“Drop a gear and disappear.”

It may be difficult for others to understand the American love affair with cars. We’re a big country with a lot of highways. A good century ago our Captains of Industry got together to certify that we would never have public transportation on the same scale as Europe and further ensure that we would indulge in their products and get about our vast nation in cars.

I enjoy cars. If you’ve got a ticket for me and I’ve got the ear plugs I’ll go to the races. I also appreciate a good car show.

I wonder if future generations will have the desire as well as the means to sustain and indulge in this love affair.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the car they drive.

I would qualify that statement by amending it a bit; you can tell a lot about the people who have extra money to spend on cars by the cars they bought and which ones they choose to drive and which they keep for show.

A lot of older Americans enjoy restoring a classic car then hitting the car show circuit. I can understand the love. I sincerely hope future generations can pursue such a pastime as they enter retirement.

This show on Tuesday, June 8th, was part of ‘Back to the Bricks’ Visionary 2021 Promo Tour.

We went because our next door neighbor entered one of his cars.

Frail Aristocrat of Time

Fallen Cherry Blossoms

She Sped As Petals Of A Rose

She sped as petals of a rose
Offended by the wind.
A frail aristocrat of time
Indemnity to find.
Leaving on nature a default
As cricket or as bee.
But Andes in the bosoms where
she had begun to lie.

~ Emily Dickensen

It got up to 80 degrees today.


I present Andy Pandy the Pandemic Pandemonium. Variously known as “Get OUT!”, “Stop That” and “Who’s a Good Boy?”

As denizens of the internet, proper online etiquette suggests you now worship this cat.

Andy, the most, stubborn, hard headed cat on the internet.

Andy is lovable. He likes us but worships our older cat, Boris. Boris is spectacularly, and at times aggressively, indifferent.

Boris (Bastra’s Boris of Youschef) and Andy (Lysander of Lonecat)

Lens-Artists Challenge #150 Let’sGet Wild; Moose

In 2012 I visited my brother in Alaska. If you live in Alaska you have moose encounters; one broke into my brother’s garage and started licking, chewing and then ripping apart my brother’s new snow blower. There was nothing my brother could do but watch in relative safety from the second floor. He later had to get another snow blower.

Moose are large, cranky, extremely dangerous and move on only when they feel like it. They stand much taller than a deer and are much larger than a deer so if you hit one with your car it will total your car, kill you and further irritate an already cranky animal who will casually walk away from your destroyed vehicle.

This juvenile male was between us and home and so we waited. Luckily he was a chill little dude not interested in us. It is good to be ignored by a moose. Eventually he moved off the road and we went home.

Juvenile Male Moose Eagle River, AK
Juvenile Male Moose Eagle River, AK
Juvenile Male Moose Eagle River, AK

Lake Freighter Entering Harbor

Muskegon is a working port. I caught this lake freighter entering the harbor at sunset on a June evening in 2015. They sound their horn when entering or leaving a harbor.

While searching for a link to freighter horn meanings I found this article. What a headache:

Have a lovely weekend!

Sometimes It’s Just The Rain

I hope the pain this morning is just the rain. Please, God, it is not tension on vertebrae L-5 due to the burst fracture of vertebrae T-8. This is the stuff of engineering 101; Where is the load on my spine now? Where is it going? What will deform next as my spine seeks equilibrium?

Engineering stress is the applied load divided by the original cross-sectional area of a material. Also known as nominal stress.

True stress is the applied load divided by the actual cross-sectional area (the changing area with respect to time*) of the specimen at that load.

* This is what is known as the, “WTF, in High School I was captain of the football team! I had a body to die for!” factor.

Engineering strain is the amount that a material deforms per unit length in a tensile test. Also known as nominal strain.**

** This is what laymen refer to as “Oh, Mother of God, please, make the pain stop!

True strain equals the natural log of the quotient of current length over the original length as given by… ***

*** I got nothing. My head just exploded. Math is the language of physics and while physics simultaneously intrigues and frightens me I have no clue what’s going on. I embody the mental equivalent of “Don’t mind me, I’m just banging rocks together.”

This morning I would like to think I am a unique and individual human being blessed with singular gifts. Turns out I am just nominal strain’s b^tch. ****

**** Google Translate does not do Idioms well. Here is hoping this translates correctly.

Random faun in my favorite iris patch

While cowering under my blankets, hiding from the morning pain a neighbor came by to let me know there was a faun in my garden. This is the “Life still comes at you no matter what you are going through factor.” This is a dual factor; 1) Cute, or good, 2) In five years this faun could become 5-10 more deer ravaging my ‘sustaining native pollinators’ gardens or bad. Sometimes this factor just is; so much background actors sent up from Central Casting.

My husband came in and found me wandering in pain circles. When I shared my health concerns he looked at me with dumbfounded revelation. “I’ve been in a lot of pain today. Huh.” And so, he assuaged my fears, refilled his coffee and went back to tinkering on the boat.

Sometimes it’s just the rain.

Lens-Artists Challenge #149 Blue and Green

Back on September 9, 2011 I shot this couple wading in Lake Michigan up at Little Sable Point. I was in the top of the lighthouse and the water was a refreshing Blue/Green. The white spots are sea gulls floating on the crystal surface.

Wading in Lake Michigan

Here is what the light looks like*:

Goodness, here I am shooting a vid from the light:

*Edit: I looked at those old photos from 2017 and now there is little beach as the Lake is right at the base of the cottonwood tree by the lighthouse.

Lens-Artist Challenge #148 Spots and Dots Crossfit

Well, I accidentally re-posted a favorite shot..that Himalayan Blue Poppy. Oops. I’ll post what I shot today. I’m counting the beach balls in the first two photos as dots, they’ve been penned up in our park for two days now. I was eager to see them in action.

This morning Muskegon Crossfit had a challenge race. They set up an obstacle course that stretched from our immediate park in the dunes on out along the boardwalk and to the beach. It must have been one and half to two miles, an extremely gorgeous course with outrageous, fun and challenging obstacles…they had two huge teeter totters of plastic culvert tubes. Entrants had to crawl up through the tubes and then as the teeter tottered down they crawled on out the other side. My inner child was screaming, “ME TOO!!”

Ah, the joy of being young and having a healthy body that responds to helm; running with your friends for the joy of running and then stumbling upon the one obstacle that is reminiscent of the glee of childhood ball pits. I LOVE this woman’s infectious smile:

Exhaustion and focus, they both came out of that tunnel focused on the next obstacle:

Are these still called Monkey Bars?:

Agony. We’ve all been there for our sport.


I’m not sure how many obstacles there were. There must have been ten in our Beachwood park alone. They brought in end-loaders and Cats to restructure our city beach, Pere Marquette, into pits and steep hills. Every obstacle was different and awesome. The event ended on the beach..near the bar.

I was not allowed on the course to figure out what was going on in that pit on the left. They seemed to be walking across the pit on some sort of swings.

We moved here for the miles of open natural beaches. There are a great deal of events like this now, almost every weekend. This is my backyard. It’s an interesting place to live.

Thanks to my husband for driving me for I soon tired, couldn’t get to the course finish, was too loopy to drive and couldn’t tolerate the planned sail but I got some cracking shots of dedicated local athletes. I love these faces.

Lens-Artist Challenge #149: Spots and Dots Himalayan Blue Poppy

In June of 2012 I was visiting my brother in Alaska and shot this Himalayan Blue Poppy in an Anchorage Arboretum. Aside from Holiday night shots I do not believe I have ever shot a more bokeh spotted and dotted image.

Himalayan Blue Poppy Alaska Botanical Garden, Anchorage

What I Did With My Ramps

Ramp on Kate Spade Lenox

In short I ate some, I planted some.

The ramp fresh out of the dirt, the three leaves, the sinful smell.  Then the first bite of the year, into the raw ramp bulb.  The richly nuanced sensations which cross the tongue, then fill the entire mouth, the full brain after that, the quick shot down the entire spinal cord and into the pulse of spring waiting within us, then the magic of the ramp and the myths. ~ David Voodoon Noble

Ramps can be eaten raw. It’s like a cross between an onion and a clove of garlic..with unknown vital funk thrown in… I’ll go with ‘life force’. Fair warning, one bite of the raw bulb hits me with respectable heart burn. Leaves are not as powerful. Ramps are powerful good and powerful smelly. I suggest eating them with one you love because you are gonna be too stinky for anyone else to tolerate. Be kind to each other and be stinky together. Stinky loves company.

We live in a world where if we so choose, we can eat strawberries or lettuce out of season. A hundred years ago, heck, 50 years ago, people gaunt with cabin fever and sick of beans and brown food must have been starved for that bright green and white life fulfilling taste of ramps in early spring. Ramps can be used in a lot of things..good in scrambled eggs, pasta, etc. but I like them best pickled. I’m not a food blog so there’s no recipe.

First I washed and trimmed them. On the right is perfect for pickles. Normally the tops on the left would be used for other dishes but this time I wanted to see if I could pickle the greens as in Korean or Japanese style pickled vegetables.

Washed and Prepared Ramps

I put pickling type stuff in the pot, set it to boiling, then put in the ramps. I cooked them up until they looked good, then I took them out and put them in a jar. A clean jar. A clean jar plucked fresh out of boiling water. You don’t get out of public school in farm states without learning how to can food.

Now the experimental cooking part. I had no recipe or experience with anything like this before. I decided it might be a good idea if I quick blanched the leaves, layered them in a jar and then poured in hot pickle juice. I used the vinegar, water, sugar ratio from the other pickled ramps recipe, boiled it up and threw in a couple of tablespoons of those pickling spices you buy in a store.

The steps:

I thought I’d go all Liziqi food blog and tried to shoot with the left hand while ladling extremely hot pickling brine with the right. I fumbled the phone and the right hand forgot it had a hot ladle in it. Thank God I spent all that time and money on dance. I jumped well. Still, I pickled my slippers along with the counters, the stove, the floor. I boiled up some more brine and finished the job. Cleaning that floor was hard but I was very grateful it was the floor and not my feet.

I’m posting non-linearly. When I returned from the woods I separated the ramps, set some aside for planting and some for cooking then planted the full bulb ramps. Then I prepared the cooking ramps and set them aside. Then I experimented.

I had read several places online that you could take the root ends of ramps that are usually discarded, take those and plant them. I planted the ends I saved from preparing ramps for pickling:

I was so tired from foraging, preparing and planting ramps both ways, whole and just roots, I had to do the pickling the next day. It’s best to prep and cook on the same day but I cannot do that. It’s all good. I’ll know next spring how planting ramps and ramp roots worked out. If they flower later this year I will save the seeds. It takes 6-7 years to grow an edible ramp from seed. It’s why they are hard to find. I intend to sew any seeds somewhere appropriate in the dune woods around my home. Michigan is loosing it’s state flower, the Trillium, to over population of deer. I had also read online that deer avoid Ramps and deer avoid plants that are close to Ramps. I want to experiment with seeding Ramps among remaining Trillium.

I have dedicated a lot of my time these past few years to propagating and spreading native wildflowers. I work very slowly, with due care and rest, meds and ice in between. All humans need to feel useful. There is so much I can no longer do but saving native wildflowers and plants as well as native pollinators is something I CAN do. Besides, pickled ramps are right tasty. Stinky tasty, but tasty just the same.

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