Happy Holidays!

That concludes the Xmas holiday part. My handwriting is so bad these days that I make a doctor's hen scratching look like classic penmanship. So I'm going to try an Xmas letter this year. I know they have all of the popularity and interest of a set of vacation slides, but on the other hand, I just don't get cards out the door anymore. 50 e-mails a day, but I simply can't remember the last time I wrote anything other than a check. Oh, see if you can find the white turkey in the image above. Fun for the whole family.

Left click on the image for a larger version.

In the category of want but don't need, I bought a 2016 Dodge Hellcat. Shown at the dealer, above, back in February. Probably the last silly thing I'll buy now. For any car buffs, it's rated at 707 HP, but known to be as much as 35 to 50 HP higher than that. With racing tires on the back it can do 0-60 in less that 2.9 seconds. And if one wants to void the warranty, another $5K to $10K will add another 150 to 200 HP. Stock, you can be going 125 MPH before you get off the freeway entrance. Some, but not me, have gotten them close to the 200 MPH top speed, where, if you're honest with yourself, puts you one blown tire away from eternity. I've gone 125 MPH, and the sensation of speed is barely there, which is why it's easy to get into trouble. Etc.

I mostly take short day trips in it, constantly on the lookout for cops, and with the knowledge that going over 100 MPH is considered reckless driving. But even with that it's fun. For the slightly unhinged anyway.

Another guy and I take day trips every Tuesday. I've know him since 1955. He likes to drive, and I like to take photos, so it works out well. We've visited a lot of the small towns in the lower part of MI now, and I've accumulated about 12,000 photos. For what? How would I know...

A lot of them are used in historical projects and put in things like FaceBook, for discussing. I've also done a lot of scanning of photos at the museum and other places, for similar uses. For those that like history for some reason, the Internet is a dream come true. For 15 years or so I've been working with a person in WI on a website about old octagon houses. The Internet makes this possible, as well as providing the reach to locate and use materials from libraries all over the country.

See Inventory if interested. Something like this would have been impossible 25 and more years ago, when one used magazines, letters, etc.

Anyway, while on day trips we walk when possible, usually on old railroad tracks. MI is part of the rails-to-trail project in progress in many states now. Abandoned railroad tracks are converted into walking and bike paths. Many are paved. It's a good way to preserve the right of ways, which are unique resources, and provide level walking paths for the old and fat - that would be me. A good walk is about 7 miles.

Camera in hand, if you take a lot of photos you might, over time, get a few that, mostly by luck, stand out. The ones below are some of those, in my opinion anyway.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.


Pileated woodpecker



Turkey in front yard

Goldfinch at feeder

A couple of comments, the pileated woodpecker is the size of a crow. Taken with an 18X telephoto lens. Similarly, the contrails were taken with a 42X lens, and shows there really is a plane at the head of them. At maybe 7 miles up, to the naked eye no aircraft is visible. Happy was a tuxedo cat, and was 17 in her last year.