Catching the Comet

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) from Fourmilab, Switzerland, 2020-07-18 21_15 UTC

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Tonight, the evening of 2020-07-18, around 21:00 UTC, I finally got the chance to observe and photograph comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), the Great Comet of 2020, on the first night of (kinda) clear sky after the comet appeared in the evening sky.  Even though the sky was visibly milky, with thin haze reflecting distant lights, after becoming dark adapted, the comet was an easy naked-eye object near the northwestern horizon (which is elevated due to the Jura mountains in that direction).  Through binoculars (Canon 15×50mm image stabilised) the star-like nucleus and coma were well-defined, and the dust tail extended until it was lost in the murky sky.  I was unable to pick up the dimmer, straight, blue ion tail either with the unaided eye or binoculars. Continue reading “Catching the Comet”


They’re Baaaack, We Hope

We haven’t had a Mallard pair as regular visitors for a couple of years.  Maybe this pair is scoping the pond for suitability as a swimming hole for the upcoming ducklings?  Hope so!  Newborn ducklings are like brown bobbing ping-pong balls with teeny beaks.  Hilarious gift from Mother Nature.  We had a pair of Mallards we named Desi & Lucy hang out for several years, a few years ago.

A new Desi & Lucy?



These are individual photos, via iPhone 11, of my better half’s plantings that live on our deck for our joy and amusement whilst sipping the fruit of the vine, listening to classical music, and totally ignoring the meretricious current news.  With even Tucker Carlson firmly seated in the exaggeration and fear mongering train, it’s time to meld with the natural world’s bounty.  Pix are from yesterday; Ma Nature is definitely waking up!

An overview from my perch.
Our totem guards the Wa.
Koi-themed succulent group.
My Bonsai, half pruned.
Yabu, our latest adoptee.
Gwinnie views it all from warm comfort.


A Bad Day for Junior

Junior was the name we gave our resident Hummingbird, not knowing it was a girl.  Over the past few years she became almost tame, following us around the yard.  This year, for the first time, she built a nest in our front yard, as you can see in the picture.  Unfortunately, her nest was vandalized by some predator, so no babies for us to see, but she survived.  Also, she has decamped, likely for safer environs, but who will ever know.    We miss putting out warm food for her every morning.  Gorgeous nest:

Junior, warming her eggs.


Instant Mental Health w/vid added

Yesterday I finished my basic regimen of pre-spring yard biz, and was sprawled on my deck chaise enjoying the fruits of several days of my cleaning and pruning labors, whilst sipping some fruit of the vine, with my trusty iPhone at hand to record whatever my enfeebled mind desired, on a perfect 60+ sunny afternoon, when Gwyneth provided the capper of capers.  One simply cannot hold any thought of political dread or other source of anxiety while watching her roll on her back on freshly mowed grass.  I finally figured out how to reduce the size of the video.  Audio courtesy of KQAC All Classical Portland.


Too Much Politicization, So….Italy Revisited

Rome is the center of the universe, I will argue vehemently, forever.  With the Intercontinental Hotel at the Spanish Steps in Rome as our base of operations, my bride and I wandered mostly on foot throughout the city.  The sheer amount of legendary sightseeing overwhelms.  The Vatican museum in itself is worth the effort to get to Rome.  I took 1,100 pictures with my new digital Sony CD500 Mavica camera in May of 2002 as we flew to Venice, and then went by train went to Pisa for a day, Florence, and Rome, with a day trip to Pompeii.  We spent a week each in Venice, Florence and Rome.  The fastest three weeks of our lives. Here’s some of the pix in installment 1 of Italy Revisited.

St. Mark’s Square from a tour boat on a murky spring day
Guggenheim Museum in Venice: Yikes!
Our selection from the glass blowing capital of Italy, the island of Murano, adjacent to Venice.
Peonies at Boboli Gardens in Florence