February on the ground and in the sky

I’ve been out gardening.  That might sound a little strange, but it’s not something I’ve had the time or inclination to do recently.  It’s been very snowy in January – up to six inches on the ground for a week or two.  It’s been gone a week but I’ve been busy with work, yet I made sure I took some time off this weekend. 

All I did today was to move some stuff out of the compost heap onto my raised beds and some more stuff into it, but when I’d finished I thought “I really enjoyed that”.  I’d only been out for just over an hour, so I don’t know why I don’t take the time every day to do a little.  If I made a list of things that need to be done, I could do one eveyr day and they’d soon go, instead of looking out and thinking it’s just too much!  After all, planting 420 trees in the Jubilee Wood didnt take long when we got round to it.

There is more bad weather due, so I’d better make the most of any dry weather that comes my way.  Next stop – prune the wisteria – should have been done in January but this week will do.

There are dates not to miss watching for things in the sky at night, too.  I bought the astronomy year book for the first time, being the last one to be edited by Sir Patrick Moore.  I found some really interesting things this month:

  • Mercury is bright and low in the evening sky at the start of the month, brightest from now till about Feb 11 and highest around 16th.  That’s only 10 degrees above the horizon in the WSW so I will have to go to the top of my nearby hill to see it – it won’t rise above the trees near me.  You need to look for it about 35 minutes after sunset.
  • Another exciting thing is an asteroid in the ‘Near miss’ class which will come very close to the earth (inside the path of some of the comms satellites). It may be visible on 15th Feb in the early evening, but whether it will be visible without binoculars is unlikely. Of course, knowing my luck, it’ll be cloudy anyway.
  • There’s also a fascinating article about a procession of meteors that were witnessed 100 years ago in USA and Canada, and recorded by  an astromer, Professor Chant, who wrote into the newspapers asking people to send their eyewitness accounts.  Clusters of fireballs travelled across the sky in a great procession.  There’s a great picture of it in the book too.  I wonder if I’ll ever witness anything like it?
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