Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

maiden voyage

I have owned the bass for 5 days now. Last night I took it to the Conner Bluegrass Jam – normally Thursdays, Thanksgiving delayed it to Friday, started it at 2:00pm instead of 7:00 and ran it a little longer than usual… okay, quite a bit longer. I wasn’t great. I had no experience. But I HAD FUN. I was welcome. I got a lot of notes right. I got a lot of notes on time. That is, in rhythm. I have been running my fingers on the edge of tender since Sunday. I’ll keep them like that until they toughen up. No point in setting myself back with blistering. I’m tolerable at getting one note per measure about right. […]

Conner Combo

I’ve often said that my favorite musical role would be as 3rd trombone in a big band. Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) gave me that opportunity while I lived in Nampa. It was lovely, but didn’t last nearly long enough. My attempt to resurrect the Grangeville big band resulted in a nice little jazz combo where I had to play lead trombone and occasionally assist the tuba player with bass lines. Back down south I formed one and one-half combos in Kuna/Boise, again with me taking turns playing lead trombone. Now happily planted in The Bitterroot for a year and a half I spent one summer as 3rd trombone in a community band, but it was elementary band music, not […]

crumb

Bad News / Good News Coming back from the local hardware store I dropped down to exactly 25mph in the Strictly Enforced 25mph zone through Darby, and my lovely, faithful pickup did some mild surging for a ways. It was subtle, but I felt it. After a block or so, it went away. BUT the Check Engine light did not go away. We, the pickup and I, have an appointment with the Code Talker Monday at 0830. Oh, yeah, the good news you ask? I wasn’t in Challis, Idaho or Craters Of The Moon when this all came down. By the time we get there sometime in the very near future, whatever the issue is will be resolved – at […]

porch project

Last winter the walkway from front door to car door was a river of ice. I have done several things to change that for this winter… retaining walls, ditch work, driveway re-grading, the way I shovel snow… The biggest change is still ahead. I want to put 3-4 inches of 3/4″ gravel on top of the old beat up gravel of the pathway, raising it well above the surrounding area. Thus the water and ice will know for darn sure exactly where it is to go and not go. I had to build a porch or the area in front of our steps would have been lower than the walkway. Definitely not a good thing to have happen. Tonight the […]

river freezing over

It has been over a week since we have seen outside temperatures above freezing. Mostly they have been averaging quite a bit below. The ice is flowing and forming while the liquid part of the river gets narrower. This is a look upstream at what serves as the neighborhood swimming hole during the hot months. I cannot get the angle through the brush for the best shot, but there is a lot of water rushing through a few very narrow slots consisting of thick ice over boulders. Very pleasing to the senses as we take our walks with Scooter. Immediately downstream from that picture is another place where the ice is packing up and solidifying on river boulders both above […]

self-designing project

The fireplace was heating up my desk more than I would like, but I did not want to move the desk from its location I designed into the room. I was building a firewood log rack that would deflect the heat while storing logs next to the desk. My plumbing and heating contractor friend gave me a scrap of sheet metal I intended to put on the wood-stove side of the scrap-iron rack that was nearing completion in my metal shop. “The problem” with the scrap was the 90-degree fold it had, while I was visualizing a flat piece for my project. Cutting off the base of the “L” was easy enough, but until I got Round-Tuit, and finished the […]

doer

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring […]

Hotel California

In the 90s, I knew something was wrong, but it took me to the end of the decade to recognize that I fit a culture that was not in California. THE STATE was at war with me, and the majority of the voters therein were just fine with that. I voted with my feet. I moved to Idaho. Ahhhh … Much improved. I finally speak the native language. A dozen years later we were able to go one step better. We aren’t the only ones who find the upper Bitterroot to be magical. There are so many good, aware, balanced, considerate people here. We keep meeting more; making great new friends. This is what a community of humans is supposed […]