A day turns into months…

This is a photo I intended to post in February. Yikes, time flies no matter what one does. One of my greatest joys and sense of accomplishment this last winter was the moment I finally felt ready to ski again after tearing my ACL last season. I chose not to have surgery. I took home exercises from the Ortho Center and started bit by bit to build my knee back into shape. New boots helped my confidence immensely. What a good day this was and the snow couldn’t have been any better than at Look Out Pass. The photo gets bigger I just didn’t think I needed to have a poster sized photo of myself staring at you. 🙂 But if you want to enlarge it to check out my new boots…

back-on-the-slopes

In the meanwhile spring has arrived in our big valley. Well, it shows its head then disappears for a few cold days. We had record freezing this week. Over the winter Matthew has learned to build and fly a Slow Stick RC plane. Here is a photo he took last night from the top of Ravalli Hill just five miles out of town. The Missions look chilly but the meadowlarks were singing. The Servo actually took the photo and the plane provided the view. Cool, huh? And that, folks is one thing you can do with Science!

Missions from the RC plane

Rocky Treasures

Matt on Cliff

It is hard to believe that anything could grow here. Sandstone for breakfast, lunch and dinner… it is everywhere. And where there is an absence of rock, is the finest
sand you could ever see. Golden, red, and burnt orange stone and sand. Not much for Flora to eat. But there were surprises along the way.

Cacti gardens were delicately placed here and there.

Cacti-Garden

Green, growing things still climb their way up the rock faces despite the sun and desert climate.

What inspiring towers wind, sand and water have made. Next up a few wild flowers we found along the way.

Zion-001

Small things matter

Muscles

This is a lesson for me in building community. How many live critters are crammed together here in this colony? Mussels muscling in on any available space but watch out for the little ones!  They all seem to get along.

Finch-eating

Take time to give thanks for a quiet moment. This is a rare opportunity for a Finch – having the bird feeder all to oneself.

Bird seed! My favorite! Hey thanks…

sand-flower

And I’d say this little, coastal flower I found nestled in the sea grass pretty much says it all.  It is perfect just the way it is. Fragaria chiloensis or sand strawberry.

Blue Horizons

pacific-mother

This post is for our son, Ian, who is graduating today from Carroll College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and a minor in Physics with a focus on Engineering. May you always have open waters and blue horizons in your future, son! We are so proud of you. Well done ~~~~  E=MCsquared!

Winter Solstice 2010

sun-gold-leaf

My brother, Barry, did this art piece last summer. It is a huge rock with gold leaf inlay. We were walking around his shop on Saturday and found the stone outside in the snow.   For some reason I thought this piece was in Missoula, so it was a surprise to see it so remarkably adorned outside. We considered this a most appropriate photo for this winter solstice. Tonight is a total lunar eclipse as well – the likes which will not be seen again until 2485.  Please follow the link and read more about this amazing longest night of the year. I hope Barry sees his stone from New Jersey! He and his wife are on the east coast visiting family for Christmas. Happy Solstice bro’ and Janet!  And, a very happy Solstice to all of you friends out there! (Face/palm: Ok, the eclipse was last night!)

Moon mission updates

I guess the President has decided against NASA’s big 100 billion dollar project of sending man back to revisit the moon.  I must say I’m relieved to know we’re going to leave La Luna alone, at least for the time being.  Instead, Obama wants to put that money towards new rocket technology research.  He envisions giving the space industry a little lift-off where they need it – in the development of cheaper, faster, better (pick any two) space ships.  Probably that might be a wiser use of our money than tromping around in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong, but who knows.  The shift in direction is short on details and seems to be geared more towards encouraging private industry to develop something NASA could use later.  At least there do not seem to be any plans to go digging on the Moon in the near future – water or no water.  (See my post below in related topics where I wrote about the discovery of water on the Moon or visit here.)

Dumb, dumber

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments – there are consequences.

    — R. G. Ingersoll

Walking around in the Olympic National Park atop Hurricane Ridge at the end of December in your tennis shoes and light jacket looking for wild flowers is not “ignorance”.  Holy Cow!

From the Kitsap Sun:  “The temperature is about 25 degrees and the wind is blowing about 10 miles an hour, and they’re dressed like this, standing in 4 feet of snow. They tell us they’re going to climb to the top of the ridge, and you can’t even SEE the top of the ridge.”

Thoughts from indoors

The last few days have been bitterly cold which feels unusual for this early in December.  The winter cold front is hitting our region with gusto; the wind-chill Sunday evening was about minus 15 but we haven’t had a lot of snow. It’s a dry freeze. The first cold snap of the season always seems like such a sudden shift in weather even though we know in our heads winter is coming, or hello — I’m here!  Whack ~~

Chores left undone, such as putting the bikes in the basement to clear out the garage for our Honda, always happens fast at the last minute – the night before the storm when the weather page indisputably warns us about incoming snow followed by frigid Arctic air.  So the garage is all cleaned out and one window at the back door now is weatherized.  We bought the very last weather kit at the hardware store.  I have read that given our climate’s shift due to the melting ice caps at the Poles, the subsequent slowing of warm ocean currents will bring much colder winter weather to the Northwest but lasting for shorter periods.  That is, winters will hit hard earlier but not last as long.  That’s the long term outlook anyhow.

finches

It hardly seems fair to be sitting inside where it is warm, with my cup of hot Oolong, while the birds outside are trying to keep going in the minus 9 degrees this morning. However, to calm my concern I gathered all my warmest clothes early and struggled outside to fill the feeders and put out a little unfrozen water. The problem is: they don’t find the water until it freezes over again. But, I’ll keep switching the water out in hopes they catch on to my routine.  I assure you, I skipped back indoors pretty quickly to my waiting cup of tea and a poem-in-the-works on the table. Brrr.
fave teacup

So I sat down to warm up and looked out the window with my cup in hand and here is how the mountain appeared as the sun was rising this morning with a south eastern shadow.  Hoo-doggies.  I can’t tell you how much I love that sunshine in all its brilliant clarity, but the sun only shines this time of year with a hard tax of cold. That’s alright.  I perceive this as a gift of light along with the snow field.  And what a field of light it is…

Oh beautiful.  Montana can hit you hard when you ain’t lookin’ but she’ll turn around the next instant and give you a kiss which you’ll never forget.

mountain am

Liquid Moon

liquidmoon

There’s water up there. That is what I think about these days when I look up in the sky on our night walks as the moon waxes towards full.   The recent discovery of water on the moon has some scientists very animated and the scuttle is that this is one of the most exciting finds for a long while.  The implications are far-reaching.  Not only is there some water on the moon but a”significant amount”. Read about it all here.

“…members of the NASA team concluded that they had found unmistakable signs of water — 220 pounds of it, the equivalent of about 26 gallons had it been in liquid form.”

I do think this is very cool from a purely scientific view, but I am concerned that we’ll start messing things up on the moon just like we have here on earth, with some variations on a theme since the moon does not have an atmosphere.  We humans obviously don’t have a very good track record.  There is enough space junk out there spinning around in orbit to prove this point. What an epic mess.  Most of this orbiting trash – no one really knows exactly from which countries all the satellites originate.  Now we have to send up satellites to spy on other satellites.  It seems rather like the Who’s Who of satellite intelligence. At least these do have a limited life span.

And so, whose territory is the moon anyway?  We are not exactly a unified earth yet.  Who gets to start digging first?  So far only a dozen men have walked on the moon, but not since 1972; thus the moon is relatively as it has been for a very, very long while. This is a fact which I ponder when looking up at the night sky.  When does the gold rush begin?  Actually, I should call it the Helium 3 rush. He3 is apparently ideal for fusion reactors and is the subject of this article about mining the moon.  But this sounds like a long shot at present riddled with huge complications.

Well, until the answers from wiser people than myself start flooding in, I will find comfort with the fact that it’s going to cost an awful lot to rocket a bull dozer up there.  Ha.  A bull dozer that can operate without air…  Oh dear, I suppose they are working on that too.