Just Grazin’

Stories from the pond – fun, fiction, and life

Summer Sunning!

Today marks the Summer Solstice. Astronomically, it looks like this:

The Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. The seasonal significance of the Summer Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual shortening of nights and lengthening of days. That will occur later todayish – June 21th at 4:24 UTC (12:24am Eastern) but June 20th where I am at 11:24pm Central Time (10:24pm Mountain and 9:24pm Pacific).

Today and tomorrow, the sunrise (where I live) will be 5:18am and sunset will be 8:40pm – 15 hours and 22 minutes of sunlight. On Winter Solstice, six loooong months ago, sunrise was at 7:25am and sunset was at 4:25pm, 9 hours of sunlight.

Next Sunday, the sunrise will be one minute later, signalling the waning of the year. But that’s Sunday and today we have 922 minutes of sunlight to enjoy!!

(Don’t forget to hover on the images!*)

April Showers are Bringing May Flowers!

At Winter Solstice, the light begins to return – gradually, the memory of the long nights fades until the light and dark are equal on Spring Equinox. From that point on,  the light returns more rapidly and on May 1st we arrive at the midpoint between equinox and Summer Solstice.

Today, my sunrise was at 5:51am CDT and my sunset will be at 7:58pm … more than 14 hours of daylight, adding 2 hours since the equinox. By the end of May, we will have added 49 more minutes of daylight!

May your May days be filled with sunlight, flowers … and kissable snouts!

(Place your cursor over the photos to read the hovers!*)

Springing into Spring – No Kidding!

Today at 10:28 UTC (5:28pm CDT), the Spring Equinox will occur.

An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

The amount of daylight and darkness became equal over the past few days (on March 17, here) and soon daylight will extend ever deeper into the evening and the early morning hours.

Spring is about hope and new beginnings and the sheer joy of being outdoors in the light and the warmth. Here is some (light!) kidding around as we celebrate this year’s Spring Equinox.
(Place your cursor on the photos to read the hovers*)

Spring is in the air!

At the beginning of February, when the earth appears frozen and lifeless, there are stirrings below the surface and above us in the sky. The light is returning; today there is nearly an hour more daylight than there was on the Winter Solstice.

Mid-January through mid-February is when the Great Horned Owls start breeding and nesting. While the rest of us look out at the wintry landscape here in North Central Blogistan – and wait for spring, the owls are already beginning their nesting year.

(Don’t forget to hover* …)

Oh Hai, the Returning Light!

The winter solstice “occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, the term is also a turning point to midwinter and the first day of winter.”

That moment occurred this morning, December 21st, at 4:44am Central Time, which is my time zone.

Of course, that is the scientific explanation. We know better!

Twice a year, on the solstice holidays, Basement Cat and Ceiling Cat are locked in mortal combat over the Light. At summer solstice, Basement Cat prevails and the light starts receding … gradually at first and then more quickly until the autumnal equinox, when the light and dark are equal.

“Give Thanks for the Blessings”

Happy Lammas!!

Hey, wait just a minute! Those are happy llamas … which is not the same thing at all!

Today is August 1st, the pagan holiday of Lammas or First Harvest. It is the first of three harvest celebrations on the Wheel of the Year. But because this is a pagan holiday that does not have a corresponding non-pagan holiday, it may be one that you have never heard of.  

Summer Sunning!

Today marks the Summer Solstice. Astronomically, it looks like this:

The Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. The seasonal significance of the Summer Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual shortening of nights and lengthening of days. That will occur later today, June 20th at 22:34 UTC (6:34pm Eastern, 5:34pm Central, 4:34pm Mountain, and 3:34pm Pacific Time).

Today and tomorrow the sunrise (where I live) will be 5:18am and sunset will be 8:40pm – 15 hours and 22 minutes of sunlight. On Winter Solstice, six loooong months ago, sunrise was at 7:25am and sunset was at 4:25pm, 9 hours of sunlight.

Next Sunday, the sunrise will be one minute later, signalling the waning of the year. But that’s Sunday and today we have 922 minutes of sunlight to enjoy!!

(Don’t forget to hover!)

Jolyon

knossos-palace

After graduation a visit to Knossos beckoned Fiona—but little did she guess where it would lead!

 

I noticed him because he was always alone.

And in a country where most people are dark-haired and dark-eyed, he stood out because of his blond ponytail and gray eyes. Only the shape of his eyes belonged to Crete—large, almond-shaped, compelling.

The Weirdness of Planning for Extreme Old Age

Garish yellow flowers flaunt themselves while Dearly escapes through the front door

Garish yellow flowers flaunt themselves while Dearly escapes through the front door

My husband and I aren’t getting any younger. In fact, looking at us, you’d say we’re downright old. It’s taken me two years to accept that at 72, I’m no longer “middle-aged”: now I qualify as elderly.

Last year I began to think about what we’d do when we’re too old to drive. In suburban America, you either have access to your own transportation or you languish. We visit the public library, gym, grocery store, bank, gas station, doctor, dentist, Target, Costco. We pick up grandchildren from elementary school (on foot, if it’s nice weather), or from day care, which requires driving.

Taking a taxi is out of the question. The fares would be astronomical. Even the fares for Lyft or Uber would be astronomical, given all the places we visit. So—what to do?

April Showers are Bringing May Flowers!

At Winter Solstice, the light begins to return – gradually, the memory of the long nights fades until the light and dark are equal on Spring Equinox. From that point on,  the light returns more rapidly and on May 1st we arrive at the midpoint between equinox and Summer Solstice.

Today, my sunrise was at 5:51am CDT and my sunset will be at 7:58pm … more than 14 hours of daylight, adding 2 hours since the equinox. By the end of May, we will have added 49 more minutes of daylight.

May your May days be filled with sunlight, flowers … and kissable snouts!

(Place your cursor over the photos to read the hovers!)