I Spy in the Sky with My Little Eye

It had been a rainy day. The sun was hanging above the western horizon when I noticed a strange phenomenon.  With camera in hand, I opened a window so there would be no distortion.  This is what the camera and my eye saw.

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It looks like there is moisture on the lens, but that’s not the case.  My eyes saw the same scene.  Can anyone explain this for me?

ISS

I recently bought a tablet to replace a dying laptop computer.  The apps that are available for it are amazing.  One is a tracker for the International Space Station (ISS).  The app tracks and displays the ISS position on a world map.  It also shows live video from the HD camera (usually of the clouds and earth below) or the SD camera (usually of the space station).

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By using that app, Sylvia and I have for the last two nights watched the ISS shortly after our sunset as it flew across the sky.  (That is not my pic.)

With 7×50 binoculars, we were able to see the station and especially the large solar panels.  It was great having two consecutive nights with good viewing conditions.

SATURN

Unfortunately, when I aimed those binoculars at Saturn, it didn’t work so well.  Most of that is shaky hands.  (Objects tend to “dance” around the field of view.)  I’m going to get out the heavy duty tripod and the 11×80 binoculars for another try on the next night with good viewing.

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Visited by Transients–They’re Underfoot and Over Head

I was headed down the driveway when I spotted this monster crossing our lawn.  I stopped the car, picked up a weapon (my camera) and went to investigate.  Soon I was eye-to-eye with the beast.

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I’m not going to mess with this one.  Would you?

I retreated.  And got a better look.

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The turtle left, but perhaps blessed us in passing.  A few days later we received two and a half inches of rain and that brown lawn is once again a luscious green.

I saw that turtle in the morning.  Later that afternoon.  I met a painted turtle on the driveway as I was walking back from the mailbox.  Unfortunately, I had no camera with me.

As we are officially in autumn, the birds are beginning to flock together.  Perhaps they are getting ready for their annual southward migration.  As they pass by, my big antenna seems to be a favorite place to get a bit of rest.

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They all came at once.  Soon they were all gone.

I enjoyed their visit.

Open and Shut

I heard someone say recently, “It was an open and shut case.”  That started me thinking about what that means.  I suppose it’s a matter of they open the question, the answer is obvious and so the matter is shut (closed).

Later, I was in the flower garden and saw “open and shut” illustrated.  I smiled when I saw it.  Perhaps you will too.

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The rose is open.  This late blossom is as beautiful as the first ones, which came in the spring.

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This Queen Ann’s lace blossom is shut.  (I zoomed in to capture the spider webs that decorate this clump.)  Inside that “fist” the seeds are ripening, protected by the surrounding plant.

The call to lunch has just gone out.  Time to wrap this up for now.

Autumnal Gold

We’re a couple days past Labor Day.  For most Michiganians, That means summer is over.  Astronomically speaking, we have a couple of weeks left, but the air is cool and it’s time to wear a jacket when you go outside.

I’ve always liked this time of year.  The earth is still warm–though the air is cool and fresh.  Since my last post, I celebrated another birthday.  Later this week, Sylvia and I will celebrate another anniversary.  What’s not to like?

Step out the door, and find Stella’s gold.

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If that’s too “gold” for you, let’s add some orange and red.

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Now bring in the full orchestra (of colors).

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Perhaps this last picture captures the way I feel today.  Blue.  How can that be with all the motives for joy?

Tonight, we’ll meet with Sylvia’s sibling to celebrate 100th anniversary of her father’s birth.  It had been a long tradition to gather to celebrate with him.  So we’ll do it on this milestone–even though he won’t be physically present.  Also.

Last evening, I learned that my good friend, Cliff, (age 55) has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  I can only pray for him, his wife and two grown children.

Do You See What I See?

I hesitate to write about our [from here] 80% solar eclipse.  Others have posted pix that put my efforts to shame.  Nevertheless, here’s what I captured with a tea strainer for a pin-hole camera:

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This image was projected onto our pebble-surfaced kitchen floor.  This technique was going to work, and I had over 20 minutes to max coverage.  I rose to find a sheet of white paper.  The sky grew dark.  A bank of huge dark clouds had rolled in.  The show was cancelled.

Of Bats and Birds

I was coming home from a meeting last week.  The sun had set and the sky overhead was nearly dark.  I came to a spot in the road with lots of trees on both sides.  As I approached, I could see flying bats stuffing themselves with insects.

After arriving home, I stepped out the back door.  As I watched, a pair of bats were sweeping the between our house and barn for insects.  I enjoy watching them fly in their zigzag pattern.

I’ve searched on other evenings since, but have not had the good fortune of seeing them again.

The next day, I sat here in the office at my computer.  My eye caught some movement in Sylvia’s flower garden.  It was a pair of hummingbirds battling for dominance over a yucca plant.  They sure are feisty fellows.

Source of the Title

Where did I get the title for my previous post on this blog http://secondaryrds.com/dew-dew-dewy-day/?  I had hoped that some of my friends might recognize the reference to a popular song.

Okay, the year was 1927 and that was before our time.  Here’s a link to the song:

Perhaps the questions should be, “How do I know this song?”.  The answer to that goes back to 1954 (approx).  I had a strong mechanical curiosity (I wanted to know how things worked).  I also had a paper route, which meant I had a bit of money in my pocket.

On the way home one day I came across a yard sale.  For the amazing price of $2 I went home with a Victrola like this one.

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What a cherrry-wood beauty it was, but that was not all.  Behind the bottom doors was a collection of 78 rpm records.  Yes, Dew, Dew, Dewy Day was one of them.

I have no recollection of what became of the Victrola or the records that came with it.  A couple of years later, I was bringing home old radios and updating them to 1950s technology.  With that came an interest in short wave radio and later Amateur Radio.  Later, thanks to my older son, my interest moved into computers.

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What do we do on a dew, dew, dewy day?

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Yesterday, I saw this pair of sandhill cranes in our hay field.  Later they were finding edibles on the ground as they moved about.  They took their time as they alternated between watchfulness and feeding.

I don’t often see them on our land, although they are frequent visitors on the other side of the road.  My first thought was turkeys, but a second look proved that wrong.

Other visitors

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On Sunday, our granddaughter, Briana, stopped by with her boyfriend, Jared.  They were in Michigan to attend a wedding.  This was our first opportunity to meet Jared and we enjoyed a very nice time together.

Like so many things in life, that pleasant visit was over far too soon.  Fortunately we can visit on the phone and online.

Timing Is So Important

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Just a few moments earlier the pink outline around those clouds was very pronounced.  I walked swiftly to the office, retrieved the camera and stepped out on the front deck.  The contrast was mostly gone and only a bit of it remained.

The next day, neighbor, Bonnie, asked Sylvia, “Did you see that sunset?  It was outstanding!”  Sometimes seconds can make a huge difference.

Yesterday, I watched a documentary on the events of 9/11.  They told of people who ran errands on the way to work or were caught in traffic and didn’t get to work at the World Trade Center on time.  These were the ones who escaped the horror of that day.

Or as Maxwell Smart said, “Missed it by that much.”

It also reminds of the winter I saw the feral cat we called Corporal stalking some juncos feeding on the ground.  She slowly and stealthily sneaked along the path toward the birds.  There was a mound of snow just before she arrived at her target.  Corporal crept into place, twitched her butt a couple of times and then pounced.

As the cat leapt, the birds flew.  Corporal ended up with her face buried in snow and her paws on either side of her head.  The hunt wasn’t even close.

With snow-covered face, kitty gathered up her shredded dignity and strutted away.

Posted in sky

The View From Here

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The neighbor has harvested the wheat from the field behind us and has baled the straw.  From here it look like a lot of straw.

Sunday evening, Sylvia and I were talking on the phone with our son in Omaha.  The sun had just set and it was a pleasant evening.  I took the phone outside and sat on our small deck to watch the fireflies.  A gentle breeze kept the mosquitoes away.

In the gather gloom, I became aware of motion on the low ground.  Turning my head, I saw the twin fawns and their mom.  The children wanted to play.  They would run and chase each other as fast as the wind.

I watched until I could no longer see them through the darkness.  Then I went back inside.  The fireflies kept telegraphing their messages to one another.

The garden is doing very well again this year.  As a wise friend observed, “You either have too much zucchini or you didn’t plant any.”  Our first try at cantaloupe is proving interesting as the single plant is trying to take over its corner of the world.  Sylvia pruned it back.

There is one exception to the flourishing garden.  Three times, Sylvia planted parsnips.  None of those plantings developed into parsnips. :no:

 

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Speaking of Plants, Around Here They Have Grew Some

The veggie garden is doing great.  We’ve been enjoying its bounty since April.

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Outside my office window, lovely blossoms are keeping the pollinators busy.

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In the flower garden, Stella has opened up in a most lovely way.

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Critters

Last evening, I sat on the end deck enjoying the quiet spell that surrounds the end of the day.  I’m not sure if I first saw the doe running or heard the ripping sound of her flight through the wheat field.  Soon a younger one appeared in the hay field that was our lower lawn and she followed.  They ran toward shelter.  Moments later, they sauntered back.  Were they thinking, “Now wasn’t that silly?”  In a couple of minutes, they disappeared behind a stand of pine trees.

I hope you are enjoying the start to this summer.  I am.