Greening the Military

solar-array

Hopefully, if the US Military puts to good use the funds which they are to receive, Army fatigues won’t be the only thing running around in green on US bases.  This project is important because so much technology generated by the US Military often filters down to us.  Eventually we might be able to apply some of their ideas to the public sector.   There is big money from the green energy portion of the Stimulus package going to alternative energy projects and fuel reduction.  $3.6 billion for energy efficiency improvements and facility upgrades at the Department of Defense. Wired Magazine Online has the article. I found this via TreeHugger.

Also from Wired are these two articles about the memo to replace the gas hog Humvee which have become the quintessential stable military transport vehicle. Pentagon planners have to start factoring in “energy efficiency” when designing “all tactical systems.” Ho boy, I sure am glad I don’t have stock in that company; one sees enough of these Hummer consumer models lining the used car lots as it is.

And the army is fixin’ to build the world’s largest solar array. Yesterday, the Army declared that it would “partner with the private sector to construct a 500-megawatt solar thermal plant at Fort Irwin, California, in the Mojave Desert, that will provide renewable power on the grid and provide the sprawling Army post with added energy security against disruption of power supply.”

Sky Watch ~ Turtle Pond

Oh, Spring where art thou?
We wait the reluctant thaw
turtles hibernate.

Turtle Pond last weekend was starting to thaw but we have been cast back into winter with 8 new inches of snow this morning.  What happened; it was such a blue, blue sky!  See other sky photos at Sky Watch Friday.  Thanks to the Sky Watch team once again.

turtle-pond

And a view you have seen on this site before; our view of the Missions looking east.
dscn0997

The Sentinel

I haven’t had much time for writing or blogging this last week.  I am helping Matthew with a web page project plus I’ve had some family visiting.  However, my friend Bill Carroll keeps sending me these wonderful photos so tonight I am posting one he took of a herd of antelope around Drummond, MT.   He stopped along the road on their way back from seeing “the kiddos” at college last weekend.  This photo is called the Sentinel.  He said the Sentinel kept hiding behind tufts of grass for a time.   Finally the buck came out to have his picture taken.  Please click for a larger view.

This photo truly emphasizes the grasslands, fields, and hills around this area heading toward Butte and Helena.  As I wrote a couple days ago – the sky was very blue on Sunday–Bluebird Blue.  We’ve seen this herd nearly each time we drive over to visit our son, so I was delighted to be sent this photo.  It was like seeing old friends.  The herd is usually hanging around this same area during the winter.  I wouldn’t know how many individuals there might be in the entire herd not pictured here — lots.  What an open landscape; it really is glorious.  Thank you, Bill!

sentinel-bill

A random Spring day

I was glancing at the thermometer this afternoon now and then; it was 61 degrees (F) at one point and then it started sprinkling a little rain.  The heavier weather is moving in this evening but we had some awesome blue sky to enjoy over the weekend and this morning.  I even started cleaning up the winter debris out of the garden, and ended up pruning some grapes and raspberries too.  The raspberries are greening already down at the lower stem, but they are wary about advancing further into this chilly February.  The nights have been in the teens.

This is a shot I caught of a neighbor’s still standing, dried sunflowers.  I’d say that sky is pretty blue.

dried-sunflowers

And this is a look of our favorite walk along Mission Creek at the Bison Range where we went for a stroll yesterday.  We sat on at a picnic table and drank Chai Tea from a thermos which Matthew had prepared accompanied by graham crackers.  It wasn’t that warm yesterday so the tea tasted perfect in the chilly breeze.  Even our dubious teenager decided that it was a very pleasant walk.
missioncreek2

cattails

Sky Watch Friday ~ on a slant

on-slant

You’ve heard the phrase – the only way is down – but does that apply even when you are on your way up?   I suppose it would.    Cowabunga!   Look Out Below!  Views from Look Out Pass ski area riding Chair One.  I was breathing in the blue of winter at this scene.   See other slants on the sky at Sky Watch Friday.   Thanks to all those who make it possible each week.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. —JOHN MUIR, My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911

cowbunga

Art of the week

I may have mentioned something in passing a while back about reading and writing with second graders.  I am working with two girls, one each from the two second grades at the elementary school.  In order to do this I had to fill out an application and be fingerprinted;  my info was then sent to the FBI so they could do a scan on me.   This is for a volunteer position, but I totally understand why they had to run it.  (Besides the school supt. offered to pay for all that, which was pretty darn nice.)  When the report came back and I got the all clear from the school counselor, the comptroller at the school told Matthew with a big grin on her face:  “Oh yeah, Christine’s report came back and it was a mile long.”  Huh right!  They got a good laugh out of it – there of course, was nothing on it.

Anyway, yesterday one of the little girls finished a picture she was working on and tomorrow we plan to write a little about it.  We might try a sentence or two.   She finished her art after she read Hop on Pop aloud to me.  (She wanted to read that book.  Our favorite parts are:  “No Pat no, don’t sit on that!”  and  “Mr. Brown is upside down!”)  She is a real sweetie with a wry smile and both her front teeth.   And here is her picture she drew and colored.  “I finally drew a skinny horse.”

rainbow

I hope you will notice the trash can at the right next to the tree with the bluebird sitting in it.  She drew the trash can in there so that people will not mess up her landscape.  Cool!  And all of this was totally her idea. No creative impulses were tweaked in the making of this picture.

Bison Silhouette

bison1

This shot is by our son Aly taken at the Nat’l Bison Range yesterday afternoon.  Usually the Bison are grazing too far up in the hills to grab on camera, but he got lucky.  And it helps that they often find more grass on this side of the range during the winter.   Looks like pretty scant fare to me but they are the experts!

Looking up

chairnorth

These shots I took on the North Star Chair the morning before my big collision with Mr. SB.  Totally worth it?  (Well, no – maybe not.)   Thanks so very much to all you dear people for your messages of concern and well-wishes.  You certainly know how to cheer a lady up!  I’d give you all a hug but that would hurt.  Things are improving–movement is still limited and Matt could do without me  grimacing while getting out of bed in the morning. I definitely have learned that the sternum is connected to like — pretty much everything.   Merriam says: In humans consists of the manubrium, gladiolus, and xiphoid process —called also breastbone. I’ll be back in the saddle before you know it.

snow-glory