Major Cold: Pheasant hens brood

July 27th, 2012
by Jo Law

As the sun moves to 120º on the ecliptic, we enter the last solar term of winter. This first pentad of ‘Major Cold’ began with aptly wintry conditions with the daytime maximums reaching the mid-teens and overnight minimums hovering just above 10ºC. Persistent light rains were followed by a glorious warm sunny Wednesday. It was succeeded by a moody overcast day that ended with a thunder storm. The pentad closed with another beautiful winter’s day.

The Chinese Almanac continues to focus on bird life but these ‘observations’ appear to be more a metaphorical gesture towards the raising yang than descriptive of actual phenological occurrences. Perhaps these images of spring activities fuel the hopes that the coldest season will soon draw to an end. … {read on}


July 25th, 2012
by Hollis Bridgeman Law

Go go park, fly fly kite

July 25th, 2012
by Hollis Bridgeman Law

Minor Cold: Pheasant cock calls its mates

July 22nd, 2012
by Jo Law

Following the trend of the preceding days, this pentad began with daytime maximums reaching the high-teens. In combination with the welcoming sunshine the deceptively warm days lured one into forgetting that we are in deep winter. The sharp drop of temperature on Thursday July 19th caught me by surprise. The lowest daytime maximum to-date of 13.7ºC, recorded at Bellambi AWS was followed by the lowest overnight minimum to-date of 7.7ºC. At the University of Wollongong, it was the mid-year graduation. Fresh graduates donning blue gowns laden with flowers and gifts roamed the campus. Proud parents accompanied their offsprings in celebrating at their latest achievement. They commemorated the occasion by taking a variety of portrait photographs against the campus’s bush settings. Nearby the Australian wood ducks (Chenonetta jubata) leisurely looked on. … {read on}

Passing views of March

July 18th, 2012
by Jo Law

Minor Cold: Magpies nest

July 16th, 2012
by Jo Law

Daytime temperatures continue to climb in this pentad with a highest monthly maxiumum to-date of 21.3ºC recorded on Friday July 13th at Bellambi (AWS). That evening we enjoyed dinner out on Austinmer Beach, deserted but for us and a group of keen all-male exercise practitioners. Despite the designation of ‘Minor Cold’, the air feels warm. … {read on}

Minor Cold: Wild geese reutrn to northern home

July 11th, 2012
by Jo Law

The solar term of Minor Cold began with slightly warmer weather in the northern Illawarra. In general, days began with an overcast sky – a promise of a rather dull day, then unexpectedly the sun made a belated appearance and brightened up the general outlook. The late winter warm sun has a surprisingly fierceness to its warmth.

In the next 5 pentads of the 2 remaining solar terms before the Start of Spring, the Chinese Almanac focuses on the behaviours of birds as markers of the season’s end. In phenology, sightings and movements of migratory animals often provide clue to the progression of seasonal changes. … {read on}

Winter Solstice: Spring waters move

July 6th, 2012
by Jo Law

Perhaps it’s the warm sun on the back deck, perhaps it’s the steady regaining of health, in this pentad I sense the ascendency of the yang as suggested by the Chinese Almanac. The passing of this winter solstice has made a strong impression on me this year. Re-reading entires from East Wind Melts the Ice, I am reminded by Liza Dalby that in the northern hemisphere, the Gregorian calendar begins a new year shortly after the shortest day. Perhaps it is not so inappropriate a time for a new beginning. … {read on}

Winter Solstice: Elks break antlers

June 30th, 2012
by Jo Law

I spent the past pentad bedridden with what was later revealed to be influenza with an added dose of pneumonia. On the first day when I was exposed to the outside air after 3 days in bed, the air felt warm and moist as if celebrating the fact that the shortest day is now behind us. As I sat on the steps at the back watching Hollis gleefully chasing the black and white chickens, I noticed the maple tree is almost bare. Both the lemon and orange trees are heavy with fruit. The next morning, the sun streamed in its warmth and light into my sick room. I can feel returning yang element. … {read on}

Winter Solstice: Earthworms twist

June 25th, 2012
by Jo Law

In Wollongong (34º26’S 150º54E), the sun ‘stood still’ and climbed no higher than 32.2º altitude from June 16th to June 25th. On June 21st, the sun rose at 07:03 and set at 16:54. The day length was 9 hours 50 minutes and 59 seconds; it was the shortest day of the year: the June Solstice. On that day at 09.09 local time (EST), the sun reached its lowest point in the sky. On the imaginary ecliptic the sun is passing through the celestial longitude of 90º. At Casey, Antarctica (66º17’S, 110º32’E), the shortest day was 2 hours 29 minutes and 15 seconds long when the sun made a brief appearance from 11:25 to 13:54. Further south at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (90º00’S 0º00’E), after setting on March 22nd, the sun will not another appearance until September 20th, after when it will stay above the horizon for another 6 months. In the northern hemisphere, June 21st was Summer Solstice. In Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon Territory, Canada (60º43’N 135º03’W), the sun rose at 04:27 and set at 23:37 giving its inhabitants 19 hours 9 minutes and 16 seconds of daylight. Within the Arctic Circle in Hammerfest, Norway (70ª40’N 23º41’E), one of the northmost cities in the world, the sun has failed to set since May 14th. When it finally sinks below the horizon again at 23.52 on July 30th, the brief night will only be 4 minutes long.
… {read on}

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