A Santa Spotter

Santa should arrive tomorrow, (if you’ve been good?), 4 days after last week’s Winter Solstice. The sun arcs across the sky on a different path every day for 6 months (from solstice to solstice) so when sunrise this morning came wavily through the old sheet glass and shone on a south facing wall

Sunrise spot on wall_4811

I put a small mirror on it with Silicone and tape so I could get just the right angle.

Santa Spotter Mirror_4820

On the opposite wall I placed a Santa image.

Santa waiting_4823

So set one up and tell your would-be astronomer kids .  When the the sun spot first shines on Santa there are 8 days to go. When the sun lights him up again it should be Xmas Day.  You can set it up for any time of day that sunlight shines into your house. Sunrise, midday or Sunset are perhaps more interesting times at which to observe the seasonal changes of the sun’s position.

Santa Spotted_4812

If the distance is good, and the mirror is flat (I still have a few 25 mm squares if you’d like one?) then the sun’s path across the wall should be different every day.  Perhaps John M. can show me how to take a pinhole camera image of the tracks?

Meanwhile, down by the cold Maumee River one of our two Bald Eagles waded in for a drink and waited in vain for a foolish fish to swim by.

 Eagle in water 092

 Two weeks ago (Dec. 15) it got to 56 F (13 C) on a sunny day and the bees came back to life. Some even brought in some yellow pollen from I don’t know where.

Bee with pollen 118

The  harvest is all in. Pounds of honey poured.

Honey pour  027

Pumpkins gathered from the fields.

Pumpkins 1664

And Ohio grain is trucked to the silos by the I75 bridge

Trucks 1773

where I see it shipped to the world. A moving image in today’s  turbulent times.

Grain Freighter 062

Finally a present to you from Santa: A frost-free windshield. If you park your car outside at night be sure the windshield (windscreen) faces dense trees or a house wall so you don’t get frost and ice on it. 

No ice on front facing house 058

When the back window ‘sees’ a very cold (perhaps -100 C or less) clear night sky, the glass can cool (losing heat by radiation) to 3 or 4 degrees C below air temperature. This easily creates dew on the glass which turns to ice if the air temperature is near freezing.

Ice on back window facing sky 057

Very Best of Seasons Greetings and Happy Solstice to All, Everywhere.




The Carnivore Chronicles or Tennyson’s Shriek of “Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw”

These views are from the back window of 341 with an iPhone loosly held up to a poor quality spotting scope (I find zooming in with the iPhone camera helps in cropping out the black circle framing of the scope image). They show nature is still hungry for more flesh, especially in burgeoning springtime.
This Bald Eagle, about 100 yds (or meters) away, is one of two who swoop through the sky together, but are too nimble to be caught in a photo.

Two Red Tailed Hawks have paired up. The squirrels run away very fast when these two swoop between the trees.

Down at water level a fish carcass, probably collateral damage from the now finished Walleye hunt, is cleaned up on from the sand bar on a low water day by the Turkey Vulture. Why does such a useful bird have to look so miserably evil?

(We are not letting the cats out unescorted on the balcony).

Closer to home my indoor Oleander was being over-run again by yellow aphids. They attack the flower bud stems which fall off before opening. (If the aphids did not do that I might let them stay). It only takes about 3 hours with the plant moved out onto the balcony for word to get around that dinner is served: black ants and red ladybugs devour every last aphid by the time the day is done so I can bring Oleander back indoors to protect her from the cold night.

My reward is blossoms galore – sorry Aphids: