Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20th, 2011

We surprise a sweet herd of grazing deer!

It is Monday, and we have an early afternoon appointment in Oliver.  We set off to travel the Richter Pass Highway.  It is not a road for dallying, but I have the camera 'at the ready' and manage to snap a few pictures of the Lower Similkameen Valley before we start to ascend the Richter Pass, over the mountains into the
Okanagan Valley.....Charles notes the lack of run-off in the Similkameen River, and shakes his head at the thought of the results of a sudden hot spell which would bring the mountain streams in a race to fill the river bed.

Before we make the turn to Osoyoos we pass Mount Chapaka, straddling the border between British Columbia  and Washington, and remember visiting Charles' sister and her husband where they were camped on the far side of the mountain, fishing at a lovely little remote lake.

We speed along through the Richter Ranch 

and I catch a picture of the old, winding take-it-easy road that we used in our early days in the Similkameen, and upon which my prairie bred father clung to his seat when he accompanied Charles to a meeting at the other end of the old mountain 'trail'.

we pass Spotted Lake, which is looking quite colourful, and and beautiful with it's white ringed circles of different hues

Over the top, and into the Okanagan Valley, and Osoyoos in the distance, which is 
where we turn north to Oliver

Business finished, Charles very sweetly abandons the fast highway and we turn to go up into the hills, 
through the Willowbrook community and every onwards to come out at Twin Lakes and there, just around the corner, is the construction line-up!!!  But what a lovely drive we have had
on this quiet country road.

There are lots of small holdings along with larger ranches and rocky outcroppings

Eventually we come to the perimeters of the White Lake Radio Astrophysical Observatory

whereupon a sudden snow squall sweeps down upon us and our first pictures of the
Observatory are shrouded in mist and snow

the storm carries on its way. the sky clears and we are able to see the large dishes which scan the heavens for signs and portents.

We note that besides being the home of this famous observatory the land also shares accomodation with
the Sage Thrusher, and we keep our eyes peeled, but see none

We continue along the road to Twin Lakes

and as we turn a corner we come upon the most delightful scene -
a dozen white tail deer, grazing the tender new green grass, 
quite oblivious to us, except for one curious doe who raised her head
in friendly fashion.

I am so excited about seeing these lovely creatures and we linger, watching them feed.

Eventually we think about the timing of the construction line-up and continue on our way past the golf course, where once we enjoyed eternal frustration.

Into the breech once more, waiting for the long line of cars to move past the mammoth machinery, through the dust and the rocks on the road.  I spy a hawk, hovering overhead, and try to get a decent picture,
but alas, to no avail.

At home our visiting son, David, captures a picture of a sharp shinned hawk who has come to terrorize the
little birds and stayed to pose.

as well as two blackbirds, sitting side by each on a distant branch.

All in all, a really perfect day, - most satisfactory for my soul.  The kind you say 'thanks' for......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

 ABC Wednesday

The letter this week is N, which stands for Nebula

Stellar Spire in the Eagle Nebula

The Eagle has risen: Stellar spire in the Eagle Nebula

Appearing like a winged fairy-tale creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula.  The soaring tower is 9.5 light years, or about 90 trillion kilometres high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the nearest star.
Stars in the Eagle Nebula are born in clouds of cold hydrogen gas that reside in chaotic neighbourhoods where energy from young stasrs sculpts fantasy-like landscapes in the gas.  The tower may be a giant incubator tor those newborn stars.  A torrent of ultraviolet light from a band of massive, hot, young stars is presently eroding 
this fabulous pillar..information from the internet

.A great place to go to see and explore heavenly creations such as this amazing nebula is The Galaxy Zoo, and a visit to this link will introduce you to a tutorial on ways to assist astronomers  in their discovery of the great array of fabulous objects in our universe.  

For other great interpretations of the letter N take the space ship over to ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and her kindly crew of helpers.