Making hay June 2020

This cathartic video from above shows 5 minutes of the process of making hay on our farm. There is no music or narrative. Just make it the size of your screen and enjoy the process.

We gathered 34 round bales of hay in this first cut of 2020.

Things generally slow down this time a year. With the virus things are REALLY slow right now. Everything I’d normally do in the spring, summer and fall is cancelled. There are no vacations planned or other distractions that would normally happen in a summer. This doesn’t look to change before the end of the year.

Health, Family, work and hobbies; I’m blessed to have all these near me.

After the hay bales are wrapped they have to be moved to a place they can be placed on a trailer and placed under a barn roof. This hay is for horses so it must be kept dry.

For some reason I am drawn to the engineering of making hay. There was a time when it would take 5-6 people to do this work and it would take 2-4 times to get the same amount of hay off the ground. Now 1-2 people can do it in a day.

Hopefully we’ll get 1-2 more cuttings this year. The air is cool and we are getting plenty of rain. The grasses love this grow environment. So if the trends of cooler summer and consistent rain continues the hay yield will be high this year.

Sunrise June 11, 2020

We live in Narnia.

We have such interesting weather here in between the mountains. The original farm here was named “Crosswind Farm”. I didn’t think much about this until we moved in. The winds come from all directions all the time.

The Coriolis effect is very pronounced here. It’s very easy to see the cloud layers moving at right angles from each other.

It’s been very sunny and warm lately. Thankfully. I was pretty done with winter temperatures around here. It can get cold and stay cold here for half the year. So it’s nice to be in the 80º’s again.

A front came through and brought these clouds, some rain and lightening storms. The grass and trees are uber green. Summer is well on it’s way.

I hope you have a good day.

Solstice 2019

Has it really been since Easter since I’ve posted?

Today is the summer solstice marking the first day of summer. Around here the air is more humid and warm. It’s not like this very long so the next few months are enjoyable compared to the very cold of winter. We soak up as much of the warmth as we can.

The last week was supposed to be stormy and wet. It turned out not to rain much at all. I worked to get all the grass cut so I didn’t have to worry about soggy ground. I have a lot of grass to cut each week so getting that done when I can is important. Turns out I had plenty of time and got to take the week off anyway.

It does get stormy around here. Although this was the week before it was supposed to get crazy. This storm brought crazy rain and wind. It was also the last time it really rained around here.

Since the weather is nice I hope to get out on my motorcycle some. It should be a good weekend to ride.

Normally this time of year, in particular today, I would be preparing for the Radio Field Day. This is the first year in, I think it’s been …, 10 years since I have not been involved in a very big way. It feels really weird that I would not be involved to the extent that I have been in the past.

Not only am I not involved but the club I belong to called the entire event off for 2019. It’s a weird time of inflection for our small club. Feels a little splintered. Probably a growth thing. It’s just weird to go from full throttle to a complete stop in the span of a year.

Back to the fun stuff.

My Ducati Multistrada 1200S at one of my favorite locations near home.
The riding around my home is some of the best in the USA.
Quiet time in the forrest.

My motorcycle takes me to cool places. Places I would never go in my car; down roads that are worth driving but much too far out of the way when I’m trying to get from point A to point B. It’s also a time I don’t have to think about anything else other than enjoying my environment and making observations.

Work has been busy which is most of the reason I have not been able to focus on my blog, photography, etc. Hopefully that changes soon.

The solstice is a time marker for me. A half way point in the year. A time to look forward and maximize the summer months to get things done in preparation for winter when things get cold again. Maybe go fishing, camping and otherwise chilling out. Its typically a quieter time around here.

I hope you have a good day!

More snow; More cold.

Yesterday we had another snow storm roll through this area. The snow didn’t amount to much. We did get more than was predicted which left quite the wintery landscape behind.

The above was video taken from my drone while the following is from my Nikon camera using an intervalometer:

I’m almost never in a position to use my nicer cameras to do time lapse photography like this. It’s not hard but quite time consuming so if you have to baby sit the camera you can’t be working like I have been lately. But stuck in my home and working at my desk allowed me the time to monitor the camera while it took 1000 images through the day.

Ironically, the above uploaded on to YouTube is about half the actual resolution of the images. You tube and other services take out so much of the quality to save storage space and not use so much bandwidth.

The camera was set up for manual images with fixed focus, fixed aperture and fixed f-stop. All of the rest was done with software. I use Adobe Lightroom to do the heavy image edits, crops and the like. And then LRTimelapse (Version 4) to put together the time lapse. LRT is very cool and powerful software.

And the drone also takes some very unique images in raw image format so that the image can be manipulated very easily post production.

The Lonely Tree in undisturbed snow after a storm.

I like the high contrast photography I learned when I was 16/17 years of age. Back then I would look through all the Ansel Adams photographs in awe of how he accomplished such unique high-contrast black and white photography.

He’s gone now but I can’t wait to tell him about drones.  He would carry his camera gear on his back, spend days/weeks in the wilderness to get the perfect image.

I flew my drone from my front porch in between work meetings to get this one. Things have changed. Photography has really changed even in my lifetime.

Stay warm!

Summer.

I miss the summer days …

I was looking for a file on my computer and ran into this video. She has blood on her talons so has been clearly successful in her hunting.

Behind her is the tall grass while we were harvesting hay.

Then I look outside my window between meetings and see this:

Behind this snow storm is wind and bitter cold. I’m not going to complain because it’s only supposed to get down to about 5º here. In Ohio it’s going to be -15º.

I’m rooting for spring to come soon while I disconnect all the exterior water pipes from the high pressure water lines inside our home.

First Snow of 2019

Tower 2 – First Snow 2018

This week we experienced the first snow of the 2018/2019 winter season. It’s a little early for this much snow so soon but not unusual either. I have some media to share with you

The first to are some time lapse videos I put together from my cheapo Raspberry Pi cameras in the windows. These computers put three time lapse sequences a day together for me so there is nothing I have to do to make these happen.

I was a little surprised at how heavy the snow was at times. Normally we don’t see this heavy of snow this early in the season. It will snow then go away. 5″ of snow is a little unusual. To have this much show meant that it snowed from morning until evening on this day (November 15).

Weather station in heavy snow.

I didn’t have to look too far to find the deer finding refuge from the wind in the tall brush eating the leaves still on some of the trees there.

Deer

Deer

This blue spruce tree was bought in 1999 from a nursery in Frederick Maryland to use as a Christmas tree when we lived there. The idea was that we would plant the tree once we moved to our new home. We did do that when we moved in here. First it was planted by the mailbox and then we moved it to this place after we wanted to plant the silver maple trees down the driveway. It has thrived in this location.

Christmas Tree – Blue Spruce

It’s sunny out now and 40º. The snow is melting off of the paved surfaces and things turning back to normal. The snow on the grass/ground is going to hang around for a while.

Have a good weekend!

Iceland

Well, it took about as many days to pull this page together as it did to travel there and back but I did finish. If you want to see the details of our trip to Iceland in August 2018 you can find that page here.

I managed to take some 1,500 photographs while I was there. Thankfully, I’ve narrowed it down to my favorites on this travel page.

We saw some new things, revisited some old places, enjoyed some awesome sea and other food, swam in the warm waters heated by the earth even though the air was 45º and otherwise had a great time on this trip to Iceland.

This is the first time we’ve rented a camper van on a vacation like this. I’m happy to report we think we’d do that again in the many places we plan on traveling together.

Enjoy the page. If you see any whacky words let me know. I’m author and editor on this one so there’s likely a mistake or two.

I hope you’ve had a good day today!

Sunrise July 27, 2018

The sun (barely) poked through multiple layers of clouds this morning before the rain returned.

So far this week, in just the past 3 days, we have logged 6.5 inches of rain. We went from being pretty dry and things looking deep green again. I know all the plants are much happier with this water.

It’s too bad I didn’t’ think to get it on video but we also know that at least some of the animals are happy with the rain. With my girls as a witness we watched a fawn just go absolutely nuts in the water puddles two days ago. I don’t know if it was a boy or girl but it was driving the adults pretty crazy with its hyperactivity. It was the kind of unfettered happiness of seeing something new for the first time and being consumed by it all. It was fun to watch.

USGS Lovettsville Station Data

Above is the USGS station near my home. It’ hasn’t updated fully for today yet. You can see we went from essentially no precipitation lots of rainfall lately.  In particular was the 21st when the rain first started falling. It was “heavy at times”, as the weather man likes to explain.

Personally, I like the rain. And the snow. Since I no longer have to work in this stuff it’s nice to be able to get rain on my face again. If this were snow it would be SIX FEET deep. 1″ of rain is about 1 foot of snow equivalent. That would be interesting.

I hope at some point when we live here we get 6 feet of real snow. I just want to see what that would be like. I’ve seen almost 4 feet of snow a couple of times. But it always stopped there. It would not be easy to dig out but I’d eventually do that. It would make for some interesting photos for sure.

This is my current weather. The temperature is very nice and it’s a bit breezy with spitting rain. This beats 100º for sure! I made the graphs you see below and you might also notice that the “green zone” is between 60º and 80º. This is my favorite temperature range.

Weather telemetry at home

Here are a couple of random photos of what happens when the skies change around here. They are taken with my cell phone so the quality is not like my still cameras but you’ll get the idea.

Pastel sunsets.

We have the prettiest sunsets around here. From the pastel skies above to the most beautiful rainbows of anywhere I’ve ever lived.

Crazy skies – Double rainbow.

And this is very consistent weather. Anytime there is a storm come through in the evening where the sun pops out of the sky we get edge to edge rainbows. Super bright and very distinct colors.

And if there is a sunset with clouds in the sky they turn pastel as the sun angle dips below the cloud line like the picture above. I can take this same picture any given day of the week when there are clouds present. Deep pastel colors of deep blue, pink and purple are always present.

I hope it’s pretty where you live and that you love where you’ve hung your hat as much as I do here. Have a super day!

Field Day 2018

This year’s “Field Day” was held Friday through Sunday, June 22, 23 and 24, 2018. The planning for the event was started in 2017 and continued right up to the days before.

We moved the event from where we’ve been having it in years past to Franklin Park, Purcellville, Virginia. This is a very public location inside the park grounds where anyone from anywhere could come and join us for the event.

… if it weren’t for the rain. Honestly, I don’t know when it started and when it stopped or even how much we got but it was a lot of rain. We set up the towers on Friday in torrential downpours which continued through the days. It did manage to clear up some on Saturday but it rained every day this year.

And when we were cleaning up a small storm came through with wind and more rain! Here’s what that looked like on radar:

Thunderstorm. Field Day 2018.

Man, did it rain. I sought refuge in my van but others didn’t make it out of the path in time. Some of the tents had to be held down manually and some did not make it from what I understand which exposed a lot of gear to the elements. Last report is that all electronic gear made it out OK with some drying effort.

Speaking of van. I don’t know how I was able to get all this gear from my home to the park and back but managed to do just that. It took a lot of help from others.

Van full of gear. Field Day 2018

The preliminary report has been published and from that information it looks like we did a fine job. It wasn’t a year where we blew out the numbers but we all did a good job making as many contacts as possible. That is what it is really all about.

One thing I set out to do this year was to learn more about satellite operations. Steve, KS1G was kind enough to walk me through some of what he was doing there. I took this short time lapse of his antennae at work:

When things are moving that fast you have to deal with all kinds of physics (like Doppler effect). It’s a little like patting your head and rubbing your belly while saying your ABCs backwards. I still have a lot to learn.

I didn’t take that many photos and the photos I did take I did so with my mobile phone. So the pictures are what they are. Being sleep deprived most of the weekend I don’t remember much of the detail I just remember that I needed to take some photos every once in a while. So this is what I got. For those photos go here.

If you want to know more about Field Day for our club or our club in general go here.

All the gear is back in it’s place, my station is back to normal at home. Another Field Day is behind me. Next up for the club, a 100+ mile bike ride. Stay tuned.

Sunrise June 2, 2018.

This sunrise was pretty good start to finish. Instead of posting on Instagram I thought I’d post it here without any edits.

I have programmed a Raspberry Pi to do these sequences each morning. It takes three per day. It’s a part of a larger project I’m working on that will take over a year to complete. This is a byproduct of that project.

It’s typical this time of year to have this low lying fog on the less windy days. Between the big season changes brings wildly varying temperatures causing the fog. We’ve had so much rain in the months of May and June which has contributed to the moisture content of the ground.

I hope you have a good day today.

Enjoy!