My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Thursday, July 24, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Sunset Alchemy

A fierce thunderstorm, smoke from distant wildfires, the setting sun: alchemy that turned the skies to gold...

This post is in honor of my friend and neighbor Pam, whose birthday is today and who missed seeing this particular sunset this week. Happy Birthday, Pam! (Our handsome buddies wanted to join me in wishing you a very happy birthday - and they also wanted to know if there will be carrot cake. LOL)…

Our friendly neighbors pay us a visit over our back fence. 
Such beautiful beings… always a pleasure to see them, and a privilege to share their world!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

2014 Sheridan Karz Club Rod Run, Pt 2

Sorry it took me a while to get here with the second batch of Rod Run photos, but the traffic was terrible! ;-) Anyway, here are the rest of our favorites from this year's hot rod/classic car show on July 5th. (You can see Part 1 here)...

A 1948 Buick Special 
(and a border collie who seems to be telling his human, "Let's go for a ride in that one, 
it matches my collar and leash!")

1933 Dodge 5-Window Coupe 
According to its accompanying info sign, this teal beauty is all steel and all Mopar, with rare dual horns. (The teal color and those wonderful "arooga" horns were what won me over!) When this was a brand new car in 1933, it was sold in Kalispell, MT. It now resides in Billings, MT, a mere 444 miles away. So I expect it has low miles. ;-) 

BW admiring a boss '57 Chevy Bel Air

1956 Mercury Montclair Hardtop Coupe

These odd tubes in the Mercury really drew my attention. They led from these ports in the rear deck to larger ones in the car's ceiling just above the rear seat, and I had fun coming up with unlikely uses for them. Since they reminded me of the pneumatic tubes you use at drive thru banks, I thought maybe it was a way for someone locked in the trunk to send an SOS to someone in the front seat. :-) 

As I struggled to both figure them out and photograph them, the owner wandered over and explained that the tubes are part of the car's very rare factory air conditioning (which only 1% of all 1956 Mercury Montclair's had!), drawing air from outside vents (you can see the chrome intake vent on the rear fender in the first Mercury photo) and sending it through the tubes to air vents above the front seat. I'm guessing from some of the info I found online that the a/c compressor and condenser were in the trunk, but don't quote me! (I still like my idea of using it to send messages from the trunk to the driver, lol).

1957 Ford Sedan Delivery
The truly beady-eyed and sharp-memoried among you may recognize this car from my 2012 Rod Run post. However, it has been jazzed up quite a bit in the two years since… you can see the graphics on the hood better in this photo, but check out these incredible murals (all painted FREEHAND by the artist!!) on the sides...

and on the tailgate, featuring Mount Rushmore and Devil's Tower...

1934 Ford 3-window Coupe 

Our friend and neighbor John, VP of the Karz Club as well as the owner of this Shelby GT-H, briefs BW about some of its attributes. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you'll see the "Hertz" badge; yep, that Hertz, the car rental folks. They collaborated with Ford and Shelby Automobiles to commission 500 of these high-performance cars for customers in select cities whose heart's desire it might be to rent a race car to get from the airport to their business meetings. :-) 

Fast as that 325hp V-8 could go, anyone driving one of those bad boys better be watching out for these...

Wyoming Highway Patrol's Restored 1954 Buick Patrol Car 
Beside it is a contemporary one… if I were pulled over by the WHP, pretty sure I'd prefer it be by the '54 Buick (which has its own Facebook page!) Especially if I had to ride to the hoosegow in the back seat. :-)

Speaking of vehicular outlaws… when we saw this '88 Lincoln Town Car in the lineup, we burst out laughing. Just a couple days earlier we had passed this car, with its menacing matte black paint job, on one of Sheridan's streets. BW had done a double take and said, "What the hell was that?" To which I'd answered, "Why, The Death Car, of course!" Seriously, if the Grim Reaper has a driver's license and too much originality to be caught dead driving a hearse (nyuck), this HAS to be his ride!...

1988 Lincoln Death Town Car 

I got another good laugh when I read the "Special Features" section on its Rod Run entry tag, and again when I had a little fun with it in the photo editor…

(What, no mention of chains or scythe?!) 

Perhaps, like me, this has put you in an early Halloween mood, in need of a bit of orange to go with your black. And now that you've seen the Grim Reaper's car, perhaps you're wondering what The Great Pumpkin drives. Why, this naturally! Perfect for cruising through the pumpkin patch...

"Porky," a 1949 Chevy Custom Pickup
We loved this truck! Such a cool color (note the subtle fender flames) and fun shape!

I've tried and tried to get a list of this year's award winners - or even just "Best in Show," but to no avail. I'm still trying, and if I eventually succeed I'll add a note to any of the cars on these posts that may have won an award. 

Anyway, that does it for this year's Rod Run. But you might enjoy some of these old car commercials from the 1950's (when we apparently had much longer attention spans!) The first ad was my favorite. Love the cheesy acting and the subtle-as-a-flying-brick prodding to make everyone envy and admire you by owning their product. Hey, who had time for subliminal messaging when marketers were too busy convincing you that their car could practically fly you to Mars? :-) 

Coming up soon(ish): photos from yesterday's 2nd annual Garden Tour: from horsepower to flower power!  :-)

Friday, July 18, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: All the Sky's a Stage...

It was an interesting week for skies here, from bright blue and cloudless to dark and thundery to smoky haze that completely obscured the mountains. A lot of sky theater!

But the highlights ("skylights?") of the week were two incredible sunsets. 

This first one was last Friday evening. We'd spent the day in Montana and got home not long before a big thunderstorm rolled in. The storm clouds turned the sky black and menacing just as the sun set, and this one small opening in the clouds - like a slightly lifted theater curtain - gave us a captivating glimpse of this molten sky...

It didn't last long before the clouds obscured it and the rain and lightning took the stage! I was sure grateful to be home to capture it...

On Monday night we had the most unusual sunset we've ever seen - it looked like a giant laser or stage light. Amazing and otherworldly, there really are no words adequate to describe it so I'll let the photos speak for themselves. Except for reducing the file size, I haven't touched them - I wanted you to see just what we saw!...


Changing skies, scenes, and moods completely, here's a beautifully painted teepee set up this week at the corner of Coffeen Avenue (the busiest street in Wyoming, we're told - and we believe it!) and Main Street for the tourists to enjoy. I snapped this while sitting at a red light (Luckily I was the passenger and had my camera with me, though I don't remember why!) I got a SkyWatch twofer with this one: the beautiful summer sky above and the one painted on the teepee! :-)

More skies of all kinds await you at...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Karz Club Rod Run 2014 (Pt 1)

It's that time of year again (or was, back on July 5th!) - the annual Sheridan Karz Club "Rod Run!" Here's a little mood-setting music you can play as you drag main…

We got there early, because it was already a scorcher that was predicted to grow even scorchier. Just stayed an hour and wasn't as diligent about recording each car's information, so some of my photo captions will be embarrassingly non-informative (and non-existent). You can make up your own stories if you wish. :-)

This rare 1957 DeSoto "Firesweep" wasn't even in the show, but was parked behind a building on a nearby side street. We just happened to walk past it on our way to the show and it caught our eye. It's a beauty - great color… and check out those unusual tailpipes! 

This handsome 1955 Dodge C-1 belongs to BW's co-worker at UPS, Vicki, and her husband Kenny. It took them two years to restore it to its dazzling glory from this pitiful state...

A daunting project, especially since between them they also have three jobs!

The oak truck bed was a thing of beauty, too.
(And look, the truck's paint job is so glossy you can see my Sanuks' reflection!) :-)

A 1958 Studebaker-Packard Hawk. The sign with it said it was one of only 588 made, 
as well as the fastest - and final - Packard ever made. 
(That's all well and good, but BW still thinks it looks like a catfish
The toy bulldog peeing on the tire doesn't seem overly impressed either). :-)

I actually think it's pretty cool looking, especially from behind!

Ah, now we're talkin'. You may recall my fondness for a purple '56 Chevy Bel Air coupe that got my "Ladies Choice" vote in the 2012 Rod Run. Goes without saying that I was instantly smitten with this year's candy purple princess, a 1930 Model A her owners call "The Hussy." (You can read the story of her purchase and restoration here).

She was every bit as snazzy on the inside as she was on the outside!
Ever seen a dash board with this much purple panache before? 

I guess you could call this a hybrid. :-)

Here's one neither of us knows squat about, except that it's a 1929 Ford Model A truck with a blown flathead engine. What the "Ross" badging on the hood means is anybody's guess. 
I liked the wooden roof "rafters!"

As entertaining as the cars are to look at, sometimes it's the people looking at the cars
 who steal the show. =:-)

More show-stealing spectators. (Actually, the owner of this truck told me these are his mechanics. Click and Clack the Tappit Brothers, perhaps?) 

Stay tuned (or tuned-up!) for Part 2! (Meanwhile, if you're starved for classic hot rods, check out my posts from the 2012 show).

Friday, July 11, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Peaceful Skies...

When not being assaulted by bottle rockets or bedazzled by brocades and chrysanthemums, our skies were putting on a beautiful (and much quieter) July 4th holiday weekend display of their own...

It seems a cloud-bird lost a tail feather ~
now drifting, lonesome and lazy, across the tranquil sky

"… So let us welcome peaceful evening in."
~William Cowper

May the skies above you be peaceful as well. Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. For those of you who enjoy such things, my next post will be Part 1 of 2 of the 2014 Karz Club "Rod Run" annual hot rod/classic cars show, which took place in Sheridan last Saturday. Hope you'll cruise on by! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Dawn's Early Light to Twilight's Last Gleaming

Happy SkyWatch Friday to my fellow SkyWatchers around the world, and Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans! 

Lots going on in today's post, so I'd best get busy…

It was not a good week here for sky photography due to a thick haze from wildfires in Alberta, Canada. But it started to clear by yesterday, when I took all of these photos ~ beginning at sunrise when I walked barefoot to the end of our street to finally photograph the Western Meadowlark (Wyoming's State Bird) who sits atop the corner streetlight every day, singing his sweet little heart out. I thought he looked especially lovely bathed in the "dawn's early light"...

I've always loved the Meadowlark's melodious songs and calls, and so was happy to catch a snippet while he alternately preened and sang (his version of singing in the shower?) :-)...

(Don't know what the annoying clicking from my camera is all about!)

I was also able to capture this still photo of him in full-throated song...

...but noticed that he was no longer bathed in the pretty golden sunlight. So I turned around to see what had befallen the rising sun and discovered it had been obscured by an ill-timed cloud. Still, it was a pretty sight, so I snapped it...

… and only after viewing it on my camera did I notice the silhouettes of the deer on the right! Since I had my telephoto lens attached, I was able to get a few nice closeups of this doe and her suitors (the one on the right, whom I also hadn't seen till I downloaded this photo, is clearly not a morning person!)...

After mowing and weeding, BW and I took a break in the shade of our front porch and enjoyed the view of this interesting cloud, who appeared to be responding to complaints about the increasing cloudiness with, "Talk to the hand." :-)

At the end of our busy day - and our first hot one (92ºF) in nearly a week - we enjoyed an evening bike ride, and then a final respite on our front porch to watch the sun go down…

BW sporting his "go to hell hat" beneath our festive star-spangled string of lights!

And what a sunset it was!! All of the following sunset photos are "SOOC" - straight out of my camera, which had captured the breathtaking magnificence of the "twilight's last gleaming" so perfectly that the very thought of trying to improve them through editing seemed both futile and arrogant…

Even after the sun had set, the show - and photo ops - had still not ended. By the very last of the day's light, a herd of at least nine mule deer paraded past in front of the school across the street, providing a delightfully perfect close to a day that had begun with a beautiful sky and beautiful deer... and because what is Independence Day without a parade? :-)

Click on the photos to enlarge, and please pardon their poor quality. I was surprised my camera was able to capture the deer as well as it did, given my distance from them and the lack of light! Though some of them had lagged behind to peek in the classroom windows and front doors (not kidding) and so didn't make it into the frame, the ones who did are more visible in this photo...

Again, I wish a very safe and 
to those who are celebrating it…

And please also enjoy a mindful holiday celebration...


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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