Archives for the month of: February, 2012

Thanks to Tom Clark’s post on Saturday, and the clear blue skies we’ve been having recently, I was able to make something of what’s been going on outside our house for the past two nights.  Jupiter and Venus are very bright and close to the Moon.  This is known as a conjunction or appulse, and this – it looks like the piece of wire you need to blow bubbles –  is its symbol:

File:Astronomical conjunction symbol.png

The planets and the Moon were very bright; so bright that by contrast all the rest, stars and what have you, was invisible.  The only other light was coming from the other side of the lake.  I’m illiterate when it comes to reading the night sky.  From what I’ve gathered, the upper planet is Jupiter and the lower one is Venus.  For some reason in Tom’s pictures all three are aligned, with the Moon at the bottom, whereas from in Norway they form a triangle with the Moon in the middle.

My camera was fastened to a rock-solid tripod, so I’m assuming that the slight blur in the image of the planets is caused by the Earth’s rotation during the long exposure (it took, I’m guessing, about 45 seconds).

If anyone knows more about this, please feel free to add a comment.

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These two men are ice fishing. Alma, Topsy & I walked passed them on the lake, on Wednesday.

Later we passed them again.

I suppose it’s their hobby; I don’t think anyone is forcing them to be there.  In the comments about the last post mab mentioned multi-tasking.  I see this as a golden opportunity: you could play the mouth organ and read an ice fishing magazine while you ice fish.  You could listen to an ice-fishing tape while you make sandwiches, and then eat them (the sandwiches).  You could drink a mug of hot chocolate,  and all the time you’re ice fishing.

I’ve never seen an ice fisherman catch anything, except perhaps a cold.

Alma was riding past on her horse and knocked on the door to show me a trick.

Betty the horse was very hot.  It was 2 degrees today, quite warm for us, and she still has her winter coat.

This is the trick.  Alma makes a V sign…

and Betty shows her front teeth:

That’s all.  Betty’s very proud of her trick, she did it over and over.  V sign…

and front teeth.

Alma said it took five minutes to learn it, with some feed for encouragement. She’s always enjoyed teaching the animals tricks, and they seem to like it too.

Then they galloped away.

Once again, here are some pictures of a walk I took with Topsy in the snow.  Is this getting boring?  I can’t help it, it’s how we live at the moment, Tops and I.  I’ll try to show some of qualities of the white-on-white snow and mist that we encountered this morning.

Someone, I’m guessing they were sent by the local kommune (council), has driven a tractor across the fields, on its back it has an attachment that scores wide tracks in the snow for skiing.

They make the most of the undulations, and you see people getting up quite a speed. The narrow lines for your skis are doubled up, you can ski in either direction without bumping into anyone so long as you’re driving on the right.  In the picture below you can see a person towing a baby in a sledge.

This man below is going uphill, which is why he looks tired.  He looks a bit like a cutout.

And here is a cutout, the witch with a broomstick.  I think I showed pictures of the witches last winter.

I’ve noticed I’m taking more pictures of people and buildings than I used to.

I used just to take trees and animals.

Here are some small dots that have fallen from a spruce tree on to the snow.  I’m not sure what they do, perhaps one of you knows:

We’re stuck with so-called civilization.  I hate it that cows and trees are being replaced by bungalows with enormous garages. But I can’t stop progress and I don’t think really I’d want to if I could. Look at the pictures of Martin Parr or Cartier-Bresson: people and their possessions, in all their oddness, are worth observing. The thing is, there aren’t that many people around here.

I could easily count all those I see in one day; that’s a feat that would be impossible in a city or even in a smallish town.  I won’t ignore them completely, but I’ll continue photographing more twigs than people.  Here are some twigs:

The other day I was looking at a book of photographs, taken about a hundred years ago by the great English gardener Gertrude Jekyll.  They were sort of like these; roots and bushes,

and bits of trees

(she liked trees).

There was an occasional shot of a neighbour’s house.  It was Surrey, not Norway, so they weren’t quite like this one – the tenant, a friend of mine, says this house has rats.  I’ve never seen any. I wonder where they go in winter, do rats sometimes hibernate?

Topsy was getting bored, my picture taking had been eating into her time.  Normally she keeps up a steady trot, only pausing to sniff the yellow patches left by her friends.

But by then we were almost home, there was just time for a shot of the clematis at the gate.