BLUE SKIES, SMILING AT ME.....
Sometimes we forget how peaceful the outdoor scene can be. At mid-week, the skies had cleared and the sun prevailed. In hiking, I almost worked up a sweat. The snow is deep in spots, but not impassable. Along the harbor, I stopped at this site to marvel at the scene........the water was so still. I climbed down to the water's edge and stumbled upon these ice chunks that were left by the tide. The harbor's shoreline is dotted with these chunks that often look like inviting benches or tables. Who says salt water doesn't freeze?

The sky was so blue on this outing that it prompted me to ask, "Why is it so blue?" I had to google an answer which I will try to pass on to you. Light from the sun is actually a combination of all the colors in the spectrum. These colors have different wave lengths and may be absorbed or bounced off. The higher frequencies of lights/colors react differently. The higher frequencies (blue) are absorbed more often than lower frequencies (red). This process is called Rayleigh scattering.....after the physicist who described it. "The blue color of the sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange and yellow light is affected by the air. However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions, and gets scattered all around the sky." Pretty technical stuff....hey?

On another walk, I bumped into some porcupine activity, and finally spotted the perpetrator! I crossed a small foot bridge and saw their distinctive tracks leading underneath. In the picture to the left you can see the furrowed tracks. (Those tracks on the top of the small bridge are mine!) I followed the tracks over to some fir trees and saw where they stopped at a tree. There, above me, was a small porcupine. It remained motionless as I moved around underneath trying to get a picture. The branch it was on, blew gently in the breeze. Underneath there were some needles dropped in its chewing efforts, and here and there a small piece of scat. These observations were made late in the afternoon on a cool day (in the 20's). The porcupine was in a rather protected area, but pretty close to the shoreline. That is the blue ocean in the background of the track picture.

I learned on that recent outing with an experienced tracker, that fishers prey upon porcupines. These animals will grab a porcupine by its nose and flip it over. Then, it will attack the belly which is free of quills. I was told that fishers will discharge the lining of their stomach if quills are ingested. I couldn't help but wonder how this information was observed.......

2/6/09 Blue sky Ronnie