Eclipse Photos

Our Favorite 2 Pictures

We were pleased with the performance of our long box pinhole viewer. It looked a bit better in person than in this photo from my cellphone’s camera. This photo was taken near the peak for our location (~90%).

While it never got dark here, things did look just a bit, wrong. The light level was closer to early evening, but the sun was high in the sky and the shadows were short and crisp. It was easiest to see when you went out from inside. It simply wasn’t as bright as it should have been. We tried to capture this in a photo, but our cameras were not cooperating with us. Finally, I tried one last time in the middle of the afternoon, and the camera demanded that I raise the flash.

Look at the 1/8 second exposure it wants to use.

One of the most impressive changes we noticed was that it felt a bit cooler during the eclipse. A fact that was confirmed by the weather station (Davis Vantage VUE) that we have in the backyard. From the measurements it took, there was a temperature drop of about 8 degrees during the eclipse.

The birds didn’t seem worried.

Solar Eclipse Pinhole Viewer

The eclipse is not total here, but it is still worth looking at

The August 21 Solar Eclipse is not going to be total where we live, but it should reach about 90%. As a result, we decided to construct a pinhole viewer to watch the eclipse because even 90% should be fairly impressive.This shoebox was our first attempt. We attached a white notecard on one end of the box and cut an about 1 inch square hole on the other end. We covered this with a small piece of aluminum foil (not seen here), and then we used a pin to make a very small hole in it.We went with this much longer box (about 3 ft) because we were dissatisfied with the small size of the image produced by the shoebox. The longer length helped produce a larger image, one that seemed big enough to be useful. We added a small hole near the bottom (only cutting 3 of the 4 sides so it acts like a door) to view the image produced.We are looking forward to the eclipse on Monday. Since it won’t be total here, it can’t be ruined by a single small cloud at just the wrong time. We hope that everyone trying to view the eclipse has clear skies for their attempt.

Drying Peppers

Compressing Peppers by Drying Them

Green peppers have been one of our most successful and early crops this year. I bought plants from a local store since the ones I grow myself invariably turn out very leggy. This year I decided to concentrate on four plants planted in our raised beds on the south side of a row of tomatoes. Since tomatoes and peppers do not require pollinators, they were in tents of mosquito netting to protect them(mostly) from caterpillars and stink bugs (see Growing Tomatoes in the South). Our first flush of peppers was very nice this year. These were the biggest from three plants shown with a coffee mug for size comparison.

We generally use our peppers in chili and other dishes where they can be reconstituted from a dry state. We washed and diced them, and spread them on screens on four drying racks of our 30 year old Harvest Maid food dryer. It took two runs to get the eight peppers dried. It takes about 8 hours at 135 degrees for each batch.

We store them in jars that we vacuum pack with the jar attachment on the FoodSaver. It takes about 2 tablespoons of the dried pepper to equal an average green pepper. The jars take up much less room and keep without refrigeration.