There was a bewildering assortment of calendars for sale as the New Year approached.
But aside from the monthly pictures, most calendars convey the same information — the days of the week, the national holidays, religious occasions, start of each season and perhaps the dates when we switch to Daylight Saving Time, or switch back to Standard Time.
Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar for 2013, in the form of a desk calendar allows you to follow a number of cycles in nature as well as celestial happenings. This calendar is spiral bound so you can open it up and learn what is special about nature in each of the 52 weeks of 2013.
Each week and each season (a fold out) features beautiful stylized artwork by Hardman.
You will be told when a particular planet leaves or enters the evening sky, when two planets line up, when the moon lines up with a particular planet and meteor showers.
The sun band is a horizontal line whose width is proportional to the amount of daylight at that time of the year. Below the sun line are diagrams of the moon’s lighted shape every few days. Towards the bottom of the artwork are a series of peaks that represent both the strength and weakness of the tides. (The tides are strongest when the moon and sun are lined up (twice a month) and weakest when the sun and moon are at right angles (the half full phases).)
I found the entries about animals and plants for that time of the year fascinating. The Ecological Calendar is designed for the temperate and far northern regions of the northern hemisphere (includes our area), where most humans live.
Here are some nuggets from the Ecological Calendar.
In early January, mention is made of the Snowy Owl, which consumes over a thousand lemmings each year. Its feeding is made easier by its white coat, which blends in with the arctic tundra.
The Humpback whales’ songs are heard during their long swims to their breeding areas. The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, which lives in the Arctic Ocean year around can have a dome eight feet across with tentacles 150 feet long.
In January and February, Black Bears give birth to their cubs in their winter den. The bear cubs remain with their mother for over a year.
In February, the calendar mentions that Painted Turtle Hatchlings produce a natural anti-freeze that allows them to survive bitterly cold temperatures. If attacked, a herd of Musk Oxen form a circle with their behinds pressed together. Their long, thick coats protects them down to -40 Fahrenheit degrees.
In March, the calendar states that 95 percent of the entire Grey Bat population hibernates in less than 10 large limestone caves in the southeastern U.S. Several hundred thousand of these bats can occupy one cave.
Dall’s Sheep search for windswept cliffs where there is little snowfall. There these sheep feed on frozen lichen and moss exposed by strong winds.
Dandelions appear in mid April. Their name in Old French means “Lion’s tooth.” These plants are eaten by deer and rabbits.
The male birds of the Snowy Egret have their yellow feet turn to a orange red hue. Their mating dance involves keeping their bills skyward while their bodies undulate up and down.
Around the start of May, the female Mexican red-knee Tarantula fertilizes her eggs with sperm stored in her body for months. She deposits the fertilized eggs in a silk sac that she places between her fangs. Weeks later the baby Tarantulas will emerge.
The female whip-poor-will lays her eggs so that they will hatch when the moon is a waxing (growing) crescent. The following 10 days of evening moonlight are used by the female whip-poor-will to collect insects for her chicks.
Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar for 2013 is published by Pomegranate Communications Inc. Box 80822 in Petaluma, California 94975 and on the internet at www.pomegranate.com . A local book store can order it for you.
SKY SIGHTS AHEAD In the 6 p.m. southwestern dusk tonight, a slender crescent moon may be seen close to the horizon. If you have a flat horizon, you may catch sight of the planet Mars below the moon.
This coming Friday, the moon will appear half full (1st quarter) in the southwestern evening sky. This is the best time to observe the lunar craters and mountain ranges with a small telescope.
Along the moon’s straight edge, the sun there is rising, lighting up the craters’ raised rims and mountain peaks.
Bob Doyle invites any readers comments and questions. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org . He is available as a speaker on his column topics.
There was a bewildering assortment of calendars for sale as the New Year approached.
There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
bring these men and women some dignity after death.
For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.
Odds are good that you didn’t know this
Odds or Probabilities fascinate many people. There is a special website called www.BookOfOdds.com and an accompanying location on Facebook at /BookofOdds .This website lists 400,000 odds. Three of the people who are involved in this media display have coauthored a book, “The Book of Odds” that presents some of key odds, drawing from polls and statistics published in journals. The authors are A. Shapiro, L.F. Campbell and R. Wright. This paperback was published this year by Harper Collins with ISBN 978-0-06-206085-3.
Trivial questions you don’t have to answer
Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.
Think it’s not a small world? You’re wrong
Yes, you read that right in the paper a couple of weeks ago. I covered a wedding as a newspaper reporter. I’ve retired from doing regular stories because my primary duties lie elsewhere, and I don’t have the time or mental energy for it. But I agreed to do it for a couple of reasons, one of which goes back more than 40 years. The former proprietor of The Famous North End Tavern told me about a wedding that was to take place at the Lions Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care, where his wife works.
No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe
Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and parasites a place to live.
We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:
Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.
Terps need to move and move quickly
The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
Until we see you in court.
Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.
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