Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the category “Nature”

Starry, Starry Nights


I do so like the moon in all its phases. And the twinkly stars. And the shining planets. And all those flashy meteor showers. Oh, and I do like a good old eclipse, be it sun or lunar.

This summer I have diligently tried my best often a couple of times to venture in the wee hours to catch celestial wonder action.

I am more determined to catch a full moon, especially super moons, being that are usually breathtaking and enter the night stage with much aplomb. The past couple of years has seen a ratchet in my moon madness. My dedication is just short concern. Werewolves frighten the socks off me, so that is not an issue. I just really, like the moon.

The hubs ever happy to find a gift that brings delight (I’m not huge on stuff, being a minimalist) gave me a moon calendar this year for Christmas (not knowing I had picked one up from the Dollar Store). I was, over the moon, with his present. Especially when I heard what lengths he went to purchase it. He went on line. This from a man who owns a shirt that says “I hate cyberspace.” This is a love of true depth and devotion.

My backyard moon scape is not as profound, but still worth a watch

I have even subscribed to The Farmer’s Almanac web version to make sure I don’t miss any cool moon and planet action.

Like the planet alignment. You caught that, didn’t you? Wow! Right? I convinced the hubs to sit with on lawn chairs on our driveway and peer up into the night sky at about 4 am to catch this once in a lifetime event. Well, the next time it happens I might be too old to even care about celestial happenings, so I wanted this sighting to count.

There is nothing like getting up what seems like the middle of the night to sit outside bundled up and slightly cold and definitely sleepy, to wait for something that might show up or then again might not. I hear elk hunters experience this. No shooting is involved in star gazing unless it’s a star that took a wrong turn.

I followed the BBC Science Focus, suggested best time to see the 2022 alignment of between 3:39 a.m. and sunrise at 4:43 a.m. on the morning of 24 June 2022. At 4:30 a.m. the show began. An hour of stargazing in the early morn is one thing, but having the neighbor catch us at it is another. When we pointed to the sky at the planets queing as if waiting for their early Starbucks, he nodded and acknowledged the event with a “Cool” before going off wherever he goes at 4:30 in the morning.

Planetary alignment. Check it out:

Couldn’t quite see Mercury, yet I hear it’s a shy planet

July’s sky sponsored a super moon—the Buck Moon, the largest moon of 2022. Another required early morn venture. At 2:30ish of the a.m. that moon did rise up out the southeast as splendid as a Banksy rendering. Super, yes. More like superlative. The fact that super moons are more than once in a lifetime do not lessen their appeal.

Hey, it’s not all about you

Here it is August. What’s on the menu? The Pleiades Meteor Showers, of course. And of course they are best seen at “you want me to get up at 3 a.m.?” This time the hubs said give him the details later like after the sun and he was up.

The first night I struggled up at 2:30 a.m. Just in case the show started early. Not sure how to watch for meteors, and being sleepy, I stood up and leaned my back against the truck and watched. Nothing but a crick in the neck and an overpowering desire to go back to bed. The hubs was not impressed by my meager details.

What I hoped for…

Three nights later I found myself awake at 4 a.m. and this time I had a plan. I bundled up and went to the backyard and climbed into my faithful hammock. This is the best way to watch for anything in the night sky because if there is a starry night no show I can take a comfortable nap. A minute or three goes by. Wait—yes, a falling star. Or maybe that was a star taking a dive off of Venus, since it seemed to ever so slowly dribble downwards. Not too impressive. I’ll wait some more. Ooh—what’s that zipping across the sky with such purpose? Suddenly I feel like an extra from October Sky watching Sputnik threaten my American democracy. Okay, that was entertaining. Another minute or two. The hammock is dampish. I’m sleepy. Hungry, too. Wait—up in in the sky…Is it a falling star? Is it a satellite? A zipping vertical flash—it’s a meteor!

Fulfilled checklist. One lone meteor does not constitute the dizzying scurry of meteors I envisioned, but I’m hungry and the hammock is dampish.

and what I pretty much viewed.

This time the hubs met me at the door as I returned. What must he think about this nocturnal sojourning of mine? He’s happy that I’m happy. We read and go back to bed. I forgot to eat something. So glad for bananas on the counter.

The last super moon of the year will be Thursday, August 11th. The Sturgeon Moon will appear at the very acceptable hour of 6:30 p.m. Thank you. Consider this as my RSVP.

Nothing fishy about appreciating a full moon

And here it is September and the famous Harvest Moon is scheduled for Saturday the 10th. All this week we have watched fill in from a glowing crescent to a radiant cheese ball in the sky. It already is impressive. I am looking forward to its full prominence Saturday night.

Are you over the moon about celestial night viewing? What’s your favorite night sky item?

Neil Young helps to usher out the summer with its moon glorious adventures:

Age of Aquarius (kind of)


It’s a bit squirrelly lately…


Not sure if we have adopted a squirrel or if she has adopted us.

It began with me spotting a medium grey squirrel bounding across the lawn. A somewhat unusual sight. Deer are more frequent visitors. Squirrel activity diminished with dogs moving into the neighborhood.

Or so we thought.

Upon spotting the bounding squirrel I mustered up my squirrel call. You know the one, that high-pitched ch-ch-ch the do. Yeah. She was impressed and came leaping right over to me. She look fairly surprised to find me instead of a swaggering grey suited critter of interest.

Since then she has shown little fear of hanging out in the yard with us. Costco is making a tidy profit from the bags of peanuts the hubs buys for her.

She will cautiously approach us and grab a peanut from our fingers. Rolling and measuring its worth in her mouth she will then deposit it in some part of the yard. Digging like a little terrier she pats it in place with dainty satisfaction and traipses over for more. I split them open because once open she tastes that peanuttyness and snacks right on the spot, inches from whern indoor th b f the f federal gregg geg for gu the gggy g of b no un noun bun nt in n ink in b min in see see e sawwwww swe wewew es swe de xmewwe swe was e I sit on the bench. Syringa, does truly work for peanuts.

Now we have a couple of new additions. A tiny sable squirrel who discovered the neighbor’s squirrel proof red ffcc ccfc f fcc cd c cc bird feeder could not deter him. He used our fence as a diner freeway until trashing the bird feeder in less than two weeks. He has moved on the freebie peanuts laid out for Syringa. She’s having none of it.

There tussles and chitterings range across the lawn and through the lily leaves. Entertaining turf wars at its best. We call this little guy Skitter, since he moves as fast as a drop of water on the pancake skillet. He’s too fast to snap a photo.

And a third squirrel has appeared. Yet, this one is a puzzlement. I notice it is small with characteristic squirrel gray coloring yet its eye rings are white like a chipmunk and so is its tummy. The legs are brownish. A hybrid squirrel? We’ve dubbed this one Buddy, as in “Hey, Buddy—what are you?”

The cx bbcgf he are beginning to vacate the area for warmer climates so there is less action at the feeder. On the other hand, the colder weather is ramping up squirrel activity as they gather nuts and bury them all over the yard. I find peanuts in my plant containers, in flower beds, and all over the lawn. How will they find them all?

Syringa will come over and spread out on the concrete like a dog when we are hanging out back.
Buddy infiltrating Syringa’s snack tray. Strange markings for a squirrel, wouldn’t you say?

National Moon Day


It’s iris time in the garden!


National Poetry Month: “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns


National Poetry Month: William Wordsworth


Friday Film Finds:


At the end of the week I’m ready to kick back with a bowl of popcorn with a remote in hand.

As much as I need to read, there are times when settling back to watch a movie is the ticket to totally unwinding from the week’s stress.

I have discovered I have lost my interest in films that are steeped in human dramas—maybe it’s because I’m living my own. Big, raucous CGI flicks, like the Marvel world offers, are okay for mindless escapism. What I discovered that engages my interest most are nature documentaries. I subscribe to PBS mainly for their Nature program.

Our library carries an impressive array of DVD and Blu-Ray offerings, especially in nature shows. Browsing the stacks one day I discovered an amazing series:

A definite WOW!

From the library catalog description:

Narrated by David Tennant, this exhilarating adventure was filmed over four years and forty countries with help from camera-carrying birds, drones, paragliders and remote-countrol microflight planes. This wondrous aerial spectacle will make your spirits soar!

It is indeed exhilarating to be so up close to birds in flight and to witness behaviors not easily accessible by humans. The dedication and ingenuity of the film crew is certainly impressive.

As a Whovian, it was an added bonus listening to David Tennant’s Scottish-infused narration. I half expected the Tardis to be spied among the migrating flocks of geese.

Film Faves:

  • Extras: the behind the scenes of how the series was filmed
  • the gathering of the flamingos, acres and acres of the delicate pink birds was visually stunning
  • murmurations—how starlings swarm and cavort in the sky
  • penguins-it’s hard to go wrong with penguins

I suppose there is some therapeutic aspect to watching the life and times of animals, especially birds. There is wonder and appreciation for the natural world. The joy and satisfaction of knowing there is so much beauty and marvel in the world that is available with a click of the remote is indeed a welcome balm after a long, long week.

What is your animal of choice to watch?

A Dearth of Birds


Our once busy front yard bird feeder has grown silent. Usually there is a mix of winter residents such as nuthatches, chickadees, and other feathered friends who visit. Not this year.

Starting late summer we noticed decreased bird activity. Daily sightings dwindled until only ground feeders like the doves would appear. There was a flurry of pine siskins at one point but they are long gone.

We have missed our birds and are perplexed by their disappearance. Research shows bird traffic in some areas has diminished. Are birds deciding to isolate as well?

My solution? A faux bird. It permanently perches at the feeder and almost fools me that our birdie friends are somewhere out there.

Happy is the bird the bird that perches in wait of friends and feed

Anyone else missing their usual mix of backyard birds?

The -ing of things


Spates of good weather have beckoned me out into the backyard where much needed work is required: weeding, thinning, raking, mulching. All those -ing type of tasks that result in another set of -ings such as lower back spasm-ing.

However–

There was one surprise -ing:

I planted some bulbs last year in my patio container and “whoa!” I exulted upon this sudden blooming. No weeding, mulching, raking required. Just appreciating.

Now, that’s my kind of garden-ing.

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