Fits and Starts

Pied-Billed Grebe with Turtle 4-13-14 6687.jpg-6687

The Turtle and the Pied-Billed Grebe

I’m not getting any “planned” posts done, so this one is an interim life-goes-on-in-spite-of-me digression.

Goose with Turtles 4-13-14 6672.jpg-6672

Canada Goose with Painted Turtles

Spring is arriving, and we even had some warm days to go with it. Yesterday morning began still quite warm, but along with predictable April Showers, we are now plunging ever-so-slightly back into temperatures cool enough to flirt with snow.

Blue-Winged Teal, Chicago Portage

Blue-Winged Teal, Chicago Portage

My fits and starts seem as arbitrary as the weather. Tuesday night on the way to the pool, about halfway, the power steering began to groan loudly on the old, rusted out Ford Taurus. After a good swim, we moaned and groaned all the way home. Glad I made it, because the writing was on the wall: you know it’s over when your mechanic doesn’t want to try fixing things any longer. Knowing the end was nigh, I hoped to make the car last a couple more weeks until I got back from Texas, but apparently Little HP (named after its Hewlett-Packard fleet car origination: purchased with 20,000 miles on it, now has only 81,000, but once when getting a fairly minor dent straightened out discovered it had been in an accident from the tell-tale difference in paint color, which explained a lot of its odd quirks) already sensed rejection and, as little as I drive, is now unsafe at any speed.

Prius at the Portage 4-13-14 6831.jpg-6831

I already knew what I wanted to buy, so after researching the possibilities online, I made an appointment with the nearest Toyota dealer for Saturday, and bought a 2013 Prius c. I’ve been trying to substitute “Priuses” for “Porsches” in that lyric from Janis Joplin’s “Oh Lord Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz” …”My friends all drive Priuses, I must make amends.” It’s true, three (if not all) of my friends drive Priuses. Maybe this should be the 21st century version of the song.

I have already lowered  my carbon footprint. I’ve put 57 miles on the car and the needle has not moved from “full.” The purchase will probably force me to lower my footprint even more since I won’t be able to afford any long trips overseas for quite a while.

After running errands with the Prius, I met Lesa at Wolf Road Prairie around dusk to see if any American Woodcocks were displaying. You can take a virtual tour of this site at the first link and learn all about Woodcocks from Cornell at the second.

Wolf Road Prairie

Wolf Road Prairie

The Woodcocks started to “peent” some time after I took the above photo but did not fly until it was as dark as when I took the one below. Needless to say we barely saw anything.

Wolf Road Prairie 4-12-14 7851.jpg-7851

But I got to practice driving in the dark with the new car. It took me a while to find the lights: I was a little dismayed that the options on the column were not illuminated, since this car seems to tell you what it’s doing Every Second. But I’m sure I’ll get the clicks memorized and won’t need to look at them. Or maybe there’s some setting somewhere that makes them go on and off by themselves. Everything else seems to be Twilight Zone about it, like the smart key. Have to study the manual thoroughly this week.

Chicago Portage

Chicago Portage

Yesterday morning I took the new car to the Portage which is where the remaining photos on this page were taken, including the car’s portrait. It was a good day for turtles. And I had 25 species of birds which is not remarkable, but among them were Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Brown Creeper and Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, first-of-year sightings for me, confirming passerine migration has definitely begun. The warblers and kinglets were up too high in the treetops for photographs, but that’s where the bugs were on our first really balmy day. More Painted Turtles.

Turtles 4-13-14 6723.jpg-6723Turtle 4-13-14 6708.jpg-6708

I spent most of yesterday evening looking for title to the Taurus because I want to donate it as it was definitely not worth trading in. I didn’t even drive it to the dealer, I took a taxi. I was sure I knew where I was hiding the title, but after much ridiculous and hapless searching, I have given up looking for it and am going to get a duplicate issued. Getting organized is on my list of things to do this summer, not this week.

Blue-Winged Teal 4-13-14 6668.jpg-6668

Two more Blue-Winged Teal flushed when I walked by, and while I’m sorry I disturbed them, you can see the blue on their wings.

Pied-Billed Grebe with Turtle 4-13-14 6685.jpg-6685Maybe the motto for the day should be “Put a Turtle On It.”

Portage 4-13-14 6774.jpg-6774

 

10 thoughts on “Fits and Starts

  1. Congratulations for your new car, I’ve driven those before and I liked them a lot. They are very silent when running on battery, if you play a Rachmaninoff concerto ( Example) it will sound like being in a studio cabin with the whole orchestra. better than Carnegie Hall! 🙂
    Nice photos!

    • Thanks, HJ! Yeah, the quiet sold me almost as much as the mileage factor – if you’re driving through a forest preserve and have your windows down listening for birds, there’s nothing like it. I keep forgetting to take a CD with me but that’s next. 🙂

  2. ok I would love to drive prius too, but I really like the reference to the song. Lord never gave me any car that I know of. LOL. I never thought about the soudn quailty being improved byt he quiet engine.

    • Thanks for your comment, Lesa! Welcome to my blog page (you’ll probably notice I’m checking here more than I am Facebook). 🙂 Nobody, divine or otherwise, ever gave me a car either but needing/wanting a new one so desperately I felt like I was praying for one.

    • Agreed. It was hard enough to accept the idea of a car payment after not having one for so long. Also, it helps to have a garage if you have an electric car so you can plug it in.

    • Thanks so much, Syl. I like turtles too…there was a muskrat but it shied away from the camera. I was thinking about the Portage Sunday and why it still attracts wildlife even though it’s really a little messy spot in the middle of too much human activity and I guess it’s just because it’s still there, it’s been there for hundreds if not thousands of years, and the creatures keep coming back to it for that reason.

    • Thanks! It’s still exciting to have a new car…for as little as I drive it will probably seem new for a long time. We had snow yesterday, and a few flurries this evening. But I think we’re going to warm up again soon, I hope!

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