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Geminid Meteor Shower

The Geminid Meteor Shower is now rated as our best shower of the year. They run from Dec. 4 to Dec. 17, with a peak on Dec. 14. The good thing about that is that the new moon is Dec. 4, so you can start looking at them while the New Moon is occurring. The other good thing is that they start in the evening and run all night. So, 9 p.m. is the perfect time to go out and look for them.

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If you got it, flaunt it

The past two weeks found Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch engaged in family duty with the two grands.

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New Moon

Since the New Moon is on Nov. 4, this is a perfect time to observe the sky. When you look in the SSW at 6:45 you can see bright Venus. It's the brightest object in our sky, but it's only visible for about 30 minutes. Then it gets low and our mountains block it.

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World Series spit fest

Ol’ Dutch has never been much of a watcher of sports either live or on television. I am of the old adage that if I cannot play, I don’t want to watch, either. That holds true for other things like cooking shows, home remodeling and kissing. I mean honestly people. If you feel the need for the latter, get a room and spare me the details.

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Pegasus, the Flying Horse

A good constellation to view now is Pegasus, the Flying Horse. It's one of the largest constellations in our sky, and the best time to observe it is September and October.

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Cheaper than dirt

Ol’ Dutch being some kind of Scottish persuasion, has always had a penchant toward the cheaper way of doing things. It can be said that I can squeeze a dime out of a nickel and even though some people might find that to be a dig at their image, I find it to be quite the compliment thereby proving some Scottish heritage is latently hidden.

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Cohabitating can get hairy

I may have touched on this subject before but sometimes situations change and the information then bears repeating. And speaking of bears, Ol’ Dutch did not get a bear this year during the September season although a nice 6x5 elk decided he wanted to go home with me and filled two freezers in our RV.

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Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy is autumn's greatest show piece! It's the largest galaxy of our local group of 30, and the single most distant object visible to the naked eye. The New Moon was on the 6th, so this is a great time to look at the sky. Jupiter and Saturn are still highly visible in the South. Venus is visible low in the SW. So, if you see something bright there, it’s definitely Venus.

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Masks are for the little people

It's been an amazing month as we see people once again jamming together in every kind of venue imaginable — football games to soccer matches to the Met Gala and even the Emmys.

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Zodiacal Light and Meteors

The Zodiacal Light will be visible the next 2 ½ weeks starting now. I've watched them many times in February and March when I look in the west after sunset. But this is a morning event that I've never seen. It occurs in the east before sunrise and lights up the sky. It occurs in September and October, but only when the moon isn't shining.

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The California friends

This past week Miss Trixie had the pleasure of entertaining a load of her friends from the land of fruits and nuts — California.

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Cassiopeia the Queen

We're finally getting some clear nights to look at our beautiful sky. It's been too windy to set up my telescope, but I can still go out and enjoy looking at the Milky Way. What do you see when you look at the northeast? Cassiopeia the Queen, of course. It's currently about halfway up the sky and hard to miss the five-star W or M depending on the time of year you're looking at it. Currently, it's sideways with the bottom of the W pointing to the right.

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The Moon and its Missions

This day on the 9th is three days past the new moon. About ½ hour after sunset, the Moon joins up with Venus low in the west-south-west. The star Spica flickers to the low right of the pair. It is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. There is also a chance that you might see Mercury low in the sky at this time. Mercury and Spica will set 1 hour after the Sun, and Venus and the Moon will stay visible for another ½ hour.

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Hurricanes are Hell

I don't know about you, but I think weather events known as hurricanes have gotten worse throughout my lifetime. And not only that, but there also seems to be more tornados, volcanic eruptions, famines, and diseases than ever, too. And of course, the preachers are sure to point out that the Bible predicts such things which sell books, put money in the offering plate and produce fear in a lot of folks.

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Planet Jupiter and the Meteor Shower

Jupiter and Saturn are at opposition this month. That is when they are opposite the Sun making them very bright and easy to see. Saturn reached its opposition on Aug. 1-2, and Jupiter reaches its opposition on Aug. 19-20. They are in the SE early evening, high up around midnight, and low in the west near sunrise.

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Vacations Are Over

Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch recently made a sojourn out into the Valley for needed supplies, including stops over in Center, Monte Vista, the Amish area and Alamosa, then home to South Fork. We needed some specific items for the Chapel Jewels Annual Fashion Show to be held Thursday, Aug. 12, at The Chapel on the South Fork so we got to spend the day out and about in the beautiful San Luis Valley.

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Meteor Showers and Planets

Brilliant Venus dominates the western sky this month. At 45 minutes after sunset, it will be 8 degrees high, so if there are high mountains in your sky, you may not be able to see it. But it's very bright. So, look for it in the west to see if you can find it.

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The Sunday morning parade

Summer seasons of late have found Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch involved in more things than I can count. This past month we have been busier than a mosquito at a nudist convention, with no end in sight.

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Spectacular Sagittarius

The arms of the Milky Way are named for the constellations they pass through: Perseus, Sagittarius, Centaurus and Cygnus are the major arms. Sagittarius is the most spectacular because the center of the Milky Way lies behind it, and that's where it's the densest and brightest.

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Remember Lot’s Wife

I don’t know about all of you out there amongst the reader land, but it seems that with each passing year things get harder to remember. That is unless you are Miss Trixie whose memory not only exceeds that of an elephant’s but runs a close second to a laptop computer.

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Meteor Showers and Scorpius

The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower is active from July 12 to Aug. 23. It peaks on July 30. This is a southern meteor shower. So, in the north they will rise only about 30 degrees, and only show about 10. Since we live in Southern Colorado, they will rise a little higher and give us more meteors per hour.

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Don’t Eat the Olives

I don’t know how or when but at some point, in the nine years of Ol’ Dutch and Miss Trixie’s habitating bliss, certain foods became off limits for Ol’ Dutch to eat as a snack.

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Hercules and our Planets

The new moon is on July 10, so this is a great time for sky viewing. The only problem is that the days are still long, so you either must stay up late or get up early. You can always just get up during the night when you wake up. There are a few things that do happen when the sky is still relatively light.

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The Gift Registry

Weddings have long been a tradition celebrated around the world as a time of joyous gatherings for friends and family members of the nuptialers. For it is at this time that people can get together and wish the newlyweds well and admire all the gifts that they get and to wager how items will be divided up after the divorce some years later.

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Night Sky: Planets and the Summer Triangle

The Summer Triangle is a group of three bright stars in the summer sky. Each is the brightest star of the constellation they are in, and there are three constellations. Although they start in the summer, they last until the end of the year.

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Busy as a bee

Another week has flown by like the hummingbirds that seem to have bypassed this part of Colorado this year. For some reason, they have either been delayed in coming or fell victim to some primitive tribe hunting them for a feast of “wings” at their next human sacrifice party.

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Letter to Editor: Thank you for supporting Sgt. Martinez Memorial Run and Golf Tournament

We the Martinez family would like to thank all of you runners, walkers, and golfers who participated in the Sgt. Glen Martinez Memorial Scholarship 5K Run/Walk and Veterans Golf Tournament on May 29 and 30 to support and honor Glen for his service to our country and his ultimate sacrifice to fight for our precious freedom.

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Letters to the Editor: Do away with the filibuster

Year after year, we see politicians in Congress make promises about what they can do for constituents like me. And year after year, the progress is usually less than we hoped for.

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The Birthday Boy

By the time you read this Ol’ Dutch will be in the middle of a birthday celebration. Yep, you got that right, no matter what time you are reading this, I will be in the middle of a birthday celebration. For you see for quite some time now we have been having Birthday Weeks whereby the lucky honored person gets to celebrate another year on this planet for an entire week.

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Night Sky: Night Planet Viewing

June is not the greatest month for constellation viewing since it's so light for so long. It really doesn't get dark until 10 p.m., and begins to brighten up at 4 a.m. So unless you like to stay up late, the only things you'll be able to see are the planets and some bright stars.

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Night Sky: Algieba, the Double

The constellation Leo the Lion's second brightest star is Algieba. It's about 170 light years from us and looks yellow or orange to the naked eye. When you view it from a dark sky like we have here, you'll notice a fainter star just below it. This star is called 40 Lennis. Even though it looks close to Algieba, it isn't. It's about 60 light years closer to us.

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Like lemmings over a cliff

Over in the Old Country — which is anywhere near the European Continent when referenced that way — there is a strange occurrence that happens every few years.

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Are you inny or outie?

Depending on who cut your umbilical cord and how they tucked that baby in, we all seem to end up with a variety of belly buttons. It's kind of interesting to Ol’ Dutch that doctors, society or fashion mags have let that left over from our mother’s womb remain unchanged as it really seems to have no real purpose.

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Night Sky: Moon visits Jupiter and Saturn

On May 17, Mercury was farthest from the Sun making it very easy to see. Now it's moving back to the Sun. Although it's still visible, tomorrow it's going to meet up with bright Venus making it hard to see. So, when you look at Venus, use binoculars to help you see Mercury next to it. They're very close together.

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Perspective: SLVH employees, caregivers address hesitation of COVID vaccination

If you have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, first of all that is normal. You should always feel empowered to ask questions regarding any medical treatment or procedure you or your family are going to have done. What we do need to make sure of, is that all of our patients and community have access to reliable information and data backed by science and evidenced-based practice.

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Night Sky: Full Super Moon

Our Full Moon on May 26 is the closest and biggest full moon of the year, so it's called a Super Moon. What's interesting about this one is that it's going to be a lunar eclipse that morning.

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The Rain Man Cometh

Years ago, there were men who traveled around the countryside in horse-drawn, colorful wagons who claimed to be able to make it rain. They would move from area to area literally “drumming” up business with drought-stricken farmers and stockmen.

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Letter to Editor: To parents of young children

I am Shannon Gonzales Certified Nurse Midwife at San Luis Valley Health, and I would like to talk directly to expecting parents, new parents, and guardians about childhood vaccines. Not the COVID-19 vaccine in the news today, although it is important, but the other vaccines such as HepA, measles, mumps, and polio, that protect us from other diseases.

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Moon and Mars

On April 26 we had the first Super Moon of this year. The next and last one of this year will be the May Full Moon. If you don't know, a Super Moon is when it's closest to Earth making the Full Moon very large.

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Being prepared

The US armed forces have slogans or sayings about their mission such as Semper Fidelis or “Always Faithful” which has been made famous by our very own Marine Corps. Other branches have their own mottos such as the U.S. Coast Guard’s Semper Paratus or “Always Ready." The U.S. Navy's unofficial motto is Semper Fortis or “Always Courageous” and these cannot ever be doubted as they all have long kept this nation safe from external threats.

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Eating at the Barrel

I think that most of you probably know what Ol’ Dutch is talking about when I mention The Barrel in the title to this column but for those of you hitting on only about five cylinders, it’s officially called Cracker Barrel. You know? The place with the expensive rocking chairs on the porch and old people wandering about like the local nursing home just let out for recess?

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Regulus the Little King

As I'm sure you remember, Regulus is the third star of the Spring Triangle. It sits along the Ecliptic where the Sun, Moon and planets travel. It's also part of Leo the Lion constellation. When you see the star Arcturus, just look to center of our sky until you find a backward question mark.

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Virgo the Maiden

When you look along the ecliptic where the Sun, Moon and planets travel, you will see this constellation with its bright star Spica in the southeast.

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Break out the Eggs

Easter came and went like a thief in the night this year for Ol’ Dutch. But thankfully a friend sent me a photo of the tomb where they placed Jesus after he was crucified, and it was empty. So, that saved me a long trip to the Middle East to make sure.

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The Spring Triangle

The last quarter moon is on April 4 and the new moon is on April 12, so this is a good time to look at the night sky. The moon will rise late and be visible in the morning and during the day. You will be able to see it joining up with Saturn and Jupiter in the morning.

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It's never what it appears to be

While it seems, the year has barely begun, here we are staring April full in the face. Ol’ Dutch is in Texas for another month or two and that means it's 70 degrees every day and sunshine is abundant. This brings on what is known as “happiness” in my life as I am just not a fan of cold weather.

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The lost generation

Not a day goes by that Ol’ Dutch is not amazed at just how inept a good share of the younger generation really is.

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Your Night Sky: Mars and the Pleiades

Daylight Saving Time started Sunday, March 14, so now the sky stays light an hour longer, and morning stays dark an hour longer. Spring starts March 20, but we still may get more snow. Never a dull moment! I love snow, and we can always use it.

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Spring has sprung

Depending on where you live you are either in the throes of spring springing upon us or at least on the foreseeable horizon. Even if you are buried this morning under a new blanket of lofty white snow, there is still that feeling in the air that mud season is just around the corner. Lovely.

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Letter to Editor: Large broken promise from DA Payne

There is a two-fold intent to writing this letter. First and foremost, to honor and uphold the beautiful memory of beloved community member Barbara Vigil. Barbara was senselessly killed in an automobile crash in Moffat, Colo., on Nov. 25, 2019, by a driver who reportedly was driving 100 mph until seconds before the crash, which destroyed the familiar old red Blazer that Barbara drove.

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Letter to Editor: We need to advocate for our educators

I have been hearing people discuss how they are mad at our teachers’ unions. The fact that people who educate our children have the legal right to unionize, gain better work environments and pay are deeply connected to the Ludlow Massacre.

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Poor Little Rich Girl

On Sunday night, Ol’ Dutch came dragging his exhausted self in the door expecting a delicious meal, hot shower and an evening of quiet solitude. Well, I expected at least the meal and shower part as living with Miss Trixie never guarantees quiet. But two out of three ain’t bad for most men and you throw in a little television on the side, and you have the makings of a great evening.

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Pardon me!

Ol’ Dutch and Miss Trixie survived the Polar blast that arrived last week like a freight train without brakes across America. I am not sure why they call it Polar as it was 55 degrees in Alaska at the same time we almost froze to death in Texas. But regardless, it was a challenging week for all no matter where you live.

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Letter to Editor: What happened to Republican party?

The Republican Party is broken. Its face, a self-styled QAnon “shaman” wearing horns and animal skins. Many within its ranks are neo-Nazis, white supremacists, QAnon and other domestic terrorists. Most Republicans, myself included, detest what the party has become.

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Not a fit night out for man nor beast

I guess it's only fitting to address the record cold this week that has plunged even the Deep South into a morass of frozen pipes, electricity blackouts and firewood hoarding.

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Letter to Editor: Think of becoming a Democrat

I’m sure we are all aware that the new POTUS has been inaugurated and that his cabinet is slowly getting filled. This should have been done months ago, but due to Donald Trump and his “belief” that the election was stolen, President Joe Biden is still trying to get Senate approval for his cabinet nominees.

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Additional Articles

  • Letter to Editor: Time to do our part as neighbors

    I write to you again as I am concerned about how our progress of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has hit a wall. I have seen how so many people are getting sick again and the suffering of grieving families across the nation is unnecessary.