Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Our annular eclipse event...

..was an informal affair. But it was special. It was awesome. It was so.. annular! And it hasn't been done since 1994... won't be seen again in our region of the world until the year 2023.

Pretty glaring, isn't it?! I like the reflected extra images surrounding the Sun..

Briefly, this is what was going on cosmically: May 20th we experienced what's called an annular solar eclipse -from the Latin 'annulus' which means 'little ring'.

In parts of East Asia, and through a path in the western United states, the moon lined up between Earth & the sun, blocking about 94% of El Sol's light and leaving a spectacular ring of fire shining in the sky.

We happened to be directly in that path!

I was house-sitting for Jim & Rhonda while they were away sight-seeing and attending a wedding back on the East Coast. And although traveling back East sounds neato-keeno, since I was still recovering from the concussion, I much preferred just hanging out in the quiet of their yard and observing this rare solar experience with a few of my favorite people; Papa, Ben & Eli-o =)

They came over late Sunday afternoon just before the start of the eclipse. Ben had brought along some welding glasses hoping they'd be able to cut the glare good enough for us to watch the moon cross between the earth and the sun. If they could filter the rays we'd be able to see a ring of sunlight around the black silhouette of the moon.

Dang! Nope, not quite enough. The glare was still too strong for me. Then, from out of nowhere came a glimmer of remembrance from waaaay back to some vague memory (my elementary school years, maybe?) for a way to see this eclipse. I ran in the house and cut a piece of cardboard from the back of my cereal box, punched a small hole in it with a ball point pen, grabbed a pad of paper off Jim's desk and hurried back out to the lawn.

This is what we saw...

So cool! We kept snapping pictures; playing with the size by moving the cardboard pin hole back and forth, bringing it in and out, first closer and then farther away from the notepad to see the effect...

...and playing with different paper to project the image onto..

...discovering that making a fist and letting a little light shine through worked too!

...and generally, just having a fun time playing with the shadows..

Eli was soaking up shade & solar eclipse rays when Ben turned around and noticed that...

...something amazing was happening all around his little brother.. this was awesome! The shadow of the eclipse could be seen projected through the cottonwood tree leaves onto the grass!!

...and onto the side of the house!!

By this point the moon was directly in the center of the sun giving us this image:

According to Eli I was pretty darn excited ...

And yes, I truly was! and can't wait til the next big sky happening!

Grand Finale...a few short bonus video clips:


Eli Photo-journaling w/Unsolicited Comments From the Peanut Gallery

'Whoa Dude'

Liquid Art ~ 'On The Wall'

Monday, July 2, 2012

Playing journal catch up..

Now that I'm a fair piece down the road to recovery I'm feeling just like Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of the Albert Finney musical Scrooge

...and I live in praise of that moment when
I was able to begin again...

So, on that note (you clicked on the link and sang along, right?) I am going to begin back at the beginning of where my writing abilities stopped while the world (and time) continued on..

Spring Blooms

All winter long I look forward to the sweet sight and scent of flowers heralding the start of Spring time. These are a few shots from April of the beautiful blooms around the yard this year:

Glory of the Snow:

Jonquils, Daffodils, & Tulips:

Pear and Apple blossoms:

...and forsythia blooms with lilac buds

I do believe this was our most lush year ever for the lilacs!


Reminisce & Romance

One warm afternoon this past Spring Papa said he'd like to take me on a drive up on the Rim to some of our old favorite places from the days before (and after) you kids came along. Though sitting was currently not my favorite activity (that tail bone, doncha know) I still jumped at the chance to go on an explore. Hiking, camping, or even just taking a drive in the woods, well, it's right up there with a trip to the coast!

Between forest fires and small-trees-grown-big, some of the old places were either gone or looked a bit different. But, between familiar mountain landscapes and good signage, we were able to know where we were most the time ;)

The views of Lassen were spectacular, as usual:

My handsome boyfriend:

So good-lookin' he deserves a close up:
(yes, I'm shallow ..and not ashamed ;)

Here's Bainbridge reservoir area. In the old days, back when we were camping & logging in this area in the time of the dinosaurs, back before the fire in the late 80's, it was beautifully forested. Remarkably, some of the older trees survived the inferno. Though it's a long, time consuming process, the new growth is coming back nicely.

There was a family of geese with 6 or7 young goslings on the reservoir's opposite shore. I couldn't get close enough for a picture, though. They were pretty skittish and sailed away to the far end..

...then a stop to check out the old cattle shoot that used to be right up the road -and was still there after all these years!

We were eventually intending to end up at Porcupine Reservoir, one of our old favorite logging camp sites, but on the way there we passed by Government Wells. Not much water this year, but look hard (my color-blind sons) and you can see it between the road and tree line.

The landscape around it is almost exactly as it was when we first were driving these roads over 30 years ago. So. I'm wondering if you kids recognize it as the spot we gave our first old chickens their freedom when we brought them up here in the old yellow chevy and put 'em out to pasture??

So next we arrive at the turn to our old camp site! The first time we ever camped here was in the back of a pickup in early Spring at the start of a logging job. I'll never forget that night. Dennis Carter, Papa & I shivered all night long through an early spring night that got down to 18ยบ.

We had on layers and layers of clothing, sleeping bags, & blankets. I got to be in the middle but nothing helped block that cold. I do believe there was only enough warmth generated not to freeze to death.

The following day, after work, we set up our tents and camp kitchen. It didn't improve our comfort level much. The nights remained frigid. I'd never been so cold in my entire life. Heck, I'd been born & raised in the balmy temperatures of San Diego County in Southern California.

It was here, at this camp in March of 1983 that I lost my ability to stay warm. Forever. Well, until the blessing of old age and hot flashes saved the day 20 years later :)

Still, it was a beautiful, quiet, & peaceful location where I still wouldn't mind building a snug (and winter-proof ;) home!

We found things had changed a bit, including the road and an addition of a barbed wire fence, so the lay of the land looked somewhat different. But heck, Jenny didn't know or care a whit about that. She loved everything about it. Shocked us both to see her walk to the water's edge and just keep on goin'. WHAT?!? Jenny! you despise water! Ya right. Check it out, lol:

She swam back to shore and explored along the dam with us for a bit and then OFF SHE WENT AGAIN :o

Driving on through more spectacular scenery we headed up to the old Hat Creek Rim Forest Service fire look-out:

 And here's the view! Lassen to the south..

..Hat Creek Valley directly below us..

..Mt Burney to the west..

..and snow-covered Mt Shasta away to the north. Too bad about the haze or you'd see it better (look just to the left of the juniper and pine tree cluster):

So time to travel down the Rim towards home. Here comes the part of the road, down Murken Bench, with some of my favorite views. 30+ years and I still look forward to traveling this part.

We traveled for several hours that Sunday afternoon covering many miles of vast forest lands. And yet, they were all so familiar, these thousands of acres are 'home'.

Guess that's what happens when you've lived, loved, worked, camped, raised your babies and played in a certain place this long.