One Night Only

Tonight: the super wolf moon, fully eclipsed.

The duration of the eclipse, from beginning to end, will be fully visible in the America’s. In Europe, the eclipse will occur in the wee hours of the morning on Monday, Jan 21. The eclipse will not be visible in Australia and Asia since it will be daytime. How much of the eclipse will be observed, of course, will depend upon the weather. Ideally, clear skies offer the best viewing opportunity. Not so good, those still experiencing the coast-to-coast winter storm.

maximum: total lunar eclipse (Sep 27 2015)

This eclipse promises to be one of the best, with its duration in totality lasting for 62 minutes. While no aid is required to watch tonight’s eclipse, a pair of binoculars will greatly aid the process and heighten its enjoyment. A telescope is okay too, especially if your viewing also includes planets and stars.

For more information and times on tonight’s eclipse, please consult Sky and Telescope’s guide here.

Happy viewing!


Happy Birthday Egypt!

Our tabby girl, Miss Egypt, would have been 14 today. She remains much loved.

Miss Egypt was very sociable and friendly. Any visitor to the house had to be ready to play with her. Before bedtime, Egypt would always bring a toy with her. She would play with her toy, in bed, before falling asleep.

We were glad and much privileged to have been her forever family.

Happy Birthday, Egypt!


Hidden By Winter

Snow and dense fog arrived with the new winter storm in the pre-dawn hours. The snowfall, 2-4 inches. Pockets of dense fog added a glazing of ice and invisibility.

North Ranch: draped in snow, cloaked in fog

foggy aura

Throughout the day, our invisibility would slip away, but roll back in a couple of hours later. Tonight, the fog will persist and may become more dense. The barnyard lights will provide an eerie glow.

Most definitely, it will be a night to stay in with a nice fire in the hearth.


Side Note

Megan, who’s renting our house in the old neighborhood, she’s been waiting for snow for most of the day. A winter aficionado, Megan rescheduled her day. To say she was disappointed, well, Megan was disappointed. She’s suggested new weather guessers may be needed.

Hail and Farewell

In less than three hours, this year will come to an end. A new year will be ushered in. Both, barely recognizable in the smooth procession of time.

The first day, of a new year, holds considerable promise. It is the beginning of a new land waiting for discovery. We are the explorers. The adventures will be many. The disappointments and setbacks will test our character. Our focus, to make today a good day, and tomorrow a better day.

to light our path ahead

After our family celebration and sharing of kisses, we will settle into the quiet on this cold, wintry night. Our comfort, our love for one another. The closeness of our family, our strength. We were made better by the experiences of the past year. The new experiences of the coming year awaits. We believe we are ready.

May the new year be a good one, and one for making good memories.

Many blessings to all.

Winter On The Range

Snow. More snow. And, more snow.

It began snowing in the pre-dawn darkness, Wednesday morning. Three days of light snow. Not terribly much in accumulation, perhaps 3-4 inches by late Thursday afternoon. The cold, not too bitter, staying around 5° F/-15° C during the overnight, around 25° F/- 4° C during the daytime. The skies were partly cloudy at sunrise, this morning. Within a couple of hours, the clouds filled back in and began snowing again.

It does make for some pretty.

Wednesday morning: line shack weathering the snow (JN Ranch/North Ranch, Dec 26 2018)

returning home: wintry, foggy drive into the JN Valley (Dec 27 2018)

Christmastime: candles in the window (North Ranch, Dec 28 2018)

The snow is forecasted to end during the overnight, before returning on New Year’s Eve. The cold is expected to continue for another week.

Christmas Night

A slower, relaxed day. Not really.

It began early as any other day. Laurie had rounds, with three of her patients spending their holidays in the hospital. While she could have tasked it to one of her residents, Laurie said it was the least she could do. One had come into her care in a bad way; the other two, they couldn’t wait until after Christmas, let alone after New Year’s, for their procedures. When she was a young resident, Laurie often drew the short straw for rounds. Her supervising doc said taking on the rounds during the holidays would make her better. If he could see her today, he would be proud of Laurie leading her four residents on rounds – teaching them the finer points of dedication.

Once home, Laurie donned her chocolatier hat. The girls, back from the barn, warmed themselves by the fire. Once warmed, they poked around the kitchen for a quick breakfast. Andrea was giving her older sis, Madelyn, a walking tour of the house. The pups, Will and Jasmine, they were ready for their walks. A fast cup of coffee, and we would be away on the walk. Just another day at home.

Our dinner table was much more manageable this Christmas. My dad and Madelyn were our guests. Tara asked if we, the ‘rents, were wearing the Christmas socks she had gotten us. I said we were. Elizabeth said, “Don’t trust them, Tara.” It didn’t take long for us ne’er-do-wells to be off to the races when Tara checked to see. Madelyn said the three of us were bad.

With the glow of the crackling fire, our home was quieting. “Another great Christmas,” Andrea said softly. Laurie and I nodded in agreement. We continued to watch the dancing flames a little longer. “Hey, you are wearing your Christmas socks,” Andrea said smilingly.

“Aren’t you?” I replied.  Andrea showed us the red socks she was wearing. No Christmas designs, no winter designs.

We hope everyone had a blest Christmas.


Expedition Christmas

Two days from Christmas, little remained on the shopping list. The cold, brisk air certainly added to the charm.

Much of our shopping, this season, was done online. And, mostly for the home. When those items came, we began using them straight away. For the girls, we shopped for them while they were away. Those items that were delivered on a Friday or Saturday, we acted fast to keep them out of their sight. Equestrian related? Maybe.

It’s harder to shop for them during our shopping expedition. They are right there watching, applying their equestrian collaboration to observe. Distractions help, but we raised our girls to be smart and not to be distracted. The same can be said when they shop for the ‘rents. Generally, it’s three on three, but it can become five on one in a blink of an eye. “Shoo” becomes a popular word in our vocabulary.

Our favorite place to shop our expeditions are Old Colorado City (the west side of Colorado Springs) and Manitou Springs with their eclectic variety of shops. After getting parked, we started with a little window shopping. We made our standard stops at the kitchen gadget shop and a hardware store. To the casual shopper, both places seem to be highly disorganized. But if you’re looking for that certain something, they will likely have it.

We thought about taking an early lunch but decided on shopping first. The mandatory stops, two old book stores. Tara is our book hound and avid reader. She’ll read close to any genre, but prefers classic reads from Thomas Wolfe (You Can’t Go Home Again, Look Homeward), Tom Wolfe (Bonfire of The Vanities, The Right Stuff), Isaac Asimov (The Foundation Series), Ray Bradbury (Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451), among others. The others include JD Salinger, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf and Upton Sinclair.

a London-style used bookstore

front window: kitty on a book bed

Our window shopping included visiting a trio of art galleries. Most of the galleries, in Old Colorado City, specialize in Southwest Art. The gallery that drew our interest was one featuring a more contemporary palette. If one was to step inside our home, it is a comfortable retreat. Our prints, Hawaii. Our furniture, contemporary (wing chairs, sofa and loveseat). Our dining room table, vintage 1960s Danish walnut (handmade). Our area rugs, traditional Oriental medallion. Lamps, Tiffany-style. The gallery visit was mostly to glean ideas.

One of the more intriguing shops we visited was an antique store. While they’ve always been here, they did a facelift to their store. It is something you may find in a larger city, like Boston or NYC.

antiques, curiosity and charms

We didn’t find any curiosities, but we did spy a handsome roll-top desk (complete with hiding nooks) and a Duffner-Kimberly stained, leaded glass lamp. They sold a Handel lamp several months ago. They do have some nice pieces. We did not see any unusual pieces that comes with the warning, “Oh no … it’s not for sale. May I tease your eyes and heart with this instead.”

On this Christmas Eve, it is some quick wrapping of a few glitter items for the girls. My two favorite women, Laurie and Andrea, they said thank you and opted to wear their gifts right away. They wanted to know when I found the time to buy the champagne topaz. (It’s a direct buy from the mine.)

Later tonight, all the careful gift-wrapping will be undone.

And, much later, the ‘rents will watch the glow from the fireplace. Happy that our girls are happy.