1964 Custom Impala

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A very well done, highly customized 1964 Chevrolet Impala was in the alley downtown, where a modeling agency was using it as a prop for a photo shoot. They had finished the photo shoot by the time I was leaving the office, but the car was still there. When the owner saw me walking up with my camera, he told me to please take as many photos as I would like. He took me around the car and explained some of the details, and the cost of the various engravings, all done by hand — only $50,000 dollars for the engraving on the chrome on the rear end and spare tire cover in the last photo.

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Snake in the Trail

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Laurie saw this little western hognose snake laying on the trail where someone might have stepped on or ran over it with a mountain bike. Laurie sent me the photo with the following description:

“Looks venomous to me. Since he was right in the trail at the high-traffic area, I found a longish stick and moved him as gently as I could. He reacted by writhing around with his mouth open and then acted like I killed him and laid there fairly still with his tongue still flicking. He was still only a foot or so away from the trail, so I put some leaves around to camouflage him, left him alone, and then went back to recheck after I lifted weights. I took the snake stick and very carefully brushed the leaves aside with great trepidation. Thankfully, he was gone, so I guess it was one of those reptile play dead acts that I’ve seen lizards do many times (but not so often with snakes). I was so glad that he had moved, since I had never seen a snake quite like him and I truly was afraid I had injured him very badly or even killed him.”

I saw the photo before reading her description, and recognized it was a western hognose snake, which I see very rarely anymore since our toad population has decreased (they especially like to eat toads). I asked why she didn’t photograph the death act, and Laurie said the snake was such a good actor that she felt like she had really killed it and wasn’t going to document what looked like her torturing and killing a poor little snake. She said it could have been in Hamlet for the act it put on writhing around before playing dead.

If you look up photos of hognose snakes, you will see that they have a large variety of colors and patterning depending on which part of the country they are in. The western hognose have the coloring and patterns that are much closer to rattlesnakes you see in the western part of the US than  bull snakes, for example. Hognose snakes in the southern and eastern part of the country have very similar coloring and markings to water moccasins, copperheads and timber rattlesnakes.

 

Light Up My Life

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Since I don’t have a 220 volt outlet in the house, other than the dryer, I had to lug one of my dad’s old, 75 pound linear amplifiers to my neighbor’s machine shop to plug it into his 220 volt outlet — the tubes glowed. Like film photography and manually operated machining lathes and millers, high powered transmitting tubes are so 20th Century.

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Day Lilies & Darkroom

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We are getting a nice variety of day lilies with interesting colors.

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Sink with faucet and shelves. The black square in the wall is a light tight exhaust fan.

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The enlarger will go on this area. The silver top is a portion of an old elevator door. Old elevator doors make great tops because they have solid cores, covered with an 1/8 inch thick brushed stainless steel. So even this 34 inch wide top weighs about 60 pounds. When the elevator door top is attach to the walls it makes a very stable surface.

 

Sun Scorpion Saturday

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Better known as a Camel Spider, the Sun Scorpion seems to be something between a spider and scorpion, but it’s neither. They are solpugids, of which there are 50 species in the southwestern US. This one was in the catio and about 1 1/2 inches long, but they commonly reach 6 inches in length and can supposedly run at speeds up to 10 mph. They eat insects, small lizards, beetles and scorpions that they catch and kill with their jaws, as they are non-venomous.

A blue damselfly landed close to me, and I noticed it was eating an ant when I got it in focus under my macro lens.

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Grapes Gone Wild

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The garden got about 3/4 inch of rain over the past few days, and with a good soaking from the irrigation, the grapes have gone wild (along with most of the plants on the property), and climbed into the apple tree, where they are dangling among the apples. I’m sure most self respecting winers would not allow their grapes to mix with their apples, but when we get a little water in our dry climate, grapes (and a whole lot of other stuff) happen!

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Our irrigation gate with a note from the ditch rider

 

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With all the rain, the irrigation water was the color of chocolate milk

 

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Grape vines spilling out of the apple tree

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Mama Manx practicing her “show kitty” stance by the edge of the flooded garden.