I believe it is a chicken bone!

Nature

An Introduction to Astrophotography—Part 3: Processing the Photos

So you’ve invested in the necessary equipment, learned how to use it, and gathered a night’s worth of photos of some deep-sky target. You’ve also shot the calibration frames that you will need. The subframes from your camera, with a washed-out sky and a dull,...

The Most Important Garden Nutrient

What is the single most important nutrient for growing plants? There are two possible correct answers, water or carbon. Both of these run in global, sun-powered cycles and provide renewable energy. Both are crucial for growing all plants, including our garden...

Camp & Cabin Cookin’, January 2022

Recipes: Cheeseburger Soup, Mom's Best Pancakes. Recipes: Caramel Popcorn, Monkey Bread.

How to Make a Porch Light Birdhouse

House Wren. Photo © Kevin Shank. Find a wall-mount porch light.Take the top off.If the wiring is still in the light, tear the wiring out.Take the panes of glass out.Spray the panes of glass with spray paint. Any color will do. I used gold for mine.Find a piece of...

SpaceX and the Fireball

SpaceX launch and fireball. Photo © Jason Rinehart. The skies were dark from the Pine Tree overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. I had come here on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, to photograph the SpaceX, Falcon 9 rocket launch. The launch was to occur from...

Satellites

I enjoy relaxing and watching the darkness of night extinguish the distractions of daytime, as the tranquil beauty of the silent stars appears. We’re used to those stars holding still, but at times it looks like some are moving.Those movements aren’t unusual and...

Exploring Nature, January 2022

By mid-January, the wintering eagle population peaks in Virginia.Look at snowflake designs under a microscope.Bucks are shedding their antlers.January and February are the most popular months to visit the monarch butterfly migration sites in Mexico.Maintain bird...

Pup

Weddell seal and pup. Photo © Dreamstime.com. A seal pup struggles to raise himself up and looks for his mother. He is only one day old, but his senses of sight and smell are keen. There are many Weddell seals like him on the beach, some a few days old and some born...

Snowbirds

Dark-eyed Junco. Photo © Kris MacLeod. It’s a crisp, bright winter morning. Snow sparkles on the spruce boughs, and my footsteps leave a deep trail to the feeders. The hoppers and trays are filled with seed, awaiting the local finches, doves, chickadees and...

Wondernose: What animal wears an apron of hair that drags on the ground when it walks?

Photo © Dreamstime.com. Here's a big animal for you! The adult males grow to over 6 feet (2 m) high at the shoulders. They may weigh three-quarters of a ton.Buffalo? Good guess, Wondernose, but no. There are similarities, though. Both our mystery animal and the...
The Most Important Garden Nutrient

The Most Important Garden Nutrient

What is the single most important nutrient for growing plants? There are two possible correct answers, water or carbon. Both of these run in global, sun-powered cycles and provide renewable energy....

How to Make a Porch Light Birdhouse

House Wren. Photo © Kevin Shank. Find a wall-mount porch light.Take the top off.If the wiring is still in the light, tear the wiring out.Take the panes of glass out.Spray the panes of glass with spray paint. Any color will do. I used gold for mine.Find a piece of...

Exploring Nature, January 2022

By mid-January, the wintering eagle population peaks in Virginia.Look at snowflake designs under a microscope.Bucks are shedding their antlers.January and February are the most popular months to visit the monarch butterfly migration sites in Mexico.Maintain bird...

Snowbirds

Dark-eyed Junco. Photo © Kris MacLeod. It’s a crisp, bright winter morning. Snow sparkles on the spruce boughs, and my footsteps leave a deep trail to the feeders. The hoppers and trays are filled with seed, awaiting the local finches, doves, chickadees and...

Eagle Encounter

Bald Eagle approaching nest. Photo © Kevin Shank. On May 24, a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my dad, my brothers, and I headed off on an excursion. After hearing about a Bald Eagle nest about fifteen minutes from our place, we were eager to see it for ourselves....

Let’s Take a Hike: American Goldfinches

American Goldfinches on ice-covered holly. Photo © Steven Smith.

December 2021, End of the Trail

Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Photo © Nathan Carlen, 15, Chewelah, WA

Exploring Nature, December 2021

December through March is an especially good time to watch for Northern lights.Christmas Bird Counts are occurring this month.Make bird treats, and maintain feeding stations.Plan for and provide birds with a heated water supply, if you live in freezing climates.After...

The Sparrows’ Mobile Home!

“Did you know,” Grandpa asked, “that in my truck there is a nest of birds?”“What!?” I replied. “I hope they are okay.”“Oh, yes, yes. They are just fine. The papa and mama birds have put them in there for two years in a row!”“How do you and Grandma get around?” I...

Whoo-oo’s in the Net?

Eastern Screech-Owl. Photo © Glenda Newswanger. Sammy Screech-Owl glided on silent wings through the dark night. His stomach growled in anticipation of a fresh meal. His sharp ears caught the muffled scratching of mice beneath a stack of firewood.No hope there, for...

Whoo-oo’s in the Barn?

Barn Owls. Photo © Laurence Kreider family. This year Daddy started renting a deserted barn just down the road from us. One time when we peeked into the old silo, we saw a Barn Owl sitting at the top. Every time we were there we peeked into the silo, and each time the...

Animals

The Most Important Garden Nutrient

The Most Important Garden Nutrient

What is the single most important nutrient for growing plants? There are two possible correct answers, water or carbon. Both of these run in global, sun-powered cycles and provide renewable energy....

Water Life

Christmas Tree Worms

Christmas Tree Worms

Under a flaming sky, crimson and azure blended to form the endless undulations of the Coral Sea. As the dawn grew brighter, the crimson rippled into scarlet, and the scarlet faded into orange....

An Introduction to Astrophotography—Part 3: Processing the Photos

So you’ve invested in the necessary equipment, learned how to use it, and gathered a night’s worth of photos of some deep-sky target. You’ve also shot the calibration frames that you will need. The subframes from your camera, with a washed-out sky and a dull,...

SpaceX and the Fireball

SpaceX launch and fireball. Photo © Jason Rinehart. The skies were dark from the Pine Tree overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. I had come here on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, to photograph the SpaceX, Falcon 9 rocket launch. The launch was to occur from...

Satellites

I enjoy relaxing and watching the darkness of night extinguish the distractions of daytime, as the tranquil beauty of the silent stars appears. We’re used to those stars holding still, but at times it looks like some are moving.Those movements aren’t unusual and...

From the Editor’s Quill, January 2022: Starlink Satellites

Starlink satellites. “Look up there! That is those satellites!” I exclaimed to Cheryl. “Get the phone on video and get on them as fast as you can!”We were returning home from a long day in the forest, when I looked up from my driving and noticed the Starlink...

From the Editor’s Quill, December 2021: New Products

Another year is fast coming to a close. As we reflect back over the year, we thank God for His provisions, leading, and blessing in our lives. As we reflect on the birth of Christ this month, let’s be filled with gratitude that Christ was willing to come to His...

An Introduction to Astrophotography—Part 1: Equipment Choices

M81 and M82. Photo © Shaphan Shank. In my early teens, I knew almost nothing about astrophotography, except that I wanted to try it. My early dreams included using a very cheap CCD camera we had, along with our 8” Newtonian reflector. Then, a few years later, we had...

A 16″ Binocular

Did you read Morris Yoder's article, “Two Are Better Than One?” Well, take a look at this. Brandon Martin’s introduction to astronomy first involved using a spotting scope. It didn’t take long to see that the small aperture was best suited for daytime use. His next...

In Our Skies, November 2021: Comet Leonard

The last major meteor showers of 2021 will all be affected by moonlight. The Orionid meteor shower in October peaked on the night of Full Moon, and the Leonid meteor shower this month will fare little better. The Leonid shower will peak around November 17, with a...

Two Are Better Than One!

Binoviewer. Photo © Morris Yoder. A contractor once told me to always wear safety glasses when appropriate because life with only one eye is difficult. He was talking from experience; he’d lost an eye in an accident. Two eyes are good. Yet, when most people use...

Stargazing

Stars shine brilliantly in the heavens. Beneath them, five children lie huddled on the lawn under blankets. They gaze excitedly up at the many sparkling specks scattered over the great black dome of the sky. Heeding reports of a meteor shower, they are eager to see...

Cygnus

Cygnus, the Swan, is one of the best-known constellations of late summer and fall. This constellation lies high overhead after dark at mid-northern latitudes during October, although it has already been well-placed for observing for the last several months. Along with...

Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula

The Summer Triangle, a large triangle of bright stars (Deneb, Vega, and Altair), lies straight overhead on September evenings in the United States. Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula all lie in or near the Triangle. While none of these constellations are large, they...

Wondernose

Exploring Nature

Exploring Nature, December 2021

Exploring Nature, December 2021

December through March is an especially good time to watch for Northern lights.Christmas Bird Counts are occurring this month.Make bird treats, and maintain feeding stations.Plan for and provide...