Wednesday, May 31, 2006

PHOTO OF THE DAY 6/31/2006

Flowering Locust at Lake Arrowhead, CA
Photo by Jacquie
(CLICK photo for larger image)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Pavement Ends

I was returning from Wawawai Landing around 8:30AM, Saturday morning, after dropping off a CD with aerial photos of the WSU Women’s rowing team that were taken the day before. At the top of the Wawawai grade, I saw the sign, “PAVEMENT ENDS.” Maybe I was in a pensive mood, but I started to think about the profoundness of that sign. I started to think about what I could write: What thoughts that sign conjured up.

My first thought was to write about how the “Pavement Ends,” here in Palouse Territory, how we live away from the Never Ending Pavement of Orange County, California. How living here, there is always a dirt road, so to speak, to explore without running into road rage or a young hoodlum weaving in and out of traffic in his “hot BMW” … at twice the speed of anyone else on the road. And how here in a quiet tranquility, we are, figuratively, at the end of the pavement, where only the friendly and honest travel. How standing out on the County road, at the mailbox, everyone passing by always throws a friendly wave, as if to say, “Hi friend … I may not know you, but I want you to know that if I did, we’d be friends.” That would make an interesting essay, I figured.

But as I drove on a little farther, an overwhelming alternative presented itself … a thought that really superseded everything else: We live on Hatley Road, on the property of Mac Hatley, an early settler in this area. All around us are Hatleys … across the county road is Everett Hatley, a wiry and interesting character that is the son of Mac Hatley. He grew up on the property we now live on. Up on the hill, about two miles away, lives Lee Hatley, Everett’s cousin. South down Wawawai Road, lives another, younger, Hatley. When Everett gets bored, he hops on his “Four-Wheeler” and drops in to visit, complete with stories about our property and his life as a child here. I never tire of hearing about it.

Friday, I saw Everett headed this way so I waited to greet him and see what story he had for me today. He was pretty serious looking and he quickly said to me, ”Roger, my cousin Lee Hatley died two days ago and we’re having a service at the Hatley burial grounds, just up the hill. Would you be so kinds as to take your helicopter and get a photo of our group. It will be at 11:45AM, Saturday.” I told him, “Everett, I’d be honored to do that … Consider it done.”

Jacquie, with camera in hand, and I cranked up the chopper about 11:15AM and flew around, away from the area, making sure that at exactly 11:45AM, we would be at the site.

As we closed in, I was astonished to see the gathering. I haven’t counted, but there were probably a hundred, or more people, including a color guard and two horses … one horse and rider, leading the second horse … with no rider. It was like a country “Missing Man Formation,” that I have seen (too) many times while in the Air Force. Although a pilot, especially while flying, isn’t supposed to get a lump in his throat or tears in his eyes … I know of one pilot that did.

The Pavement Ended for Lee Hatley that day and I guess the Pavement will End for all of us, sooner or later. It really makes you stop and consider what life means and what you did with it while you had the chance.

The Pavement Will Always End. Let that sign be a reminder that, as the great New York Life agent, Ben Feldman said, "No one has a lease on life" and one of my favorites, Dr. Laura says, "Now go do the right thing."

LIVE CAMERA: For The Technical Minded

The camera is back in-service on the hill. (See "LIVE PHOTOS" in the "Links" section, right sidebar.)

The camera and transmitter are remotely located about 200' up the hill behind the house. Since getting power to the site would be a problem, I decided to run it using solar power.

The basic unit is a 3' x 4' Seimens solar panel, charging a 12-volt deep-cycle marine lead/acid battery, through a solar charging controller. The controller regulates the amount of current going to the battery and turns ON and OFF charging, as needed.

The camera and transmitter need 12-volt DC at about 500mA to operate. Nominally, the battery should provide 12-volt DC, however during bright sunlight and heavy charging, the voltage can peak up to 15-volt DC. The camera and transmitter don't like the higher voltage, in fact, they tend to burn out ... and that is exactly what happened! (The camera/transmitter supplier was kind enough to supply new equipment, at no charge, under warranty, but I don't think he's do it a second time!)

Hence: I have installed a "Instrumention Grade" DC to DC converter between the supply battery and the camera/transmitter. The DC to DC converter will accept a voltage input anywhere from 9-32 volts DC and output exactly 12-volts, plus or minus ONE percent. This should solve the overvoltage burn-out problem.

"Now you know the rest of the story ..."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

PHOTO OF THE DAY - 5/17/2006

Froggy Surveys The Koi Pond
(CLICK photo for larger image.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

PHOTO OF THE DAY - 5/16/2006

It May Be Old ... But It Ain't Dead!
This old apple tree, one of several on the R J Ranch, is well over 85-years old.
We're hoping for another nice apple crop this year.
(CLICK photo for a larger image.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Check "LIVE PHOTOS" (right sidebar) for lights on the hill.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

PHOTO OF THE DAY - 5/10/2006

A Once a Year Event
(CLICK photo for a larger image)

PHOTO OF THE DAY - 5/9/2006

Early to Bed, Early to Rise ...
and this is what you see in the morning.
(CLICK photo for larger image)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Satellite Internet Outage

My satellite Internet service has been out since last Thursday afternoon. This has resulted in no updating of my blog, weather information or live photos.

Hopefully, they have the problem fixed now. I have restarted the weather info and live photos.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

PHOTO OF THE DAY - 5/3/2006

Fire & Ice
Yesterday, the farmer burned his field in preparation for planting summer wheat. (A normal function.)

Also, yesterday, we turned on the sprinkler system for the first time this year. It watered the lawn during the night ... when the temperature dropped to an unseasonably low of 26 deg.

Jacquie's hyacinths look like they are made of glass, but it's actually just a coating of clear ice from the sprinklers.

(CLICK photo for larger image.)

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