Seeking Inspration. Zorki?

A truly Random Musing tonight, as I warm up from plowing snow on the ATV. Winter has finally arrived. Snow seems a bit earlier than usual, but the weatherpeople don’t seem any more excited than ever. I hope it sticks around long enough for Christmas.

I’ve been reading a photography blog. I’d like to say it was helping me focus, but really it is only making me realize the need for focus. I’ve been feeling the beginnings of it lately anyway.

I used to love and enjoy photography, as this blog can attest. I collected cameras of all sorts; I shot and developed my own film; I even printed in a basement darkroom. I consider myself a photographer.

But. . .

I haven’t printed in over a year. Last week I cleaned out and reassembled the darkroom. (It doubles as a workshop.) I have a backlog of undedeveloped film. I have multiple partial rolls to finish. I have shelves of cameras gathering dust. I have no inspiration. I take snapshots on my phone, but I don’t make art.

I’d love to keep a few cameras, just the best and the favorites, and sell off the rest. Ebay is easy, and Christmas is a good time to sell. I’d love to find a photography project for 2020 and follow through with it. (The last big photo project I completed was in 2010.)

Then again, I caught myself shopping Russian rangefinders the other day. I have a spare Industar 26M lens in need of a body, and a weird Soviet camera to carry on the weird Russian motorcycle might be cool.

What to do, what to do. . .


As Thanksgiving approaches, it is beyond time for the annual fall session of Motorized Tetris.

This year’s edition was complicated by pouring rain. At least it wasn’t snowing.

First step: empty one garage bay and clear out the driveway in front of the garage. Honda and Volvo to temporary spots at the edge of the woods.

Next: move Ural from storage barn to garage. This is temporary but necessary to keep the sidecar from filling with rain.

Start & move out riding mower.

Jump start Wheel Horse. Idle outside to charge (in the rain.).

Move VW Bus out of garage, idle in driveway. Start snowblower & move to main garage with Ural.

Riding mower back into storage barn. Remove mower deck and install snowblower.

Tractor/snowblower combo moves to former VW garage bay, where it is joined by smaller snowblower and ATV with plow.

Wheel Horse (now charged) back into storage barn. Bus and Ural squeezed back into barn in space formerly occupied by mowers.

Clean up around the edges. Go get into clean, dry clothes. Honda back to customary garage bay.

Reverse the entire process in April…

Credit where it’s due

Long term readers of the blog will be aware that my life is often a shell game. Every simple task seems to take extra steps, backtracking, and at least twice as long as it should. This is a major ongoing frustration for me.

This past week we had a windstorm. A large tree fell across the driveway far enough from the house that I could not see it until leaving for work.

The saw was packed in the wagon, though. It started on the first pull. The tree was light and dry, and Kiddo and I made it to school/work respectively on time.

I took the rail car out both days this weekend. It ran well. I did manage to break the winch on the trailer, but I have a backup manual boat winch. No foul.

I started today with two goals: install a muffler on the rail car, and replace a worn CV axle on the Volvo. I finished both by lunch, uninjured and with only a modicum of cursing.

I used the extra time to finish cutting up and removing the rest of the tree.

I don’t know why things are going well. I would like to credit preparation and experience, but it’s more likely just probability working in my favor. I’m still enjoying it.

I have no photographic evidence of any of this. Instead, here is a flock of pigeons mooching pizza at Salisbury beach.

Don’t make them like they used to. . .

I bought new clothespins this spring. I continue to be one of those odd Yankees who prefers to hang my laundry outside when the weather permits. In our modern ‘green’ society, why does no one encourage this?

(Side note: my neighborhood forbids clotheslines. They also forbid my antique truck, my RV, and my chickens. They would probably forbid my railcar if it had occurred to them. Due to a legal oversight on the develper’s part, we have accidentally fallen outside the rules. No one has ever tried to make an issue of it.)

Back to the clothespins.

They are simple things; two pieces of wood held together with a sping. They have a curve cut out to go around the clothesline. This makes them grip better and allows them to spin freely when not holding clothes in place.

They don’t last forever. They are untreated wood. If I brought them in when not in use they might last longer, but they are inexpensive. I never bother.

When I hung my laundry today they broke. At least a dozen of this year’s clothespins snapped near the spring and were unusable. Six months of relatively average New England weather did them in. Last year’s pins, though ratty looking, are still functional.

File them under ‘don’t make them like they used to’ I guess. Anyone know where to get high quality clothespins?