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.


Christmas eve.

Merry Christmas eve!

This is the way the day started around here:

I never get tired of the sunrises and sunsets around here. It’s pretty amazing watching the cloud layers going in opposite direction because of the coriolis effect. After getting my license to fly I’ve never looked up at the sky quite the same. There’s a lot going on up there.

Everyone should be home at midnight tonight. I checked the winds aloft forecast for Olivia’s flight home from Denver where it looks like, in places, the winds will be over 175 miles an hour.

That the winter jet stream playing in our favor. Oh, and in Santa’s favor too. Presuming he uses the jet stream. That’s a complicated situation. Flying in winter at high altitudes is for the pros. If you are interested here are some Santa tracker sites:

Grinch: And they’re hanging their stockings!
Narrator: He snarled with a sneer.
Grinch: Tomorrow is Christmas. It’s practically here!

Have a fun day! I hope where ever you are you are close to friends and family or doing what you want to do in this life.

Bring it, winter.

Only 1 more day until winter arrives on December 21, 2017.

I like this day for a number of reasons:

a) We can get on with winter.
b) The sun stops sinking further in the sky.
c) Every day gets longer between then and summer.

Pastel skies at sun set – a common scene in winter.

Below is what that sunset looked like over time. I do a little RC flying in the time lapse as well.

Recently I have noticed that a small family of deer (doe and two young post fawn types) have started to come to the house at night to eat the bird seed that the birds don’t eat during the day.  At this point they have become a fixture around here. They don’t have the normal flee instinct when we come outside any longer. At night the sleep in the front yard where I can capture them easily on infrared cameras in complete darkness.

Deer in the front yard as seen in infrared. – We are all ready for winter to begin.

As we ease into night time here everyone is finding a place to lounge.

Sock; leaning on one of us while watching the other.

I hope you have had a restful night and a great day ahead.

It’s snowing.

2017 may be the year we have a white Christmas. It’s been bitter cold with highs in the 20’s lately. The sun goes down a little after 4pm so the nights are also much longer.

Today is about finishing up work so I can help Gloria get ready for her Christmas party here as well as the party we will have tomorrow night. We’ve been working in our spare time to get the house ready for all of the folks that will be here during the holidays.

I haven’t been home much but when I am I try to fly my RC planes and such when the wind dies down in the evenings. It’s absolutely freezing cold when you are out in the open with gloveless hands trying to control one of these things. I don’t have the best circulation in my fingers so I seem to get colder faster than I used to. But I fly anyway. If you look closely in the video (towards the end) you’ll see me flying a couple of my planes.

When I was up in NYC this week I bought an older typewriter. It’s a 1965 model Smith Corona with 10 point pica font. I learned to type on a machine similar to this. It’s been fun getting to learn how to use it again.

1965 Smith Corona

It’s totally old school and fun to do again.

Yesterday we went to the radio observatory at Green Bank. Back in the summer I went through the process to get a clearance to go “behind the scenes” to see how things are run, talk to scientists and other technical people at the facility.

There is a 10 mile radio exclusion zone where there are no cell towers or the like anywhere near the facility. It’s nice at times to no get any notifications at all from anyone. If that is what you would like definitely go here. Your cell phone will stop working as you approach from the mountains and will stop working the entire time you are there. It’s kinda nice.

Green bank observatory GBT scope (100 meters)

But they also don’t let you use digital cameras there so you can’t get close up shots of the scope unless you have a film camera. I don’t have those anymore. Luckily there are a ton of pictures available out on the Internet of the facility.

It’s largest scope is the “GBT”, or “Green Bank Telescope”. It’s ~100 meters in size and is essentially the size of a football field suspended in the air. It’s enormous. And it rotates 360º as well as tilts it’s elevation with precision only found at this location. There is not a larger scope of this type anywhere else on this planet. If you are near here it’s worth a drive to go see what’s going on there.

I haven’t taken too many photos lately so not much more to post here. I hope you all have a great week and upcoming holiday.

Winter is coming (I’m sure).

It’s cool, not so cold. But you can tell winter is on it’s way. Evenings like tonight look very much like winter with the sun so low in the sky and the wispy high cirrus clouds.

Tonight I finished up a project on my #2 tower. On my way out there I set up a time lapse sequence to capture the sunset as I worked out there before the sun set. I’ll never get used to the sun going down at 4:30 pm. By 5pm it’s dark and we are inside. I have to remind myself that in 22 days the sun will be headed back up north a few minutes each day.

I’ve mostly been posting on Instagram lately but I don’t like how it renders my photographs at all. It’s very hard to fit a 16:9 ratio image into a 1:1 hole. I have no idea why they make it so hard to put a picture on a picture platform. Ha. I also heard they are thinking about a “Re-Gramming” option. This would allow people to take someone else’s content and, like Facebook, “re-post” it on to your own timeline. If they do that, it’ll likely be the last time I use the platform. At least now people have to make the effort to take their own pictures.

Helen was home from school last week so we took the opportunity to go get the Christmas tree for the season. We’ve been going to the same place for many years. Each year the picking gets a little slimmer. This year was no different.

We did manage to find a nice tree to fit into our home but it took some time. We also created a bunch of video but the first cut of the video was quite long and the file very large so I’m not going to post it here.

Christmas tree hunt 2017

I’ve been building a new flying wing lately. This is my first wing. I’ve covered mine in laminate so it will survive a few crashes and fly a little faster. This guy is set up for FPV (First Person View) and has a spot for a video camera like a GoPro to record the flights.

RMRC Recruit Flying Wing

My plan is to mostly fly it visually until I can get comfortable flying it with my FPV goggles like I do with my drone. This guy is super fast and will do aerobatics with ease. But I’ll leave the cameras off of it until I can reliably fly it without putting it into the trees. It has three gyro modes so I can fly this with an autopilot of sorts to keep it stable. It’s amazing what you can put in such a small package.

After I finish this guy the next plane I’ll be refurbishing a gas powered biplane that I bought in the summer at an auction. It’ll be my first gas powered plane for about 20 years. The last one I famously crashed in China (no video). But back then the avionics were horrible. I’m going to gut the device and put in all new electronics inside that I’ll use to control the plane from the ground.

I hope you’ve had a good day.

Nature’s Leaf Blower.

Remember that I mentioned at some point the wind would come and blow the leaves into the neighbor(s) yard(s)? Well, that day was last Sunday morning!

I apologize for the wind noise in advance. I did this on my iPhone which makes no attempt at compensating for windy conditions.

I love that part of nature. I no longer have to have a leaf blower. We enjoy the leaves and color until the first major wind storm and then they are all gone!!

They don’t make much of a mess … but they’re still gone!

During the time I took the video above I also took a time lapse from the front yard. At the beginning of the video above Mongrel and I move in and out of the frame. Here’s what the day looked like all sped up:

The winds have died down some. That leaves us with autumn with the color gone and we seemed to be moving very hard towards full blown winter. We’ve had fires in the fireplace pretty much every hour of the day for a few weeks now. At least it’s warm inside.

But no more leaves …

Since the wind wasn’t so bad tonight I was able to get out and do some flying. We spent some time today trying to figure out if we can get a cat in a plane and fly him around. After a careful pre-flight inspection we’ve decided to work on that a while longer.

Mongrel pre-flighting the Extra.

He seemed to be up for it, though.

This plane has a symmetrical wing which means that it flies upside down as easily as right side up. Definitely an acrobatic bird. I’ll be doing some repairs on this guy as well as replacing all of the electronics related to telemetry and flight control with new, updated avionics. This plane was built long ago with some very old electronics but by a person with wicked engineering skill.

You may recall, I bought this at auction a few months ago. Along with 3 more planes. This one is the largest and heaviest of them all. It’ll be the last one I get flying if things go like I planned. Hopefully by the end of winter or maybe spring I’ll be flying this guy regularly. Of the four I bought I have one of them back in the air and it’s a hoot to fly. It’s previous life was a glider that was launched in to the air with a rubber band. I’ve added a small motor, electronic speed controller, new servos and a flight control receiver. Now I hand launch it, fly it up high and then just glide around after that. Pretty cool.

But before the Extra comes off the earth I’ll pre-flight the crap out of it. I built one of these in the 90’s when I lived overseas where I crashed it on it’s first flight. I have better skill now. And a great place to practice and fly them.

Thanksgiving is in a couple of days. I hope you all are with friends and family or where ever it is that you find happiness this time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving!



November Sunrise

This is how the day got started around here.

Sunrise Nov 13, 2018

I haven’t posted in a while. No excuse except that I’ve been traveling a ton. First a motorcycle trip with my dad and brother and then travel for a week for my work. I’m going to try to fit a lot of that in to a post soon. I don’t have anything, I don’t think, from my work travel but do have some from my motorcycle trip that I can share.

But before that, I got news this morning that my radio club, Loudoun Amateur Radio Group, came in first in class for ARRL Field Day 2017 this year. We had 5 operating positions running simultaneously which put us in class 5A. The “A” means we did not use commercial power and kept our transmitters under 100 watts for the 24 hour event.

2017 Field Day results. We came in 1st in our 5A class in the nation.

On top of those results we were also:

– #2 in Virginia behind a very large 12A team in Woodbridge
– #13 in the nation overall.

The last few years have been building years as we recover from the loss of many of our core members. But it looks like we are getting back on track. We start planning for 2018 here soon.

I was gonna make this post longer but for the sake of completing this and my day simultaneously … here you go.

I hope you have a good day.

Tuesday Oct 10, 2017

It was a busy day of work that started very early but an otherwise quiet day.

There wasn’t much interesting to talk about or take a picture of while I was working and nothing interesting to report there. After working more when I got home it finally stopped around 6pm. Mongrel, Gloria and I went for a walk for a few minutes to enjoy the sunset and quiet evening in the country.

Sunset yoga at home.

One of my video cameras caught us during a time lapse.

You can see in the video how calm the weather is but what you can’t see is how humid and hot it is. At sundown the temperature is still in the 80’s and the humidity is above 90%.

The trees are starting to change ever so slightly all over the county. They must be confused by the warmer weather we’ve had. I think that the lack of sunshine during the day is what triggers all that. The colors may not be as bright as they’ve been in years past with all the rain and warmer weather. But I’m just guessing on that.

I flew one of my RC planes before the sun went completely down. The wind was calm and air smooth which makes for good weather to do aerobatics. So I did a ton of aerobatics. By the time I landed I could barely see the plane if it weren’t for the strobe lights I have on it. That’s always good fun.

Maybe one day I can do this:

That is so crazy!

I hope you did something fun today.

It’s Sunday … today we rest.

Today it will rain most, if not all, of the day. We are thrilled:

“I … will … wait … right …. here …..”

He’ll be waiting a while for the rain to stop.

Conveniently the girl cats came inside this morning, ate and slithered downstairs without me noticing. Mongrel was outside and wanted inside almost immediately when he was the weather. So I shut the basement door and let him in while leaving the back window open so he can come and go.

Eventually he came up where I’m working, protested for a short period of time before laying down and playing with anything that moves. Then asleep.

That’s sort of how I woke up this morning. First at 6 (this will never happen unless the house is on fire), then 7, then 8 … fed the cats … then 9 and finally up at 10am for good.

I’m very curious if that video will work for you since I’m not sending it through YouTube like I normally would.

Yesterday I spent most of the day cutting all 20 acres of grass on the property knowing that it was going to be raining all day today. I sort of unmotivated to go do much of anything other than work on my computer here in my office today. Maybe later this afternoon I’ll grab my camera and head for the hills. We’ll see.

The rain has subsided some enabling me to go outside and snap a few photos.

It’s about nightfall … where do these guys go when it’s dark outside?
A bumble bee all clumbsy and covered in pollen.

Sundays really should be just lazy, do nothing days.