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Hildene Classic Auto Show

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Almost 900 cars were entered in this year's Classic and Antique Auto Show at the Hildene Estate (the former home of Robert Todd Lincoln) in Manchester. Spread out over the polo fields were antique Model T Fords, classic muscle cars, old sports cars, trucks, and hot rods. Here are some pictures from this morning.

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This Cadillac from the thirties was in pristine condition. Squint carefully at the right side of the bumper and you can see a reflection of me taking the picture.

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There were several Auburns with their sleek, swanky rear fenders.

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The hot rods weren't the best representation of the craft, but this one's flaming looked cool from this angle.

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The Chevys from the late fifties all sported hood ornaments with jet airplane motifs. Ten years later it was all rockets and space age.

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A REAL REO Speedwagon.

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Ahhh, doesn't this evoke nostalgia for an age when carbs mean something automotive?

Dorr's Tractors

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In a field across Rte. 30 from Dorr Oil are a few dozen old tractors all lined up as if on display. Mixed in are a couple of other old vehicles and fifty yards behind are a few incongruous items such as a teepee and a life-size model of an ICBM. Some folks have told me than Donny Dorr keeps all this old equipment out for all to see in order to rub it in the eye of all the gentrification and development that has occurred in Manchester over the past twenty years. I went there to shoot photos today and came away with a very different feeling.

Here is a history of the machines that made Vermont go before the tourist industry took off. Many of these tractors have been restored to varying degrees and some look like they are in condition to start up tomorrow. Some have rusted beyond utility but are beautiful up close. These machines are here out of respect for the life that they and the people who ran them lived. They symbolize a Vermont which still exists in some places but that is fading with time. Walking among these tractors you experience a bit of Dorr's respect for what came before. He may being rubbing it your eye a bit, but it's more like he's just trying to open them so that you can see a little better. I hope he keeps these tractors here for a long, long time.

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Village Walk

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Some practice shots using the new camera on a walk down through the village last week.

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A rhododendron flower outside our house.

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A detail from the war memorial in Manchester Village square.

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A detail from the Mother Myrick's Chocolates sign.

Vermont Leaf Migrations

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Fall-Farm_001.jpg It’s a little known fact that leaves don’t actually all grow from buds in the spring and fall off the trees in autumn. Actually, it is so little known that I think I’m the only one who knows this - but it is true.

I’ve seen it first-hand over the past year. What is really going on is that leaves are rather disgruntled bio-creatures who annually migrate in a vain attempt to find the perfect location in which to hang out (literally). Let’s start in the summer and work our way through the year and I’ll show you what you’ve been missing.

SUMMER

The leaves are happily hanging out (literally) on their respective trees, soaking up the sun and cranking out chlorophyll. An occasional breeze rustles them from complacency and exposes the underside to the sun. Some succumb to insects and some weather the indignity of bird droppings, but for the most part they are all comfortable and happy.

FALL

The sunlight begins to shorten its duration and temperatures drop. The leaves become unhappy. “Where’s all that warm sun that we had last week?”, they ask. “Down south.” the elders reply, “in Florida and Puerto Rico.” This makes them angry. They bluster and huff and puff. They turn red and yellow and pale green. “So why are we hanging out (literally) here?” is the logical retort.

This is most obvious near the tops of the mountains and hills where it gets cold earliest in the season. Soon you see the angry leaf reactions all over those elevations. The discontent spreads down the mountainsides week by week. Soon the tops have turned all sorts of colors and are then empty of leaves that have packed up and headed to places like San Juan and Fort Meyers. An exodus of the remaining leaves ensues. As the bottom elevation leaves see the upper elevation leaves streaming past on their way to warmer climes, they too join the flow. It becomes a panic. The color streams down the mountains, into the valleys, and is soon gone.

WINTER

All the leaves are gone. Many remain dead on the ground, trampled by the hordes fleeing the cold weather. Humans mistake these victims as the natural result of biology. They are just the poor fools who tried to carry too much stuff on the migration and were slowed by exhaustion. Look carefully under a dead leaf and you’ll probably find it was trying to haul a little leaf piano all the way to Orlando.

Those leaves that made it out are now hanging out (literally) on different trees in warm climates. Wearing native dress, they blend into the local flora with loud shirts, take advantage of early bird specials, and drive 20 mph under the speed limit.

SPRING

The temperature begins to rise to uncomfortable levels. The 70s and 80s nudge into the 90s. The leaves become unhappy again. “I thought that this was supposed to be warm sun, not sweltering! Where is all that nice weather we were having a few weeks ago?” they grouse. “Back home in Vermont.” the elders roll their eyes and reply. This makes them frustrated. They didn’t migrate two to three thousand miles just to turn around and go back again in a few months. They bluster and huff and puff. They turn red and yellow and pale green. “I guess we’re through hanging out (literally) down here!” they declare.

Soon you can see the migrants arriving back in the Vermont valleys. The reds climb back into their favorite trees. The yellows ascend theirs. The pale greens rise into whatever is left. Once the early migrants have assembled and gotten comfortable there is no room for new arrivals. “You’ll have to find a tree up on the mountain.” they tell the newbies. “But it’s colder up there!” is the complaint. “Don’t worry,” they answer, “by the time you get there it will be warmer.”

So the red, yellows and pale greens in the valley settle in, start producing chlorophyll, and turn dark green. The newbies trudge ever higher up the mountainside, painting it with various hues until established and green themselves. By the beginning of June the Green Mountains are once again living up to their name.

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Soon it is summer and the leaves are happily hanging out (literally) on their respective trees. The chlorophyll is pumping and all is right with the world - for now

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