Woke up to +2 temperatures with the stars out. Unheard of at this time of year. It is never above freezing and clear. By light up it had clouded over. During the day it reached +5. A helluva difference from the -30 a week ago. The roads will be a skating rink if it dips again.
The rain is falling on frozen ground. Everything will have a pebble come morning. Being not as sure on my feet as I used to be I’ll tie a cushion to my ass just to be safe. No sense wearing helmet, nothing left up there to damage.
The good thing about a chinook in January is it puts a new sheen on the skating rinks. The skim of water fills the skate marks and cracks. Natures Zamboni. Loved it when I was a youngster.
The tourist crush has slowed. Still plenty around and I can’t blame them. Tough to keep people with the means in one place. They prefer scattershot to taking aim, hitting as many places as they can instead of looking down the barrel. Thats luxury in any era.
Regardless, this warm spell has me wondering instead of wandering, which could be slippery. My good friend Dave says I should know the difference between the two. Good advice in January.
This photo from the night of the Perseids shows Taurus, Pleiades and Perseus. It also has a few stars belonging to the bow of Orion. The summer stars are surrendering the sky to the winter cosmos.
The two faint ‘scratches’ in the sky are satellites. It is difficult to get photos of the night sky without satellites showing up somewhere in the frame. Very different from when I was a kid and I would search for them among the stars, squinting to detect movement. I have read, in the future the majority of ‘stars’ in the night sky will be in motion, making them not stars at all, but satellites.
The larger streak is a meteor. Although difficult to detect in this small version of the photo, green can be seen in the streak at the beginning and end. This colour is often detected as the small grain of metal, dust from a long ago comet enters our atmosphere and burns up. I always feel lucky to see this natural phenomenon.
Lisa and I have been very busy as Covid restrictions are lifted and businesses plan for the mother of all summers.
The forecast is calling for 40°c temps. It has topped of at 36° today. It makes you get up extra early and try to get work done before noon.
I remember running printing presses in this kind of weather, dealing with problems the heat could cause with paper and ink. Those were the days, NOT!
The garden is spectacular, although the heat is making the broccoli bolt. We are giving it away and eating it as fast as we can. The peas have blossoms and pods waiting to fill out. The sage is a hedge of purple flowers.
This year the garden was in early due to having to quarantine in early April. I dug and planted because I could. It won’t make much difference in August. A few good neighbouring gardeners have stopped to ask why my garden is ahead. I confessed the early date I planted. They commented it was risky, but I’ll bet they will be doing the same next year. Us old-timers can be competitive. To be honest, I’m not sure if I will continue with an early schedule. I got lucky this time, next time could be different.
The lake is covered in Albertans in motor boats, every second home and Airbnb filled, the beach parking lot is wall to wall red and white plates. I must be mellowing, because I am almost happy for them whooping and wallowing in excess and entitlement. Like me they would rather be nowhere else, so who am I to judge. It also reminds me to either be working or out of the valley bottom and in the cool mountains come the weekend.
Lisa and I still have a stick of firewood to get for winter. We have spotted a couple sticks of dry fir off the beaten path. We may have to wait for it to cool down to gather it up proper.
All we had was cloud on the peak of the Geminids. Lisa and I tried to push through the cloud seeking a higher elevation. This can be tough; first, the roads are the shits, second, we’re committed to our first choice.
Sometimes it goes, sometimes it doesn’t.
On the way back into town we spotted this nicely decorated cabin. It was early, they’d either left the lights on all night or were delighting the folks off to work ahead of schedule.
It feels good to wonder around with Lisa on a summer night. Everything going on in the sky, planets moving, the Milky Way, the Tail of Scorpius just above the mountains, comets and satellites.
The mosquitoes were ferocious. Willow riled up some deer. Elk lined the highway. Lisa and I both looked for eyes in the ditch far ahead. We can’t see the way we used to, so go slow now.
There was a time I used to dive off docks and rocks in the pitch black with faith there would be water below me. In summer nights the water is warmer than air. I can still see you wade in. Lisa made her own bikinis. There was fish down there that swirled around us.
Was up early to try to get a photo of Comet NEOWISE. It is in the northeast before dawn. I spotted it a few mornings ago and even got a few photos, however without a tripod they were a little fuzzy. This morning Willow and I prepared with tripod and flashlight to check camera settings.
We headed for the banks above Lake Windermere. It was my hope to get the lake in the foreground. Comet NEOWISE was easy to locate with the naked eye. I needed binoculars a few mornings previous. Like certain stars and constellations once you find them your eye is drawn to them.
It’s a real treat to see comets. NEOWISE will remain visible for a while as it heads back towards the outer solar system. Estimated time to make a return journey 6800 years. Pretty lucky for Willow and I to be standing there when we were.
Lisa and I headed for Brewer Ridge to watch the Full Moon rise over the valley.
The Moon always seems to take it’s time rising, especially when it’s cold. Lisa and I took pictures of the mountains until the light ran out. We admired bright Venus above and at our backs. Orion unveiled in the darkness along with the Twins of Gemini, Pleiades appeared just before the Moon.
The last of the days light on the eastern slopes.
At last the few whispy clouds in the east became illuminated and the Moon peeked out behind the rocky crags.