Friday, May 31, 2024

It Is Over...

5/28/24 Showers Across the Valley - image ©Bruce A. Morrison

It's official now...the Drought in Iowa has finally ended.  No exclamation point punctuating the end of that opening statement yet, but I am happy none-the-less.

It's been a bit of a mixed bag of course, nothing is ever straight forward or simple.  The weather systems in the middle of the country have come with a cost...flooding and damaging storms in many areas.  Iowa lost the best part of two small communities in the SW/Central part of the state from tornadoes.  Its been bad elsewhere too.  

Its been a bit of a race with area farmers trying to get crops in during the melee...the neighbor just got his beans in behind us yesterday afternoon.  I was kidding him a bit and said he still had a couple hours before the next rain comes and he said he didn't think he could disk and plant another 300 acres before then!  He'll be looking for another hole in the storms like so many others I guess.

5/28/24 Showers in the "Neighborhood" - image ©Bruce A. Morrison 

Its been a real joy "here" to see everything as it "used to be"...the pastures were mostly burned late last winter and early this spring.  We left the NW quarter unburned to help the invertebrates out...had a bonus surprise there just two days ago - our 3rd Prairie Skink in 22 years!!!  We had our 2nd Prairie Skink outside the sheep barn in the south pasture late last summer...that really gave me hope that maybe they could make a come-back.  Now I'm optimistic!  Yes, even this pessimist is now optimistic!  What a little rain can do for a person, right?  Our first Prairie Skink here came the first or second week we moved here in the Fall of 2002...we discovered it in the mouth of the farm cat that came with the place!  Ouch!  Was so sad to see that.  

Red-headed Woodpecker on the acreage - image ©Bruce A. Morrison 

We do not allow cats out side here unless supervised anymore...we are just down to one now and she is my studio kitty...I'm afraid that little rescued lady is indoors bound.  Don't get me wrong...I have had cats since I was a little kid, but I've witnessed first hand what they do outdoors.  I revisited a report I read many years ago on was reinstated recently due to the precipitous fall in the world bird population.  Cats are the LARGEST documented cause in the drop in the population of birds.  Larger than habitat loss even - very significant!  And I will be witness to the significance of that here - we have lots of birds...more than we used to before bringing all the cats inside...lots more!  And they are more successful in raising their broods than I have witnessed in past years.

Anticrepuscular Rainbow - 5-8-2024 - image ©Bruce A. Morrison 

This last day of May marks an interesting month here, its been quite eventful really.  We get rainbows here fairly often each year...except during the drought when it's not raining of course!  We had a rainbow on the 8th of May that was kind of special in it's own way - a rainbow accompanied by ANTICREPUSCULAR RAYS. I have only witnessed Crepuscular and Anticrepuscular rays 6 or 7 times in my life - and ALL of them Out Here. Most people have either never seen them before or just didn't realize what they were witnessing.
Here's a WIKIPEDIA Quote for a brief explanation - "Anticrepuscular rays, or antisolar rays, are meteorological optical phenomena similar to crepuscular rays, but appear opposite the Sun in the sky. Anticrepuscular rays are essentially parallel, but appear to converge toward the antisolar point, the vanishing point, due to a visual illusion from linear perspective."
Fun huh!
Northern Lights from the North Pasture - 5-10-2024 - image ©Bruce A. Morrison 
But the 
Crème de la crème was the Aurora Borealis on May 10!  A solar storm so active that the Aurora was visible into Mexico and the South Pacific!!!
I was so fortunate I got photographs from the north pasture here...even luckier I went out and set up when I did.  It was still daylight; that civil twilight when you can still make things out but the darkness is closing in.  And there they were!  Spiking high and moving around.  I had to be quick and probably got the best of the evening - the shot above shows the foreground still discernible and the moon off to the west as the Aurora danced on the horizon!  The next 45 minutes was great fun but I still prefer this image, as the rest had the foreground only as a blank black canvas.
Well May was great for's to June being better!
Have a great rest of your Spring out there and always - be good to one another...we are not all the same, yet we are all from the same Maker and Loved Equally.  Again - Be Good To One Another.
Until next time...



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