2014 was the International Year of Family
Planning, the International Year of Family Farming, The International Year of
Agriculture, the International year of Small Island Developing States and the
International Year of Crystallography. Now that it is 2015, you never have to
think about these things again.
2015 is the International Year of Evaluation,
the International Year of Soils and the International Year of Light so start
thinking about these things.
I know that the weather is getting very cold now and I thought I would share a recipe that Drew loves at this time of the year. I am in the process of making this for dinner tonight. I just hope everyone will try this recipe and enjoy it also.
Ham and Bean Soup
8 cups of water
1-1lb bag of northern white beans
1 ham shank bone
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon powder mustard
2 bay leaves
2 cups chopped ham
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
In a big soup pot put beans in 8 sups of boiling water for 1 hour. Then add ham shank bone, carrots, onion, garlic, mustard and bay leaves. Also fill pot with more water bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour. After the hour take out the ham shank bone then add chopped ham and white pepper, I also take off the ham that is left on the bone and add to the soup. Let that cook for another half an hour and your soup is ready to serve.
This soup is a bit of a process but it is all worth it. It is also a good idea for you ham bone after your holiday dinner when you don't know what to make with it. Enjoy the recipe!
I like photographing green flashes at sunset. Tonight's sunset was particularly rich for a couple of reasons. The Sun set behind a particularly nice set of mountains resulting in a long series of green flashes with occasional hints of blue and purple. I set my camera to burst mode and took 65 frames. Since my camera takes about 5 frames per second, this corresponds to a little under 11 seconds of video. I animated them all so you can watch it roughly in real time. Sorry for the slight camera shake...the battery in my remote shutter release died so I had to push the shutter release by hand!
I went out again last night (Saturday, December 27th) and did some more with Comet Lovejoy. I was out a little later so the Moon was very low and even set while I was observing. The comet was again an easy naked eye object and very nice through 8x42 binoculars. I set up my trusty Canon 60D and iOptron Skytracker to take some more photos.
I took a bunch of 30 second exposures...hope to go back and stack them. Anyway, I just want to post this one since a plane flew right by the comet during one of them and I thought that was kind of fun.
Here is a longer 120 second exposure that brings out the tail. The small globular cluster M79 is to the upper right of the comet.
Finally, I put the 35mm lens on my camera and did a 30 second exposure so you can see where the comet is in the bigger picture.
I went out tonight just outside my townhome (not to Saguaro National Park). The Moon is brighter and I have more light pollution here. I was not able to pic out the comet naked eye from here but it was easy in binoculars. Comets are notoriously fickle but it is forecast to brighten in the couple of weeks and I hope it gets to naked eye visibility from here. It is also climbing higher in the sky which should help, especially for those farther north (it tops out around 30 degrees above the horizon in Tucson right now, take one degree off that for every degree farther north you are!)
For better and for worse, I travel a lot the next couple of weeks and am trying to figure out how much equipment I can take with me to keep track of this comet on my trip!
Every Wednesday, Madame Zoltar responds to your queries and comments in her blog, Dear Madame Zoltar. Are the stars in your favor? What to do with that 401K? Find out by sending your questions and thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
"The famed Bald Eagles from Decorah, Iowa are back on their nest and ready to start a new family! World famous and live streamed via the internet by the Raptor Resource Center, anyone can view the parents raise their eaglets from egg to fledglings from the comfort of their homes. Using infrared cameras and microphones, the eagles can be seen around the clock during the nesting season, which starts in January or February and runs till June."
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