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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Look At The Sky: February

The Solar System in JANUARY 2015 :
Mercury -  Mercury is very close to the glare of the sun but can be viewed about one hour before sunrise in the eastern sky during twilight at mid-week of this month, this very elusive planet reaches its greatest western elongation (see daily listings below) on February 25   - in CAPRICORNUS.
Venus - Very bright and rising higher each night this month in evening skies; see MARS (below) about the remarkable conjunction of Mars and Venus on Feb. 21!  -  In PISCES
Mars -  Mars is now approaching the sun, as we see it from Earth, and setting in the very early evening, about 7 p.m. local time; at only 4.3" arc in diameter, nothing in the way of observable surface features will be visible this month; Mars will rapidly disappear from evening skies and it will be over a year before good viewing of this planet will commence. NOTE the very close pass of Venus by Mars....Venus will be moving rapidly eastward, with a very slow motion to the west by Mars; on Feb 18 through Feb. 25, both planets will be in the same field of view in low power telescopes, with much brighter Venus just BARELY below (south of) the distinctly red Mars.  They will be closest on the evening of Feb. 21 about 7:30 p.m. local time very low in western skies....mark your calendars for this one! - In PISCES
Jupiter -  Our mightiest planet, the gas giant JUPITER, reaches opposition this month and is about as favorable for observing as one can wish for; rising at sunset in the east and transiting overhead (for northern observers) at midnight, this solar system king will be at one of the most favorable oppositions in many years.  - in GEMINI
Saturn - Rising about 2 a.m. local time, Saturn will be high in the southeastern sky by dawn with its majestic rings opened nearly full tilt (about 25 degrees) for beautiful viewing.  -  In LIBRA

FEBRUARY 03 - FULL MOON - 05:09 p.m. CST

There is ONE very active comet brighter than magnitude 10 predicted for February 2015:
Comet Lovejoy c2014 Q2 - This is likely to be "The Comet of 2015" for northern hemisphere observers....putting on a spectacular show throughout late 2014 for the observers in the southern hemisphere, this comet is now very high overhead, almost circumpolar, by midmonth in February.  It should be naked eye at this time, high in the constellation of ANDROMEDA by the time the skies darken, and only slightly further west throughout the rest of the evening.  This comet does not set until around 2 a.m., so this should prove to be quite a sight.  Right now, the very active tail should be shooting off to the northeast from a very large and green coma, with distinct nucleus.  Don't miss this one, folks....these do not come by with this ease of observation very often!


February 26 - DELTA LEONID METEORS - With the moon being right at first quarter on both days on either side of this date of this minor meteor shower, 2015 will prove to be an fair year for the Delta Leonid meteors it appears......and..this one is the only meteor shower that February has to offer each year.   The Earth actually intersects the cloud of cometary or asteroidal (the actual source of the cloud is not known at this time....) as early as Feb. 5 each year and seems to be encountering meteoric material as late as March 19; nonetheless, there IS a definite peak each year that seems to center on the last few days of February.  These are moderately slow meteors, traveling at about 24 KPS, and only about five per hour can be expected at most.  The radiant, at astronomical coordinates: RA 10h 36m / DEC +19 deg, is found about midway between the moderately bright stars Zosma and Algeiba (the two that make the long stretch of the Lion's Back in Leo); look for these stars and the meteor shower to be nearly overhead for mid-northern latitudes about 11 p.m. local time, with most meteors seen well after.  Since the first quarter moon sets nearly at midnight, this should be a very favorable year to watch for this mysterious meteor shower.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Junk Free January: The Garage

The last 4 months have wrecked havoc in my garage.  It all started with cleaning out the shed and my studio.  Things from the shed that belonged in the garage mixed with things from my studio (which I had to empty to work on).  That ran into our preparing to leave for our annual trip to see Himself's Senior relatives in MN.  Coming back home brought us right into the holiday season.


So January was our month to get it back under control.  You know how motivated I am when I'm working along with a blog challenge.  This time the challenge was "Junk Free January at 

We 'dove' in alright... with a fast neatening early in the month.  Then other projects pushed their way into the front of our 'to do' list.  But we put "finishing the garage" on our calendar for this last week of January.

It's been a long, tiring week but so worth it!  Look at our before and after photos to see what we accomplished.

NE wall section...

Tool shelf cleaned and reorganized.  My home 'staging' shelf also redone.

 North wall- east side

Boxes moved to a holding area (photos below).  Those are boxes moved out from my studio.  I'll be focusing on the studio in February.  Tiller was moved back to its place in the shed.

 North wall- west side.

Cleaning supply shelf neatened.  Bird station back in order.  Driftwood board rack neatened up too (oops... left my cleaning rag on it!).

South wall- west side.

Himself got all the paint and car products back as they should be.  Tools were put away too.

 South wall- east side and East wall- south side.

This was the absolute WORST part of the garage.  The grey boxes belong to Himself, and he was able to cut the number by half.  Which gave me room to clear the wall in front of the car (the red boxes are mine).

We hung the carpets until we are ready to use them.  The folding tables finally have an easy to get to home. 

Himself has decided that painting the garage floor will be a project in the future.  The former owner tinkered with cars and the floor shows it.  It's a mess!

SW corner recycle center.
                                Dumping ground was more like it!  

Himself also cleaned up this area.  Now I can get to it so I can do my recycling.  And I put a tub to hold my mailing boxes and envelopes.  The twine sits there because we use it a lot.

West wall looking south.
What a mess, it was another dumping ground.

MUCH better.  These are all the tubs/boxes I need to go thru for my studio.  The tubs under the workbench are designated for specific items for my creative projects, so technically they are done.  That table was the one in front of the car in the before photo.  Now it's holding my tender perennial plants til it's time to go back outside.

Workbench looking to the north.


We are sore and exhausted.  But it has been so worth it to get it to the point that it will stay neat with very little effort.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Photo Album - Let's Get Close

This month I've done a bit of playing with macro shots.  It's fun to see how close you can go... and what something looks like at that vantage point.

It's also something to do while you are waiting for something to cook...

Woven pot holders.

Fresh corn.

The original "Fuzzy Navel"...

... a pomegranate!  

Sliced onion... Day One.

Sliced onion... Day Three.

Isn't growth amazing?

One more slice...

Now THIS is a very tasty close-up.

No more photos... it's time to eat!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Christmas 2014

I was reminded that I hadn't shown my Christmas decorations yet.  I've been so busy with 'winter' cleaning I just didn't get to it.  So... here due to popular demand (LOL) is how I decorated this year.  Or at least, mostly how I decorated.  Didn't get around to taking photos of everything either...

Christmas daytime.

It is a balsam we got at Walmart for $10 (!!!!) around the 8th of December.  It was still very fresh.  I will remember that for next year.

Tree with lights.  All of our lights are blue, then we have blue and silver garland along with silver tinsel.

A 33 or 32 year old ornament.  Made by Sis when she was just a little girl.

A six year old ornament... Little Bird's hand print.  She was 4 months old.

Ornaments from when Himself retired from the Army.

A beautiful church ornament given to us by my Mom.

An old ornament from when we were newly married.

Then we head around the room to Himself's piano.  

We have the Snoopy ornaments as a tribute to Himself's sister.  When she was sick, Charles Schulz visited her in the hospital and gave her a lot of original Snoopy gifts.

Also, who doesn't love "A Charlie Brown Christmas"?

The little ceramic Christmas tree in the picture just above was a gift from Himself's First Grade teacher on our second Christmas together.

These cute felt trees were from Mom.  They remind me of the trees that Charlie Brown looked at before he picked out 'his' tree.

A nativity on the music stand.

(I've got to get those ivories glued back on the piano!)

Fireplace decor.  

I've changed up the mantel a bit this year.  Next year there will be a large star hanging in the center.  Didn't get it made in time this year.

My nativity village. 

My little red desk holds a bit of my nativity collection...

... and the cedar chest holds even more!

This glass set is sitting on top of a Bible written in Japanese.

Coming around a little more and there is our entertainment center (hiding the TV).

We keep our cards in this basket.  The treasure chest nativity is a music box and we love the nativity cross sitting next to it.

When the wee Fairy Princess visited right before Christmas, she brought this cute metal stocking.

In our kitchen... Mother and Child.