Work Day Report at the APO

The TAA is renovating our 46 year old observatory. We would like have our first public star party at the observatory on April 13th.  The observatory has not been used for ten years. The original purpose of the observatory and the TAA was to provide astronomy education for children and adults in our community. We need your financial support to save our observatory. Sign up for a full membership in the TAA. Your dues, $3.33 per month, $40.00 per year, pays for our insurance, property tax, electric bill, post office box, Astronomical League dues, web fees, and normal building maintenance. The more dues paying members we have, the more we will be able to do to restore the observatory. To all those that have already paid their dues, THANK YOU!

Saturday, February 23, 2013, we had our second work day at the Arthur Pursell Observatory (APO). I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate the dedication and hard work of these TAA members.

The first goal for the day, was to sand and scrape the floor.  The old carpet had been glued to the floor.  This job turned out to be “mind numbing”  as Kimber put it. It was very slow even with the machine. Very hard and dirty work. One thing we did not plan on was the noise level generated by the sanding disk rubbing on the concrete. It had to be about 120 db. Fortunately Dean had earplugs for us to use.

Butch & DonButch & Don start the sanding process Kimber & sanderKimber learns how to use the floor sander
Dean Kimber & SanderDean shows Kimber the proper way to use the sander.

Our second project for the day was to put an old water spigot under ground in a box to prevent people from tripping on it. It has been an accident waiting to happen for years. The  galvanized pipe was very rusty and we were afraid that it might break when we tried to unscrew it. With luck on our side (and skill), we were able to unscrew the 46 year old pipe without breaking it. We replaced it with a new pipe and spigot and set it in the ground in a box. It looks very neat and clean.

Dean & PipeDean digs a bigger hole so that we can use a bigger wrench to remove the old pipe.

Before we started the third project we had lunch. It was great!  Jeanne made “home made soup” and grilled sandwiches. We had a great time eating and visiting with each other. This was the highlight of the day. Thanks Jeanne!

Our third project. Ten years ago the neighbor’s cow pushed down a section of metal siding that is used to block light from the nearby highway and neighbors homes. It has been laying on the ground just as it fell all these years. Dean and I put it back up and it looks great. I would like to have seen the reaction of the cow when she broke it. That metal siding makes a lot of noise when it falls.

Broken Light ScreenThis is what it looked like in December Light screen fixedThis is what it looked like after the work day.

Project four. To help keep the weeds down this winter we let Dean put his horses on the observatory grounds. The horses did a great job, but they left a lot of #$%! (fertilizer) on the ground. Butch and Kimber picked up most it and piled it up for removal. We then started work on smoothing out and leveling the ground in the observing area. The Observing area is 157 feet long and 72 feet wide.

Butch & Horse s Kimber & Horse s
Dean & Butch tractorButch using his upper body strength to hold the tractor blade down. Jeanne & DogsJeanne watching Poco and Ranger. Ranger is pointing to a lizard on the observatory wall.

Project one, the floor sanding completed. Kimber and Don worked all Day on it. It still needs some work to clean it up completely.

Floor Finished

We finished working about 4:30. Everyone was very tired! I hope you can see by these pictures that we worked hard and played hard.

Day is doneWork Day is done.

Moon over obsertvatoryMoon rising over the observatory.

Good work gang. Thanks for all you did. The place is starting to come together.

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Greg Eckes


I am a retired music teacher. I make custom violins and violas. I play violin in the Tulare County Symphony and fiddle in the Tule River Bluegrass Band. I like camping and astronomy.

5 thoughts on “Work Day Report at the APO

  1. Apolonio February 24, 2013 at 11:50 pm


    I just signed up as a member on the forum this week, looking forward to attending future star parties and get togethers with the members. Always had an interest in astronomy now I’m finally going to pursue this wonderful hobby.

    Plus, I need to pay my dues. Going to try and attend the next meeting. Looking forward to the evening.


    • Greg Eckes
      Greg Eckes February 25, 2013 at 12:14 am

      I look forward meeting you.
      You can mail your dues to:
      Tulare Astronomical Association
      PO Box 7753
      Visalia, CA 93202-7753

    • Apolonio February 27, 2013 at 7:16 am

      Thanks Greg for the posting mailing address, I’ll forward my dues this week.

      Going to try and attend this Fridays or Saturdays night get-together, looking very forward to getting started.

      Thanks again,

  2. Apolonio February 27, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Thanks Greg for the posting mailing address, I’ll forward my dues this week.

    Going to try and attend this Fridays or Saturdays night get-together, looking very forward to getting started.

    Thanks again,

    • Apolonio February 27, 2013 at 7:22 am

      Rechecked my work schedule and Calendar, Looks like I will be able to attend both the 3/15 Pena Planetarium and the 3/30 Arthur Pursell Observatory events.

      Thanks again,

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