I’d Like the Special, Please.

015.JPG 2Strangely enough, with this Dr. Seuss story, “Green Eggs and Ham”,  having been around for 52 years, I’ve never read or seen it…until tonight. Some how I missed it despite having 8 kids and 11 grandkids. Missing it doesn’t mean that I’d never heard of it. I just never knew anything about it other than the title.

Tonight, I did rather enjoy the movie. Liked Sam, but was shattered by the surprise ending. Maybe that’s why I had a flash back to 13 or 14 years ago, when I was trucking in the North Country of upstate New York.

Doing an evening run  from Schodack to Massena to Watertown, and then down thru Lewis County, gave me just enough legal hours of driving time to make it back without having to do a layover along the way. On the way back, I had a pick up at Lyons Falls Paper Mill, in , where else, Lyons Falls. Since I hit town a few hours before my scheduled pick up time, I found a safe spot to pull over and take a couple of hours nap in the sleeper berth. Naturally, I set the alarm to go off in time that I could catch breakfast before heading to the mill.

I found a small “hometown” restaurant with an open sign and lights on inside. It was daylight, around 5:30-6AM. I parked the truck in the large lot and wandered on in and grabbed a seat at the counter. I must have been pretty quiet, because I sat there for probably 5 minutes before the ladies in the kitchen saw me.

They apologized for not noticing me, and proceeded with the usual, “Do you want coffee”, which brought an affirmative answer from me. That was followed with, “What would you like for breakfast?” Having sat there for awhile, I’d had a chance to peruse the menu and the white board with the heading Today’s Specials.

Not really sure what the ‘special’ would be like, I had already decided to give it a try, so I nodded toward the board and said I’d have the special. I started to wonder if I was having an hallucination when the ladies looked at each other in a very puzzled way, then looked back at me and said they hadn’t posted a special yet.

“It’s there”, I said, “and I’d like to give it a try.”

One of the ladies, the owner, took a couple of steps forward and  turned so she could see the message that she knew wasn’t there.

“That granddaughter of mine. Wait ’til….she was in here last night helping me clean up”.

Don’t know how old the granddaughter was, but she had neatly, and artistically, written on the board, I still remember, in green marker “Green eggs & ham”.

And yes, I had to change my choice of breakfast amid the laughter of the two ladies. What did I have? I haven’t a clue.



Everyone Needs a Haircut, Even Blockheads

We all get haircuts – babies, well infants, boys, girls, men and women. Rare is the person who doesn’t get a hair cut. OK, Rapunzel didn’t get one for a long time.

As a kid, I remember going to barbers Fred Gilette, Harry Oschner and Larry Jearm. Once, my dad cut my hair, and I called Larry to see if he could trim it up on a Monday morning before I went to school.

Men’s barber shops were closed on Mondays back then, as they are today. Larry thought one of my older sisters had practiced on me. Not wanting to rat on my dad, I let Larry leave this world many years later still thinking that was the case.

My boys were teenagers before they went to a real barbershop. Me, the clippers, comb and scissors kept them trim. After all, I gained my knack of the barber trade while at Cobleskill Ag and Tech College – trimming beef cattle for show. And I might add that I DID place first, or was it second, in the Fitting and Showmanship category.

The girls got off easy. My wife either did some light trimming or took them to a hairdresser.

Those days are well behind me, for better or worse.

Recently, one of my daughters asked me to get the grandsons haircuts, and not wanting a couple of yelling and screaming little boys, not to mention the thoughts of what their mommy and daddy would say, I took them to the barber who had cut my precious few strands a couple of weeks earlier.

Having watched how well she handled the young lad who was getting his hair cut while I waited, I knew she could do the job. She was way better than any gold tongued politician or journalist, and could probably sell freezers and ice cubes to the Eskimos. That kid couldn’t have been more attentive if he was licking a 5 scoop ice cream cone.

Besides, the cost of a haircut here is still only 10 bucks.

Talking about haircuts is kinda dull, but hopefully the clippers aren’t, so let me get to the point of this story.

What I saw this morning, and you are about to see, is the process of one of the sharpest haircuts you’ll ever see. This barber is gooood! So good, in fact, that he doesn’t use sissy clippers. He’s honed his skills to the point that he uses, are you ready for this, a chainsaw on his clients overgrown tops. Who but a blockhead, would stand still for this kind of trim job.

Click picture to enlarge.

Heading for a Couple of Dozen Donuts

Cider and cider donuts at Indian Ladder Farms. Photo by sebastien.barre

cropped-015.JPG-21-e1338061358983.jpgThe title is just a teaser. This story is not about donuts, other than the fact that a few days before Hallowen 2011, I was on my way to Indian Ladder Farms, to pick up some tasty, delicious, out of this world, sugar coated cider donuts, to take along to my daughter’s in Alexandria, VA, as a bribe so she’d let us stay there for a few days. It’s really about my brief side trip.

Fast forward almost a year to September 2012, and another trip for those fabulous Indian Ladder Farms donuts, that this time journeyed to Phoenix, AZ and Honolulu, HI, as surprise snacks(presents?) for our daughters living in those cities. And I’m very proud of the fact that ALL of the donuts made it to their destination intact, not in my tummy!  Yes, the yummies waited.

This time around, the lady at Indian Ladder was  concerned about the goodies making a safe trip without getting stale.  Martha Stewart and the Post Office should be proud of me. I stopped and picked out a couple of lock top plastic containers. At home, I transferred the very fresh, I had to wait for them to be cooked, baked, fried, or whatever the process is, donuts into double Ziplock baggies and then put them in the Rubbermaid containers, and then wrapped the containers with 2″ tape, adding a third, actually, a 4th layer of air tightness. The tape also insured the containers wouldn’t pop open en-route. Now, the tasty discs were ready to put in my suitcase to be checked at the airport.

Really wasn’t too worried about the Arizona bound donuts, because they would be there the next day after a couple of thousand miles. Hawaii bound ones, I was a bit worried about. Their 5000 mile journey would be interrupted by a week’s stay in Phoenix. Would they survive the heat? Six baggage handling adventures? Being in the hold of a plane over the Southwest, and Pacific  Ocean? Me not desperately breaking into them?

Results: Phoenix ones, no problem. Just like home. Honolulu ones………

Fantastic, too. Daughter popped them in the microwave for a few seconds, and they were farm fresh warm!

Conclusion, both daughters let us stay.

But, as usual, I got sidetracked. What I really wanted to do was post a link to Teri Conroy’s Farmlife Blog for a couple of my nieces. They’d been chatting over on FaceBook about alpaca fibre, and I’m trying to convince them to visit Wansapana Farm and Indian Ladder Farms, when they’re in the area.

On the office door at Wunsapana Farms.

The link about what happenened on my way to pick up the 2011 donuts – Freddie ALWAYS Makes Me Smile.

Why this particular post?  Because, among the many things I’m thankful for, my wife, family, health, and all the other usual things, a brief visit to Wunsapana Farm always is tranquil, soothing, refreshing – like being teleported to, and recharged in another world for a brief few moments – an intangable with no real explaination – except that Teri is the magical “Keeper”, and her love and caring for her critters just overwhelms everyone who visits the farm. Maybe Teri should have called Wunsapana, The Magic Kingdom, but that would never have portrayed the mystic charm of “Wunsapana……And everyone lived happily ever after.”

So, as Thanksgiving approaches, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say “Thank-you, Teri, for having become a farmer. And sharing your life and the critters with the world. Sure, I might make you smile, but you make everyone of your visitors GLOW on the inside, and leave with a priceless feeling of peace and tranquility. You’ve found and are following your calling in

Dang! We missed the boat.

I was catching the push off of the canoe that had brought the ancient king and queen, or was it the ancient god, of Hawaii to the festival earlier in the day. Opps, a couple of the crew forgot to jump.

I’ve missed the boat a few times; haven’t you?

Check the video out. Dang! We missed the boat. But you might want to take a long nap while it loads.

Hale’iwa – Surf and Surprise

Marlyn and I took a trip up to this town/beach on the North Shore. It’s noted as a surfer’s paradise. Winter waves – which apparently started early this year, can reach 40 feet heights. Wow!

World class surfers rank (see the pictures to see why)


as one of, if not the best surfing area in the world.

I was trying to catch a shot of a big breaking wave. And I did. But to my surprise, when I downloaded my card to the computer, I discovered that I had not only caught the wave, but a surfer, too. The header picture and my favorite shot of the day. (Canon SX50sh 215mm combined optical and digital zoom)

Hale’iwa is a quaint old town with some modern stores.A gazillion surf shoppes and restaurants, not to mention the tourist knicknac shops, which are rather reasonably priced. And there is a nice sandy beach for swimming. People were mostly soaking up the sun when we were there because of the breaking waves. They were small by the time they made it to the beach, but strong currents/undertow made common sense and safety a priority. Marlyn met a lady who called it quits in the shallow water on a boogie board because she was getting nauseous from the barrage of small strong waves.

Diamond Head

Here’s a bunch of pictures from our hike up the inside of an extinct(we hope) volcano, better known as

Diamond Head,

on the edge of Honolulu. We went with Liz and the boys, and a couple of other families in the neighborhood.

It’s estimated that 1500 or so people make the trip to the lookout daily. One caveat is that if the parking lot is full, they permit 5(that’s f-i-v-e) vehicles to wait inside the gate for the next available parking spots. And yes, they drop a bar after the 5th vehicle is inside. Your option – back to the bottom, turn around, and try until there’s an opening. Now we were permitted an exception. Car number 5 was our neighbor, and we explained our plight to the gatekeeper, and she got permission to lift the bar and let us be #6.

Don’t be fooled by the concrete sidewalk you see as you leave the parking lot as you begin your ascent. That smoothness soon turns into a chiseled rock trial. You’ll see a pic or two of it here. Is it difficult? Pace yourself and you shold be OK. You’ve got all day. In our group old me and young Mikey did it. And we weren’t the youngest, nor the oldest on the trail.

There are restrooms at the parking lot, that’s it, folks.

Take a water bottle or two along as it’s ALL upgrade to the lookout – and mostly in the open sun!

When you exit the tunnel, go left, the easy way so to speak. 🙂

You’ll see the inside of the crater as you go along. As you gain elevation, you’ll catch glimpse of downtown Honolulu. If you take the easy way, go past the steps to the tiny lookout, not that the one on the summit is hugh, and see the light house and the surfer area.

At the summit, you’ll still get a view of the lighthouse and the surfer area, but also a magnificent view of the ocean and downtown Honolulu and Waikiki Beach.

No question that the views are great; but so are the people you meet along the way – if you take a moment to initiate the conversation, or offer to take their picture with their camera. Language isn’t a barrier. Hand motions and a smile solves it.

I offered to take a pic of Oriental couple at the big Diamond Head sign, and they insisted on snapping a shot of me, even thought I explained that I was with a group that could do that. I met them again on the stairs to the lookout and you’d think I was their long lost cousin!