Garden & Sky

Archive for the month “January, 2016”

Morning Sky Awesomeness

I’m not really a morning person (and some of us around here definitely aren’t!), but this month’s early morning sky is making it a bit easier to get out of bed before sunrise. January 2016 begins with the Moon and Venus and Saturn forming a nice cozy group in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise on Wednesday the 6th–don’t miss it!


View looking east at 6:45 AM CST using Stellarium software

Here’s the view as you look towards the rising Sun. Although you can’t tell from the image, the Moon is in its waning crescent phase and will look a bit like a capital letter C.  To the lower right of Venus and Saturn, you may see the bright red-giant star Antares.

In the coming weeks, there will be more good things to see in the morning sky… but this will get you started. Don’t hit that snooze button–grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year!

I was hoping for a little snow around here, but Nature had other plans. The moisture and the cold air were not in sync; one choosing to come early and the other to blow in late. So we had a lot of rain–perfect for reading, snacking, and snuggling with cats–followed by a blast of clear cold air–perfect for walking, sky watching, and snuggling with cats. Being on fairly high ground, we didn’t suffer as much as some from flooding. A few towels in the basement stopped the little bit of seepage that we experienced. Others to our north and south and along the rivers were not as fortunate. Many communities were evacuated as the water rose quickly around their homes. Drivers attempting to cross flooded roads were swept downstream, and livestock drowned, having nowhere to go and farmers unable to help them in time. The swift and powerful force of water is hard to gauge, especially at night.

For me, the rain brought time for guilt-free reading. I have three new books: The Martian, Yorkshire Shepherdess, and Stillmeadow Calendar.  All sounded so good in very different ways, so I just began all three. Different books for different moods. Plus, I’m determined to read more books for fun this year. I’ve taken the plunge and set my Goodreads 2016 goal for 36 books. That probably doesn’t sound like much to most book lovers, but I will be very happy if I make it. Besides, I have friends to encourage me:IMG_2119I mean, really… what more do you need?

At last, the skies cleared, and there was no [good] excuse for not getting outside and taking a refreshing walk. We’re lucky to live near several sets of old train/trolley tracks that have been converted into walking/biking paths. These provide a more peaceful and relaxing alternative to navigating streets and sidewalks. And, the views are beautiful. DSCN0785

DSCN0782Here’s Joe all bundled up and looking very professional with his hiking poles. I have yet to master these.

As I mentioned, the cold air brought with it clear skies–in this case, the crystal clarity of a piercing blue sky. Usually, I find myself looking and waiting for interesting clouds and colorful sunsets before I get the camera ready. This time, the stark bareness of the trees against the rich blue sky was almost hypnotic.


Look at the patterns in the craggy tree branches, especially that central oak. Amazing!

And so, as I think about the new year, I am excited about what it will bring. If nothing else, it brings opportunity… opportunity to see new places, begin new projects, and “finish up” old ones. Joe says that my projects are never really finished. Perhaps he’s right, but I look at that as a good thing. The creative part of me always sees new ways to modify things and new projects to try. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time, and you never know what you’ll discover. So, welcome, 2016, where will you lead us?DSCN0781

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