Cranberry Country

I am a bit of a railfan.  I sometimes joke that when I was little, I wanted to grow up to be a railroad engineer.  Yet, when I got my engineering degree, I was surprised and more than a little disappointed that I didn’t get to work on trains.

Anyway, I’ve wanted to visit the local Edaville Railroad for a long time.  And as a bonus, I got a taste of cranberry country while I was there.

Well, it turns out that Edaville is geared to kids.  What’s that you say?  Yeah, I know, I’m still a kid.  I mean it is geared toward little kids…  Holiday decorations and stuff for the kids riding around on the train with their parents.  So, I felt more than a little out of place there.  But it was still interesting to learn more about cranberries.

One of only a handful of native fruits, the Pilgrims called it the “craneberry” because the blossoms reminded them of the head and bill of the Sandhill crane.

In my travels, I’ve seen crops like corn, soybeans, sunflowers, corn, rice, strawberries, beans, grapes, corn, olives, peaches, apples, corn, wheat, cabbage, corn, tobacco, corn and… more corn.  Yet cranberries are special – kinda rare and different.

New England is not well suited to growing most conventional crops, but the cranberry is unusual in that it thrives in the wet sand and peat found in southeastern Massachusetts.  The cranberries grow on the vine, and are harvested by flooding the fields (bogs) and threshing the berries loose with a mechanized harvester.  They are then packaged up and shipped to consumers throughout North America, who then make cranberry sauce once a year.  And they only eat it ’cause it’s got so much sugar in it…

Personally, I prefer to make cranberry sauce with as much apple as cranberries.  Kinda dilutes the tartness of the berries enough to be more palatable, and reduces the need for sugar.  I also like to add strawberries, even if that is less than traditional.

Anyway, back to Edaville…  On my train ride with the kiddies, I spotted a fox, a crane, and then a hawk.  And following the birds skyward, I also saw a helicopter.  Screw the kiddie rides!  I wanted to go on this one!

So, I bought my ticket and went on my first helicopter ride, getting a front-seat view of cranberry country from the air.  It was a short but sweet (and loud) ride, and I liked it a lot.  I can see why Charles (currently working on copters in Afghanistan) would want to fly…

Enough writing.  My attention span has expired.  Here are my pics.  Hope you enjoy.

~ Lee

Edaville Railroad – colorful cabooses
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Useless Cat

Cat unclear on the concept…

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Should I get a dog or a kid?

Should I get a dog or a kid?

Thanks to Doug M.

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Distorted Self-Portraits

061108 0500 Distorted Self-Portraits

Lunchtime fun…

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Happy Halloween!

061031 0600 Happy Halloween!

Selected photos from the display at Lookout Farm in Natick.  They brought in artists from around the nation to create their breathtaking display of jack-o-lanterns.

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Painting the living room

I don’t like doing work around the house, so I tend to procrastinate and let it slide.

Case in point is painting the living room.  The house is jam packed full of stuff, so I have to move it all, and then move the furniture and curtain hardware, and then clean, patch, sand, primer coat and then finally paint.  And it’s the living room, so Grandma is a more-or-less permanent fixture there – so I kinda hafta do my work on weeknights after she’s gone to bed.  It’s a pain in the neck, and it takes forever like this, ’cause I’m spending as much time on set-up and clean-up as I am actually getting stuff done.  I guess it’s been about three weeks so far, and I still have to hang new curtain rods and paint the trim.

It was about eighteen years ago that Dad was redoing the room for our neighbors, the Franklins.  Dad, bless his soul, didn’t know a lot about house renovations, plus he had me as his assistant, so he was doubly cursed.  We put up new sheetrock on the walls and ceiling, and he relocated some of the electrical outlets from the wall to the baseboards.  The work was kinda rough.  There were a lot of rough edges, joints between panels were rough, extra globs of spackle around here and there… And after fifteen years of exposure to kids, kids and more kids – us and the day care kids – the walls were pretty badly dinged up.  I think that Mom bought the house to be close to Dad’s work after he died – and because it was so close to where we lived before, so moving wouldn’t be such a big deal.  But man, this place needs lots of work…

Hopefully when this room is all done and cleaned up, things will look decent.  And then I can go back to a few more months of procrastination…

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Photoblog – Boston / Head of the Charles Regatta

All that I know about rowing is that these people get up at wee hours of the morning to go out on the water in the chilly fall weather. Always seemed crazy to me. But what do I know? I like to go fight rush hour traffic on two wheels.Anyway, there has always been something elegant and maybe a bit romantic about this sport. Ya gotta admire these people… So I enjoy this autumn spectacle from the shore on my two wheels.

I love the Charles River. I used to commute to work along its banks some years ago, and it is just great for enjoying the scenery while getting some exercise. I regret that I don’t get into the city often enough to enjoy it much these days.

On another note, I missed out on the record-setting jack-o-lantern festival put on by the Life Is Good folks. I guess I should read the newspaper in the morning, not the evening… Anyway, by the time I showed up the next day, all the gourds were sitting in dumpsters, waiting to be taken away to the compost heap.

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In Memoriam – ‘Red’ Auerbach

It is a sad day for all of us who have fond memories of the great Celtics teams of the past…

Boston Globe – Auerbach, pride of Celtics, dies

MSNBC – Legendary Celtics coach Auerbach dies at 89

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How can a VW cost $100,000? and other interesting blurbs

Did you ever wonder why Volkswagen Phaeton costs up to $100,000? Check out the factory where they assemble them:

And speaking of impressive facilities, check out these 10 seeeeeriously cool workplaces. It’s enough to make me want to look for a new job…

Living in a litigious society:

When I lived in Indiana, and the thunderstorms would keep me awake at night, I’d set the camera up on a tripod and take pictures through the patio doorway. That’s how I managed to get pics like this:
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Photoblog – Crater Lake – July 2000

In July of 2000, I had to take a business trip out to Redding, California to investigate failures of some of our oxygen systems. The investigation was very short, but the point of the trip was more to reassure the customer.

On the plus side, much of northern California is amazingly beautiful. I flew into Sacramento, and drove up to Redding. One evening, I drove out to Lassen Volcanic National Park, where I got to see hot springs, beautiful scenery, deer and foxes. After a brief second visit to the customer, I then headed north to beautiful Mt. Shasta, and then kept going towards Oregon and Crater Lake.

These sites represent the southern end of the volcanic Cascades mountain range – better known for Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Ranier. And while most of you may not be geology geeks like me, you’ll probably agree that these volcanic sites make for some spectacular scenery and some interesting history and folklore.

Hope you like the pics.
Sorry, some of these are from the early days of digital cameras – quality ain’t so hot…


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