Saturday, April 21, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
After several days of good temperatures we decided to begin work on this year’s garden. We have decided to keep our garden on our deck again, like last year. However, unlike last year we are going to stay away from rail planting. We had a few days of wind last year that resulted in our needing to move the rail containers to the deck surface in order to move them closer to the house.
So, here is our starting point in all it’s glory. :-)
In the container on the left we have three rosemary plants that we purchased and transplanted. In the center is a lavender plant that we purchased and transplanted. On the right is a container that we planted Jalapeno and Serrano seeds in.
We are hoping that within the next few weeks we will start to see pepper plants break through the top of the soil and that we will see blooms on them by early June.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
More than two months ago, NASA announced the date that they would be delivering the space shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. On that day I noted this event on every calendar I had access to. Today was that day, and it was quite a sight to see. Since the 1970’s NASA has used a pair of modified 747’s to transport the shuttle aircraft around the country. This is how the Discovery was sent to the nation’s capital.
I staked out a great spot to see the delivery at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy building next to the Dulles International Airport. I was one of more than 5000 people who were able to get into the Smithsonian parking lot before it was completely full. Those who were not able to beat the crowd parked cars all around the area in any place they could find. Even the Dulles airport cleared out the top floors of all of their parking garages to allow shuttle viewers to come in.
The picture below is of the observation tower of the Udvar-Hazy building which was closed to the public, and full of media personnel.
The mood amongst the crowd I was in was very positive. I was surrounded by people ranging in age from 2 to 90 and everyone was optimistic about what they hoped to see. We all had been following reports of people along the eastern sea board as they described what they saw while Discvery made its way up from Cape Canavral. However, we didn’t know exactly when it would arrive, nor exactly what direction it would be coming from. So, when a sudden silence fell around me followed by gasps I quickly looked up to spot one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
The shuttle discovery made a high speed, low altitude fly by directly over me before heading toward Washington. I, like the rest of the crowd, knew that the shuttle was going to make a pass over Washington, but we all assumed it would go there first before coming to Dulles. NASA later announced that the flight up was faster than they expected, and as a result they had the time and fuel to make several additional passes over prominent Washington landmarks.
By the time Discovery made it’s way back to my location it had completed at least four orbits over the city of Washington. When it came back to my location, we got to see a much slower low altitude pass which was absolutely beautiful.
This second pass was slow enough for me to take the picture below with the Smithsonian spire in the foreground as Discovery and her carrier passed.
Less than ten minutes later, Discovery appeared from the trees again with the carrier’s landing gear deployed in preparation to land.
I have seen quite a few large aircraft in flight, but this was something unlike anything I have seen in the sky or on the ground. The size was definitely imposing, but it still looked graceful and elegant as it passed by. What was the most surprising to me was how quiet it was as it flew by with the landing gear down.
This was one of those once in a life time events, that very much lived up to everyone’s expectations. Bravo NASA, and thank you Discovery.