Flowers – April 25th

Yesterday I showed that the pink roses were back. In addition to the one that had fully bloomed there was a bud just starting to open.

I don’t know if this one, on the same bosh, will get a chance to display it’s whole rosy goodness. There’s a little rain coming through tonight (which we desperately need) which might mess with it, but more to the point, there’s some strong winds coming through.

That cold front in general and the winds in particular will not only potentially mess with this young rose, but is likely to cause a weather delay in tomorrow’s Atlas V rocket launch out of Vandenberg up the California coast about 150 miles.

I had hoped to go up to see that launch, but given the weather, the way I’m feeling after this weekend (which is a good thing, mind you, but still), the odds of a scrub and delay, my workload this week, my appointments for the rest of the week – it’s a lot, so I’m thinking the smart move might be to skip seeing another launch.


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Flowers – April 24th

The pink roses have joined the party.

I wish I could look at these in the infrared – aren’t there patterns or markings in the IR that bees see that we don’t?

The bees rule the front yard flowers. Nothing out here for the hummingbirds.

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Hummers In Silhouette

Maybe you won’t get much more than pictures and nonsensical rantings for the next few days

Only time will tell.

Definitely feeling a bit off, probably going to last 48 to 72 hours.

Everyone should know what this feels like. Seriously!

Random pictures of birds and flowers will get us through.

Never forget that it was April 23rd, 2020 when we truly started to know how unbelievably screwed we were with COVID-19 sweeping across the country and a psychotic simpleton in the White House.

April 23rd will be a holiday in our lifetimes, reminding us to be on the alert for fascists, white supremacists, puppets of enemy foreign powers, and any “leader” who would encourage hundreds of thousands of us to die rather than ever admit that they were wrong.

Got it?

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Earth Day 2021

Earth Day – let’s hope we’re actually waking up to the danger we’re in regarding human-related climate change.

On my secondary computer’s monitors I often have some sort of video running as background if I’m not using the system at the moment. Today was an Earth Day theme, although not intentionally. But at one point I looked at it and realized that my subconscious had set it up that way.

On the left, a map and three camera angles on the Geldingadalir and Langhoil volcanoes erupting for the several weeks in Iceland. Showing the raw power that the Earth can display.

On the right, the Cornell Lab FeederWatch Cam at Sapsucker Woods shows us the animal kingdom (grackle in the tray, a downy woodpecker just leaving the suet feeder in the center, and a couple of redwing blackbirds hanging off the feeder on the right) and the beauty of the lakes and woods coming to life after a long winter.

As much as I dream of leaving the Earth, and as much as I hope to see the day when people live on the moon, Mars, an asteroid, or a large space habitat, I also understand that for the moment, the Earth is the only game in town. It’s a spectacular place. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Share it.


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The Dark & The Light

If you’ve seen my pictures of comets and conjunctions and ISS passes and so on you’ll remember that there’s a really bright, annoying, pain in the ass street light right at the south corner of our front yard.

Suddenly, about a week ago, it went out.

That’s it in the lower left, silhouetted in the dim moonlight and light pollution. No idea why, no clue when they’ll be by to fix it.

So, NOW!! Quick!! Before they fix it! Get out the telescope and cameras! (Although the view of Woodland Hills is nice…)

Except that, OF COURSE, every night since it went out has been cloudy and dark and it’s a big deal to kinda, sorta, maybe see the moon poking through the holes.

Who says that the gods don’t have a sense of humor?

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space, Weather

Flowers – April 20th

Lavender Trumpet Vine

These vines are climbing the support posts on the outside patio and it’s time for them to be blooming. At least some of them are.

A big section was torn down by the idiot squirrels  as they climbed the vines and support posts in quest of the bird feeders. The squirrels are NOT my friends.

The hummingbirds on the other hand love these. The feeder is right near them but sometimes gets defended by a particularly aggressive male, so these are excellent alternative feeding sites.

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Aircraft On Mars

I’m assuming that everyone has heard that Ingenuity flew on Mars today, the first controlled, powered flight on another planet. But just in case – here’s the flight, as seen from the Perseverance  rover, parked a hundred yards or so away:

The Martian atmosphere is only 0.06% as thick as Earth’s, which is why most experts had always figured this wasn’t possible. But if you make your vehicle light enough and you spin counterrotating blades fast enough…

Powered up, lifted off, climbed to 3 meters (10 feet), hovered, did a 90° turn to the right, hovered some more, got buffeted about a few feet by the wind, corrected and came back, descended, landed, powered down. Perfectly textbook!

Looking straight down underneath Ingenuity, the navigation cam saw the helicopter’s shadow just a split second before touchdown. You can see the tips of the legs in the upper corners.

As always, it is truly a joy watching the team celebrating after they spent years of their lives planning these missions, building these spacecraft, and now seeing the results of their success.

Congratulations to the team at JPL, NASA, and the anthropomorphic spacecraft 153,000,000 miles from Earth and making history!



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The Juncos Have Left The Building!

I knew from researching them that they are migratory, and they most certainly showed up out of nowhere back in October.

The cute little fuzzbuckets had become a real favorite of mine over the winter and I realized this weekend that I hadn’t seen one in a few days. We’re still hip deep in finches (half of them almost as red as cardinals as they try to impress the ladies), the mockingbirds have become more numerous, and the wrens that I like so much have started being so noisy right outside the bedroom that they’re waking me up as they celebrate the freakin’ DAWN at about 05:00 every freakin’ morning. But no Juncos.

“Our” flock should be well fed and fat for their commute to Canada. They didn’t miss any meals in our back yard. So that’s a good thing.

I just hope that they’ll remember where we are come October again.

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Rabbits A-Go-Go

I mentioned a few days back that we have a growing collection of rabbits that hang out on our lawn at sunset and sunrise. Coyotes don’t want to climb the hill – that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Tonight about twenty minutes after sunset (so the pictures are a bit grainy and dark) I went out to check on the sky. (Cloudy? A bit. The moon? Visible, about four days past new.)

As I opened the door, two rabbits that were right outside the door bolted for the neighbors’ bushes across the street.

These three froze, as did I. (For those of you keeping score at home, that’s five so far.)

This guy was down by the mailbox. (That’s six.)

There may have been more down around the corner on the side yard – I didn’t check because they ALL would have bolted out into traffic.

Biggest takeaway? Yep, that’s right – don’t walk barefoot on the front lawn!

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No Context For You – April 16th

No, I wasn’t even 10% as happy as I looked, and I didn’t look happy.

It’s been a tough week – let’s hope for a better weekend.

Oh, I’ve got WHAT on my schedule for this weekend?


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