What Happened to Fall?

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It did not look like Fall today. Just a week or so I was wondering why Fall began at 2:24 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Now a couple inches of snow overnight and not too far west of here a foot of snow. Sounds more like Winter.

So why 2:24 p.m. on September 22, 2013 for the beginning of Fall? Simple to find out.  The site www.timeanddate.com explains: 

On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an "equinox", derived from Latin, meaning "equal night".

The September equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south.

In many cultures, the September equinox is a sign of fall (autumn) in the northern hemisphere. In Greek mythology fall is associated with when the goddess Persephone returns to the underworld to be with her husband Hades. It was supposedly a good time to enact rituals for protection and security as well as reflect on successes or failures from the previous months.

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At least now I had the chance to understand the 2:24 p.m. comment on television. I am still not sure why we got snow today but then we usually do get snow at this time of year. Experience says that it will warm up again. The Ski area will complain that it is hard to make snow. But then by mid-November it will be snowing and people here will be skiing. 

 

Soap! (for Free!)

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Around your home you probably have those little bits of old soap bars that you just discard. Hotels have a lot of them. For years we would "throw them away," but after listening to Annie Leonard's audio book The Story of Stuff  I was struck with one idea; there is no away. This applies to much of what we call trash. So why throw out stuff that could be made perfectly useful without any life cycle cost. This really applies to soap pieces.

We now follow a simple recipe. Collect the left over soap bars, cut them up into very small pieces, add lemon juice and a little glycerine, put the mix into boiling water (to liquify and to sanitize), let it cool, put the liquid in an empty soap dispenser and let it sit for a few days. Liquid Soap! 

By itself this won't make much of a dent in the size of the flow of items to a landfill, and it will not make you solvent financially. But if everyone did this, then that is another story. It is one really simple thing that illustrates life cycle costs; no shipping of liquid soap containers; no manufacturing of those plastic bottles that liquid soap comes in; no throwing something out. There is the cost of heating the boiling water but it is certainly offset by the other savings. Check our one item per day on the "Then and Now" pages for other things we are trying.

Our Ecosystem

Things that fit together seem to work better. Apple Computers with its huge App Store, iDevices that can all share amongst each other, and actions that seem intuitive because they work together is an example. When I was writing the "Activities Overview" page on this site I thought about its ecosystem.

If one wanted to predict which new business or which new activity had a chance of success, you could examine it from the view of the area's mores. You  should also be able to "reverse engineer" what local people see as good from the list of successful activities.

Here we seem to value independence and being able to help others. Ethical treatment of all living creatures is essential. The mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle" is practiced. The importance of the natural world is recognized. Small and independent is preferred over large controlled from else where.

A study of local residents a few years ago showed that they valued open space as the "highest and best use" of land. Economic development is seen as preserving reasons people live and visit here rather than building new.

So the activities that work are well exampled by The Carousel of Happiness."  The Community supports small independent businesses which can try to be unique, restaurants operated by one person or a family, outdoor opportunities that need little specialized equipment and probably not a team of people.

These are the reasons why cross country skiing is popular but motorized snow equipment is not. Casinos work 20 miles away with a draw from Denver but even a non-profit attempt at Bingo failed here.

The local community run movie theatre is wildly successful but I wouldn't put funding in a franchised multiplex. By the way if you are here on a weekend you should try the theatre at the Community Center which does show first run movies in digital format but in a place where people donated money to buy a seat and have their name put on it.

Like the night sky, if you haven't experienced a community like this you should really visit. If you have, you will feel at home.

 

Frost 0n the Pumpkin

Actually we don't have any pumpkins yet but there was very noticeable frost on the cars parked out front this morning. The overnight temperature dropped to 30 degrees at 6 a.m. The need to make a fire made me think of Taos and that lead to thoughts about routine.

We stayed in a very nice Bed and Breakfast in Taos, New Mexico a few winters ago. They had a routine in the morning. In fact they had a routine for everything. Exactly at 8 a.m. a fire was started in the fireplace. Breakfast was served at 9. You could check in between 4 and 6 p.m. And so on.

We have a little different philosophy. We have served breakfast as early as 4 and as late as 10. We would like you to check in after 2 and if you are going to be later than 9, please let us know. But we do have a sort of routine and now that it is Fall I thought I would describe part of it for this season.

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We make a fire in The Social Room fireplace if it is cool. It will probably be going when you come down for breakfast. We will have put out your breakfast fruits, breads, and drinks but the hot food will be served family style. Some days we serve in The Social Room but often Guests prefer The Kitchen.

We will have checked for things that could go wrong like a pellet stove low on fuel. If you found something needed in your room, let us know. If something does not seem right, let us know. If you got up in the middle of the night and happened to see a moose (or bear or fox or something interesting) and got a photo let us know. If you give us a copy we will post it on this site.

That is about it for routine here. The Hotel is in such an interesting place that every day is different. We hope that you will visit and add to the uniqueness that is Eldora and The Goldminer Hotel.

 

The Rain This Week Really Was Dramatic

Up here in Eldora it is hard to understand what the 500 year storm of September, 2013 meant to thousands of people just a few miles down stream. Sure we see highway closed signs and certainly it is a longer trip down 3,000 feet in elevation to Boulder. And yes television news broadcasts the same story about the same destroyed lives and properties. But you go outside and it all seems normal.

But then this photo is published.

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It was taken last week by a passenger from an airplane approaching Denver. Clear everywhere except for that massive rain being squirted at high pressure to a small point on the ground. Who or what could escape destruction from that? I do hope it was a 500 year storm and I am certainly glad it was not pointed here.

Often strange things happen during a Full Moon

Although refuted by many "experts," there are strange occurrences during a full moon.  Tonight is a Full Moon. Right here I don't see any activities out of the ordinary but maybe that is because it is cloudy; maybe because there is no correlation; or maybe because it is early. 

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Even though it seems all quiet, this event does illustrate how a dark sky assists in observing the sky at night. There are a number of iOS apps that assist in observation.  Tonight I thought I would try an iPad app "Moon Seeker." It features a fairly unique 3D aspect to it that lets you view the moon through the device's camera and overlay that live image over a depiction of data representing the sky in a specific location. Maybe a couple of photos will help this explanation. This first photo is a screen shot of the app showing me where to look based on time of night.  Actually, that should be sort of self evident; the Moon is pretty big. But it does show interesting information about the perceived movement of the Moon over time.

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The second image uses the 3D view capability.  Fortunately, the clouds were gone by now, although a little haze obscured the stars, but certainly not the Moon. What all of this means I am not quite sure. That is a reason that viewing is best done with an astronomer. A Full Moon viewing party is one of the things you could do at The Goldminer. 

Having this type of expert is nice but certainly not necessary. The viewing activity illustrates the power of a dark and often clear  night sky. The Goldminer Hotel is the perfect place to try such observations. I hope you do.

 

Rain yes, Flood (at least here), No

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We received twenty-five percent of our annual precipitation in the last few days.  The Weather page on this site shows the detail.  Normally, there are a number of highways that will bring you to The Hotel but at the moment there is only one way in and out; State Highway 119 from Blackhawk twenty miles to the South.   

Further down the various canyons there is the flood devastation of a 500 year storm but here in Eldora it only looks like there was a fair amount of rain.  Vegetation is green rather than changing to Fall colors.  The stream two blocks from The Hotel is still in its banks but sort of looks like the usual Spring run off rather than the normal low water of late Summer.

The flooding that much of the Front Range of Colorado has experienced this week has not touched us here.