Let me tell you about the one that got away

In the lovely morning light, I saw him.  He was showing off his beautiful red tail atop a utility pole.  I scurried to office to retrieve my camera as excitement filled my entire being.  This would be the image to grace this blog and I was overdue for the next post.

I returned to the window with camera hanging around my neck.  I carefully raised the blinds for an unimpeded view, turned on the camera and removed the lens cap.  My hands were shaking.  So bad I had to fight to brace the camera as I zoomed in on the subject.  Beautiful!

My hands shook with excitement and I lost my subject.  Zoom out.  There he is.  Carefully . . . very carefully . . . zoom in.  Relax and control those tremors.  Control the breathing.  Gently brace the hands hold the framing and click.

170324a

Before I could finish my business, the hawk went about his.  Perhaps there was a mouse that needed companionship or something.  I don’t know.  Life seems to work that way some days.

No chance to get a pic of the pair of eagles recently spotted.  There are times when all you can do is enjoy the views.  That’s okay by me.

They don’t all elude the camera.  This shy guy didn’t.  I had to ask Sylvia to refrain from cleaning around the window while I got the camera for this one.

170310a

After posing for this portrait, the wee one scampered away before Sylvia got there with a damp dust cloth in hand.

Save

2016 In Pix

As we prepare to say goodbye to this year, here’s some of my favorite images from this blog during 2016.

The year started (January 2) with a celebration of seven years of Secondary Roads.

number7

In January, the old windows came out of the office (left), which were replaced with new ones (right).  Later, the rest of the windows would receive the same treatment.

Out with the old. In with the new.

Out with the old. In with the new.

Bleak February was made cheery by a visit from a good friend, Sharkey, of My Quality Day.  Lots of music, singing, laughs and conversation ensued.

160201a

Relief came in sight as winter gave way to spring.

Basking in the afternoon sun.

Basking in the afternoon sun.

Spring means rain, and spring rain means a mess on our secondary road.  It is part of the life that we have chosen and that we love.

SpringRain

Big excitement in April as a tractor fire closed off the road into Ionia.

160425y

We made a pet of a hornet who stayed out of swatter reach.  (Sadly, he died a week later.)  It is just as well.  Some folks could neither understand nor abide the thought of making a pet of such a critter.  (We really never wanted to pet him.)

160426a

I posted many, many pictures of flowers.  Sylvia and I enjoy them so much.

160613d

Our granddaughter bring us much joy.  We’ve watched her become established in her career.  This year, she  began a Master’s program in Nursing Education.

160621a-Bri

Wildlife outnumbers humans in our part of the world.

160718c

160822c

Do you know what bugs me?

160928a

It is storms that blow down trees.

160929a

As Halloween approached, workers finished the window replacement project.

161001b

This year saw our garden flourish.  We’ve never had such rich harvests of jalapeños, butternut squash, zucchini, etc.

161103a

It has been a full year and while we are reluctant to see it go, we eagerly look forward to what the new year holds.

160929e

Sylvia joins me in wishing you and yours a healthy, happy and prosperous 2017.

Sleepless Night

What do you do on a sleepless night (if you ever have one of those)?  Recently I faced that situation.  I ended up in the office and looked out at the sodium vapor light that illuminates our house and barn and at night.

My view of that light from the office is through the limbs of an apple tree that is not properly pruned.  (If it bore good apples, I’d take the time and expend the effort to prune the tree for good production.  I’ve done that before.)

On this particularly night we had received a light snow that had frosted the branches of the apple tree.  It made for an interesting sight.

161216a

I processed the image with Photoshop Elements to get an image that is more like what my eye perceived.  It is only an approximation.

Reminds me of a giant spider web.  Or maybe it’s a mutant sponge.

I thought that flash might help so I tried using that.  With this result:

161216b

All the beautiful colors went away.  Some sparkles from ice appeared, but this image only leaves me feeling cold.

I’m happy to report that after a medication change, I’ve not had any sleepless nights for some time now.  I like that better.

Frosty Night

We experienced our first frost of the season last night.  It was a hard one too.  What’s a body to do?  How about pitch a tent in the garden?

161112a

That’s what Sylvia and I did last evening as the sun was setting.  Call it a science experiment.  We are trying to keep our jalapeño plant alive until November 20.  (Typical first frost date for this area is October 20.)

We’ll see how our pepper plant survived when the tent is gone.  For my part, faith and hope continue . . .

Dream-like

It was late in the afternoon.  Evening was coming on.  Out over the nearby woods, fog began to form as the moist air began to cool.

160903a

Soon the sun was going down, the breeze stopped blowing, the earth was still.  It was like a dream in orange.

160903b

I sat in my recliner and relaxed . . .  Later I opened one eye and peeked out.  It was like the foggy dream in orange was continuing.

160904a

No drugs involved and no brain cells were injured in this process.

From the Assignment Desk

It’s that time of year.  The days are getting shorter.  The days (and nights) are cooler.  Old man grasshopper.  Is enjoying life.

160830a

This old man is enjoying life as well.  The warmth of the sun and the cool of the evening bring joy to each day.

Each new day brings another story and a new delight.  My assignment is to discover and enjoy.

High on a Faraway Hill

It was over 40 years ago.  I was working at HCJB installing an FM transmitter on an Andean mountain that overlooks Quito, Ecuador.  A friend capture this image on our lunch break.

img009a

I was standing about 6 miles south of the equator.  Yes, that is my insulated winter coat from Michigan.  At 13,000 feet above sea level, the air is chilly even that close to the equator.

On the left side of the picture, you can see the soccer stadium and the boulevard that runs to it.  I was there at a game once with a press pass and a camera.  The professional photographers gave me the stink eye as I watched the game with them from the sidelines.  They did not understand why I stood behind and slightly to the side of the goal.  From their angle they could capture all the action on the field, but that was not my interest.  My assignment was to capture the goalie as he failed.  The Quito team attacked the goal and my shot caught the ball entering the goal, passing just out of the goalie’s diving reach.  Assignment completed!  I returned the camera and film to the publicity department.  They were pleased with the photo and used it in a publication.

On the Track at Michigan

In advance of Sunday’s NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway, my favorite driver had something to share with the fans.

BradK-MIS

Brad Keselowski, driver of the no. 2 car for Team Penski, took NBC pit reporter, Kelli Stavast, for a spin in a replica 1901 Ford Sweepstakes.  The two were in period costume.  That must have been quite the experience to zip around the big track at 45 mph.  My good friend and neighbor, Jerry, was at the track I’m looking forward to hearing his report on the Sweepstakes.

It was a Sweepstakes that Henry Ford drove in his first race at a horse track in Grosse Point, Michigan in October 1901.  Ford’s first company failed, but after he won that race investors came on board.

For my part, I prefer my 20-year-old Dodge Intrepid.  Handles better and has improved comfort and safety features.