Tag: star-gazing

July Fly-by

We started the month celebrating a somber 4th of July. Why did it feel more like a funeral than Independence Day? Could it be that here in California we’re all basically under house arrest? Except for our convicted criminals. They’re being let out of jail by the thousands. Anyway, I thought Titus’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner fit the mood. Here’s the link.

Joel and Nathan got to take a road trip with their Opa up to Idaho to visit cousins. Besides an amazing show of hospitality by Tom’s middle brother and his family, Joel finally got some good catfish-ing under his now 15-year-old belt.

My IG Birthday greeting to this remarkable boy read like this:

“Happy Birthday to my fish catching, game hunting, piano playing, fly tying, snowcave sleeping, omelette flipping, anything high climbing, board shredding, highest peak in the lower 48 summiting, Gospel sharing, bike jumping, poker winning, truth loving, schoolwork dodging, gun toting, arrow sending, Bible thumping, trouble making, thrill seeking, wilderness surviving, double daring, son Joel. And that just describes the first 2 years of your teens. I can’t imagine what God has in store for you in the years to come. He obviously custom made you for adventure.”

Unfortunately, he and Titus have been unemployed since March. Tom, thankfully still has a job, but the camp being shut down for 5 months has obviously been a hardship. Keeping a houseful of 3 teenage boys, and 2 that might as well be, busy and in order with no work, no school, no camps, and limited interaction with friends has been a challenge to say the least. Mainly they’ve just been running wild in the woods all spring and summer. But honing those wilderness survival skills isn’t such a bad idea given our current political climate.

I was able to reign them in briefly to do some night-sky gazing recently. Jupiter and Saturn have been stunning this month. Our telescope was able to give us the first clear view of Saturn’s rings we’ve ever had. And of course, there was the Neowise comet. I think there might be one or two nights left to catch a glimpse of this 3-mile wide space rock orbiting our sun. You can find it right below the Big Dipper. I’m reposting some illustrations the boys did back in 2019 of the various kinds of space rocks and a poem to help you remember each kind.

“Dirty snowball out in space

with smudgy tail making chase

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Ice melts off and leaves behind

Dirt and rocks that sometimes find

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Their way through Earth’s thick atmosphere

But burn all up before getting here

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Except for sometimes they crash on through

And hopefully don’t land on you!”

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The End.

Titus wasn’t interested in our childish bit of poetic nonsense so here are some more accurate definitions from him.img_3536

Anyway, hope your July has been star-spangled and that August will still find us all fighting for the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

Tsunamis, Star-gazing, and Celestial Soup

Arrived home early this morning after a tsunami evacuation pulled us out of our beds last night. Battled some pretty crazy traffic to get to a friend’s house were we camped out on her fourth floor balcony which happened to have a lovely view of the now deserted Kailua-Kona harbor. Also an even lovelier view of a beautifully full Hawaiian moon shimmering on some VERY CALM WATER. So yeah, false alarm. No tsunami, not even an over-sized ripple on our side of the island. But a sleepless night out-of-doors at least yielded some lovely star-gazing and two more constellations checked off our list. Our little adventure left us all pretty out-of-sorts today and in need of some soothing comfort-food. My boys’ all-time favorite soup is a home-made version of Italian Wedding Soup made from spinach, chicken, and those tiny Acini Pepe pasta balls. However, in keeping with our astronomy theme I substituted the pasta balls for Stelline Pasta Stars. That, and a long afternoon nap should have us back to our old-selves.

Celestial Soup Recipe

1. Boil your left-over $4.99 Costco rotisserie chicken carcass in 8 cups water till it falls apart and you have a nice chicken stock. Let cool then pick out ALL the bones leaving all the little chunks of chicken in the stock (a great job for little hands).
2. Boil 1/2 box of Stelline Pasta Stars (or Acini Pepe Pasta Balls) in 8 cups water, drain.
3. Add 1 cube chicken bullion, 1 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg, 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
and the pasta to chicken stock and chicken.
4. Chop up and saute in 1 TBSP Olive oil a good sized bunch of Kale, spinach or chard with a little sea salt just till tender then add to everything else.
5. Add water to desired thinness. We like it thick rather than brothy.
6. Serve with baguette and butter or in this case Costco Parmesan bagel halves smeared with homemade macadamia nut and basil pesto topped with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella then toasted in oven till cheese bubbles. Yumm.

Worth a Whiny Wednesday?

Essential Star-Gazing Gear. Also, recommend the NightSky app for your iphone.

I’ve gotten into the habit of stepping out to look at the stars whenever I wake up at night. To really get away from the lights though, requires a short walk to the ocean bluffs where the night sky opens up over the Pacific and distant boat lights blend into the blackness with all those millions of stars. Sometimes, it’s a great opportunity to have some quiet time alone with the Creator of it all but lately I’ve been bringing along one of the boys. This morning was an exception. They’d all been arguing the night before over whose turn it was to go stargazing with Mom, so when one of them wandered into our room at 4:00 this morning I thought it only fair to see if any of the others wanted to join us outside. So, there I was at 4:15 with 3 little guys instead of 1, heading out to look at the stars. We were able to knock a couple more constellations off our list and we saw 4 shooting stars from the Orionids meteor shower which will be peaking Monday, October 22. Here is a great website that lists the various showers and the best times to watch: meteor-activity-outlook-for-october-13-19-2012
We’ve also been participating this week in the Great World Wide Star Count which ends October 19. This means if you have a clear night tonight or tomorrow, you can get in on the count, too! Here is a link to that site as well:starcount
Yes, there’s tons of neat stuff out there to be learned in the dark hours of the night. And it makes for some precious time shared with the little people in your life. But be warned, late-night star-gazing can make for a VERY WHINY WEDNESDAY when nobody has had enough sleep! So is it worth it? Better ask me after naptime.