Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's been a wild year, so far

I'm lucky enough to live where a certain amount of wildlife is part of my daily routine. In my yard and at work, there are deer and Blue Heron and Sandhill Crane and wild Turkey. But a truer measure of wildness are the animals that aren't seen in sub-rural yards. The ones that mostly avoid humans and are sometimes even hostile to humans. In being in wild places and seeing those kinds of animals, I've had a good year.

Two of my sitings came on my California trip. The coastal mountains are actually quite wild, in spite of small roads running through the countryside. Naturally, I either didn't have my camera or was too slow to use it, so the animal pictures will have to come from the internet.

One Sunday off, my coworkers and I wandered through the redwoods to the coast and had lunch in Mendocino. Steve had his phone with him and took pictures along the way. Coastline shots like the one above came out pretty good for a phone camera, but the Bobcat picture didn't work at all.

So here we are, driving south along the coast, and there in the field next to the road is a mama Bobcat and her kits. From the big size and the ears, there was no mistaking her for a house cat.

On another Sunday off, I was wandering on my own when a Marten crossed the road in front of me. These animals are said to be very cautious of humans and fierce fighters. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I knew it was unusual. Martens have short front legs, longer rear legs, and long bushy tails. When they walk, they look a little like an kangaroo walk/hopping along.

It has been a wet spring here in Michigan. On my way home from visiting my father, I went the back roads to escape some construction. On the edge of a country road, crossing over to a swollen pond, I saw a Great Lakes Mink. Not bad for farm country.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Fiat followed me home

Almost exactly 2 years ago, when Chrysler was still in bankruptcy, I got my first chance to sit in a Fiat 500 and was fairly convinced I would buy one one day. A lot has happened in those two years including a lot of US development on the 500.

In early April, I went shopping for a 500. I could have chosen from 40 or so 500's on the lot, but instead I ordered one exactly to my specs.

Amidst all the craziness at work and the commitments of my father's illness, the Fiat 500 that I ordered came in and I managed to pick it up and bring it home this week. So far, I am happy. It's a neat little car with a lot of personality.

The initial quality is great. I've only found one thing I would change and that is only because I have too much information and am your basic geek. OK, I'll give. I want to better center the electrical center point or trim of the electric power steering. The car is aligned perfectly, but the power steering thinks straight ahead is a little to the left.

I worried about the color choice, but now that it is here, I'm happy with my choice. I've even been wearing my red sweatshirt to go with the car.

The next happy task is to figure out a good name for him. The one thing I'm pretty sure of is this car needs a male name. Luigi is obvious, but already taken by a well travelled development car. Any suggestions would be welcome.