Nobska, their beautiful old coastal steamer, has been scrapped by the National Park Service after they raised and spent over three million dollars on her restoration. She needed another $800,000.00 in work to refloat and survive. That's one and one third thousandths of one percent of the bailout money that went towards executive salary and bonuses for the first four banks that are participating in the bailout stunt that our idiot government pulled. These people spent twenty years working to restore Nobska a dollar at a time. I first encountered Nobska tied up at India Point Park in Providence, Rhode Island. I'm glad I got to see her then. I wish I could still see her now.

P i c s    o f    t h e    D a y

Sandpiper Ancient History

      The Pics of the Day section used to be a dumping ground for pictures that didn't make it into a feature of one sort or another. There were thousands, possibly tens of thousands, more photographs than are here now but they may be lurking on a recently discovered Packard Bell hard drive.

      The Pics of the Day link is on the Classic Sandpiper menu. The Classic Sandpiper page will be the Sandpiper as it was when I left off six or seven years ago. Visit it to see a moment frozen in time... when all the material has been salvaged and restored. Click the Home link on the Classic Sandpiper page to return to the regular home page.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


T h o u g h t s    o f    t h e    D a y

More Sandpiper History

      The Thoughts of the Day page was a place for random thoughts that seemed worth remembering... for me any way. In the near future I may open it up to unedited reader input. That might be a mistake but... some things need to be expressed like it or not. As you can see... it's been a while. The Thoughts of the Day link is on the Classic Sandpiper menu. The Classic Sandpiper page will be the Sandpiper as it was when I left off six or seven years ago. Visit it to see a moment frozen in time... when all the material has been salvaged and restored. Click the Home link on the Classic Sandpiper page to return to the regular home page.

Friday, November 28, 2008

One-Legged Sandpiper Update

Bringin' Back More Old Stuff
The One-Legged Sandpiper

The 05/10/99 Sandpiper, #25, It May Oar May Knot Get Warm, is back on line. This one is the second multi-page Sandpiper. There's outside Church projects, gardening and Zabignew the turtle's summer quarters in this one. See TK pictures (It's been 8 years), The history of the New Jersey seashore #5 and take a walk to Ballouville from the Church. See some great Alexander Lake sunsets and read a little history about the Church (My house). Number twenty-five has the first mention of the coastal steamer Nobska (see below) as well. There's four Danger Kitchen recipes, a Here's the Steeple department and a technical look at exactly what a Sandpiper (The bird) is. The Piper Geographic is coming any issue now... Get ready for world travel. This issues has the first mention of the steamship Stay tuned for #26.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Click here for a larger version of this picture of Crabby
A Very Lucky Hermit crab

     Crabby fans are still asking about our favorite crustacean since his rescue at The Rez and first and second appearances in the Sandpiper. He's doing well at the beach and enjoying fresh salt water on his natural sponge and fresh fish when Kelly catches one. He seems to like lettuce and oats and spinach. He had carrots and potatoes and coconut and raisins for Thanksgiving and seems as pleased as a crab can be.

Click here for a larger version of picture 1
   The amazing Kodak DC-265 on the beach.   

Click here for a larger version of picture 2
   My first picture ever taken with the DC-265.   

Click here for a larger version of picture 3
   My last picture ever taken with the DC-265.   

Fifty Thousand Pictures Later

The Amazing Kodak DC-265 Pines For the Fjords

     Every so often I encounter a product that exceeds my expectations for way longer than I could anticipate. My 1985 vintage Mr. Coffee is one example. The Kodak DC-265 is another amazing example. The one above was purchased in April, 1999. The first picture ever taken with this work horse first appeared in the April 12, 1999 issue #22 Calidris Alba (Latin name for a Sandpiper).
     During the following eight years I took over 50,000 pictures with that camera. some of them are the best I'd ever taken. Most are passable. The camera performed without a hitch inside and out, day and night, cold and hot and everything in between until one weekend day last year. I was hiking the cliffs above "Lower Ross Pond" to check it out for a hike when Kelly came north for summer vacation. I took the twentieth picture of that day and the 265 shut itself off and never turned on again. I tried everything to save it but to no avail. I removed the memory card and unloaded the pictures and the DC-265 was laid to rest.
     The DC-265 took a 1536 by 1024 image at maximum resolution and could hold as many as 39 pictures at that setting. Not much to speak of by current standards but way ahead of my first 320 by 240 Polaroid. The performance of the camera was way more than the sum of its specs. It was sluggish to respond for a few seconds after it had taken a picture as the image was flushed to memory and I missed quite a few great shots because of that but... The image quality more than made up for the performance issues speed wise. Plan on seeing quite a few (thousand) 265 images in the Sandpiper as I catch up on the last seven years.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Click here to see the Piper Geographic entry
Piper Geographic Returns
Finishing out the month with a Bang... bang.

Everything the One-Legged Sandpiper is intended to be.

      When the idea for Piper Geographic occurred to me I envisioned the "department" as a place to relive my own travels AND... a place for contributions from Sandpiper readers. The first contribution made set the tone for the true spirit of this "department" and for the whole website as well. I received a call for assistance from Christina Fischer, struggling with various search engine output looking for information on raising cattle. She was determined to move to the Orkney Islands of Scotland and buy a farm. Her intention was to raise cattle and make quilts and live happily ever after.

      With Scotland being the Silicon Valley of Europe at the time, Christina was able to arrange travel and accommodations and even make acquaintances and friends over the internet before she embarked on her adventure. The first visit was exploratory in nature and was quite successful. The pictures and text below are from Christina's trip and were first published in Sandpiper #30, 10/04/99 - Docktoberfest. This issue hasn't been restored yet but stay tuned. It's the second Sandpiper that resembles the current format somewhat.

      Quite a number of readers have asked what the outhouse icon is all about for the travel section of a website. In addition to writing the James Bond series of books, author Ian Fleming wrote another book turned into a movie: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The book was made into a musical movie starring Dick Van Dyke in 1968 and was one of my favorites from the first time I saw it in a theater. Caractacus Potts' (Dick Van Dyke) father "Grandpa" (Lionel Jeffries) would march out to the outhouse (Grandpa's hut) every morning with a National Geographic clad in boots, jodhpurs and a pith helmet. "Where are you going grandpa?" the grandchildren would ask. "I'm off to India to have a spot of tea with the Maharajah." might be the reply.

      Grandpa Potts is kidnapped by the evil Baron Bomburst (Gert Fröbe) who played Goldfinger in the James Bond movie of the same name. His "hut" is lifted into the sky by a dirigible and he launches into the following song as he's taken away:

This is livin', this is style, this is elegance by the mile
Oh the posh posh traveling life, the traveling life for me
First cabin and captain's table regal company
Whenever I'm bored I travel abroad but ever so properly
Port out, starboard home, posh with a capital P-O-S-H, posh
The hands that hold the scepters, every head that holds a crown
They'll always give their all for me they'll never let me down
I'm on my way to far away tah tah and toodle-oo
And fare thee well, and Bon Voyage arrivederci too
O the posh posh traveling life, the traveling life for me
First cabin and captain's table regal company
Pardon the dust of the upper crust--fetch us a cup of tea
Port out, starboard home, posh with a capital P-O-S-H, posh
In every foreign strand I land the royal trumpets toot me
The royal welcome mat is out
They 21 gun salute me
But monarchies are constantly commanding me to call
Last month I miffed (missed) the (a) Mufti but you can't oblige them all
Oh the posh posh traveling life, the traveling life for me
Oh rumpetly tumpety didy didy dee dee dee dee dee
Oh the posh posh traveling life, the traveling life for me
First cabin and captain's table regal company
When I'm at the helm the world's my realm and I do it stylishly
Port out, starboard home, posh with a capital P-O-S-H
P-O-S-H, P-O-S-H...

Thus was born Piper Geographic!


... Oh it's the POSH POSH travelin' life, the travelin' life for me. First cabin, Captains table, regal company. Whenever I'm bored I travel abroad, but ever so stylishly... Port Out, Starboard Home, POSH with a capital P...

When travelers left Europe for the Orient, before the days of air travel and air conditioning, they could look forward to a long uncomfortable voyage on a sail or steam ship. The sun in the southern seas would beat down on the black hulls of those ships turning the cabins on the sunny side of the ship into ovens. Wealthy travelers could afford to reserve a cabin on the port, or left, side of the ship for the voyage east. This put them on the north, or shaded, side. They would then reserve a cabin on the opposite side of the ship for the trip west, again the cooler north side of the ship. This class of travel became known as Port Out Starboard Home, or POSH, which to this day refers to luxurious accommodations or methods of travel... the only way to go.

A trip to the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

Text and pictures by Christina Fischer.

Glasgow Scotland

Glasgow Scotland... A view of the city.

     Scotland is a truly beautiful place. The grass is a color green that is seen nowhere else in the world. It is an electric, almost florescent green that makes you feel you just stepped into a fairy tale world. It doesn't seem real at first. Then the longer you spend there, the more you feel that Scotland may be the only reality you care to know.

North toward Scrabster

The countryside traveling north toward Scrabster and the ferry to Orkney.

The Old Man Of Hoy

The ferry crossing, passing the Island of Hoy and "The Old Man Of Hoy",
a 450 foot tall sea stack.

     Off the northern tip of Scotland are the Orkney Islands. Orkney is 70 or so low, treeless islands scattered over hundreds of square miles of Atlantic Ocean. Orkney is a step back in time. It is an ancient landscape, richly strewn with stone circles, burial chambers, prehistoric village sites and other links to the past. A total of, almost unbelievably, eight sites per square mile. It is said that in Orkney it is possible to reach adulthood without ever having to cross a busy street, ride in an elevator, or wait at a traffic light. You see, the towns are small. Kirkwall, the island's busy capital and largest town, has a population of nearly 6,000. But over in Rackwick, the population is only 11. The total population of Orkney's 18 inhabited islands is just a little over 20,000.

Standing Stones Of Stenness

Standing Stones Of Stenness

     There is tranquility in the Orkneys that is unmatched anywhere else in on earth. The fields of cows and sheep grazing in mild sunshine with the calm sea all around gives off a rich sense of home and tradition. In fact, with all the ancient ruins, you can't walk half a mile without nearly tripping over some sort of tradition!

Skara Brae

5,000 year old village of Skara Brae

     Orkney's archaeological wealth ranges from a lonely Iron Age stone tower on North Ronaldsay to the best preserved Neolithic village in all of Europe at Skara Brae on Mainland. In all, there are 2,993 known archaeological sites, many of which were stumbled upon quite by accident. Who knows how many more lie undiscovered.

Twelfth Century Ruins

Ruins of a twelfth century church
on the Brough Of Birsay

     Heritage in Orkney extends beyond archaeology. There is also the islands' arresting dialect, which combines old Norse words with many unique English expressions. When someone says to you, "We hid a quey caff yistreen." what they mean is, "We had a female calf last night." It makes it all the more obvious that you are on the fringes of the English-speaking world.

Bishop's Palace

Ruins of the
Bishop's Palace
built in the
twelfth century.


     In Orkney, no one locks their doors, padlocks their bicycle, worries about the radio in their car, or walks down the street without seeing at least a dozen or so of their neighbors. Children frolic in a carefree existence, able to live without fear of strangers and such that has become so engrained in our society. It is, quite frankly, the epitome of the way life was meant to be.


River Bay

Orkney Countryside

     The islands have modern comforts, to be sure. There is a satellite dish on almost every house and Orkney has a very detailed and complete website. But somehow, unlike every other part of this world, these modernizations have not overstepped their bounds and robbed Orkney of its charms.


May the
heavens open
welcome ya
ta Orkney!

Welcome To Orkney

     There is a gentle, loving quality to this place. So much so that the moment you step off the ferry, even if it's for the first time, you feel as if you are coming home. And there will always be a warm fire, a hot meal, and family waiting for you whenever you get there.