23 May 2023

Rose Rock of Oklahoma

 I feel very lucky that I was born and raised in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Mile for mile it is one of the most diverse areas for its size in the world. South-East Oklahoma you have humidity, rain, mountains, rivers, and lakes. Walk along a river's edge or a creek and you can find bamboo growing, we call it cane and it makes some great fishing poles. In the heat of the day you can jump in the river and swim with alligator gar and American alligators. Go up to the Northwest part, the panhandle, a.k.a. no-mans land, is flatter than a calm lake. It gets hot and cold, lot of ice storms and out west you can climb the mesas. Hike u Black Mesa, the state's highest point and you will be gifted with the site of 5 states, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. Oklahoma is home to the Great Salt Planes and Little Saraha State Park. To best describe Oklahoma listen to this song by Oklahoma native Vince Gill, which he wrote for Oklahoma's Centennial celebration in 2007. 

One of the most unique things about Oklahoma is the  Rose Rock 

The Rose Rock is a naturally forming rock shape that is found only in Oklahoma and the mighty Sarah Desert of Africa. As you can see by the picture above it is a very unique shape for a rock. The current theory is that they were formed over 200 million years ago when a shallow sea existed over what is now Oklahoma. To me the formation of rose rocks is simple. God wanted to make a rock that looked like a rose and so there was. The rose rock is the official rock of Oklahoma. Isn't that cool!

My mom loved all things rose. She even liked Texas because of the Yellow Rose of Texas. Well no one is perfect and I forgave her for that deviance. When she had her farm in Choctaw, OK she had a really nice rose garden. That is where the majority of the garden stuff in the Rose Rock Observatory came from.  Unfortunately, I do not have any of her roses, but I have two aunts that do and they are working on getting me some cuttings. 

To go with her rose garden she also collected rose rocks. When she passed I inherited her collection of rose rocks. It is from her collection that the Rose Rock Observatory was built around. 

It still hurts me badly that I can't pick up the phone and talk to my mom. I miss her a lot. I am very lucky that when I am missing her, I can go out to her rose rocks, her other plants, and her statuary and it makes me feel better. Yeah, she is still watching over me.  

I miss you mom

For Mom- 1952-2021

Email Me Aaron@K5ATG.com

22 May 2023

Painted Rock

 There isn't much of a nightlife on Ascension Island, there isn't much of a social life on Ascension Island. People live there but that is about it. However, they do have a pretty cool tradition with a rock that has been named Lizard Rock.

The tradition goes that if you are to go out on the night before you leave and throw some paint on Lizard Rock, then you will never ever return to Ascension Island. It sounds kind of odd that the biggest tradition for the island is a ritual that once performed will make sure that you never return. Guess they are not big on repeat business. So that is where I blatantly stole the idea. 

I decided to change it up a bit. The last few years have been devastating to this planet. COVID has taken so many of the loved ones that all of us Earthicans are wailing out in sorrow. In the past few years, I have lost:

My mother

an Aunt who was like a mother

2 uncles who were like fathers

A nice

Our time on this rock is limited. So here is how I changed up the tradition of the Lizard Rock and the goal is to make it more loving. When a person's birthday comes up they can pick any color of paint that they wish and paint the rock with it. By doing so you are saying "Hey I'm gonna paint this little rock for my birthday but by putting my layer of paint on it, I'm saying that I will do everything that I can to come and put another layer on it next year" People will come and go but the layers of paint that they put on this rock will last far beyond the years of a lifetime. 

So let me introduce the famous Painted Rock of the Rose Rock Observatory!

I sprayed a little bit of blue spray paint on it because I did all of the work and I wanted to start the tradition. So if your birthday is coming up feel free to stop by and add your paint to the rock. This is not limited to just birthdays, any special event will work. 

Any comments are welcome and as always feel free to email me at Aaron@K5ATG.com


Aaron K5ATG

21 May 2023

Product Review- Microphone Flag

I found a good little deal and decided to splurge and get a little bit of bling for my ham shack. If you live in the modern world, and you should or you wouldn't be reading this blog on the internet, then you have seen these little microphone flags. These are usually little plastic boxes, they do come in different shapes, and display a logo, typically a TV network and such. This is something that I looked into but the usual price is $100 and up, I learned to live with the possibility of never getting one with my callsign on it.    

Then one day I was cruising around aliexpress and came across this amazing seller, Blue Mantis 01 Store They offered a custom microphone flag for less than $15. You send them an image when you make your purchase and a day or two later you get an email showing your new microphone flag. They do this for you to confirm how it turned out and if you like it or not. 

I was not expecting this kind of customer service for a product that had such a low cost. Let me tell you that after getting this microphone flag in my own hands, it may have a low price, but it is not cheap. The K5ATG logo that is on the microphone flag is one that I made up myself., the finished logo is a full-color sticker that was professionally printed. The colors on the logo matched the colors displayed in Microsoft Paint where I made the logo.  The plastic that makes the main body is a hefty 2 mm thick. 

As you can see in the photo above, the interior foam that protects the microphone from coming into contact with the body of the flag is a pretty dense foam but it is not dense enough to put unwanted pressure on the microphone. 

I'm really impressed with the quality of this microphone flag. I will be giving Blue Mantis 01 Store my future business. 

Once again feel free to leave any comments that you have in the comments section below or you my email me at Aaron@K5ATG.com

Lose the hate, Love all
Aaron K5ATG

05 May 2023

Rose Rock Observatory

In case you are just now getting to know my greatness 🤣 I truly enjoy the subject of astronomy. In 2007 I got my dream telescope, a 12" Dobsonian telescope. I used this scope so much that my wife named it "The Other Woman" because if I wasn't spending the night with my wife, then I must be with The Other Woman. Every weekend that didn't have a full Moon, you could find me half-frozen in a cow pasture somewhere in Western or Northern Oklahoma exploring the universe. The size of my Silverado was picked so that it would have enough room in the bed to haul around The Other Woman. 

Fast forward to today and I still have the Other Woman and I still have the Silverado. However because of my back,  can no longer drive, and I can't haul the Other Woman to enjoy celestial adventures under a star-filled night. Instead, she has to experience the challenge of seeking the stars in a light-polluted suburban sky that is just seven miles distant from the skyscrapers of downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

Like most amateur astronomers, I have dreams of having my own backyard observatory. Actually, the ultimate dream is to build a 10'X10' roll-off roof observatory that has a 10'X10' warm room. The warm room will be pretty much a man cave for me and my son Dakota. There are a few things preventing me from this. One of course is money and two is I have three of the most evil pecan trees in the known universe. My backyard is 60'X90' and the pecan trees shade about 80% of it. So that leaves me with a patch of sky that is about 30 degrees wide east to west and 90 degrees north to south. So as the saying goes, when life gives you a lemon, you bean somebody in the head with it, or something like that. 

Then in 2021, my mother passed away. It was somewhat expected but it hurt me a lot. Now all of my parents are got, my mother, my father, two step-dads, and my mom's long-term boyfriend who saw me as his own when he didn't have to. My mom really loved her flower and rose gardens. When she passed I was blessed with some of her flowers and roses along with some of her garden statuary. Hidden among some of the overgrown flowerpots was her collection of Rose Rocks. 

After I and my bride Desi bought our house in 2003 (It is hard to believe that we have been here for 20 years and we have just 10 more years left on the mortgage! )  I got myself into gardening and landscaping. Oh yeah, I had this really awesome backyard. I had a 10X20 foot goldfish pond which had underwater lighting and featured a four-tiered waterfall. Behind each tier of the waterfall were a light and an echo chamber that slightly magnified the waterfall's sound. It wasn't annoyingly loud like a politician during campaign season, but you could hear it softly in the background all over the backyard. Many wonderful hours were enjoyed sitting there reading and napping to the sound of the waterfall. Soaking in the sight of the flowers of the lily pads. During the thousands of tadpoles enjoyed swimming with the goldfish. 

Then my back grew into some really bad shape. I could no longer do the maintenance on my pond my days of building and maintaining my flowerbeds were over. Since I no longer could do those things that I love, I took up growing bonsai trees to satisfy my desire for gardening. By 2022 my once beautiful pond ad filled up with leaves from those vile pecan trees and the goldfish and tadpoles had disappeared. It became both an eyesore and a health hazard. I was limping around the backyard looking at my bonsai trees and my mom's flowers. I was missing my mom pretty bad. I still do to this day and I will until I become a silent key (In the world of amateur radio when a radio operator passes away, they become a silent key.) I wandered over to the rotting carcass that was once a magnificent pond wishing that I could restore it to its former glory. Sadly the 15'X30' pond liner was full of holes. Its days of retaining water had long since passed. Then somehow an idea formed in the vast empty expanse of real estate that has its address of being between my ear drums. The pond liner could no longer work as a pond liner for it was full of holes. However, it could have a second life as a really big weed blocker. 

It took me about three months to clean out the debris that had filled up the pond over the years. Before I hurt my back I could have done it in a few hours. Now I could get one shovel full of junk then have to go lay down for a couple of hours to recover. It was a really painful process. 
Eventually, I got the liner out and cleaned it up as best as I could. 

Here is the idea. I would make a garden that measured 15 feet wide and 30 feet long. That size was determined because it is the size of the pond liner. It would be divided in half into 2 parts each 15'X15'. The western half is to be the garden area. This will display my bonsai trees and my mom's flowers and such. The eastern half would become an open-air observatory.  Throughout 2022 I worked on it as best as I could. 

In the photo above you can see the garden/ observatory at its full length. The near end is where the majority of flowers and bonsai will be displayed. The "mulch" that is covering the pond liner is nothing more than shredded leaves.  I would like to get proper mulch but finances will not allow it. The city of Midwest City will give me a tree truckload of much for free. It is the mulch that the city gets when they shred the limbs and trees that they acquire from damaged trees and such when a storm rolls through. The city doing this actually saves hundreds of tons of tree limbs and such from going into the landfill every year. I do wonder why the city ends up with tons and tons of free mulch yet they turn around and spend tax dollars to buy mulch for their own landscaping. Ok, I'm not going to get started on the city. Let's move on, shall we? 

This is a little garden bench that we made. The red landscape blocks are from my mom's rose garden that she had at her farm out in Choctaw, Oklahoma. The big red rock was from my sister Tammy's house when she lived in Del City, OK. My son Dakota and his friend Jace put it all together for me. Thanks, everyone for the materials and muscle power for this garden bench. I would like to get the top of the bench flattened to make it more comfortable but I don't know how to do that. 

Of course, you have to display the most beautifully designed flag in history. The flag pole is something that I got off the internet and it turns to allow the flag to rotate for the wind. You can just see one at the lower left corner of the picture, but I have two solar-powered garden walkway lights aimed up at the flag so that it is lit up at night as proper flag etiquette demands.  

Here is the little bench that displays some of my bonsai trees. The garden statues are from my mom, so I am really proud to have them. 

This is the far eastern end of the observatory garden. At this end, I will put some sort of pad so I will have something solid to put my telescope on. 

Not pictured yet are the rose rocks. My mom collected rose rocks and I was lucky enough to get her collection. I'm working on a way to display them in the garden. Another item is the Painted Rock. It is just a simple rock that is in its own little bed. The idea is that when someone has a birthday, then they can get some paint of any color that they want and dump it on the rock. Over time the layers of people will build up. 

Well, that is all for now, feel free to leave any comments in the comments section below. You may reach me at Aaron@K5ATG.com 

Lose hate, Love all
Aaron K5ATG

03 July 2024 Ride

  Went on a really short ride this morning. I intended on riding farther but my back started feeling wonky so I decided to come home while I...