--Things I Have Learned

Tisdale - August 11, 1999
By: Timothy W. Shire

Getting older should mean that the experiences one has had should give a person more insight into things but though this seems to be the case I have discovered that with that insight all that has come along are better and more difficult questions.

As we sat at supper last night at the UGG grand opening in Valparaiso the Western sky had darkened up with a dark rain cloud that seemed to over Melfort and clearly in a short while it would reach us. My wife and I set out on a walk when we got home and I pointed out that rain was imminent and she carried her umbrella just in case. But alas, after waltzing around our neighbourhood for some time we were on our way home as seen in the picture above and as you can see the expected rain was tracing off toward the South. Certainly rain was coming, but not to us. I had ignored the prevailing wind which was from the North West and it was carrying the shower well to the South of us. So: rain clouds are borne on the wind if the wind is tracking in a specific direction so will the shower. Seems obvious but, it is a simple important thing to know.

How do you know if a case of peaches are good or not? This lady sitting at supper last night explained if you want to know if the peaches are of good quality or not for canning or eating smell the aroma. If there is no good peach smell look elsewhere but if there is a strong peachy smell you have excellent peaches. Trust your nose.

A great flower garden does not to be complicated nor does it need to have wimpy petunias. This great looking display consists mostly of fragrant and innocent pansies. Pansies are simple hardy little flowers and come in a huge variety of colours and patterns. In a nearby yard we were equally impressed with simple "Sweet peas" that were planted beside a shed crawling up the wall and filling the air around with their marvellous aroma.
Last year many gardeners had monster sunflowers in them but the cool spring temperatures deterred folks from planting many this year but here is garden that is dominated by these overgrown flowers that produce their tasty seeds.

In our neighbourhood we have a lot of little clever birds who sing and fearlessly dash about. They are a variety of warbler. Looking a lot like a sparrow on a diet, these marvellous creatures embellish our lives and keep the bushes fluttering. I am not sure what I have learned about this, but I am working on it.

Below is Mrs. Bruce's yard seven miles East and a mile
South. She has a green house business and a huge raspberry patch. Her riding mower broke down and now she has eight hours of steady push mowing each week to keep up the large yard. But she and her family pitch in and do the job. The composite picture below give you a glimpse of the yard during a shower Monday afternoon. I suspect there is also something to be learned about this scene.
As the earth churns its way around the sun and in turn the sun itself is charging along through the galaxy in its own orbit we space travellers encounter a lot of debris. Remnants of broken or left over pieces from planet construction projects. Most of these pieces are pretty small, but when then hit the earth's atmosphere they are heated, vapourise and give off a burst of light. Shooting stars, falling stars are some of the names we give meteorites. Tonight, tomorrow night and Friday night we will be working our way through a belt of this material and if the sky is clear you can watch as these little missiles consume themselves in our protective blanket of air that extends up from the earth's surface to almost eight miles. Here is a little fact that might be useful in understanding the process. After midnight each night as you look up into the sky you are looking into the path of the earth's travel, that is, you are looking forward into our orbit, after noon each day as we look up we are looking into space, into the area where our planet has just passed, as we look backward in the direction we are moving. For the best view of the meteor shower watch after 1:00 AM and enjoy the show.