Observe times three …

FrizzText’s weekly challenge is now at “O“.

1. Observe.

I saw this guy at the Museum. He told me it takes him two hours to get his hair looking like this:

  1. Flat iron
  2. Blow dry
  3. Hair spray
  4. Hair glue called “Got2B

I have no idea how he sleeps…

It takes two hours to get his hair looking like this

It takes two hours to get his hair looking like this

2. Observations:

Earlier this year in my post Unique” my blogging buddy Tara at The Good Villager identified the stick-like plant on my patio as an orchid cactus (Epiphyllum)

This past winter it only produced one flower.

On March 11 2013 my heart sank when I saw these bumps on one of the unhappy looking stick-like stems. I didn’t know whether it was going to be a bunch of friendly flowers or an infestation of a nasty bug…

March 11, 2013 @1:52 pm

March 11, 2013 @1:52 pm

Two-and-a-half weeks later…

The plant is so top-heavy the only way to lift the stem off the ground was to put  a brick underneath it.

March 29 2013, @1:42pm

March 29 2013, @1:42pm

Last Saturday…

April 6 2013 @ 5:02 pm

April 6 2013 @ 5:02 pm


April 8 2013 @ 1:35 pm

April 8 2013 @ 1:35 pm

There are another twelve buds just about to bloom.

3.  Observatory.

Mr F and I went to Julian in the Cuyamaca Mountains (156 miles south-east of Los Angeles at 4,235 feet) for the Easter weekend.

Julian’s high elevation provides clean air, blue skies and four distinct seasons.

Spring is generally mild with a profusion of daffodils  

there are about five varieties of daffodil in this clump

There are several varieties of daffodils in this clump

Julian, which was founded in the 1870’s gold rush, is a well-known apple growing area. There are four bakeries in town all baking and serving apple pie.

After our three-and-a-half mile hike up to Cuyamaca Peak – [elevation 6,512 feet  which I’ll describe in another post] – we treated ourselves to a shared warm piece of apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

Full disclosure: it was so delicious that we ordered another piece, and took a pie home. 😀

We stayed at a B and B called The Observer’s Inn,

nestled in the beautiful oak and pine-covered mountains of Julian, is a peaceful, 4.5 acre retreat for those who appreciate nature and wish to rejuvenate their spirits.

Michael and Caroline Leigh

Proprietors of the Observers Inn: Michael and Caroline Leigh

It wasn’t just a peaceful place. Mike, who has been fascinated by astronomy since high school, has built an Observatory just below his house, “with a roof that slides open“, and offers tours of the night sky to guests.

The breathtaking starry nights make for the perfect location of our astronomical observatory which houses several research grade telescopes.

Mike Leigh began our tour outside the Observatory using his laser-light to point out the major stars and constellations in the twinkling night sky.

I have never seen such a clear night sky.   I now know how to find the Big Dipper, and the North Star.

Once inside the Observatory he explained that there are three types of telescopes: refractor, reflecting and optical.

He has four telescopes. His largest is a 16 inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain LX200 which [according to an article I read on the dining room wall] is the same model used in National Observatories of small countries.

He thinks his fourteen inch is perfect because “you have to know the night sky and find the star yourself” whereas the twelve-inch and sixteen-inch are computerized:  punch in the correct codes and they’ll find the stars.

When we looked through his telescopes we saw an open star cluster, a globular cluster, nebulae in the shape of spirals, and a rainbow.

To see some photos taken at the Observatory click here.

Mike speaks very fast and with much passion. A few interesting bits I picked up during his talk:

  • The speed of light is 186,282.4 miles per second in a vacuüm.
  • Light travels seven-and-a-half times round the earth in one second.
  • Theoretically we don’t know what galaxies look like because things we see in the sixteen inch telescope took three to four billion years to reach our eyepiece.
  • At the speed that the Space Shuttle flies – 18,500 mph – it would take us humans 160,000 years to get to our closest star (which is Alpha Centauri)
  • There are 400 billion stars in the Milky Way.
  • One grain of beach sand = 5,000 galaxies
  • Around Thanksgiving this year we’ll be able to see the comet of our lifetimes. CalledIson“, it is predicted to be spectacular and very bright, and so close to earth that we will be able to see it with our naked eyes.

  • Ison will be much more powerful than Halley’s Comet the best known of the short-period comets, which is visible from Earth every 75–76 years.
  • Click here to read NASA’s explanation.

We’re definitely going to go back to see Ison.

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
This entry was posted in America, Photography, The Natural World and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Observe times three …

  1. larooby says:

    Knowing so much more about the cosmos and our relationship to it than most people, as Mr Leigh does, makes for fascinating conversations and a rare perspective on just how ‘insignificant’ this tiny slice of time in which we live really is…

    • dearrosie says:

      The numbers and the distances are almost unfathomable: our galaxy, the Milky Lane, has 400 Billion stars, and one tiny grain of sand contains 5,000 galaxies, and the light that reached the eyepiece of the telescope shone when dinosaurs roamed the earth so we’ll never know what’s happening there now.

  2. What a flower jackpot! No wonder that branch is heavy.

    Hmm, that apple town looks like my kinda place – putting it on my list 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Do you remember that last time it bloomed there were only three flowers and they weren’t all concentrated on the end. I hope the “branch” won’t snap when all the flowers open. Its going to be a magnificent sight.

      Julian is a quaint little town. The post was already too long so I didn’t mention what a relief that there aren’t any fast food chains like MacDonalds, KFC, or BurgerKing, or neon signs or even a mall, and for entertainment you can take a tour in a horse and buggy

  3. kz says:

    wow! love the transformation from buds to flower! amazing 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi kz
      it’s an amazing plant and so hardy when you see the holes that the snails made on the “branch”.
      I’ll post photo updates in the next weeks

  4. Thanks for sharing the three unique and wonderful stories. My favorite is your trip at Julian. Beautiful place with friendly people and yes, apple pies that taste so delicious. Can wait to see your post about the comet when it does happens.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello IT,
      I’m glad you enjoyed my three stories. Julian is a quaint little town, and the apple pies are really good!
      The post was already too long so I didn’t mention that there aren’t any fast food chains like MacDonalds, KFC, or BurgerKing, or neon signs or even a mall, and for entertainment you can take a tour in a horse and buggy.
      Remember that the comet is supposed to be visible with the “naked” eye around Thanksgiving this year so we can all hopefully see it.

  5. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Rosie, I’d so like to visit Ison and to meet Mike and his wife and hear him explain the universe to me. How exciting for you! I’ve never looked through a telescope and viewed the night sky.

    And how exciting also to have that cactus orchid bloom. So beautiful. Peace.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Dee,
      You’d really enjoy meeting Mike. It was thrilling to look through the telescopes. Don’t forget that the comet Ison is supposed to be visible with the “naked” eye around Thanksgiving this year so we can all hopefully see it.

      It’s a beautiful plant and so hardy, and when you see the holes that the snails made on the “branch” its amazing that its producing all those flowers.

  6. sybil says:

    Hadn’t heard about that “new” comet. Yes, do go back to see it. Better make your reservation now.

  7. Glad you got that second piece of apple pie! What a lovely weekend you had.

  8. nrhatch says:

    That bloom on your deck is better looking than that guy’s 2-hour-do! Glad you enjoyed your PIE IN THE SKY.

    • dearrosie says:

      Isn’t that orchid amazing? Do you have plants like that on your coast?
      oh you are good with your words Nancy! My pie in the sky!

      btw did you see this post on your reader? It didn’t show up on mine.

  9. Myra GB says:

    Hi Rosie, I loved reading your stories and your ‘observations’ – great photo journal! The observatory sounds like an idyllic place to visit. I wish to see the northern lights within my lifetime. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Myra,
      It’s so encouraging to hear that you enjoyed reading my “observations”. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. The Observatory was such an added bonus to staying in the quaint little town.

  10. bronxboy55 says:

    Whether we look down at a flower or up at the night sky, we see beauty, as well as mysteries we’ll never fathom. Great post, Rosie.

    • dearrosie says:

      Good morning Charles.
      We don’t need a telescope to look down in our gardens, the flowers are all there patiently waiting for us to notice them, but we’re so stressed we forget to look down.

  11. Amy says:

    Great post, Rosie! The cosmos information was astonishing! Thank you for sharing.

  12. aFrankAngle says:

    A wonderful hike complete with an observatory treat. I don’t know much about the night sky, but it is interesting.

    FYI: I was thinking about you and Debra with my current post. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      I didn’t know anything about the night sky before Mike’s talk – well other than I just love looking at the stars when I’m in the country far from city lights and the sky is clear.

      I’ve never eaten “farro”. I’m going to get some from the health food store and try your salad recipe. Thanks Frank

  13. I’ll add an Observation: You and Mr. F are deeply connected to the earth and sky. All your posts reflect that passion, from talking about your hikes, your photos of the moon, your love of all things natural. Thanks for sharing these joys with us.

  14. shoreacres says:

    Remember Godot? He’s put on two buds this spring, and I have one new pad coming on my spineless cactus.

    I’ve heard that certain plants take a bit of time to really put on blooms. There are certain chemicals that have to build up in them before they really become prolific. (I’m not certain chemicals is the right word, but it will do.) I know that my Christmas cactus, when split and repotted, often take 2-3 years to regain their heavy blooms. Being rootbound encourages blooming in things like Christmas cactus, bougainvillea, and cymbidium orchids. Of course yours is more rootbound this year – that may be encouraging that enthusiastic bloom.

    Here’s an astronomy and space “events” site that I think you’ll really enjoy. There are so many good ones. Another one I like is the Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA. They have some fantastic images, and some that are even better than that!

    • dearrosie says:

      I’m delighted to hear that Godot has given you two buds this spring.
      Today when I looked at my plant (I must give her a name…!) all the flowers but one were open – its so beautiful – and its so rootbound there’s almost no soil left in the pot. I’m not touching it. I also haven’t given it any fertilizer.

      Thanks for the astronomy links Linda. You should plan a trip to “The Observer’s Inn” to see Mike and his Observatory. He told us some people have been coming to see the night sky about once a month for years.

  15. Robin says:

    Very observant post. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The orchid is beautiful. The star, space, and galaxy facts are mind-boggling. I’m craving apple pie now. 😀

    • dearrosie says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation Robin. The orchid is still producing flowers – they don’t last very long though. It may be too hot already.

      I’m also craving apple pie now – one from the Julian Pie Company – the pie we bought was made with only apples and apple juice (no extra sugar).

  16. frizztext says:

    you amused me with your punk guy in the museum 🙂

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