Laboring on Labor Day

The labor day weekend project? Replacing a few more rotten boards in the lanai.

Replacing a few more boards in the lanai
Replacing a few more boards in the lanai

This has been an ongoing project for years, including a few more boards to replace this summer. Over the last few weeks I have replaced half a dozen boards in the lanai.

I write this as I wait for paint to dry. There are three more big gaps in the lanai waiting for new boards. Those boards have been cut to size, drilled, and are almost ready to screw into place. Deb bought me another box of decking screws last time she was in Kona, should have this done shortly.

Unfortunately the original builders scrimped a bit when building the lanai. No paint on the ends of the boards, no paint underneath, and no paint on the joists. Where the lanai is undercover that has not been a problem, where it is exposed to the weather that has resulted in a fair amount of damage.

Unlike the carpenters who did the original work, I am painting each board on all surfaces before installation. I also clean and paint the top edges of the joists underneath while they are exposed. This should slow down the damage due to exposure.

The last challenge is to get the gaps right. Much of the lanai is nicely spaced between the boards. There is a zone where the gaps are all wrong, the boards right against each other. This is also right where the drip line is from the roof and most of the damage is. The result is a lot of careful measurement and ripping the boards to get the gaps looking good again.

I have two or three more boards identified as needing replacement, but not in any great hurry. They can wait for another weekend. Just need to wait for the latest round of paint to dry and I can screw the next three boards into place.

Gallery of Blooms

A Stroll in the Garden

My mother is on island, escaping the cold and grey of Portland for a week. An excuse to visit the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden… Again.

Ginger
A white ginger (Alpinia purpurata) at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
I have visited the gardens several times across our years on the island. The garden is a beautifully maintained array of tropical plants collected from across the globe. Set in the lush jungle of the Hamakua coast above the pretty Onomea Bay the gardens are always a treat to visit.

Onomea Falls
Onomea Falls at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
I admit plants are pretty, but the dizzying array of botanical specimens leaves me just a bit overwhelmed. Yes, it is yet another pretty orchid. I love to study the local plants and animals, but this collection from all over the world lacks much organization, having little focus. No matter, my main interest in visiting is to have fun with a camera and take advantage of the many photographic opportunities of these beautiful gardens.

Of course, being a tropical rain-forest it rained for our visit. I have never actually managed to visit the gardens when it was not raining. Still, the soft light of heavy overcast and the drops of water on leaves and flowers are just another photographic opportunity.

As my mother and Deb wandered around talking plants, I wandered nearby with a tripod and an umbrella borrowed from the entry station. I did come up with a few pretty photos. Not a bad day for a stroll on the garden.

Geomagnetic Activity and Airglow

Taking starscape photos last week I was surprised at the intense red glow appearing in the photographs. All across the southern sky were glowing areas of sky, here and there dark rifts cut through the glow. Set beside the Winter Milky Way it created beautiful photographs.

Airglow or auroral glow?
Airglow or auroral glow? An odd red glow in the photos during a strong geomagnetic storm.
The airglow was intense enough to be visually seen when I stepped away from the camera and let my eyes adapt to the darkness. Away from the Milky Way, in what should be dark sky, a faint red glow pervaded. I wondered what was going on, the normal airglow over Mauna Kea is quite faint and usually very green.

I was even further surprised when I later found out that a strong geomagnetic storm was in progress that night. Kp=6 conditions from back to back CME’s were creating strong aurora over Canada and the upper US.

Was I seeing some sort of auroral glow? In Hawaii? At 20°N latitude? This did not seem likely, but something unusual was occurring!

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