Night Sky Wonder

Sunday night, I began a journey with my camera to attempt to capture that super blood wolf moon eclipse I had been reading and hearing about.  As we all know, an eclipse is when the shadow of the earth covers the moon.  A total eclipse is when that shadow completely covers the moon.  A super moon occurs when the full moon’s orbit is at its closest point to the earth and appears much larger than at any other time.  It appears red because although the moon is in Earth’s shadow, some sunlight still gets through and is reflected back as red due to the effect of our atmosphere.  The “wolf” according to some, goes back to Native Americans’ name for the January full moon.

Okay, so much for the science lesson!  Ha ha

I went outside early on and viewed the moon from my back yard.  Wow!  It really was big and bright.  I realized, however, since it was in the eastern portion of the sky, any viewing and picture taking would have be from my front porch.  Eh!  That would mean I would have to lay on my back on the hard front porch brick steps and hold my camera up, pointed high into the sky.

Around 10:45 pm or so, I grabbed my Canon and headed out front.  I grabbed one of my giant throw pillows and a towel and laid both on top of two steps.  Wrapped in my warm robe, beanie cap, gloves and warm socks, I began taking pictures of the first stages of the eclipse.  I was cold and it was really awkward laying on my back with my arms outstretched above me.

I still haven’t figured out how to use my Canon at night.  I am sure there are settings but unless there is someone standing next to me, showing me what they are, I am lost.  However, I found if I held down the shutter button lightly, the moon would come into good focus and then I had to snap that picture quickly or the image turned into a blurry bright spot!  And, I forgot to check the date and time initially, so the timestamps on some of the pictures are off.

First stage

Periodically, I had to gather up my stuff and head back in to warm up by the wood stove.  My fingers and face were the coldest.  It was in the teens (F) and the gusty wind made it feel a LOT colder.  Love that wood stove, folks!

Shadow moves in

Here are some snaps of the next stages:

 

 

 

Almost covered

And then, of course, that final little glimmer of light as the moon took on its reddish color.

Seriously blood red!

I cannot begin to even tell you how much I enjoyed doing this.  Being able to watch the eclipse evolve was just amazing and I stared in awe and wonder the whole time.  And how cool was it that this one night, after days of clouds, it was clear as a bell.  Even the stars were brighter than usual as if they wanted to contribute to the night sky’s glory.  With our nearby town and gas stations and other such light hogs, our sky is no longer the dark wonder it used to be.

So, what have you been doing lately?  I still spend a lot of my time looking outside from my deck or walking around my yard soaking everything in.  The birds are in abundance this year.  I even saw a little one that took me days to identify.  But, that will be another post.

Have a blessed day!  Take in the natural wonders that shout for your attention.  They are everywhere, no matter where you are.  Soak it in.  Enjoy as many moments as you can.  Fill your heart with it!  Breathe it all in.  Feel the joy!  It’s free!

Thanks be to the Lord for all His many blessings.  It humbles me.

 

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Meet Ella

This past Friday, both of my younger grandkids had a birthday.  Em turned 9 and Ro turned 7.  Two years apart, same birthday and they play really well together.  I love them dearly.

As some of you know, for the last several years I have been making Christmas gifts for different members of my family.  There are several posts here on my blog if you are curious to see what I have made in the past.  Anyway, a couple of months ago, I asked the two little ones if they wanted me to make them something this year.  Ro said he sure would like some more tie-dye tshirts.  Em quickly announced that she wants a stuffed elephant.  (I am thinking to myself “a stuffed elephant???”)  Hmmm.  I have never made anything like that before and had no idea how or where to even start.

So, I went on YouTube and searched for stuffed elephant instructions.  I found several that I wasn’t impressed with until I came across one that was the cutest ever.  The young lady who was showing how to do it had a pattern and instructions on her Etsy shop.  Here’s her link: Sarah

I printed out the pattern and cut it into the various parts, then taped the body of the elephant together.

Pattern

As you can see from butt to trunk, Ella is about 18″ long (close to 46cm).

Time to start cutting and sewing

 

Getting started!

 

Next, the pieces of the body had to be sewn together, with the tail tucked inside and some yarn added.  It was not as easy as I had hoped since each side of the body was not cut out exactly the same so there were some gaps in the machine sewn edges.  I went back and hand stitched those gaps.  We will call them little “boo-boos”.  Ha ha.  I had found some crystal-ly buttons to use for eyes and drew on some lashes.

Whew! Getting there!

Then, the final step was to attach the ears.  I did those by hand obviously.

Here she is! Lil Miss Ella

Isn’t this just the cutest thing ever?

All in all, this probably took me several hours since this type of craft is not in my wheelhouse at all.  But, I took it on and actually surprised myself.

I cannot wait to see the look on Em’s face when she opens her gift.

Father blesses us with so much.  My grandkids are one of the bigger ones.  And, how I have managed to create so many different things with my hands, I can’t even imagine.  He has blessed me with a lot of gifts.  It humbles me how very much He loves me and how very much He blesses me.  Such little things that most wouldn’t even consider  a blessing.  But these are huge!  The joy of giving, the joy of a child’s smile, the joy of every single blessed day that just overflows with abundance.  We are indeed all blessed in so many ways and that should fill us all with awe!

I hope you enjoyed meeting Ella.

 

 

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Ya Think?

The other day, hubby says, “I’m not sure we will have enough firewood”.  Of course, he says that every year and we always have plenty and a lot left over!  But, since it’s his job to make sure we have enough logs brought throughout the year, to cut those logs into workable “splittin” size and then split all that into firewood, I can understand.  I think.  In my previous post, there are some pictures of the “before” work got started, but I will place this one here to give you an idea:

Work to do

If you zoom in, you can see the split pile to the left and the logs and log sections that need to be split.

Fortunately, we had some help this year.  A young strong fellow who needed some cash to help pay his bills came over for a few days and helped gitter done.  Needless to say, we were grateful for the help and he was grateful for the opportunity!

The Process

Here is one of the rather large log sections ready to be split.  Needless to say, it certainly helps if you just happen to have the right equipment for the job!

BIG chunk o’wood!!

Once the guys were done, the pile had grown significantly and, since we had a LOT of rain in the forecast, hubby had to get a tarp over it.  He had offered to haul off an old pool cover a couple years ago, and it sure has come in handy for such things.  I would say the big pile is about 12-15 feet tall and at least 15 feet wide or more.

Covering it up

Of course, having a pile close to the deck makes it quite a bit easier to get it up onto the deck and into the house.  This will last four or five days.  Never had a wood stove?  Well, let me tell you what.  It takes a lot of wood every single day if you are burning 24/7!

Ready to burn!

Of course, once again, it is wonderful having equipment to haul the wood from one pile to another!

Moving the wood

With most of the logs split, the few remaining chunks can just sit there until time and desire permits to finish up.

Cleaned up and good to go!

I Praise the Lord for providing us with friends who “donate” the logs and those who help with the wood splitting.  He is ever so gracious to us all the year round with the beauty provided by His Creation that we daily enjoy to His Blessings so abundantly given.  Shout joyfully under the Lord, all the earth!  May our hearts rejoice in His Love!

So, I am pretty sure we will have enough firewood for this winter!  Ya think?  Ha ha

 

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Another Blessed Day

Today’s eggs

I just got finished washing off the eggs hubby brought in just now from the coop.  The largest and lightest is from Cinnamon.  She is a cream color with cinnamon dusted all over.

Pretty Cinnamon

The young Buff Orpingtons that we brought home in March are now teenagers and their eggs are the smaller brown eggs.  They have grown almost completely and are almost as big as the hens that we have had for years.

Our hens

If  you look back at a previous post when we first got all our little bitties   New babies  you can get caught up.

Young Blue Cochins

The chickens on the right are Blue Cochins.  Check out the furry feet!

Sorry about the fuzzy picture, but my tremors are kind of kicking in today.

It is such a beautiful day.  It has been very hot and humid (90s)  this summer until today.  It is only in the 60s today and very little humidity with a wonderful breeze.  Just in case you are curious though I have posted many pictures of our yard in a lot of my posts, this is what I see when I sit on my deck.  To my right is our pine grove.   If you zoom in on the maple to the right, you can see our bluebird house where two broods fledged this year!  They are all still here and will probably winter over in their house.

Our pine grove

 

Our wood yard

Shops and Coop

 

Michael swept through Thursday into Friday morning.  We only got a little over an inch and a half of rain, but the wind was a little gusty.  Once again, as we were with Florence, we were blessed to escape the horrific damage that so many other souls suffered from both of these horrible storms.

Since fall has finally come to our neck of the woods, fire wood is now the focus in our house.  I must admit that I am not too thrilled as much as I have been in the past.  The last two January’s, I was the wood carrier and lugging in five or six bags of wood up and down the deck steps every day would wear anyone out.  And, man does it ever get HOT in our house.  Plus, the dust and the wood shavings all over the house.  Sorry.  I enjoy being warm, but sometimes it is just a bit much for little me…….

Logs and Stacks

As you can see, there are logs to be cut up and wood to be split.

Ready to Burn

And the big pile of ready-to-burn wood to the left is from last winter which hubby was convinced would have been burned up back then.

The birds are busy at the feeders as always, but they seem busier than usual.  This morning, I saw every single one of our native species throughout the yard almost in one glance.  The hummingbirds are still here even!

Sweet little Hummer

I think I will experiment and leave those feeders out until I stop seeing them.  I read where migrating hummers will stop by even through November if they see a feeder.  How can they see them from up in the air?  I guess they just know!

Hmmm.  I guess that’s about it for now.  I wanted to share with you what’s going on here.  And, this is every day for me.  I am SO blessed with Father’s wonderful creation that shares itself and its beauty with me.  There is joy and entertainment and even some drama right here in my little haven, my blessed back yard.

Please take the time to enjoy what Creation offers.  Every moment there are hidden treasures just waiting to commune with you.  He who is Giver to all, Creator of all, Father of all would love to bless you.

God bless you!!!

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Florence Aftermath

Rivers are still flooding in North Carolina.  Some have started to recede; others have not.  It may not be until next week before they are down to flood stage!  The sewage, chemicals and debris that have washed into and up out of the rivers as they flooded have left an environmental disaster and health risk for many of our residents.  Most flooded houses will not be able to be lived in anytime soon, if ever again.  And keep in mind that it was only two years ago that a good percent of these same folks were flooded out just as badly by Hurricane Matthew.

One of my dear friends has a son in the Raleigh police department.  A few days ago, one of his superiors called  her son to see if he would be willing to volunteer for 10 days or so down in Wilmington.  He was and is there now.  His Alma Mater is there where he earned his degree in Criminal Justice.  I can only imagine the horrors and challenges he must be facing.  I look forward to hearing about his mission down there.  Well, I don’t know if “look forward” are the right words.

Disasters will continue around the world and they seem to be worsening and occurring more frequently.  Perhaps some may think that is because events are covered so well by the news these days that we simply hear about it more now than before.  Others may believe that this is the “signs of the end times”.  I believe it is simply the response of Creation to the sins of mistreatment by humans.  It could be climate change, since cycles occur on a regular basis.  But, taking all the facts/evidence of the effects of our actions on Nature,  I still think we had/have a lot to do with it.  This is not for debate because I do not claim to know the “truth” about that, simply my opinion as you have your right to yours.

I believe there are lessons to be learned here.  Not the “be prepared just in case” kind of lesson.  I think this is a good time for all of us to re-establish our communion with Our Lord.  Open up our hearts to His Spirit.  Regardless of what external events or influences may occur, the only effect they can have on us will depend on where we are in our relationship with Him.  Jesus said ” I am the way, the truth, and the life”   That is all we really need to know.  Following Him and the examples He set forth while He walked on this earth will create for us a much higher plane of existence (the Spirit Realm) and bring us to an awareness that what is here in this realm really doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.

I believe in being in and walking by the heart-led way.  When His Spirit is in communion with my spirit in my heart and I let that rule, I am in such a more peaceful state than when I let my mind rule.  I’ve talked about it before in other posts.  You can search for “heart-led” if you like.

May you find the heart-led way.  The path it will take you on will change your life forever.

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Florence has gone

Sunshine in the pines

The sun is out!  Shortly before noon, the clouds drifted north and there it was!  Although an occasional gust comes through every now and then, most of our area will be out of Florence’s influence soon.  Today, I put all of the bird feeders back out amongst our trees and all the yard ornaments and chimes.   We have been blessed.  A few tree branches here and there in the yard, a little water sitting in small puddles and that is all.

Now, our hearts go out to all the victims of this storm.  We have thousands in shelters, many frightened and evacuated from the soon to crest rivers reaching record-breaking peaks; support folks from Canada and all over the states coming here to help with responders working around the clock to rescue those who got stranded or need assistance; and those who lost their lives or their loved ones.  Many are without power and of those, help cannot even get to them.  Most of the coast is devastated due to the storm surge that deluged many towns and homes.  It will be a long time before anything will be normal again for many folks.

Many people in areas not as affected by the storm are opening their homes to those whose homes were damaged at the coast and in the areas with rivers flooding.  The shelters originally provided included some schools in our area.  But they are now needed so students can get back to their classrooms.   With rivers flooding communities up here in the Raleigh/Durham area, evacuations are occurring now.  As Florence moves north, she is pulling streams of moisture up from the ocean.  With the sunlight, the atmosphere is heating and mix all that together, pop up storms will occur.  More flooding up our way will happen and is.  It ain’t over yet, folks.

It is very uplifting to see so many compassionate people helping so many strangers in this time of need.  Churches are cooking meals and inviting anyone hungry to come and eat.  Collection places are filling up with donations of food, diapers, household needs, blankets and such.  Our local media is live at the coast, so evacuees can actually see the state of their homes.  They are also having a live broadcast fund raiser to raise money for all those in need.

This is life in North Carolina and we all know it.  When you hear a storm might be heading your way, you prepare and wait.  When the storm nears, you leave or hunker down.  While the winds and rain move over your house, you stay inside and pray.  When it seems to have abated, you wait some more.  When it is over, you bow your head in gratitude.

Then the aftermath has to be dealt with.  Any of you who have dealt with a major natural disaster knows what this means and what it is like.  For some of us, it is just simple clean-up.  For others, it is rebuilding your whole life all over again; it is finding help to do that; and it is getting over the nightmare that you just went through.

I pray for all of those who suffered from this storm.  I pray the Lord grants you Courage to face the days ahead, Strength to do what needs to be done, Faith to encourage you that He is with you, Peace towards one another, Patience while you wait to get what you need, and Compassion to all who are suffering.

We are all on this planet together, regardless of beliefs, opinions or persuasions.  May we all realize that.  May He who holds this world in His Hands grant us His Mercy.

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Florence Moves Slowly

Florence at 4pm

We slept through last night although, to be honest, I expected not to.  As you can see, even though it has been several hours since landfall, Florence is moving very slowly.  That is not a good thing.  The bands of rain that you see in the image are not going to stop any time soon.  It could be tomorrow night before the heavy rain stops around here.  ( I live SE of Raleigh a little ways)

Our neighborhood has had a few big branches fall; one neighbor’s tree split at its crotch and fell on the roof of his porch.  They are elderly, so the guys will certainly take care of that as soon weather permits.  Right now, it is raining hard.  We haven’t checked our large capacity (11 in) rain gauge, but it looks from here like we have had over 6 inches so far.  The wind is probably steady at 35-40 with gusts upwards of 50mph or more.  We don’t have a wind speed gauge.  Yet.    Around 11:00 AM, our generator was started and thankfully, I can type this online.

Elsewhere, there has been horrific flooding and that will continue on into Tuesday or Wednesday.  Our own river will reach flood stage in a day or two and overflow its banks.  We do not live in that flood area.  With the storm surge that is still going on at the coast because of the continuing impact of hurricane force winds, the ocean water is pushing up into all the rivers in our state that empty there.  Picture a giant plunger pushing that water up-river.  Then, add to that all the rain flowing into the creeks and streams that empty into those rivers.  Several cities on those rivers are or soon will be flooded.  I mean flooded.  Hurricane Matthew dealt a mean blow two years ago, but this will be much worse.  Look up New Bern, NC, which has two rivers flowing through it.  The flooding is terrible there and it is raining hard still.

There have been three storm related deaths thus far.  Two were a mother and her infant child that died when a tree fell on their house.  The father was rushed to the hospital.  My heart sank when I heard that.  So very sad.

Many people don’t realize that the combination of long duration heavy rain and high winds can create a perfect scenario for ground saturated tree roots to simply let go and fall.  A lot of people opted to “wait” out the storm, including some of our family members that live at the coast.  So far they are safe, but this thing is not going to be over for our part of the state for hours, maybe into Sunday!

I took all my feeders in last night.  Thankfully, there are a lot of seeds still on the ground and my sweet little birds are finding them.  I wonder what they do when the wind and rain are so bad.  Surprisingly, I see some flying around amongst the trees often.

Well, I guess that brings you up to date so far.  I am not sure when I will post again, but it helps me to do this…….

Take care, God bless you and Praise our Father, who watches over us as He does!

 

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