Showing posts with label Stellarvue Nighthawk telescope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stellarvue Nighthawk telescope. Show all posts

Thursday, November 26, 2009




We woke up to a slight cloud cover this morning & that meant some temperatures above 32F for a change.  My feet didn't freeze to the ground when I stepped out of the rig.  The cloud cover also signaled an incoming weather change.  The day started out calm as I relaxed in a lawn chair with my 10 o'clock coffee soaking up some warming rays & quiet serenity.  Minutes later I'm nearly upside down as the first wind gusts swept into the valley blowing swirling clouds of dust before them.  The rig's awning was bouncing & the flags were snapping as we scrambled to get the awning up & secured to the rig.  Just goes to show you can never leave your awning unattended in the southwest.  That wily old wind is always nearby tucked away in a canyon somewhere just waiting for you to head off to town & leave your lawn chairs out & your awning down.  I'm sure it finds great pleasure in swooping down, scattering tables & chairs & bending awning arms around like pretzels.  I swear someday's I can hear that mischievous old wind laughing as it goes blowing by with a load of somebody's laundry in it's clutches.  It's enough to blow the underwear right off a horse.



Noticed we had a new blog follower this morning & would like to welcome fellow Canadian Pat from Guelph Ontario & his blog, TRAVELS WITH LEFTY Welcome aboard neighbor:))



Received an email from Marianne at, THE RV TRAVEL BLOG this morning.  Turns out they are also Canadian neighbors from Elora, Ontario & while checking out our outdated links site I came across these folks at FULL TIME RVINGBoth of the these sites are very informative & I would recommend you have a look at them.  I can see I am going to have to update & re-vamp our links section because I had totally forgotten about one of them & didn't have the other one linked at all.  While double-checking our blogger list I also came across DOWN THE ROAD FROM DOGPOUND'S latest post 3 weeks ago which I had totally missed in the flurry & fog of Bloggerville. I wonder how many other folks I have missed:((  I did finally catch up on our email correspondence with readers but also feel I've missed some of you so have decided to deal with each email right away from now on as soon as it lands on the desktop.  Well, that's my well intentioned plan anyway!!


It's the American Thanksgiving Day here & I've noticed a lot of other bloggers giving thanks to various things so I'll add our thanks to the roll.  No great grandiose thanks to imagined ethereal entities or supposed worldly Saints.  Just a very simple & realistic thanks to all you folks out there who send in your comments & emails to the Bayfield Bunch.  Thanks to you all for reading our simple little travel blog & thanks to our fellow bloggers for sharing their daily lives.  And a special thanks to my family members both living & deceased for making this whole Travel with The Bayfield Bunch possible.  Somewhere down the road I will share with you all the true motivation of why I do this blog every day.  


TO-NIGHT’S MOON OVER ARIZONA (Nikon D40 in combination with a Stellarview Nighthawk refractor telescope)

I successfully dodged the snipping scissors this morning & kept my gray locks to grow another day.  Even got away without having to trim my beard.  Kelly fixed up a Sweet Potato Baked Casserole for the potluck Thanksgiving dinner over at the FRIEND'S OF THE SOUTHWEST (Quaker Intentional Community) this afternoon.  I was a bit apprehensive about this place having religious overtones but I needn't have worried.  We arrived at 1 p.m. & met a fine bunch of local people who made us feel welcome & comfortable.  About 2 dozen people altogether.  A diverse bunch of backgrounds & I'm sure everyone had a tale to tell of how they ended up here in the Sulphur Springs Valley of southeast Arizona.  A lady sitting across from me had moved with her husband to this area several years ago from Alaska.  Several friendly Mexican fellows were there from Agua Prieta across the border from Douglas.  Lots of great food, fine deserts, & friendly people.  We received several invitations to visit people at their homes & we learned a bit more about the history of the area.  One lady at the table told us about the history of the Quaker like community, but 10 seconds into her description my short term memory had already forgotten the first 5 seconds so I'll have to try & remember to write things down next time.


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DSC_0014 DSC_0007 DSC_0015 THANKS FOLKS:))


We were back to the ranch shortly after 3 & by then the wind had subsided & it turned out to be a pleasantly warm day with a nice sunset.  We had eaten so much turkey at the dinner this afternoon that we skipped supper entirely.  Took a few sunset & moon photos & that was about it for another fine Arizona day.  To-morrow morning we'll head off to Pearce for their annual, 'Old Pearce Heritage Days' & maybe brush shoulders with some real wild west cowboys:))


GROANER'S CORNER:((  A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.



The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

MY SMUG MUG (I am finally working on updating this site)

Friday, November 20, 2009




This was the first morning we were not below the freezing mark in the last 4 days.  On the cold nights we turn off all the outside water here.  There are a lot of irrigation & water pipes on the ranch so water has to be shut off at a main valve about a foot underground.  It's easily accessible so no problem.  Trick is to keep an eye on the days weather to see how low the night time desert temperatures will drop.

Bradley Sarah & baby boy
baby girl baby boy


Mother & twins are doing fine up there in Vancouver BC Canada.  Kelly talked to her daughter Sarah & son-in-law Bradley to-day on Skype.  The baby girl (twins aren't named yet) is now out of neo natal intensive care & will be in the same room to-night as her new twin brother.  Sarah had developed a serious condition known as Hellp syndrome & that had complicated things for a few crucial days.  Everything is on the up & up now & they should all be one big happy family back home soon. 

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TELESCOPE AT LEFT IS SET UP FOR ASTRONOMY & AT RIGHT IS CONFIGURED FOR THE CAMERA (the tall mossmagator thingy on the top is a red laser beam pointer for aligning the scope with an object in the night sky)

Kelly was off to Yoga this morning so I was able to put away my book of 1001 excuses for another few days.  Corky's Mom & Dad dropped him off about 11 so there was lots of neat-o play time doggy stuff going on for the rest of the day.  In between all that we managed to clear a bunch of old dead tomato stocks out of the garden too.IMG_1314


Sure wished I had something more exciting to write about but these are quiet days at the ranch right now.  I had uploaded a photo album to Picasa Web Albums on Thursday but to-day I deleted it & started all over.  Had made too many mistakes in putting the album to-gether & after looking at it to-day knew it was not acceptable.  I will do the new upload next time I'm at the Elfrida Library.


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Started reading my new National Geographic book, 'Backyard Guide To The Night Sky' a couple days ago.  Great book so far & to-night I was able to clearly see 4 of Jupiter's moons with my telescope.  It's a Stellarvue Nighthawk 80mm refractor scope & I have 3 varying power eyepieces for it.  A 5mm, 17mm, & a 35mm. With the moon being in it's quarter stage the craters & ridges are easily seen because of the shadowy contrast effect.  Contrary to popular belief a full moon is not the best time to look at it with a telescope.  Too bright & the lighting is too flat.  The cold & dry desert air is perfect of stargazing.  No humidity in the air to make images unstable.  Later to-night I will take myself for a tour around the sky checking out the Andromeda Galaxy, the double cluster in Perseus & the Orion Nebulae with various stops in between.  Like the song says, "fly me to the moon & let me play amongst the stars:))"





GROANER'S CORNER:((  At a hastily called press conference this morning, the Taliban Minister of Emigration . . . . . Mohammed Omar, warned the United States that if any further military action was taken against Afghanistan, Taliban authorities would not hesitate to cut off America's supply of convenience store managers.



The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


A NEARLY FULL MOON AS SEEN FROM OUR FRONT YARD THROUGH MY NIKON D40 & 80mm REFRACTOR STELLARVUE NIGHTHAWK TELESCOPE LAST WEEK...... Should have mentioned that I cropped, enlarged, & added some contrast & color to the picture as well. Don't know why horizonal & vertical lines appear in the photo except it might be pixelation from enlarging)

My whole day was spent inside with my nose to the paint brush. When having to do something I'm not fond of doing my idea is to just get on with it & get it done so I can move on to something else I do like to do. I should also mention that yesterdays blog comments about the cupboards being outdated, old, & dark were all placed in my mind by my lovely wife, Kelly. Women are more attuned to cosmetic changes than men are & the decision to paint the cupboards was definitely a cosmetic one. I WILL BE SOOOOOOO GLAD TO GET THIS PRIMER COAT FINISHED

Now, let's have a look at this from a totally realistic man's perspective. First & foremost, there was absolutely nothing wrong with those kitchen & bathroom cupboards. No cracks, no broken parts, no old paint peeling off, & no wood rot. We had replaced the knobs on all the doors about 3 years ago so I thought that was sufficient to bring them into the 21rst century but a woman's mind knows no logical restraints & so sure, change was afoot. Puts me in mind of the old saying, "if it's not broken-don't fix it, but it was too late.....the decision had been made & I am but a bit player here in the Bayfield Bunch's grand scheme of things!! LILY PADS FROM ATOP A COUNTRY ROAD BRIDGE

So, with those thoughts in mind I have been diligently painting away changing perfectly good dark woodgrained cupboards into, well..........that remains to be seen. At least the two hardest tasks are finally over with the long boring preparation & primer painting behind me. Now I can begin to put on the first coast of melamine paint which at this point I have no idea what shade of white it is going to be. I'm a man so white is white....right!! Kelly picked it out at the paint store & went with a 'warm' white. What's warm about white I ask!!!! I probably would have went with a brilliant fuscia orange or something. White is not my favorite color & I guess that's why this blogs background is a dark gray & you can tell by the looks of my blog that I see the world in bright color.......not black & white!! And if the Canadian Tire store ever has a sale on colored spray paint I'm gonna get a hundred & fifty five cans of something & spray our big white motorhome orange, green, blue, burgundy, yellow, khaki or whatever paint they have most of in stock!! A HUMMER

After the past 2 days of contortionist scrambling around on the floor & up down the stepstool my troublesome & very painful right knee is totalled, I'm in my recliner with a cane propped against the chair & I'm down for the count. Definitely NO MORE PAINTING to-morrow!!!!


Kelly's on the way home with a burg & fry's (only my third burg & fry combo in 5 months) from the Docks & all will soon be well in the paint stained world of the Bayfield Bunch's Rembrandt AL:))

GROANER'S CORNER:(( Blessed are the cracked for they are the ones who let in the light!!

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


PHOTO ABOVE shows the Nikon D40 camera & Stellarvue Nighthawk telescope combination I'm learning to use for the bird photos. My left hand is on the tightening knob for tilting the 720mm scope lens up & down. Directly below that is the knob for swinging the lens left & right. Below that, visible on the tripod is a crank for raising or lowering the camera & lens on the tripod. The round gray knob directly above my watch is one of two focusing knobs on the lens. My right hand's forefinger is back on the trigger of the camera & it also runs the exposure compensation button while my thumb adjusts the exposure by turning a dial on the back of the camera. By the time I've made all the adjustments the bird I'm trying to take the picture of has probably already left the country. Beside me on an unseen table sits a second Nikon camera with a 200mm zoom lens, my bird ID books, a pair of 7x35 mm binoculars, & a cup of cold coffee:))

With the current problems regarding the American health care system going on in the States right now we have received a few email inquiries from RV friends. There is soooooo much mis-leading information south of the border. My Aunt Jean in Florida also emailed us yesterday with a few questions about what kind of health care we have here in Canada. She writes.......
"Are your doctor visits paid for, or do you have a co-payment? What about hospital stays & surgery? Does the plan pay for any medications? I'm sure you need a referral from your primary doctor to see a specialist of any kind, & approx. how long is the wait to get an appointment. There is such a debate going on down here about Healthcare, one doesn't know what to believe. I presume the rules & payment plans have changed from when the program was first introduced back in the 60's." I've meant to ask you about your OHIP,(Ontario Health Insurance Plan) & how that works BEFORE the age of 65.


Kelly wrote the following response to my Aunt Jean......
"There is not much difference after age 65. Except you get your prescriptions for $4.00 per script. Also after 65 you get a free eye exam every year. ( pay for your own glasses though. But you get most of that back on your income tax refund. All Dr. visits are free, you are allowed 1 complete physical per year. ( no co-pays ever) you can go to your doctors as often as you want, he can request any blood test he deems necessary. Hospital and surgery free. Ambulance has a co-pay, but not much. You do need a referral for any specialist. I had to see a cardiologist for a stress test and waited one week. Then was referred to Kitchener for a myocardial nuclear infusion , that wait was one day ! I was really impressed. One thing to remember though, neither Al or I have had to deal with a long term major illness.
I know there are pros and cons, but for us, we are thankful to have the care we do without payments of any kind. We can walk into any hospital in Canada and receive free care. I realize that is why our gas it more, a bottle of wine is more etc, etc... I'd rather pay a little more for things and not worry about how to pay for a health care plan...
Anyway... that is my opinion Jean for what it's worth .... Kelly (P.S. I wish Dental was included, have never understood why it isn't)" FEMALE GOLDFINCH ON LEFT....MALE ON RIGHT NEVER KNEW A MORNING DOVE HAD SO MANY SUBTLE COLORS

You can see Kelly is much more knowledgeable on this medical stuff than I am. Only thing I know is if I cut my finger she told me to just put a band-aid on it, shut up, & don't whine!! THIS RED BELLIED WOODPECKER WAS MOVING UP THE PINE TREE SO FAST I ONLY GOT ONE POORLY FOCUSED SHOT OF HIM

Noticed a fair number of RV folks are golfers. I've tried about half a dozen times over the years to get interested in the game but it just never grabbed me. Even bought a used set of clubs back in the early 80's hoping that might spur me on, but it didn't. I'm not one for competitive sports at all & maybe that has something to do with it. There is one thing though that I really liked about golf.....the golf course!! To me, golf course are so beautifully landscaped & go hand in hand with Mother Nature. I love all the shades of green blending to-gether. Golf courses are so scenic with their flowers, trees, ponds, sculptured sand bunkers, & winding pathways for the golf carts & people traffic. Long sweeping fairways bordered with towering trees against deep blue skies dotted with white fluffy clouds makes for picture postcard landscapes. The few times I played, it wasn't the game that caught my attention, it was the scenery. Always thought how nice it would be to just leisurely enjoy the peace & tranquility of the golf course without having to undergo the stress of smashing a little white ball all over the place with a metal club......And then this morning I had a "light bulb" moment regarding golf courses:)) MALE RED WING BLACKBIRD

Seems kind of unfair to me that only small select groups of people are permitted to exclusively use golf courses. If I owned a golf course I would set aside a special day (maybe 3 or 4) every week for Seniors & special interest groups like walking & hiking clubs, photography clubs, bird watchers, nature clubs, artists, horticultural organizations, environmentalists, etc. Bus the Seniors from the care facilities, nursing homes, & Seniors clubs to the golf course then arrange for volunteer golfing people to transport the Seniors around the fairways on the golf carts. I'm sure somebody could come up with a way to safely carry wheelchair folks on some kind of tram pulled by a small vehicle of some kind as well. Think of the endless enjoyment older folks would get from being able to move about in such a beautiful setting. Set up a nice afternoon lunch in the clubhouse & just make it a great outing for the folks. The peacefulness of a golf courses lends itself perfectly to bird watchers, nature photographers, & artist types. Smooth golf cart pathways make for healthy walking. Horticulturists would love the landscaped gardens & all the environmentalists would be a happy bunch indeed. Awwwww, if only:(( But, it's not likely ever going to happen because it's not likely I am going to own a golf course anytime soon.........................But, if I do.....:)) GREAT NORTH AMERICAN PORCELIN BIRD:))

GROANER'S CORNER: Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.

Monday, July 13, 2009



Monday morning weigh-in....209. Well, at least I'm holding my own & I haven't reverted back to my bad old eating habits:)) NIKON D40 MOUNTED ON THE NIGHTHAWK SCOPE FOR MORE TEST PHOTOS IN THE FRONT YARD

Seems there's a big black crow who seems to take great pleasure in perching outside my window every morning at dawn & crowing me right up out of bed & onto my feet. Oh well, different lows for different crows!! I THINK THIS CAMERA & SCOPE ARE GOING TO WORK WELL TO-GETHER

Since hauling my telescope out & dusting if off a few weeks ago I have been in touch with O'NEIL PHOTO in London in regards to what accessories I needed for the scope to make it adaptable for my Nikon camera as well as some different powered eyepieces for Astronomy purposes. This morning I packed up the camera & scope after breakfast & headed off for O'Neill's Photo in London. Joe O'Neill was expecting me & it didn't take him long to round up the necessary pieces for the scope. He has the same Nikon Camera I have & because this was actually Joe's old scope he was familiar with how everything worked. I had traded in my monstrous Celestron Dobsonian at Joe's 3 summers ago for the Stellarvue Nighthawk I now have.
With some instructions, a few test photos out the window, & a hardy Hi-ho Silver, I was on my way home again secure in the knowledge I now had a dual purpose scope with which I was finally happy. More test pictures from our front porch at home later confirmed my satisfaction. Going to be a learning curve though when it comes to something called "exposure" but that's ok because it's going to push me into the more creative side of photography & make me do more of the thinking rather than just letting the camera do everything for me. I have got a bit lazy over the years with, "automatic this & automatic that!!" The Nikon camera cannot automatically adjust the exposure with this scope set up so that is now up to me to figure out using the manual settings on my camera. So far so good & I'm encouraged by the first test results. UNDERSTANDING EXPOSURE CONTROL

I was reminded of my short term memory while reading WANDERING WILLY'S blog last night. He had lost a lens cap & it took him awhile to figure out where it was. I carry a favorite ball cap in the saddle bag of my motorcycle for whenever I stop somewhere. When I take my helmet off my hair is such a floppy floop I have to put a ball cap on so I don't scare anybody. Yesterday while in Goderich I had the hat on while walking around taking pictures of the Point-Counterpoint II boat docked in the harbor. Upon returning to the bike & set the hat on top of a saddle bag while I put my helmet on, jumped aboard the bike, & roared off for home. Well, me & the bike made the trip OK but my hat obviously decided to stay behind. So, all you nice Goderich folks up there, if you happen to see a powder blue baseball cap with the words, Las Vegas on the front could you please pick the little fellow up, dust him off, keep him safe, & send me an email:)) Our addy is on the website. I thank you, my floppy floop thanks you, & I'm sure my hat will thank you too. Came across a fellow's blog a few days ago that had fallen through the cracks & been lost in our bloggers file for awhile. He had first contacted us while we were in the southwest this past winter. Ivan at the time was traveling alone having recently lost his pet cat & traveling companion, Harley. Noticed he had some nice mountain photos from up around Lake Louise on his site so sent him a note to say hello. He not only found another traveling companion, he found two. Not only is there another cat in Ivan's life, there is a girlfriend too & they are about to depart on a roadtrip to the Yukon. Slip on over & hitch yourself a ride with Ivan & the gang at ROADTRIP 09 as they head to a place Johnny Horton sang about years ago.........North To Alaska:)) EVEN OUR PLANTED PLASTIC FLOWERS IN THE SHADE DON'T LOOK TOO BAD:))

And, did you know RICK has himself some competition in the family. You've heard of dueling banjos but that ain't it. How about.........dueling bloggers!! Yep, Paulette has set herself up her very own quilting site called, SWEET PEA QUILTING AND CREATIONS. Welcome aboard the "Blog Log Express" Paulette. Hang on tight cause it leaves the station most every night..............................:))

TO-DAY'S HUMOR: Went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but couldn't find any.

I'm going to start putting another photo album to-gether to-morrow for the month of July. I have a few more pictures from Sundays American Waterways Wind Orchestra boat in Goderich harbor.


Thursday, July 02, 2009



I have always had an interest in the night sky & it was nearly 15 years ago when I first subscribed to a Canadian Astronomy magazine by the name of Skynews.
An excellent magazine for both amateur & professional astronomers. I like it's easy to understand monthly centerfold night sky chart. Editor & Astronomer Terence Dickinson had an Astronomy book out at the time called Nightwatch which I bought. Armed with that book & monthly issues of Skynews I set about under the cover of darkness learning the night sky. Fortunately at that time we lived in an old farmhouse way out in the country far from city lights & I was able to sit outside many nights with my eyes & thoughts wandering among the stars. STELLARVUE 80mm AT1010 NIGHTHAWK REFLECTOR TELESCOPE

In the summer of 1999 my Aunt in Sarasota Florida drove up to Canada for summer visit. We had been emailing back & forth for about a year & she knew of my keen interest in Astronomy. I didn't suspect a thing until Aunt Jean drove into our driveway, parked, & opened her trunk. There, all carefully wrapped up in a blanket was a white & very professional large looking Meade 4'5" Reflecting telescope. She had bought it as a gift for me & brought it all the way from Florida. What a great surprise that was & I spent many night's that summer under the stars with that scope. However, the following summer the scope met with a premature demise. I had left it on it's tri-pod & set up on the covered cement porch for the night with a blanket over it. In the morning when I came out, the scope was lying flat on the hard cement & broken. Only thing I can figure that happened is the barn cats while running around in the night must have scrambled up the blanket & pulled the whole telescope over. I never had another telescope after that until the summer of 2005 when I bought a new 8" Celestron Dobsonian reflector. Don't know what I was thinking because this scope was way beyond my learning curve & patience. Plus it was heavy & had to be carried around in two pieces everywhere. It was a year later when we bought our truck & fifth wheel that I realized this scope would not be suitable for traveling anywhere so headed over to London & traded it in on a smaller more portable Stellarvue 80mm Nighthawk Refractor telescope. Didn't have a proper tri-pod for this scope & by the end of the summer I had lost interest in it, put it in it's case & stuffed it under my bed. That was 3 years ago I did that & to-day I hauled out that Nighthawk telescope, dusted if off, & set it up in our driveway this morning. I was actually planning on selling it & had put an ad on the Kijiji site in London last week. Had one reply from a fellow by the name of John & as we emailed back & forth he suggested I should keep the scope because it had good reviews in one of the Astronomy magazines. With a few helpful telescope tips & accessory suggestions from John I began to re-think my selling plans. If I can adapt my Nikon cameras to this scope & get myself another eyepiece plus something called an erecting prism I might just be on my way happily back to the starry night sky & some new photo opportunities. I have been missing my nightly wanderings in the heavens for too long now & it's about time I get myself back up into the awesome reaches of our wondrous Galaxy.............:))

Awwwww yes, I like this thing called................... "excitement!!"

My spellchecker seems to on the fritz to-night so please excuse any mistakes. I must remember to feed it in the morning!!

TO-DAY'S HUMOR: What is the difference between Bird Flu and Swine Flu? For bird flu you need tweetment and for swine flu you need oinkment.