In the process of trying to finish a quilt for a baby shower this weekend, I have neglected my blog. The Boy has told me he wants to read my latest post, but “alas!” said I, “it’s been weeks.”
The finished quilt. See? I really did make one.
He had a suggestion for my next post: To write about the things we’ve done the past few weekends and next weekend.
It’s all about him.
“Fine,” said I, “I will.”
“Thanks, Mom,” said he. And then I sent him to brush his teeth because his breath was putrid.
Brace yourselves. It’s all about trains and stuff. As if you didn’t know.
Since I’m a linear thinker, I suppose I’ll start at the beginning. Not the way back beginning, as in “he was born.” The more recent beginning as in the first event that he mentioned in the three consecutive weekends of events, which is actually more like six consecutive weekends of events. Thankfully, he didn’t ask me to go that far back. Going that far would require more than the two cups of coffee I’ve already had. And then I’d just be all confused.
Not that it takes much.
So, to begin at the beginning which is in the middle: The fall festival at CAMA was a three day event which we attended for two of those three days. I didn’t want to take him out of school on that Friday because I’m taking him out of school this Friday for our annual trip to Maine for the fall work weekend.
See, I’m already getting ahead of myself.
So, CAMA was good. Two days of trains – one steam, one diesel – in an environment of steam and gas and engines. I can’t prove it because I have no pictures of the other steam engines – the stationary ones – but you’ve seen ‘em all before. They’re stationary. They don’t move, they don’t change. They either start or they don’t.
The Boy is tall enough now (because he’s taller than me now, the fact of which he still gleefully loves to remind me) to drive the Plymouth engine. “Tall enough” translates into his feet can reach the clutch. He was helping with the Plymouth until it started having problems. The trains are run only twice a year, so it’s anybody’s guess how well they’re going to work.
Unless, of course, he broke it.
Behind the controls
It was a lovely early Fall weekend, a tad too warm, but thankfully not humid. You know how I feel about humidity. One of these days I will show you a picture of what it does to my hair and therefore my general demeanor.
End of the day on Saturday
The Boy was on the train crew for most of the weekend. That part was kind of boring for him since he’s still too young to help with the running of the steam train. The end of the day, when the real work began, was when he was able to dive-in and feel useful.
Hauling the water tank to the train
“Helloooo in there ….”
Yup. There it is.
Nothing to see here
We stayed at a nearby hotel (nearby being 45 minutes away – this place is further out in the boonies than we are at home). This was two days of hanging out in the fresh air, reading and napping. I missed most of the show. We’ve been going for years. After a while, all I want is a comfortable place to sit where I can catch an occasional glimpse of the Boy as the train passes.
Last weekend… shit! What did we do last weekend? Wow, it’s only been three days and I can’t remember anything. Is this early onset dementia?
Ah, yes. Saturday was the annual Yankee Steam Up at the New England Wireless and Steam Museum. That’s a mouthful. The weather wasn’t great but the rain held off until mid-afternoon which was a huge deal.
Yeah, I’m doing this.
Because rain was imminent, we decided to get there as close to the 8:00 AM start time as possible, which we did. The Boy immediately went to work at the vertical steam boiler which was the power plant for all of the running engines. It’s fire required constant feeding, with wood being the fuel of choice. He rarely left his post and gave the “old guys” a break from hauling, lifting, and poking all that wood.
Events such as this attract a distinct demographic. A questionable weather day weeds out the casual attendee and brings out only the most die-hard of steam fans. The threat of rain kept many of the exhibitors away. The result of this winnowing was an average age of about 70. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. 60 – 65. Tops. Aside from the people looking for something to do and dragging their kids with them.
Chatting with the amazing Don Favell
As with CAMA, we were among the last to leave. In spite of the rain.
By then, the cookies were free.
This coming weekend is the annual Fall Work Weekend at the WW&F in Maine. The Boy and I will go up early Friday and will get home late Monday because everyone else will be coming home at the same time and it will be raining and traffic on I-495 is a nightmare.
This is an event which requires long advance planning on our part. I made hotel reservations in early August and I got the last room. Just dumb luck, but “phew.”
This weekend they will be laying new track. Having been able to finally purchase the land beyond the end of the line, they can now continue laying track up and over the top of the mountain toward Head Tide. This acquisition has been in the works for more than five years. Clearing and grading has been going on all summer. They last laid track extending the line in 2011, the first year we attended fall work weekend. There wasn’t much to lay that year, so we spent the weekend ballasting the track. A sometimes precarious endeavor as there were portions of steep hillside that fell away just inches from the grade.
Shoveling ballast – 2011
A good before and after example of ballasting the track – 2011
This time, instead of shoveling gravel, I’ll be in the gift shop. Again. I like it there. My aging back appreciates not shoveling gravel. And Sunday afternoon is the baby shower for which I made the quilt.
I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I am that it’s done. As I was finishing it this past weekend it was christened by some of the ash coming out of the boiler. It seemed apropos since the parents-to-be are both train people. And yes, I did clean off the schmutz.
I started this post in the middle and I’m finishing it in the middle since I can’t share anything else about the weekend ahead until I’ve actually lived through it. I could make up stuff based on past experience, but I think I’ve been long-winded enough.
Tune in soon, for another update in the saga of the Boy and his steam endeavors.
Hanging with the crew – our first visit to WW&F, Summer 2007