Peeping at the crimson eclipse

I got to the dunes a little before sunset with clouds on the horizon.  Despite recent frosty mornings on the Bluecircle the Lake Michigan mosquitos were still around, although too sluggish to pose a real nuisance. The colors shifted to an Autumn blend as the blue water turned to copper.  A distant band of clouds threatened to obscure the partial solar eclipse entirely, but just at sundown patience was rewarded with a glimpse of the lunar shadow. IMG_1400


The unnatural light of the moon

A "blood moon" in eclipse

A “blood moon” in eclipse

Last week’s lunar eclipse was blessed by good weather at the lake and inspired some late-night camera work.  The leaves are nearing peak color and the eclipsed moon added a seasonal touch.


An old post on this blog complained about light pollution from the neighboring condominium’s unshielded sodium lights.  The electric company provided an unsympathetic response when challenged on the topic, so this light trespass continues.  Like the full moon, these lights make moving about at night on the Bluecircle easier.  They also contribute interesting effects to night images.

Barn bathed in the full moon and aglow with sodium light

Barn bathed in the full moon and aglow with sodium light filtering through the poplars

At this posting the leaves are raining down in gusts across the lake and the night is starless.  The moonlit grove of black locust below will soon be stripped and ready for the changing season.



Raising a ClearSpan in mushroom season

Recently a variety of mushrooms have taken advantage of the cool, damp mornings and plentiful rain to burst into the autumn sun. We decided to add outdoor storage to the Bluecircle and ordered a 20’x28′ fabric-covered ClearSpan “garage” early last month. From the catalogue its white fabric made it look a little like a giant mushroom, so the timing looked good. We began with a bed of crushed concrete, added a base of treated lumber, watered the whole thing down and waited for the delivery truck.DSC00790

Construction lesson #1: The 3′ x 8′ coffin-shaped box of steel tubes that make the building frame weighed just a little less than the capacity of the Bluecircle tractor’s pallet forks – so far so good. However, the box and its pallet were loaded lengthwise on the truck – only its 3′ dimension could be manipulated from the rear of the truck and there was no room to turn it sideways to pick it up. With the driver anxious to keep his lunch date we gingerly pulled and slid the box onto a short stack of empty pallets behind the truck and he drove away. A practical, but noisy solution.

Construction lesson #2: No matter how many times you look through the 20-page assembly “guide” you are still going to mistake some hardware for something that looks like it, but just doesn’t fit. My reliable friend and neighbor George was my partner on this assembly job and between us and our wrenches we fit and re-fit until the right parts were in the appropriate places.

Rear wall of the garage with  anchor legs in place

Rear wall of the garage with anchor legs in place

Construction lesson #3: Significant storm winds sweep over Paw Paw Lake so we decided to attach hinged steel feet to the base of the building rafters. This results in a very solid build, but the design of the mounting feet raises the entire building more than an inch off the ground. The end rafters of the garage are joined by a steel pipe that spans the entrance, and this “lift” meant a cement threshold had to be added to the design to allow equipment to drive into the building.

Construction lesson #4: Alignment of the large roll-up door was critical to the installation of the front wall covering and challenging to accomplish.  Better instructions might have helped, and a temporary brace at the peak should be used even though not mentioned in the instructions.  Adjustable mounting hardware for the vertical steel tubes that align with the door edges could have saved a lot of time.

So watering the crushed concrete and cool Fall mornings didn’t let this building “mushroom up”. It has already weathered its first thunderstorms and a lunar eclipse. Next up, lake effect snow!