Monday, July 29, 2013

Great Steak!

I had a hard time finding steaks from Brookside locally last week :( But I zipped down to Griswold and managed to get some Ribeyes from Campbell's Farm where I buy my pork when I can.

Had the other steaks at Mom's last week, and Ed commented it was flavorful and tasted like beef used to taste...which coming from a former butcher I reckon is good :)

I pay a small premium -- these were I think $13/pound, compared to Big Y selling Angus Ribeye for $10/pound. But even at that price its still no more expensive to make a really good meal at home then an OK meal at a modestly priced restaurant.
Getting pretty good at foil grilling my veggies too -- I've figured out to put the potatoes down first, today topped with beans and onions. Beans take as long as taters to cook, and onions get sweeter from more carmelization. But each will burn if touching the bottom of the foil against the grill. Onions could go in the squash which grilles for only half as long, but won't get carmelized.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Decided to stay over in Maine Thursday night rather than drive home in the rain, only to be home on a rainy day. Got a hotel room, and went to watch Wolverine -- first 3D movie I've gone to! Went back to surprise mom at the campground and had lunch there.

So after I left mom's on Friday, I wasn't hungry enough to eat supper in Maine but I did stop at a favorite place of mine, Jakes in Ongunquit, and grabbed a lobster roll with tonight's dinner in mind :)

Grilled up taters on the grill -- I've figured out its best to put the taters down first, then the green beans on top of them. Oil, vinegar, herbs, and pepper :) Taters couldn't have been fresher -- dug 'em, washed 'em, grilled 'em.

First full-size tomato of the year too!

And the whole meal was...awesome.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden (and cows)

Herb / Decorative bed I put in this weekend...herbs weren't liking the pots that much this year but kept 'em alive till I could get a spot ready. The hosta isn't happy because it spent two months in a bucket since my step father had dug it up :)

Few daylillies...I love this "Bubblegum" one.

Garden shot

Hopefully have cucumbers soon.

Squash seem to be doing OK. Only a couple seem to have Squash Vine Borers so far -- this is the first year in many (5+) I've used any synthetics in the garden, this time Sevin dust to keep the SVBs at bay.

Next year I think I will try a combination of Bt spray & injection and/or a half-and-half experiment to see if it is equal to Sevin at keeping htem under control.

Today's harvest...beans were picked last night. Feel a bit like I'm committing infanticide picking these baby squash :D

Girls down the block waiting for breakfast....Fred was coming down the street with the feed wagon as I was pulling off. Have no idea why a Brown Swiss is mixed in with their herd. The heifers have their own pasture/woodlot separate from the main farm.

Also done today:
Planted more cucumbers, zukes, and yellow squash (in case I get a late attack of SVBs...I'm done for the season dusting the squash bases with Sevin), and beets.

Tore out two squashes that looked like they had SVB and shredded them with the mower :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's WWII!

Between the dragon flies zooming and the tadpoles splashing...the swim pond right now looks like a reenactment of the Battle of Truk Lagoon!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Trolley from Norwich to Central Village...

" ran on electrified tracks of the New Haven from Taft's to Central Village

That would be Taftville, and would've taken them through Jewett City and Plainfield.

Taking an educated *guess* the trolley probably left the tracks (now owned by the Providence & Worcester) near current day Plainfield High School and followed current day Route 12 to 205 to Grove Street.

The old right of way north of Grove Street can still be seen on satellite photos as it left streets and continued cross country towards Danielson.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Little bit of an indulgent lunch...

Steak & Grilled Veggies, plus a beer :)

Cooper at Camp...

Figures the only time I bring out a camera is the one time he doesn't jump right in -- I came home from a bike ride this morning, jumped in to cool off and wash off the sweat, and as soon as I shampoo my hair and put the bottle down he'd swim out to retrieve it!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

First tomato and eggplant!

Holy crap, what's up with the garden this year?

That's 10 days sooner than most years!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

First Harvest

Had the first good harvest from the garden yesterday -- looks like about 10 days ahead of previous years from my notes.

First squash, taters, and even a few green beans from the garden this year. Along an assortment of herbs from the planters on my deck, dash of salt, mixed with oil, and wrapped with foil.

Salmon with herbs and lemon, also wrapped in foil.

Was supposed to be done on the grill...but since the propane ran out, they were done in the toaster oven!

Friday, July 5, 2013

More on Trolleys...

I thought I had posted more here before -- the People's Tramway, the trolley line from Plainfield to Putnam, fascinated me when I learned more about it last year.

It was actually part of a larger system generally owned or controlled by the New Haven railroad. Call me cynical, I can't figure out how much was business optimism overtaken by technology (people loved the flexibility of schedule of cars and trucks by 1920)...and how much of this was schemes to divert money into insider's pockets -- have the New Haven or outside investors buy stock that financed the construction, with plenty of profits for those who owned the construction companies and/or would have titles like Vice President in all the little trolley lines.

Another trolley line connected Plainfield to Norwich, while the separately incorporated Thompson Tramway connected Putnam to Webster, where the Webster & Dudley would transit that town before handing off travelers to the Worcester Consolidated system for travels from Oxford north. My understanding of this is at least from Plainfield to Webster it was treated as a single system (no transfers), and perhaps as far south as Norwich. You would transfer to Webster.

In turn these Eastern Connecticut systems would become part of the Shoreline Electric Railway, which was part of the Connecticut Company, which was part of the New Haven Railroad...maybe the wikipedia entry would help to show how clear as mud all these relationships were: Connecticut Company

The trolley barn and worker's housing was located at present day Route 101 & Maple Street; the trolley barn is no longer there (it stood on the northeast corner of the intersection), but the little houses across the street for the workers still exist. Alexander's Lake was developed by the trolley company as a park to generate recreational traffic for the trolley line.

There was also a transfer station in Elmville (where Colt's Plastics is today at Dog Hill & Route 12) between this system and the Providence & Danielson Railway.

The Providence & Danielson Railway opened in 1901, and its coffin nail was the construction of the Scituate Reservoir which in 1920 flooded a large portion of their tracks. It ran from Olneyville in Providence out along present day Route 6A and 6 to North Scituate, crossing the Pawtuxet river to run down it's west bank to the Ponganset river, thence up its east bank to Rockland. This served numerous mill villages in Scituate -- all flooded by the reservoir.

Rockland was the location of the powerhouse and trolley barns. Crossing the Ponganset, it proceeded to Foster Center, then roughly up present day Route 94 to East Killingly Road to Bear Hill Road where it crossed into Connecticut. It then followed Valley Road down to Dog Hill to Elmville terminating by Route 12. This path is approximate -- I know some sections it ran within the road right of way, others were new ROW constructed for it.

(From The Investigation of the Affairs of the Rhode Island Company)

The opening of the P&D caused the closing of the last stage coach route in Rhode Island (and I would take a good guess Connecticut and Massachusetts). It's amazing to think of stage coaches still operating in Eastern Connecticut in 1901!

The following five photos come from The Rhode Island Railroads Google Site:

Powerhouse & Trolley barn in Rockland, RI -- one of the villages now under water.

Trolleys also carried freight...

Even flatbeds!

Rails being built adjacent, but not in, the highway.

One bit of freight was milk -- the "milk car" could carry 900 milk cans, leaving Elmville at 6am and stopping at intersections along the way to pickup cans left by farmers, arriving in Olneyville at 9:40am. A major advantage of the electric trolleys over steam railroads was their ability to quickly accelerate (and brake), making frequent stops much more practical. In addition to milk, seasonal products like huckleberries and ice were hauled into Providence, while cotton bales were brought to the mills and finished goods back to the port. More on the freight uses, including how only less-then-car-load cargos could be carried between Elmville & East Killingly due to the lack of power (the voltage having dropped at the far end of the system from Rockland) and steep grade can be found here.

Assuming these were typical 10 gallon milk cans, that's 9,000 gallons of milk -- that's a bit more than a standard 8,000 gallon tractor trailer bulk milk tanker today!

By 1910 about 3,500 passengers a day were being carried between the various stops on the line, with freight being about 1/3rd of their revenue (the rest being passengers).

There 1906 Winter Schedule:
From a history of Foster.
That's 11 trolleys a day from Providence to Danielson.
Clayville, the furthest west stop in Scituate, picked up several more runs -- including to Providence as late as 10:25PM and from Providence at 11:15PM.
Only in recent years has commuter rail between Worcester and Boston become once again this frequent and covering so much of the day.

P&D tracks through Rockland, RI. Source

And People's Tramway tracks in Dayville, CT. Source

Can you imagine the confusion today of having trolleys running in either direction...and as the two pictures show not consistently in the middle, left, or right of the road...on the single tracks mixing with traffic today! It may be a good thing that the rapid growth of autos and trucks after WWI undermined trolley economics.

Another conflict with modern world is the wires -- an educated guess would be 600 volts for the trolleys. This would conflict with todays "communication zone;" telephone, cable, and fire alarm wires would need to be above the 600 volt uninsulated wires the trolley receive their power from. This would create a lot more safety conflicts for workers as well as the general public.

I also shudder to think that today, with our mature forests, how much damage would be done in wind storms. In 1900 Connecticut and Rhode Island were generally much more open country.


Residents of Providence and Danielson, R. I., mourn the loss of the Providence & Danielson Railway, authorized recently to be scrapped. The thing these people feared has come upon them. Despite all that the road did for them, these people have suffered the line to decay and die. The funeral oration as delivered by the Danielson Transcript showed ingratitude, the marble-hearted fiend, at its worst. That paper said:
The road is dead. Its life has been a beneficient one. It served a previously isolated country. It turned a worthless wilderness into greenbacks. It doubled and trebled real estate values. It brought the farmer nearer to the city markets, and gave the merchant a quick freight. It gave an impetus to village growth and improvement. The city and country folks came and went and knew each other better. There was greater homogeneity.
Educational privileges were enhanced and multiplied. The city newspaper came out daily where before it was unknown. Scores of bright Rhode Island boys and girls came up to our Killingly High School, or further down the line attended the city schools.
Healthful and pleasant recreation and enjoyment were promoted. Picnics, Old Home Days, fairs, etc., multiplied along the line, and an ever helpful and courteous management catered to the pleasure of its patrons.
The road was always popular with summer tourists, who were seeking a day's outing and were delighted by the transition from the lowlands, the smoke and the smells of the city to the fresh breezes of the western highlands. During its brief life of less than twenty years it transported more than 20,000,000 people.
With unfeigned sorrow and many regrets we see our old friend handed over to the merciless undertaker of the junk heap. The hand of local progress has moved backward along the dial even beyond the time of the stage coach days of genial John Richards and William Stone. Providence is again a distant city.
—Electric Railway Journal

And one final note, circling back to my continued uncertainty as to how "up and up" the trolleys were...after the system was placed in receivership and just before it would be forced to close by the construction of the Scituate Reservoir, Theodore Francis Green, the namesake of T.F. Green Airport, would become Vice President. Legitimate job? Or a way for the railroad corporations to funnel some money "legitimately" to a politician?