Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays


As it turns out, other people have spotted OUR bird and given the rare Montana Gray Miniature Penguin another name. It is rather plain in my opinion, but the bird books do have good pictures and descriptions that match our new neighbor. In reading the description of the Dipper online, I discovered why I have such an affinity for him. In courtship, male may strut and sing in front of female Heck, he sounds almost human, don’t ya think? *AKA = Also Known As – a phrase frequently used in official documentation for aliases.


The questions came to me on a forum I visit: A. Is there anything you regret doing (or trying to do) for freedom? B. Is there anything within your realistic power that you regret not doing (or not trying to do) for freedom? Made me ponder a bit, then respond: I had some unrelated regrets early on – quite a few, actually. I think I caught on. The regrets were treating someone else or myself dishonorably, or inaction in the face of clear choices. They linger shockingly long and can still be sources of personal disappointment. THAT has been a major life lesson, and motivator. I do not mean to brag, but these questions make me happy that I do […]

rare species

After over a decade in the Nampa, Kuna region of Idaho, I was quite accustomed to the gray squirrels who had so successfully adapted to that urban and populated rural environment. Moving into the South Bitterroot last spring has delivered us into a new world. Elk and deer are so regularly sighted that they are about as likely to elicit comment as “Oh, LOOK, a Chevy” was where we came from. I was so tickled by the transformation in my world that I dubbed these little guys “Dwarf Striped Scooter Squirrels” and continue to think of them in those terms even now. I mean, they are significantly smaller, move a whole lot quicker and, of course, have those nifty racing […]

whatta day

The gas log fireplace was not working this morning. My studio space was at 35-degrees while outside was 10. Not good. Definitely wins the “Highest Priority” award for the day. It was mostly a repeat of my outta gas post from the other day except I didn’t have to eliminate so many possibilities before going straight to the problem. The thermopile was not heating up enough to generate the millivolts necessary to keep the gas valve turned on. This time I cleaned up the pilot light flame to put out slightly more heat. I think it will go for quite some time now, but I’ll be slow to assume it is permanently reliable. Over at my personal website I described […]

winter tromping in

It is no longer sneaking in on tippie-toes. This morning our thermometer touched 11 degrees for a short while … Heck, still double digits! My California family shudders to consider it, but I remind them we have heated houses to live in. When it warmed up to 18, I saw my first icebergs floating by the front window in the East Fork of the Bitterroot. – Cool has multiple meanings here. P.S. the photos are thumbnails – click for full-sized pictures […]


Once in a while my style pushes the envelope a bit. I get a lot done that is difficult, surprising or otherwise “better left to experts”. But occasionally it thrusts challenges at me that can inspire introspection regarding my view of following instructions. I have a 2-meter ham radio that, while designed as a mobile, will be serving as my base station for a while. I have a very good antenna for my 2-meter base station. Yesterday afternoon I picked up a second section of 1 1/2″ conduit to serve as the lower 1/3rd of my mast. In the evening I picked up the coax cable to connect radio and mast. Today the rain comes in. Tonight winter arrives with […]

Darby Hams

FCC amateur radio license testing came to Darby November 9th. Five people interested in entering the world of ham communications tested for their Technician levels. All Five passed. Already a technician, I took the exam for General – and passed as well. It was a great day for Darby emergency communications. We want to continue to meet. learn and work together. We have scheduled the Darby Library meeting room for Saturday, November 30th, 10:00 for a Darby radio club meeting. We are actually from Darby, Sula and Conner, but that pretty much is the nature of this community. Obviously radio communications and working together could be real important where we are spread out as much as we are. We will […]

beach craft

This is a short U-Tube video of the work a Dutch artist created … they are alive, but made of PVC. Animated, self-powered pvc sculptures that stand on the beach and walk forward via articulating legs. You just have to admire the ingenuity.