Friday, September 30, 2011

Another iPhone app

I mentioned an iPhone GPS app in my previous post. In that vein, I have another app to share: Star Walk.

This app is like something from a science fiction movie. Just hold it up to the sky, and the iPhone knows exactly where it is and gives an annotated view of the stars above. That's how I was able to see that my star trail photo was focused on Arcturus.

If you have an iPhone (or iPad), I highly recommend downloading this program.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Surveying the path

My sister recommended an iPhone app to track my walks with Ollie. It works amazingly well in my neighborhood.

It never occurred to me to use it on Aspö, however, until Tony mentioned it at dinner one night. The next morning, I turned on data roaming, and Sooz and I walked the whole path.

The app worked just as perfectly out in the archipelago, and it produced the map above. The starting point is our house, which is close to the junction of the main path. The walk from home to the Waxholms dock at the south end of the island is exactly a half-mile, making it an even mile round-trip to drop off trash or pick up mail.

The circumnavigatory path is 1.75 miles around, making the total length of the pathways two and a quarter miles. The elevation information was also interesting:

The first mile shows the big drop down to the dock from our house, with the corresponding steep rise on the return (which I braved many times with our wheelbarrow crammed full of goods).

Back at our house, there's a gentle rise until we drop back down to the shore at the northeast. Then it's a pretty long uphill, past Janne's house towards the center of the island, and a downhill stretch past Tony's house, back to our home. The little app calculated the tallest part of the path is 78 feet above sea level. Pretty darn cool for an iPhone!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Star Trails 2

I've been playing around in Photoshop with all the star photos I took.

Here's the best so far, it's a composite of 304 photos taken at 30-second intervals, starting at 10PM on September 9.

My favorite part is the little shooting star I captured, just left of center.

I'm pretty sure the brightest star in this image is Arcturus.

Unfortunately, it may be a year until I can do another such set on Aspö, as it won't be dark enough in the summer to take photos like these.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back in Texas

It's been a whirlwind week but we're safely back in the US of A and our little stuga seems far behind. We arrived into 106° heat but mercifully that broke the next day and it is about 20 degrees cooler now.

There are a few things going on over the coming months, including, but not limited to:
  • Painting
  • Electricity to the shed and new lights
  • New stairs for the little house
  • Perhaps buying a boat, halfsies with Rutger
  • Training for the Stockholm Marathon!
We also have a few home projects here in Texas, too, which I'll blog about if they have any relevance to living in Sweden.

Our next firm plan to return is in late May, which I have a hard time getting my head around. We'll see if I can hold out that long!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sorry for being offline

Sooz and I have been too busy doing things, or too busy not doing things! I have managed to put up a selection of photos, at least.

We're closing up today, going back to Stockholm on a 5:30 boat this evening.

Lots to write about over the coming days, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A really lazy day

Tuesday started out with the excitement of a moose sighting. We saw the young one about 25 feet uphill from our deck. I managed a decent photo for the web gallery.

It was mostly sunny, so we just putzed around and enjoyed the nice weather. I managed to extract the hornet's nest with no difficulty, and I installed a few LED 'party lights' above the couch, just for fun.

We saw lots of apples and plums on our walk in the evening, and Sooz is going to try a bit of cooking with the local ingredients. I also tried to take a star trail photo last night, but my first attempt is a bit underwhelming. Friday night is forecasted to be clear so I will have another crack at it then.

Today is rainy, so we're going to paint in the little house, and Tony and Ann-Catrin are joining us for dinner tonight.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Greetings from Aspö

Our morning trip out was fine, albeit early. Marcia lent us her car, so we cruised through the rush-hour traffic to Stavsnäs just in time. The house is in great shape, although I got a heck of a fright when I opened our water cabinet and was eye-to-eye with a giant hornet's nest!

We're getting pretty used to recommissioning the household. It was nice and sunny most of the afternoon, so Sooz worked her sudoku and I got out my trusty circular saw to build a little cabinet in the little house.

We took an evening walk, and checked on Janne, who has a bit of the flu, so we didn't stay long so he could recover for dinners with us later in the week!

Photos are up on the latest webgallery.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Greetings from Stockholm

We're here after a typically whirlwind weekend. I met up with Sooz as planned on Saturday morning and Rutger picked us up as usual. We went straight into the yearly neighborhood party, and both of us were up past 1AM! We had a great time, but frankly, the next morning, it became apparent that I had been overserved.

Nevertheless, we managed to summon the strength to shop for supplies, and prepare for an early departure Monday.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On our way!

I leave tonight for a day of work in London, and Sooz joins me the next day. We'll fly to Stockholm together Saturday morning, spending the weekend at the Wilhelmis, and then on to Aspö Monday morning.

Besides visiting our good friends, and staying on our little island, an extra bonus will be to escape the terrible heat we've been blighted with here in Texas. As of this writing, we have had sixty-six days of temperatures over 100°F (38°C). In those 66 days, we've had a streak of forty consecutive days over 100 degrees. And of course not a drop of rain.

Even our pool brings no relief. The water temperature is 96°F (35°C). It's like taking a bath! We thought  Ollie could cool off in the pool, but the only thing that works for him are pre-dawn walks, and laying prone on the tiled kitchen floor by an air-conditioning vent. Welsh farmers never bred their Corgis for heat like this.

The forecast for our arrival in Stockholm is 16°C/ 61°F with a chance of rain. After the summer we've had, I'm so looking forward to that.