February 2, 2018

This post will cover two completely differet subjects and we
hope you enjoy them both. First we’ll share a link to some
pictures of lunar eclipse and then we’ll mention a new engine
that may be a game changer.

As a teaser we’ll share this photo by Mike O’Neal taken in
Oklahoma that is the first picture on the EarthSky website.
The pictures are among the best we’ve seen and may even make you

Now on to a different kind of engine that is getting tested in a
Ford F-150 pickup. Estimates are this two-cycle, three cylinder
engine with six pistons and no spark plugs, should bring gas
mileage up to 37 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined city and
highway driving according to Achates Power and Aramco Services.

Claim is gas engines now use 25% of a gallon of gas to move
the vehicle with the rest wasted to heat. This new engine would
up that to 45% of a gallon to move the vehicle. The control of
this engines response curve is done by modulating pressures
through both a supercharger and a turbo.

There is a 4-cycle version and other companies are doing
research also. Being old school it seems odd to have a three
cylinder engine using 6 pistons and two crankshafts. But hey,
if it performs as promised and is reliable why not?

Enjoy our Friday. Now I need some coffee before I grab the
camera and head outside.
Comments are always welcome.


Eclipise thoughts

January 31, 2018

Knowing I wanted to get up early to see if the moon was visible
I went to bed at 1 am. After a good nights sleep I got up at 5
am to see if the TV weatherman was right. He was not. When he
threw his darts at the weather map last night and predicted a
cloudy morning I almost overslept.

Although I didn’t see any orange in the moon the first part of
the eclipse was visible and I took a few pictures before the
moon went behind a row of trees and disappeared. So we’ll share
them in case you didn’t see it.

The above photo was taken shortly after 5 am as the moon was
already caught in a tree. At this point I thought it would be
the only one.

At around 5:30 am, after walking a block down the alley, the
eclipse started. As mentioned it did not look red. I walked
back to the house to gulp down a cup of coffee before venturing
out again.

Walking the block back down the alley produced this picture
which still didn’t look red to me. And I kept hoping the clouds
would stay away.

This last one was taken around 6 am and was the last clear shot
to be had before distant clouds and the treeline got in the way.
By the time the moon did turn red it was a hazy blob caught in
those trees.

But we saw it and took the pictures. If I had a photo editor
these could probably be made to look red, but that isn’t what
was seen. Still feel blessed we beat the odds and got see a part
of the eclipse anyway.

Enjoy our Wednesday. Now I need more coffee and a Snicker’s.
Comments are always welcome.

Counting down

January 30, 2018

We’ve been waiting for the lunar eclipse that we probably won’t
be able to see anyway. On the cruise over to visit Dad this
morning it was cloudy, when outside to photograph critters it
was cloudy, and when I went out to see if there was going to be
a sunset it was cloudier.

The guy who throws darts at the weather map on TV assured us
during the local news it would remain cloudy through Thursday
evening. According to him we could even see a little snow before
we see the sun, moon, and stars again.

I’m going to try and get a picture of the full moon including
the eclipse. At the moment it isn’t looking favorable for that
to happen but I’ll get up early tomorrow to see if I can see
anything besides gray clouds. If outside long enough and I get
lucky we will have a picture.

If not, I read somewhere NASA is going to do a live video of
the rare occurrence and that should be online to watch. There are
always options. Perhaps if it stays too cloudy to catch the
eclipse I could get some shots of the clouds.

So if it’s clear where you live in the morning and you’re up
early, try to catch the eclipse. We won’t see another blue moon,
super moon, total eclipse again in our lifetime. Enjoy our
Tuesday. It’s the last day of January and the Eve of February.
Comments are always welcome.


Chances are

January 29, 2018

In the wee hours of Wednesday, January 31st, North America will
experience a blue moon, a super moon, and a lunar eclipse on the
same night. The last time that happened here was on March 31st,

A blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month and
does not appear blue, A supe rmoon is a moon that appears bigger
and brighter than the usual full moon. During the eclipse the
moon will appear red.


Odds of observing or getting a picture of this event range from
great to not going to happen depending on which part of our
country you live in. Here on the east coast of Iowa the eclipse
begins on January 31st at 4:51 am and lasts 2 hours and 26
minutes. You can add your location to the search bar on the
eclipse calculator to see what times are in your area.

Seeing this event will involve good weather conditions and
living in the right spot. Check the map below from accuweather
or go to the web page and learn more.

With that being said, all we have to do now is wait. Even if
you’re not an early riser, don’t worry. We’re sure there will be
pictures online from those who do get to experience the event.
Enjoy our Monday.
Comments are always weather


Of summers end

September 1, 2017

Last night the weather estimator on our local tV news said a
haze was coming in from the wildfires and it would make an
interesting sunset. He also said we may be able to smell smoke.
For a change he was right.

While the sky didn’t turn a vibrant orange at sunset, the sun
did turn red just before. That coupled with the moon being
visible and the slight trace of wood smoke was somehow calming.
But there was more to be done inside so I put off savoring the
moment until after the wife left for work.

While I was outside having a smoke and looking at the moon
shimmering through the haze I couldn’t see how the day could
end any better. And the man in the moon agreed. We laughed over
the fact that the bushes won round one and he liked the picture
I took earlier of a Nuthatch.

Some days it helps to be lucky. After the wife left I went back
out and noticed the haze lifted. Since we could both see and
hear each other better we talked again. I mentioned things I
wanted to get done this weekend and he claimed he still had a
sore spot where someone in a funny looking spaceship landed on
his face, then got out of the ship and rammed a flag in his nose.
I could only imagine.

All in all, another great day on the east coast Iowa. Enjoy our
Comments are always welcome.


Is curiosity dead?

August 8, 2017

As the moon came up through the trees last night I thought back
to our visit to the county fair and after talking with the man in
the moon he agreed the fair had changed since the last time we

When we walked through the livestock barns it became clear we
had the place to ourselves and the arena for the horse show was
placed so far back on the fairgrounds it could have been in a
different zip code. And again, not nearly as many spectators as
days gone by.

While meandering we saw majestic Belgian horses being led
into a trailer and quarter horses getting a workout with their
riders in the ring. We saw tigers, elephants, a wild animal
show, and even New Mexico duck racing. Yet the biggest crowds
could be found near the food vendors and amusement rides.

This country boy doesn’t get it. Have we gotten to the point
that snapping a cell phone picture of your child getting
strapped into the roller coaster more popular than teaching
said child about the world around us?

Now they could have went through the livestock barns and gazed
upon the horses and tractors before we arrived. And we did see
parents with children at a small wildlife show that brought
everything from armadillos to wolves onstage, but the numbers
were few.

I also know the rides are fun and the kids enjoy them, but how
many opportunities does one get to see a six-horse-hitch pull
a wagon and make it look easy? Has instant gratification taken
the place of curiosity in the children?

The man in the moon then informed me that you can’t take the
country out of the boy. He’s right because the simpler things
mean more to me.

Enjoy our tuesday. I’m leaving in a bit to visit with the
Antique Farmer and get his take on it.
Comments are always welcome.


Shooting the moon

April 2, 2017

When I first got my DSLR the more research done just raised my
curiosity. Most of what I read stated one needed a tripod to
take a picture of the moon, and perfectly dark surroundings.
My naturally curious brain was left in doubt.

If the earth is orbiting the sun at around 67,000 mph and the
moon is orbiting us at about 2,290 mph, why does the camera
have to be on a tripod? Yet I was continually told it was a

Now on top of the earth and moon being in motion there are
times when clouds will get in the way. The final piece of the
puzzle was these same articles telling me about the necessity
of a tripod also said you need at least a 600mm lens to take a
good picture of the moon.

I do have a tripod and longer lenses yet prefer my trusty
100-300 mm lens. If you are older and have used a long lens to
shoot hand held you will know why. So I decided to use what I
want and see how it worked.

The picture above was taken March 31, 2017 on a clear night
The settings were shutter 1/500 of a second, aperture f/5.6,
and ISO 400. It was taken with the lens at 300 mm. Not perfect
but I’m happy with it.

When I started this quest, using a kit lens, I started with
the settings at shutter 1/250, f/5.6, and ISO 200. I don’t
lower the shutter speed if the moon is too dark I raise the
ISO. If the moon looks too bright I raise the shutter speed.

There have been clearer shots and cloudy shots, but to start
I used the settings mentioned above. And I do use a tripod when
taking pictures of stars in the night sky. That may get mentioned
in another post.

Enjoy the rest of our Sunday as the work week starts tomorrow.
Now I’m going to enjoy the Snicker’s bar I have chilling in the
Comments are always welcome.