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BC Nature Study The Night Sky August 16, 2023

BC Nature Study The Night Sky August 16, 2023

The nights of August 12 and 13 were bright and clear, and the temperatures were warm here in the Cariboo.  Perfect for watching the night sky.  Lots of stars and planets were visible, as well as the Milky Way.  We pulled up a couple of chairs on the back porch and looked skyward.  It wasn’t long before there were several bright shooting stars.  During our watch time, we also observed six satellites hurtling across the sky in every direction.  One more star, and then it’s time to go to bed.  No sooner said than two bright flashes streaked across the sky.

Free Astronomy Bright photo and picture

Our next celestial event will be a blue moon. August 30, 2023

 When two full Moons appear in a single month, the second one is usually referred to as “blue.” However, there is proof that this popular definition may have been a misunderstanding picked up by mainstream media in the 1940s! ( Farmer’s Almanac)

Two full moons in a month occur only every 2.5–3 years.  So, it is a relatively rare occurrence, hence the saying ”Once in a blue moon,” meaning something that happens very rarely.

We are at the height of summer now.  Harvesting in the garden is in full swing.  Herbs are in abundance this year.  I am harvesting a drying: thyme, oregano, winter savory, parsley, cilantro, chives, and dill.  For tea, I have apple balm, lemon balm, peppermint, pineapple sage, and stevia.  There was a good crop of rhubarb and raspberries, but the most abundant berries this year are the red currants.  The rose hips and wild high-bush cranberries are starting to ripen but they are best picked after the first frost.  I hope that is not too soon.

I am not the only one putting things aside for winter.  The Red Squirrel is busy taking most of the food from its feeder and burying it around the garden.  There are sunflower seeds and grains sprouting all over the yard and in several of my plant pots.  Several cool, rainy days have caused the mushrooms to appear, and squirrels will be gathering these too.

Free Red Squirrel Squirrel photo and picture

The biggest surprise is a story from a neighbour about the disappearance of all the golf balls from her back yard.  Heading out one morning last week to collect the more than twenty golf balls that she had practised hitting the day before there were only 5 to be found.  Her husband assured her that he had not collected them.  A puzzle!  Taking the 5 remaining balls plus a few more from her bucket she had another practice session.  Later that afternoon they observed to their utter amazement a Red Squirrel scampering up the lawn with a golf ball in its mouth.  We find it hard to imagine how a small squirrel can grasp a hard golf ball in its tiny jaw.  But it did and continued to return and pick up several more balls taking them to the side of the house to secret someplace in or around the wood shed.  Why is the squirrel doing this?  They do not have a reputation like pack rats for just collecting items, particularly shiny ones.  Does it know that this is not edible, it does not have the smell of food.  Will he be surprised come winter when this cache of white balls is not something to fill his stomach?  Will my friend ever find the hidden stash of golf balls?  The squirrel has become so bold and obsessed that he now does not wait for the golf balls to be out on the grass but comes and takes them right from the bucket on a table by the house.  And I thought I had it bad when my squirrel picked raspberries out of my pail that was only an arm’s length away from me!

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