Good Morning Ted and Jody:

Yesterday afternoon I got the drone up in the air and back down again. I only went about 4 feet, turned it around and brought it back down. This may sound silly, but my heart was racing through the whole 90-second flight and kept racing for some time after. I did have the barest grasp of how to use the app on my smart phone with the Phantom 4. But did manage to get my warranty registered and thus was able to fly the thing. WI-Fi confirmation of my email and ownership is required for activation of the drone before the controller and the drone can connect. I did not know this, but fortunately, my home WI-Fi reached to the front gravel where I was running my first flight. But now the thing is to keep the batteries charged and practice a bit every day. Then a few hours later, when there was shade, I flew again. This time I was able to use the controls a bit more and the smart phone to see what I was doing and took my first scenic photo—looking south from our front gravel above the trees blocking the view. DJI_0008 email 20180813 approx 1550.jpgThe photo is reduced in size so it will down load this week on your tablet or computer, but otherwise, it is unaltered. Quite remarkably stable and the horizon is level given the platform. In short, so far so good. Who knows, by 2099, I may be able to handle this as confidently as I do a motor vehicle (unless they take my driving permit away for getting old behind the wheel–the actual offense is ‘Driving While Ageing’). I guess my adventures with the Phantom 4 PRO have begun.

The weather change resulted in close to 1/10th of an inch of moisture hitting the ground here Yesterday. It was only 68 degrees F. at 2:00 P.M. It could reach 75 today! This is August in Southwest Washington State? It is more like Autumn today and the clouds in the attached photo tend to support that interpretation. 20170813_1302 12 shot v Panorama ns email.jpgTemperatures should stay in the mid to upper 70s for the next five days with slight chances of precipitation, then temperatures and chances of participation should return to normal—80s and dry.

As you will recall, I am letting strawberry runners root in a hanging basket. I thought I was lucky that all the runners came out the same side of the pot. However, I have found one coming out the other side so I re routed it to come out the same side as the first four or so. I have put two images next to each other showing the first hour of my attempt to root runners in hanging pots and where they stood yesterday (two weeks later) when I start and two weeks.jpgshot the second image. I am going to have to figure out a way to hang more plants on the north side of the back porch for next year. The east side has an I-beam to support the deck roof.

Back in April I purchased several small Fuchsia plants and put them in a hanging pot. The seedlings were about two inches tall when I got them. Today they are a bit bigger. 20170813_144505 email.jpgI don’t know if the Fuchsia plants attract the hummingbirds or the hummingbird feeder does. Either way hummingbirds (or perhaps just one who has claimed this area as her territory) pay regular visits.

Warmest regards, Ed

054 Second Rocket to Reach the Alien Space Craft

Fiction in 761 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

[Cafeteria Spaceport Redemption] Alfred and Mindy Blanchard both deep in thought and oblivious to the hubbub around them sipped their coffee. Finally Mindy broke their silence. “What do we know for sure about the alien space craft?”

Alfred responded after a few seconds’ thought. “We know it is impervious to a number four screwdriver unless that was what ticked it off.”

Mindy held her cup up. “If this coffee gets any stronger, it will be impervious to a number four screwdriver as well. But you may be on to something. James’ craft approached the alien vessel and was not challenged in any way until after he had been thumping on its surface and after he threw a heavy object at it. That object,” Mindy looked thoughtful, “was moving much slower than the rock we saw it vaporize with its shield and much faster than James when he descended to the surface of the ship. So, apparently, if the lasers are a weapons system they are triggered by potential harm to the craft. If that is true we can further deduce that mass and speed are threats to the alien craft. James, himself with a number four screwdriver was not a threat. An oxygen tank moving at several miles an hour at the craft became a craft apparently would not trigger their shield and their lasers took over. But that leads nowhere logically. Would the craft have used its lasers on Agent White and James after it removed the oxygen cylinder, a known threat to the craft, from close proximity to it? If on the other hand, the thumping James did on its skin woke it to the possibility of a visitor and its lasers were its attempt to communicate, it apparently is set up for a vastly different range of decibels than we are and it shouted in an attempt to be heard.”

I think I’ll ask the fellow who seems to be working here if we can get fresh coffee made?” said Alfred. “Obviously this stuff is not helping us think. For, all I see are death rays coming from that craft.”

Mindy looked at her watch and said, “Time to find a monitor and see how the flyby goes. We can ask for fresh coffee later.”

[Communications Room, Spaceport Redemption] Alfred and Mindy Blanchard entered the communications room to find more than enough room. Alfred asked Walter, “Where is everyone? I thought this room would be packed with people wanting to watch the alien craft as the rocket on autopilot flew by it.”

Yes, everyone wants to watch,” replied Walter. “So, we are feeding the signals from both crafts into every monitor on Redemption.

On the right side of the screen, the feed from the rocket approaching the alien craft showed the alien craft. On the left side of the screen, the rocket returning to the planet’s views of the other rocket approaching the alien craft was in far less detail because of the distance. However, the rocket approaching the alien craft was clearly visible. As the distance between the alien craft and the approaching rocket decreased, the alien craft grew larger in the right screen. From the left screen, one could clearly see steering engines kick in and out causing the rocket to pivot. Then when it was at the critical point the main rockets ignited and the rocket appeared to be stationary for a second and then shoot around the alien craft back toward the planet.

I’d like a replay,” said Walter, “but I didn’t see any signs of the hoods much less hoods attempting to focus on the rocket as it used the craft for a sling shot.”

As Alfred and Mindy Blanchard and Walter replayed the right screen looking for evidence of hoods appearing on the kilometer tall structures, Deborah, Agent White, Stephen and Special Agent Fleishman entered the communications room. Deborah said, “I think we need a fleet to go up and see if we can not provoke it but communicate with it. I talked to our folks in laser research and they can fit an vessel with an interesting device to send the alien messages back to the aliens. So we are back in business.

Is there any way to tell what is in side the alien space craft from a distance?” asked Special Agent Fleishman.

I don’t know,” said, Deborah. “Why do you ask?”

If you can fit me with a suit like you did Agent White Here,” said, Special Agent Fleishman, “We could go in and look around.  But we need to know where the hollow spaces are before we try to pivot into it.”

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