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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

World Bird Wednesday LVIII

Refrigerator Soup

Let me tell you about a Firehouse custom. These cold mornings at Engine 23, it is my first responsibility to make soup from the left overs of the previous days lunch and dinner before we go out to check for frozen hydrants. It is a long standing tradition, born in the misty past, that the driver of the Engine (me) makes the soup and God knows the firehouse is nothing without tradition. Every morning during hydrant season; the days between October 1st and April 30th we check each fire hydrant in the city for leakage once a month. That involves driving around in the big rig, jumping off and hand dipping each one with a weight strung to the end of a rope. If the string, as it's pulled out, brings with it a splash of water, that hydrant is in danger of freezing solid and must be blown out dry with compressed air down below the frost line. A frozen hydrant wastes precious time in the effort to put the wet stuff on the red stuff. 
   Making soup and checking hydrants are twin rituals, like the steady tick and tock of a grandfather clock. The dependable morning rite starts the steady rhythm of the day, it makes the Firehouse: Home. There is no recipe for refrigerator soup, in the 112 years it has been improvised in Engine 23's big kitchen, never has it been made twice the same. It may start with corned beef, sausage, chicken, fish, veal, ham, pork roast, or it may have no meat base at all. I've seen times when there were no left overs at all, then we'd have a go with a creamy potato and onion probably.
   What so ever survives the night gets chopped up in the morning and put into the soup. Tradition! 

    For awhile we tried to name the soup du jour.  Names like "The Chiefs Out of the Loop Soup" came in moments of inspiration. However; the magic is not in the naming but in the preparation. For me a work day begins with chopped onions and the din of a hundred peculating conversation when sixteen A-type firehouse personalities, all hopped up on black coffee, are pressed around the chopping block as our shifts change. It is not a polite group and many a delicate soul has been diced up and thrown into the boil. There is often a bruised ego in the broth!

   World Bird Wednesday reminds me of refrigerator soup, warm, filling, and invigorating no mater the ingredients. While the fixing's are always different and the proportions at times preposterous, it is the shared experience of making soup that adds subtlety of flavour and aroma, like three bay leaves.
   The firehouse and WBW are as much a cooking school as anything else. You get to taste it all and watch it being made. Secrets are revealed. The traditions of every cuisine meet and melt, they become a part of your personal experience.
   Here in the Detroit Fire Department, the Black guys can cook Chinese, the Hillbillies prepare a mean Mid-eastern, the Asians throw down on soul food, and the Latins can kick out a Polish Wedding in a heart beat. There's no point getting your britches twisted. Superficial expectations diminish and the lines we mistook for boarders become pleasantly blurred because, in the end, we'll all wind up together in tomorrow's soup anyway! 

   This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
   You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!

   World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.


#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW.

#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.

#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compatriots!

Come on it's your turn!


  1. love your images - just gorgeous. and love your soup analogy! always a pleasure, springman!

  2. Fantastic heron shot! Absolutely wonderful! All of these photos are gorgeous! Great job, Springman!

  3. You're a poet. WBW definitely had me coming back for more, I found it delicious at first taste. The blackbird photo is a perfect fit for the paragraph above it.

  4. Wonderful post and images! Thank you for taking us through this wonderful and delightful learning experience. Some day I hope I can take such excellent shots as seen in your posts! All the very best for 2012!

  5. My husband has been a volunteer fireman for over 30 years. Here if you call for an ambulance, you get the volunteer fire company. He answered over 650 calls last year. I admire what you do as I understand the danger..stay safe in the New year and I enjoyed this post...

  6. Merry Christmas Springman. Wish you were with us this past weekend where we saw hundreds of pelicans. You take such good photos. My efforts just don't do justice. Have a great day. Jo

  7. A top post again sir!

    I love the pictures that accompany the words. A great post for the last WBW of the year; and a massive thank you from me, for being such an amazing host for this amazing group from around the world.

    I look forward to many more.

    And all the best wishes to you and your family for the new year.

    Keep safe.

  8. Springman, your images today are stunning! Not that they aren't every week, but this week they seem to be more so!
    My Dad who was a fireman, was a big one on soup too!
    Hope you had a great Christmas!

  9. Wonderful Springman ..
    Soup is a real mix of what's all around us..
    Just like these beautiful birds.

    Please accept my best wishes for

  10. I learned something new today about tradition. :)

    Love that Snowy Egret showing off it´s plumage. :) (it is a snowy, isn´t it?)

  11. I do so love your philosophy and analogies, always so thought provoking and evocative.

    'As above, so below', 'Say Ahhh' and the 'Marilyn Monroe windswept look' are all perfection.
    Thank you for sharing your soup, your thoughts and pictures with lesser mortals who have trouble holding the camera still when faced with the excitement of a massed bird event.

  12. A great read - I love your soup analogy! You're ending the year with some incredible photos, including that header shot!
    Happy New Year to you, Springman!

  13. A fascinating look into the fire station! Great bird photos. I especially like the egret with the plumes.

  14. Wonderful post and images!
    Your photos are gorgeous, love all of them.
    Thanks for hosting WBW, looking forward to WBW in 2012.

  15. each photograph wonderful; green legs on the first water-bird/interesting. The egret plumage snapshot is fabulous. Enjoyed your always captivating commentary too; soup in your cold weather would go down really well. Didn't realize this fraternity enjoyed such a hearty start at the station. Sounds like good comeraderie happening there.

  16. Awesome birds and photos, Springman! I just love the first shot of the Night Heron. The reflection is beautiful. Cool shot of the moon and the egret is gorgeous. Fantastic post. I wish you and your family a Happy and Safe New Years!

  17. My Grandfather, my uncle (his son) and my brother were all fire chiefs in our volunteer FD and my son is a wild fire weather specialist. I was not bitten by the "fire bug," and your story about life in the engine house is so novel and interesting. Great photos as usual, all part of an inspiring presentation!

  18. Absolutely a marvelous post! I loved it! Perfect tradition too.
    Beautiful Egret!!and I love that dear little cygnet...
    Stay safe!

  19. Wonderful photos again Springman and I am going with the header as my favorite this week. Duck soup is never served at the firehouse...or is it?

  20. I love the idea of that soup ritual & I sure wish that everywhere around the Globe people could share the wisdom of shared cultures.
    Lovely crisp photos as usual :)!

  21. I love the birds, but this time moon is on the top of my list!
    Thank you for the wonderful bird watching experience this year and hope to continue in 2012:)
    Wish you all lovely and prosperous NEW YEAR!!!!!

  22. Excellent shots and wonderful picture. Awesome photography!!!

  23. You Dave, are the one that makes this meme what it is, the best bird photography meme on the internet. Thank you sir for all the work you put into WBW and your continued excellent photos and pros.

    The Night Heron juvie photo is striking and so the Snowy Egret, and the singing Red-winged Blackbird is beautiful as well. The closeup of the cygnet in the header is absolutely priceless!

    A healthy and prosperous New Year to you my friend!

  24. Love the pictures and the tradition of the soup. And the analogy with WBW is perfect.

    However, wish I hadn't come back to read you right before it's time to cook dinner. Because now I want your soup instead. Or any soup...we've actually had a coolish day here.
    Thanks as always.

  25. A wonderful, warming story, born of the cold.

  26. The snowy egret is just taking my breath away,so beautiful.
    Thank-you for your wonderful stories of the things that go on behind the firehouse,never thought about the soup,tho in our firehouse get-togethers for funds in the late summer,the chicken corn & ham & bean are our must haves,happy new year to you & yours,I`m having a bit of trouble uploading my pic this evenning,phyllis

  27. Hi there - splendid post. The good old melting pot.

    When you think about things like "discretion being the better part of valour" they often make no sense at all!

    Hope you have a good (and fire free) New Year, unless you happen to be tucked up by your own fire with a glass of red wine or such like!

    Stewart M - Australia

  28. re the treecreeper: If you´ve seen it once you probably will again. I learned that this bird you have to learn to see. Because you don´t actually see it at first. You see something moving on the treetrunk or thick branches. Then you find it. So, good luck. :)

    And I do hope you can get to CR. :)

  29. I am sorry that I have been MIA...but will return when the time is right.

    Dave...Outstanding post with more outstanding photos!

    Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!!!

  30. Great story, marvelous post, David. You do it again and again... like a magician. Have a wonderful productive New Year!

  31. Love all of these images, Springman -- some of your best work! I absolutely love that RWBB, and the egret is gorgeous!