Archive | January 2013

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire ~

Cee’s continuing Fun Foto Challenge utilizing the Chinese 5 Elements incorporates fire this week… the fourth element of the five.

I have a several photos that I actually posted to another post just this morning that are all about fire.  Here are a couple…

Fully engulfed.

Fully engulfed.

This is from a barn burn down from a local fire department.

You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

To see the entire story behind these and more photos, go to   Thanks, Cee!  Awesome challenge again this week!

Cee’s Share Your World 2013: Week 5 ~


Some things from Cee to ponder this week …

Are you a morning or night person?  I am def a morning person!  I’m good to go first thing, then fizzle out around 4 pm.  Def in bed by 9:00-10:00 pm.  I guess that could be thought of as a drawback of being an a.m. person.  I can’t remember the last time (other than New Year’s) that I was “out” past 8 pm.

What is your preferred hot drink: coffee, tea, water or other?  Ok, none of the above for sure.  I guess my next best hot drink would be hot chocolate.  How could you go wrong with that?!  All the better with a little Irish Cream… just a bit, and/or maybe some Kahlua.  But I digress…

What was your favorite toy as a child  . . .  and now?  My favorite childhood toy was a plastic typewriter I got when I was around 10… until my older sister got a newer, nicer electric typewriter, then THAT became my favorite toy.  I guess it was a foreshadowing of what I would eventually become ~ a speedy typist!  My favorite toy now is (like Cee) my camera and my computer.  I’m finding the combination of the two is just fascinating and delightful when used in conjunction with each other.

If you had a choice which would be your preference salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, hot tub, ski resort or desert?  I absolutely thrive in fresh water lakes, but am drawn to the ocean beaches of the east coast.  I think I like swimming in fresh water, but admire salt water so much!  I’m pretty sure I’m more afraid of what’s under salt water moreso than fresh.  No interest in a hot tub (germ frappe), ski resort (got one in my own back yard!) or desert (too hot/dry).  Leave me alone in a quiet, remote Adirondack lake with maybe a canoe/paddles on a sunny day surrounded by evergreens ~ I won’t come back!

Thanks, Cee!  Another week of thoughtful moments!

Firestarter ~


Back in the early ’90’s I was a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician with the local village fire department out in Cayuga County.  The training, though rigorous and ongoing, was an adrenalin rush ~ not quite the rush as a real call, though.  I took all the appropriate courses required to drive either the ambulance, rescue or the tanker/pumper firetrucks, as well as become a basic EMT.  For those three years I was “on call” 24/7 as a volunteer, working a “regular job” during the day and responding to calls as needed anytime between 5:00 pm and 8:00 am.  It’s a tough job, and it’s not for everyone.

My sig other at the time was also a firefighter.  And later on, he continued as a firefighter when I left the service.  The following photos were taken at a “scheduled burn down” by Aurelius Fire Department somewhere around 1991-1992.  I took them as a spectator with a Kodak 110 film camera.  It just goes to show the “progress” of an actual fire.  Take a look and I’ll comment some more on the other side.

This is how it starts.

This is how it starts. An Aurelius firefighters steps out of harms way after setting the initial fire.

The fire "catches" inside the barn.

The fire “catches” inside the barn.

The fire quickly spreads to the ceiling.

The fire quickly spreads to the ceiling.


You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

Soon is breaks out of the walls and spreads.  I had to move across the street to avoid the intense heat.

Soon it breaks out of the walls and spreads. I had to move across the street to avoid the intense heat.

Fully engulfed.

Fully engulfed.

Firefighters practice with live hose.

Firefighters practice with live hose.



The building collapses.

The building collapses. Who’s cleaning up and rolling all that hose???

Aurelius firefighter, Barry Bench, observes the leftover devastation.

Aurelius firefighter, Barry Bench, observes the leftover devastation.

From the moment the fire was started in the first photo until is was fully engulfed was about 2-3 minutes.  Seriously.  I always thought that, should a fire start in my own home, I would have plenty of time to get a few necessities out before the fire claimed my belongings.  Not true!  In all liklihood, you would die from smoke inhalation before the flames ever got to you… if you were lucky enough, that is!  The same goes for trying to put the fire out yourself.  A small, “containable” fire can grow to life threatening in mere seconds.  Not every fire responds to water, indeed, some fires are made worse by spraying or pouring water on them!   *steps down off soap box*

Not everyone gets to see the true progression of a building fire, so I just thought I’d share what I have.  Hope you enjoyed!

Till next I blog… TTFN!

~ Tamara Eckstadt


Big Chill in B’ville ~

Al and I ventured out in the bitter cold today to nearby Baldwinsville, NY, where I grew up and graduated from.  We wanted to take in the event they call “The Big Chill” on the banks of the Seneca River in Mercer Park.  The event is a fundraiser, combined with a “polar plunge” along with many other activities and food events.  They raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities of CNY, and the Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce. 

We got there at about 11:45 a.m. for what was anticipated as a Noon start of the festivities.  They had a DJ at the gazebo who was playing 80’s tunes, and the fire department and ambulance squads were both on scene.  There was a couple of large tents where for $10 you could have all the “tastings” of local area foods that you want.  Tim Horton’s was there with a tent and giving away free hot chocolate ~ VERY popular! 

At noon, the DJ welcomed the sparse crowd with an announcement that the plunges would begin at 1:00 pm ~ another hour to wait in the sunny but frosty cold.

Swimming Hole!

Swimming Hole!

When we arrived, there were members of the local fire department in the icy water scooping out ice chunks and making a clean area for plungers to enjoy.  A backhoe was brought in to break the ice initially, then volunteers went in to “clean it up”.

Playful firefighter

Playful firefighter

 One of the firefighter/volunteers does a back float in his specialized suit while taking a break from hauling ice blocks, slush and chunks of ice out of the plunge area.  Moments before, he had been up on the ice at the edge of the hole, then jumped in.

Paramedics on stand-by

Paramedics on stand-by

Greater Baldwinsville Ambulance Corp kept watch just up from the water’s edge.

Junior Firefighters

Junior Firefighters

Baldwinsville firefighters heated up the area with a nice bonfire consisting of wood pallets and dried Christmas trees.  These young Junior firefighters stood by with an active hose trained on the fire, just in case it was suddenly necessary to put it out.  Later, they stood on both sides of the red carpet that led down to the water and gave high fives to the plunge participants as they exited the plunge pond.

Getting crowded

Getting crowded

Just shy of 1:00 when the plunges were to begin, the crowd edged toward the water waiting to see the spectacle.

Baldwinsville FD Team takes the plunge.

Baldwinsville FD Team takes the plunge.

Baldwinsville FD team exits the plunge!

Baldwinsville FD team exits the plunge!


Here you can see all of the ice chunks that had to be cleared out of the water before the plungers could begin.  Al and I left around 1:30 p.m. ~ my cheeks were just wind-burned and raw, although we’d both dressed in warm layers, the temp was around 7 degrees.  By the time the plunges began, the sun had gone behind clouds and the wind had picked up.

Hats off to these brave souls who take the plunge.  I don’t know how they do it!  The Mayor of Baldwinsville said that this year was the coldest it’s been that he could remember… and he’s done it every year since it began.

Till next we blog again … TTFN.

Tamara Eckstadt

How To Tell If You’re an Upstate New Yorker, by Jeff Foxworthy ~

I, personally, being a native of upstate New York, found nothing unusual about any of these observations.  And I can unequivocally confirm that every one of them is true.  Read on and lol!
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  * *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Jeff Foxworthy
on Upstate New York

If  you consider it a sport to gather your food by
… drilling through 36 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in Upstate New York..

If  you’re proud that your region makes the national news 96 nights a year because Saranac Lake is the coldest spot in the nation, and Syracuse
gets more snow than any other major city in the US, you might live in Upstate, NY.

If  your local Dairy Queen is closed from October through May, you might live in Upstate New York.

If you get 131 inches of snow in a week and you comment that ‘winter’s finally
here’, you might live near Oswego in Upstate New York.

If you instinctively walk like a penguin for six months out of the year, you might live, bundled up, in Upstate New York.

If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance, and they
don’t work there, you might live in Upstate NY.

If  you have worn shorts and a parka on the same day, you might live in Upstate New York..

If  you have had a lengthy phone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you might live in Upstate New York.


“Vacation” means going South past Syracuse for the weekend.

You measure distance in hours.

You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.

You often switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again.

You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching.

You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both

You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend/wife knows how to
use them.

You design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.

You can identify a southern or eastern accent.

Down South to you means Corning.

Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new shed.

You go out for a fish fry every Friday.

Your 4th of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.

You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.

You find 10 degrees “a little chilly.” and 55 is shorts weather.

Until we blog again…  TTFN!
~ Tamara Eckstadt