Summer 2016

Summer 2016
Summer in Tsukahara

Spring in Tsukahara

gkimbal's Spring in Tsukahara album on Photobucket

Sunday, March 11, 2018

It's Spring (almost)

We’re having a few days of spring-like weather. The warmth of the sun is a welcome relief from the cold, miserable winter we had. Kiley is enjoying the view and the beautiful weather from the comforts of her bed.

Lucky just woke up from taking a long nap on the warm deck. 

It's almost too nice to work inside, but...

...that's what needs to be done. I went ahead and ripped the flooring out where some new pipes needed to be installed. The toilet and sink were removed. The original sink was located on the right hand side as you enter the room. Since there is more room on the left, I decided to have the drain and water moved to the left side. I'll build a cabinet to hide all the plumbing.  

The flooring will be replaced with 27 mm plywood and tile. The tile design will match the bathrooms (master and guest) on the first floor. This is our second "guest" bathroom (first and second floor). The walls will be tiled and I'll have a few more improvements that I'll post later. 

Here's a view looking out to the stairs leading to the third floor. A whole bunch of work will be done to the stairs. 

Speaking of work...this is the new temporary work area for the second floor. Later, this will be one of the guest rooms. The walls have been patched and some of the moulding has been painted. The solid cherry doors will get a clear coat. The logs will be cleaned and clear coated to match the first floor. 

Any gaps will be filled, primed and painted. 

Similar to downstairs, the water stains will be removed and a clear coat applied. 

Last, but not least, the entire second floor flooring will be replaced with either tile or laminate. I'll explain why in a later post. 

Oh and before I close, Erika made this wonderful apple strudel from scratch. All it needs is a scoop of ice cream.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635)

I wanted to do something a little different with this image. Using PixInsight, StarTools, and Photoshop, I was able to create an image that looks more like an oil painting rather than a photograph. I’ve always wanted to try something like this and it was fun, time consuming, but fun. I hope you enjoy this image as much as I enjoyed creating it.

The integration time is 22 hours in Ha, OII, and SII. A modified SHO palette was used. Some of the stars were shrunk and even removed to highlight the “bubble” in the nebula. A great interpretation of the Bubble Nebula can be seen here . The Hubble image looks almost unreal. The bubble is being formed by opposing forces. Expanding gases from the inside of the bubble are being opposed by incredibly high stellar winds from the surrounding gases outside the bubble. 

I'll try to post an Ha image of this really cool object. The image will be in monochrome which gives the bubble a different perspective. Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Tsukahara, my "Home Sweet Home" (Repost)

Almost five years ago I posted this on the blog. My feeling towards this magical place has not changed. I'm a bit more connected with the natural surroundings and its people with the passing of each year. It ceases to amaze me at how quickly the time has gone by. Please enjoy the video and thank you for your interest in the blog.    George

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Time for baking

Here’s some treats that I’ve been baking for the past few days. Most of these baked goods were given to our friends and neighbors. I wish I could eat all of this stuff, but I’m getting older and…well, you know what I mean. Let’s see, the first picture is an apple tea cake made with Earl Grey tea. Next, are some bagels made with bread flour, all purpose flour, and corn meal.  

This is my first attempt at french baking. It's called," Gateau Invisible". Translated...made with apples. 

Alright, this is something I have been craving for a long time (6 years). Dark chocolate cake with chocolate pudding, cherry filling, and dark chocolate frosting. DELICIOUS!!!! 

I have been wanting to do some imaging, but there has been a software bug going around. I think Microsoft is to blame. Anyway, the bug makes the COM ports unusable. There are a lot of temporary fixes out there, but I'll sit on the sidelines until a permanent fix is available. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 22, 2018

Winter is finally here

The first real snow is here in Tsukahara. These photos were taken a few minutes ago. It’s been snowing for about 2.5 hours. Snow is expected for the next several days. The temperature is hovering just above freezing so the snow is wet. However, things will change tonight. Erika and I are worried about the return commute from Hasama tonight. We may have to stay overnight in Yufuin if things get worse.



On a sweeter note, Erika baked some cakes for the Christmas parties we held last month and...

...I made apple crumb pies and

Earl Grey tea cakes for us.

The second floor remodel is under way. No pictures yet, but I'll be posting again in the near future. As for imaging, I finally collected enough exposures to process the Bubble Nebula. It will be another couple of weeks before that's completed. Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888)

The Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888) is formed by a special type of star which is extremely hot and massive (Wolf-Rayet). As the star sheds its outer layers, a bubble has formed. That’s what you are looking at. Eventually, the bubble will pop in an incredible supernova explosion. Maybe it has already exploded, but we won’t know for another 5000 years. It’s far away and it takes light that long to reach the Earth. The light blue shroud covering the nebula is made of oxygen atoms. The red clouds are composed of hydrogen and sulfur is also present.

Integration time was 600 minutes in Ha, OIII, and SII. Stacking was done in PixInsight and post processing was done using Star Tools. The learning curve for Star Tools was a lot less than PixInsight. However, I prefer the freedom to dial in the different processes that PixInsight has to offer. Star Tools is another tool to help bring images together. At this stage with my limited processing knowledge, I can use all the help I can get!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Stairwell

The stairwell is finished except for some trim. The project took about three months to complete. The walls and existing trim were painted first. This was easier said than done. I had to make a platform so that I could safely work above the stairs. I often tell Erika that I don’t like painting. Painting requires a lot of preparation. There is no way around it. The final coat will show all of the defects that were missed during preparation…I learned that many times the hard way. Once the painting was done, I could go ahead and work on the stairs. I needed to add 23mm plywood to each step to raise them to the height of the finished upstairs floor. I then cut the laminate flooring to size and added a stainless steel nosepiece to each step. This is to prevent anyone from slipping on the stairs. All that’s left to do is add some trim pieces to give the stairs a finished look. 

Here's the after and before pictures. The walls were a boring white and the stairs had an adhesive-backed grey felt pad. The area needed to be spruced up a bit. 

The lights were moved to a different location and new globe lights were installed. The small pieces of blue tape were a reminder of what colors the walls were to be painted. Some of our students enjoyed reading the different colors...I think the parents did too. 

My least favorite thing to do is painting. Unfortunately, remodeling is all about painting. 

Standing on the platform above the stairs was a little nerve racking. I was glad when the stairwell was painted. And now for a brief pause...

Well, since I didn't have any pecans I used walnuts instead. It tasted fantastic. Now, back to the remodel. 

Cutting and fitting the laminate flooring required the use of a lot of templates. The laminate flooring was left over from the master bedroom remodel. The flooring was purchased in the U.S. in 2011. Time for another break...  

Erika created this masterpiece. We call it, "Apple Custard Cream Blizzard Cake." 

Wow! It tasted great. It's an experiment for one of the Christmas parties we will be hosting. BTW, most of the items we bake are given away. As I grow older, my taste for sweets has become less. Although, I will never turn down a box of chocolates. Back to work...  

The stairs are almost finished. The rubber on top of the nose pieces need to be installed. 

 Whew, I'm glad this project is done. 

Yes, the walls are green, yellow and blue. Just around the corner, a very large wall is painted adobe red. I'll save that picture for another post.

It's time for another break...maybe apple crisp pie? 
Up next, the second floor remodel will begin. I'll be posting a picture of the Crescent Nebula using a different process called "Star Tools." Stay tuned...