Farmers Market with COVID-19

Local farmers markets have thankfully been declared essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Weds I had to run into Keck for a quick pickup and gladly noted that the mid-week market at Pukulani Stables was open. I would stop by after completing my errand.

The Pukulani Stables mid-week farmers market in Waimea
The Pukulani Stables mid-week farmers market in Waimea

The market was running light on vendors, but doing just fine on customers. Many of the non-food vendors were not there, Warren and his photographic prints were missing, the candy gal with homemade cakes and brittle absent, as were the various gift and craft vendors. Selling non-essential items they are likely not covered in the closure exemption, and the usual tourists who are their real customers are gone.

Who was there are the usual produce vendors. I immediately head to Honopua Farms table looking for beets and lettuce. To my pleasure they have both and I scoop up a bag of beets. Fresh veggies will go well with all of the basics from our last Costco run.

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Garden Macro

Photography around the garden? Having fun in my own yard and garden with a macro lens. Yes, a way to spend a couple hours stuck at home under quarantine orders.

The lens is a Canon EF-M 28mm macro, an interesting lens with a built-in ring light. Just a bunch of photos taken walking around the yard, all handheld images, a few of the interesting bits I found…

Markarians’s Chain

Shot photos from the driveway again last night. Several hours shooing at the heart of the Virgo cluster and Markarian’s Chain.

I was shooting color data, but clouds rolled through the field before I got any blue data. Will have to shoot again another evening. In the meantime I put together a monochrome version.

The two big elliptical galaxies towards the lower right are M84 and M86. In the center is an interacting spiral galaxy NGC4438, notably distorted through interaction with NGC4435 seen right above it. The big elliptical at lower left is M87.

Do not try to count the number of galaxies here, zoom in and dozens upon dozens become visible.

The heart of the Virgo Cluster around Markarian's Chain.
The heart of the Virgo Cluster around Markarian’s Chain.

Astrophotography from the Driveway

A clear night finally appeared, clouds have been plaguing this particular dark of the Moon. What to do? Maybe do some astrophotography?

The nebula complex M17 in hydrogen-alpha
The nebula complex M17 in hydrogen-alpha

I have a new piece of kit, a ZWO ASI Air Pro that has been on back-order since November. With shutdowns in China and the rest of the mayhem it finally arrived this week.

The unit is a little dedicated astrophotography computer that makes a lot of the setup so much easier, while simplifying the snarl of cables on the telescope.

Controlling the camera, filter wheel, and guiding is done through a very nice app on the iPad. In less than an hour I had the basics figured out and was taking images.

A few technical issues to learn about through the night, such as how to best configure the WiFi for use with the home network, how to access and download the images to the desktop computer, etc., but no real problems. I took images through until dawn’s glow appeared in the data, running from twilight to twilight.

Return to Goat House Tube

This week’s solo quarantine hike was to Goat House Tube. I have been here before, but had not explored downhill from the entrance, the first time I explored uphill.

The power line access road south of Waikoloa
The power line access road south of Waikoloa

Goat House is my name for this lava tube, there is no official name I am aware of, I just came up with Goat House when I needed a name for it. Climbing into the tube one finds the reason for the name rather obvious.

An early start saw me walking down the power line road shortly after sunrise. This walk is dominated by the large transmission poles and lines overhead. The lines make an ominous 60Hz buzzing, some of the poles are louder than others, with a buzz and rattle of the wires and insulators.

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A Change in Spam

Spam, not the canned meat product, you cannot find that anywhere in the islands right now, or if you do you are limited to a purchase of two cans per household. Life in Hawaii.

My ISP spam folder on April 6th, 2020
My ISP spam folder on April 6th, 2020

Rather I refer to the e-mail type of spam. I had cause to check my spam folder on my ISP this evening. I did not find the message I was looking for, but I did notice something curious instead.

Usually the majority of spam in my folder is trying to sell something sexual, from pills to meet-ups. These types of messages have almost completely disappeared in the last couple weeks.

Instead the majority of messages are attempting to sell non-contact IR thermometers. Useful in these COVID-19 times, not that I would buy one from some spam e-mail. Just another sign of the times.

Exploring Puʻu Hinai

After two weeks of being stuck at home I really wanted to get out and stretch my legs. A hike is in order.

Puʻu Hinai sits 200ft above the surrounding plains
Puʻu Hinai sits 200ft above the surrounding plains

The governor specifically allows outdoor exercise in his stay-at-home order, including “surfing, swimming and walking pets”. I took that to cover a local hike near home. Just outside Waikoloa Village are quite a few rough roads that allow access to big areas of land, much of which belongs to the village association.

Puʻu Hinai would be my destination, a prominent landmark that sits 200 feet above the surrounding plains, a feature that I have seen on every commute for 13 years and wondered what was out there. A short walk of about a mile off of Waikoloa Road it was an easy target.

A large part of the puʻu has been carved away by a cinder mining operation. A decade ago trucks carrying cinder were a common sight on Waikoloa Road, no longer, the quarry lies abandoned. The side of the puʻu that faces the road is mostly untouched. The far side? It appears much is gone, I wanted to see just how much.

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