Thursday, March 15, 2018

Why the Groundhog Got it Right in 2018


I have to be honest by saying I seldom pay attention to Punxsutawney Phil and his early February prediction for an early spring or continuing miserable winter. This year, however, I was hoping the industrious little weather critter would announce an impending spring - and the sooner, the better.

Wrong call for me - right call from the groundhog. The six weeks extension was disappointing. We've lost power, had trees felled by the wind, and seen more snow than usual. Here it is March and we still have wind, rain, and snow. 

 






Daffodils and blossoms are in danger of freezing. I took a picture of the cheerful first daffodil in the yard. Several other plants have the promise of additional blooms. The yard work will need a repeat so I can plant my vegetable garden for summer's tasty,organic harvest. Meanwhile, I'm starting the plants indoors. This might be the year to build an inside area for a year-round herb garden!

 








Even San Fernando Valley residents in Los Angeles, CA have a winter snowscape on surrounding mountains.

San Bernardino Mountains - March 2018



My little corner of Nevada shouldn't see this onslaught of white stuff this close to spring, but I've learned to roll with the punches. 




Whatever the last gasp of winter brings, be careful and don't let it catch you by surprise. 


Does your family have any special project for spring?




Saturday, September 16, 2017

Reasons to Celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Week

Falls Prevention Awareness Week starts it's annual week of observation on 9/22/17. Nearly a decade old, it was created out of a desire to spread the word that falls are a leading cause of injury and/or death among senior citizens. The most important message, however, is that most of the causes of falls are preventable! 

Of course, tripping and falls happen to everyone. It's just gets more common as the body ages, vision dims, and reflexes slows down. A variety of ways help prevent spills in the yard, the tub, and the mall (to name a few places).

Visible signs demonstrate a danger of falling that is understood no matter what language a person speaks.

Beautiful view in Germany, from Wikimedia Commons

Fading vision and poor lighting add to the risk of tripping. Research sites such as AARP and your local utility company for suggestions about improving visibility. Find out if your community is having any workshops or fairs to provide guidelines. And if they aren't, find out why not? With luck, we will all reach that Golden Goal and have it be a better way of life with less hazards.

Beware of pets sleeping around the yard when you're focused on another task. The same applies to bikes, skateboards, and garden tools that aren't put away.

Warning signs help identify tripping and falling places. 

Take a walk around the house and yard to discover potential danger and take action to correct it or keep people and pets out.

Happy Falls Prevention Awareness Week!

Does your community observe this event?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Celebrate the August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse




The Apollo 12 crew took this picture of a solar eclipse during their return home.



It’s not every day we have an eclipse. A total solar eclipse August 21, 2017, highlighted part of the day for residents in states like Oregon, Idaho, and South Carolina. Even the partial eclipse was visible to everyone in North America! People in certain parts of Africa, Europe, and South America also were treated to its spectacular view.


Eclipse parties, picnics, and campouts created a variety of excitement. Roadways and highways resembled the chaotic traffic normally associated with professional games, big-name concerts, and the first idyllic beach day of the season. 

1846 lunar eclipse


NASA is always a good site to visit for space information and guidelines. If you or the kids missed the action, visit this page for an update.
 











The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), operated by NASA, was launched in 2010. It records events including picture dialogues during its annual two short eclipse seasons, about three weeks each. Its view of the sun is blocked by Earth at different times during the day. SDO’s orbit, however, reduces most interference.

Some sunlight leaks through Earth’s atmosphere when it blocks the sun, making a fuzzy shadow of the planet’s boundaries. The moon lacks an atmosphere, so its curved shape is clean and clear when its eclipse of the sun is seen from SDO. 
Earth and Lunar eclipses from SDO 



On March 11, 2013, Earth eclipsed the sun approximately 1.5 hours. Shortly afterwards, a partial eclipse was created as the moon moved in front of the sun for just over an hour. Two separate objects blocking the sun’s light in such a close amount of time is an amazing experience! 





Oct 23, 2014 solar eclipse as seen from Minneapolis, MN (attributed to Tomruen).



Here's Saturn eclipsing the sun. The spacecraft Cassini got the shot September15, 2006. The various rings of Saturn are quite intriguing.
  



 
In our part of Nevada, we had a partial eclipse and an amazing reduction of natural sunlight. It was fun to stand in the shade of the tall fruitless mulberry tree and peer through the leaves wearing my “eclipse gazers”. How did you and your family observe this wonder of nature?