Monday, August 23, 2010

Yellow Flower in Washington

A yellow flower seen on H Street in Washington, DC while walking down the sidewalk.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Star Gazer - Jack Horkheimer

I was sad to learn that Jack Horkheimer had died on August 20, 2010.  It has been over a decade since I watched one of his presentations. Watching his quirky astronomy show on Alabama Public Television in the 1980s made him memorable to me. Back then I think his show was called Star Hustler though. Maybe some of the exposure to his shows made me later obtain a telescope. Here is his last show posted on YouTube. Keep looking up!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2010 Watermelon Harvest

The watermelon harvest has begun with these first 16 watermelons picked.  The light green melons on the right side of the photo are Charleston Gray watermelons.  The ones on the left are a little harder to identify.  The striped spherical watermelon is Crimson Sweet.  The other four striped melons might be some sort of Jubilee watermelon.  I have a jar of saved watermelon seeds that I usually plant one hill of.  It is sort of my mystery melon to grow.

These watermelons were grown in Hodgenville, Kentucky and were harvested August 21, 2010.  I estimate the gross weight at 390 pounds [177 kg] (the largest striped melon is 37 pounds while the largest 3 light green melons weigh 40-41 pounds a piece).  Not sure what makes produce organic but no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers were used to grow this crop.  The weeds were pretty bad this year probably because I did not use a tiller on the garden this year and the black plastic is getting old.

The pumpkin plants produced one small pumpkin but the plants appear to be dying (too much heat?) and the cantaloupe plants did not produce this year.

Growing watermelons is an enjoyable hobby for me that I have now been active in for at least 7 years.  So I felt like sort of farming dinosaur after reading the New York Times article "Watermelons Get Small" by Kim Severson on August 17, 2010.  It talks about trends in watermelon farming in Hope, Arkansas. The movement to grow icebox size seedless melons has caught on in the United States with the article stating that 2 out every 10 melons grown have seeds.  Of that seeded variety, a small percentage are heirloom like I grow.  The Arkansas old time melons mentioned are Jubilee, Black Diamond, Rattlesnake, and Charleston Gray.  The newer seeded hybrid being grown is called Super Sweet 710.

The largest striped melon has been cut and its fruit placed in plastic containers to be refrigerated.  The seeds have been saved and the juice collected to make watermelon lemonade.  Sweet!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eyed Flounder

Eyed flounder fish on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in the Ocean Hall area (1st floor) in Washington, D.C.  Fish is known by its scientific name: Bothus ocellatus, phylum Chordata.  Picture taken August 2010.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

May Fly at Ohio River

May fly resting at the Ohio River front in Louisville, Kentucky (July 10, 2010).

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Louisville Kentucky Skyline 2010

Restoring Honda Accord Hub Caps

First three pictures are of my niece's car hub caps.  You can see they lost their silver finish and it is flaking or peeling away.

Having done similar work on the hubcaps of a Nissan NX-1600 I started by:
1) Washing and brushing the hub caps clean.
2) Sanding the peeling material from the cap with 120-150 grit sand paper.
3) Using 220 grit paper with a Black & Decker Mouser sander.
4) Sanding the contour places with a sanding sponge at 150 grit and using 400 grit paper to reduce ridges on the surface. (To do a professional job one would probably need to sand blast the caps smooth.
5) Washed and wiped caps with sponge and cloth.
6) After drying, sprayed with plastic primer.
7) After drying according to primer manufacturer's directions, applied first coat of silver paint.
8) Waited till dried, applied second coat of paint.
9) After dried, inspected and did some touch up painting.  Surface was metallic reflective so I treated with a clean sealer.
10) Sealer made surface duller silver and some what more coarse.

Here are some pictures taken of the hub caps after they were restored.  The pictures taken at dusk were shot with the flash so there is quite a bit of reflection.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Calla Lily 2010

Calla lily that bloomed June 16, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. In all, there might have been 6 blooms.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Eastern Hercules Beetle

Pictures of a male Eastern Hercules beetle (Dynastes tityus) found in Larue County, Kentucky on July 31, 2010.  It was found dead on the black plastic of the garden in between two watermelon plants.  Possible it flipped over on its back at night and then died of exposure from the very hot days we have been having.  I am guessing the surface temperature of the black plastic gets to 120 degrees F during the day.

According to the University of Kentucky entomology web site, this is the largest beetle found in Kentucky.  It belongs to the scarab beetle family (Scarabaeidae).  It is also called Rhinoceros Beetle, Rhino Beetle, Unicorn Beetle, and Horned Beetle.  It is not a pest but eats decaying plants at night.  The protruding horns are only on the males and used to fight other males.  I wonder if the scratches on the front of this beetle are from some of those fights.

This beetle measures 50 mm (tip of horn to back of rear shell) and 23 mm at widest shell point.  I read the largest one reported found was 85 mm in length.