Sunday, June 23, 2013

Spring Flowers


Everything in our backyard is a surprise. It’s fun watching to see what pops up as spring turns to summer.
















While enjoying the backyard we accidently scared this little guy out of the grass, and he took refuge on the chain link fence.


I found that when I moved from one side of him to the other, he would stick out his tongue briefly, so I tried to capture that.


What amazing color on his tongue! Also I was surprised to see his eyes were brown.



What a treat to get a chance to photograph him up close!





When we first moved here, Barclay and Navi loved digging up all the carrots the previous owner had planted in the garden. After the carrots were gone, I thought the entertainment was over. We ignored the rest of the garden, including the row of parsnips, and let them grow. They got quite tall – taller than me!



Then Barclay discovered that parsnips are fun to chew on – like carrots!


All he has to do is dig them out and haul them away.



These are sure big!



Nom nom nom…



Good stuff!



Sunday, June 02, 2013

Telescope Re-Born (again)


When we bought our first house in ‘97, the first thing I did with my new garage and workbench, was build my telescope. I rebuilt the base shortly after we moved to the farm, around ‘04, and I tried to make it as light and compact as possible. Unfortunately that also made it wobbly as it lost some stability.



I tolerated it for a long time, but it was time to rebuild it again, and since I have my new workshop setup at the new house, and a few scraps of 3/4” plywood laying around…


I went for ‘sturdy’ this time. I purchased two 24” discs from Home Depot for the base, and built a solid box above it to hold the scope. Unfortunately I made it about a half inch too short on the first try! The scope couldn’t point straight up! But I worked around that and got everything swinging again.

Then all it needed was a bright yellow coat of paint. My scope has always been blue and yellow. The yellow is practical, because it makes it easier to spot in the dark.


So nice to have all this bench space, and everything neat and organized!


All done! It’s beautiful, and works well again. The base turns smoothly and provides just the right amount of friction so things stay where you point them. I had also had a problem with the front baffle – it was held on by screws, and they poked your fingers when you grabbed it by the front baffle to aim it – which it turned out I did all the time. So I replaced the screws with little bolts. I put up with it like that for years, and it only took 15 minutes to fix, with bolts I already had laying around! Sometimes I amaze myself with my own laziness!

I don’t know how much use this scope will get now that I have the new computerized scope, but I plan to keep it around. At least it will be nice to take to star parties and share it with other people. I went to a star party at a middle school last month and took the computerized scope, and it was a lot of trouble to move, to setup, and then having people bumping it and pulling on it made me nervous, and carrying it from the car to the setup made me really nervous – it’s so heavy, and I didn’t want to drop it! I know they can’t do anything to hurt this one, so it’s a better choice for public outreach!