Monday, August 29, 2016

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Debbie and I took a nice long drive up state 162, the gravel road from Avon to Liberty.  We were going slowly, looking for wildlife, so it took about three hours.  We went to the highest pass on the road, just over 6,500' high (and just to the left of the label “James Peak” on the map at right).  The only mammal we saw was one perky red squirrel, but we saw a lot of birds.  The avian highlight was over a dozen kestrels, some at quite close range.  We also saw a golden eagle, gliding very high above us along a ridge, a lone cedar waxwing high in the dead crown of a spruce, a gaggle of turkeys, and a kingfisher very focused on fishing.

Later in the day I cooked our dinner: chicken with a raspberry glaze (yummy!) and roast vegetables (at left, just before they went into the oven).  There were quartered Brussels sprouts, carrots, and parsnips.  To keep the sodium levels down for Debbie, I tossed these in olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and some Mrs. Dash.  I actually liked them better this way than our previous versions with pepper and garlic salt, but Debbie misses the garlic.  I'm going to have to find a way to get garlic in there without the salt...

This morning we had a beautiful not-quite-new moon hanging just over the Wasatch Mountains to our east.  The sky was clear enough that I could still see many stars, despite the bright moonlight.  Best of all: the earthshine illuminating the “dark” part of the moon was particularly bright – so bright I could make out many features even with the naked eye.  Generally this happens when the albedo (reflectivity) of the earth is particularly high because there are lots of clouds.  Looking at a current satellite photo (right), there is indeed a greater than average cloud cover.

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