Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Happy October

Photo:David Wagner(publicdomainpictures.net)

October is the 10th month on both the old Julian and newer Gregorian calendar. It is the first full month of Autumn where harvests are being done and in the old days people began to make ready for the coming of winter. The southern hemisphere though October is the first full month of spring.  Harvest festivals are common at this time of year along with popular ones such as the German Oktoberfest.

Also for sports fans in the US you see the popular sports of basketball, American football, and baseball converge on the calendar. Football is kicking into gear, basketball is starting up and baseball enters its championship phase culminating with the World Series.

Of course the big day is Halloween on October 31st. Sadly it falls on a Thursday meaning kids have to be home early and back to school the next day. Halloween decorations are out there and of course scary movies are in demand again. October has as its flower the Calendula and the birthstone is the opal.

Autumn Equinox Today

For those who watch the calendar, today marks the official end of summer and the beginning of autumn with the equinox today. It began today at 07:50 UTC (go here to see the time it began in your area). There are two equinoxes in the year: March and September. When these equinoxes occur the sun is directly on the equator, and the length of day and night is almost equal. In the Northern hemisphere, the September Equinox heralds autumn while in the South it is the beginning of spring.

For those of us in the North, it means a transition from summer to winter.  During this period  days start getting shorter and nights longer. Depending on where you live, you will likely have moderate warm days followed by long and cooler nights. Harvests of many crops often take place during the fall and in the old days you would make preparations to store food for the winter. Harvest festivals are very popular and in particular Halloween. Pumpkins begin appearing along with all kinds of Halloween decor culminating, of course, in All Hallows Eve (Halloween) on October 31.

English Autumn
George Hodan (publicdomainpictures.net)

Happy Sunday

Autumn is not that far away now. Technically it is still summer but the days are starting to get shorter now. Warm days still abound but now some chilly nights as well. Of course that depends on where you live. Some areas actually get warmer such as California due to seasonal changes in wind direction. More offshore winds usually means lots more warm air over California.

Still the signs that autumn is approaching are showing up. Already some trees are starting to loose leaves. Summer produce is now disappearing from the shelves to be replaced soon with fall produce. Blueberries, mangos, peaches and watermelons will soon be replaced by apples, grapes, cranberries and pumpkins.  Of course since the growing season is different in the southern hemisphere, out of season produce here may appear on our shelves from places like Chile.

Have a nice Sunday everyone.

September In The Forest Larisa Koshkina (publicdomainpictures.net)

Happy Sunday

Image:Petr Kratochvil(publicdomainpictures.net)

September has arrived and Labor Day tomorrow in the U.S. Summer is not officially over but is for all intents and purposes. Schools have already started around where I live, bus schedules now reflect school stops. Already some trees are starting to drop leaves. Halloween decorations, costumes, and candy are showing up in stores. I guess it is never too early to buy candy for Halloween. For retailers the last of the summer retail sales are underway. They need to clear space for autumn, Halloween, and Christmas.

The days are starting to get shorter now. Each day has the sun coming up just a bit later and setting earlier. In some places the weather starts changing as well. Still warm and pleasant days in many cases but nights start getting cooler. Suddenly those sweaters and jackets neatly stowed away are now being brought out of storage and made ready. Alas the summer wear not goes into storage.

Out here we tend to get more warmer weather due to winds shifting from the hotter inland regions in Arizona and the California Central Valley. September and October are considered good months to visit San Francisco since there is less fog. But you can be caught short when the fog makes a surprise visit in the afternoon. Many a tourist is caught shivering in their shorts.

For baseball fans, it is a time when the playoffs firm up. American football is now gearing up so fans are getting ready for an exciting season there. Of course if you are waiting for your favorite show to come back from summer hiatus, the wait is not long. Happy Sunday everyone and welcome (almost) to autumn.

Start Weekend with Chuck Mangione

Well summer is in full swing. Temperatures climb up into the 80’s. 90’s and even above. Over in Europe they are about to get a second major heat trough from the Sahara. Temps are going to soar in France and Spain; England will get hit too but just a tad cooler.

As we reach for both ice tea and sunscreen, perhaps a good tune will make it all better. Especially if it is a Friday and the weekend awaits. Enjoy this classic tune from Chuck Mangione. Happy Friday and have a great weekend everyone.

Welcome, Spring

Colorful Spring Garden
Photo:Anita Martinz(Flickr)

Spring is finally here! For some it does not seem like it has arrived with rain, sleet or snow still coming down as we head outside. It has arrived and it marks the transition between winter and summer. Temperatures start rising, flowers come into bloom, and the cold of winter starts fading into the background.

Not everyone celebrates spring at the same time. The southern hemisphere is now beginning autumn and the transition to winter.  And while spring equinox marks it on the calendar,  nature has its own calendar owing to local climate and sometimes specific weather. Sports that primarily play in the summer begin their first real games in the spring. Fashion too changes as people begin to put away heavy winter clothing and replace it with lighter clothes. However often it is wise to keep the jacket and umbrella handy. Sometimes spring weather can be a bit unpredictable!

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Today is twelfth night

The King cake is a tradition of many Twelfth Night feasts.
Photo: public domain

Traditionally there are 12 days of Christmas beginning on Christmas Day (December 25) and ending on Epiphany Day (Little Christmas/Three Kings or Wise Men Day) on January 6. Customs vary by country but almost always there are special activities, foods, and in opening of presents as well.

The celebration of Twelfth Night came about in medieval and Tudor England when Candlemas originally ended the Christmas season. A special cake was prepared with a bean and pea hidden inside. The man who found the pea in his slice of cake became king for the night while the woman who found a pea became Queen for the night. Christmas carols and feasting would also take place. A special punch for Christmas, wassail, was often drunk on that night but also during the entire season as well.

Since Twelfth Night is about the impending arrival of the Three Kings, the statues of them would appear in the crib or the following day in countries such as Ireland. Christmas decorations would start to be taken down as well and certainly by the end of Epiphany Day. Edible portions of wreaths (fruits or nuts) would be consumed as part of a feast as well. The famous Shakespeare play Twelfth Night was written as entertainment for the holiday.

Twelfth Night is considered secular by Christian denominations and not a required day of observance. The following day, Epiphany Day, is a solemnity and observed by attendance in church.