Autumnal Equinox, 9/22/17

Fall is officially here…

Last night I dragged my down comforter out of storage and put on the duvet cover. I brought in firewood to the house to be ready for my first fire, once the rains start. I have filled up my outside bin, I am moving some of my firewood stash closer to the house, and am beginning to work on obtaining more.

Fall is definitely here.

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Mud Creek Plans update, 1/22/17

Cal Trans Update from Geotechnical department on Mud Creek:

Update: Early last week Caltrans and Yeh and Associates, a local geotechnical consultant, assessed the Mud Creek Slide and determined that the material that blocked the highway was a relatively shallow failure nested inside of a much larger landslide complex extending far above the highway. We recommended removing the displaced slide debris to allow us to determine if the larger landslide or a portion of it was moving. Removing the material at the base of the slope allows for the slide material above to clean itself out in the rain, which is likely what has occurred in the heavy rains on Friday and this morning. Keeping the highway closed while that material moves is necessary to ensure the safety of the traveling public and our workers.

With the upcoming break in the weather this coming week we plan to reassess the site conditions and develop a mitigation stragety moving forward. Until we have the opportunity to perform another field investigation it is difficult to say what that mitigation strategy will be and how long it will take to implement. We will consider all viable alternatives and do our best to open the highway when it is safe to do so.

Winter Solstice – 2016

Below, I repost one of my Winter Solstice posts from 2009:

“The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the Winter Solstice lasts an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like Midwinter to refer to the day on which it occurs. For most people in the high latitudes this is commonly known as the shortest day and the sun’s daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest.” (Wikipedia)

There are as many different types of celebrations of this astrological event as there are cultures and religions, past and present. It is the “official” day of winter, here in the northern hemisphere, and it is when the days begin to lengthen again.

For me, rooted in a northern clime, the significance is both the beginning of winter, and the lengthening of the days. I am a person of the sun, who rises with it, and slows my rhythms when its time with me is also slowed. Long before we had a name to go along with these most natural of nature’s patterns (seasonal affective disorder), our bodies simply increased the secretion of melatonin in the body, causing longer sleep. Now, we know that special lights, plants, and negative ions can diminish the effect of the lesser sunlight.

It is a seasonal lull that many of nature’s plants and animals observe. It is a time for us to be focused inward rather than outward. Rather than fight the natural patterns, I choose to follow them, and become quiet, solitary, and introspective. Tomorrow, that time lessens, and my outward focus will begin its return, just as the sun increases its time in our northern skies.

I will celebrate the holidays with friends, as we all do, but for me, the true holiday is today, the Winter Solstice, when I begin my outward focus, once again, and leave the inner world I have come to inhabit.

Big Sur Snow Photos, 1/31/16

imageimageBy popular demand, here are a couple shots from this afternoon. The clouds dissipated, the sun came out to play, and Cone and Twin Peaks finally displayed their winter clothes. Thank you, Big Sur.

These snow photos preempted  my intended 1/31/98-1/31/16 comparison post, so I will post that tomorrow. Still hoping for a spectacular sunset shot, too.