Tonight I went outside at about 8:40 to look for the International Space Station. It was either too cloudy, or too low to rise above the neighbor’s house/woods. I’m not sure which, but I did not see it. No worries though, it was predicted to come by again at 10:16pm. By then, the clouds had done some considerable clearing. But for the best viewing, I figured maybe I should make a trip down to Sandogardy Pond. Which I did. I brought my camera with me, and also a head-mounted flashlight (those things are great).

When I got there, I noticed that they had put the dock back in the water now. It wasn’t there two weeks ago. I ambled down to the beach and walked out onto the doc in the dark. I could see Vega, Deneb, and Polaris (stars), and Ursa Major and Cassiopaeia (constellations). The ISS was supposed to cross just over the top of Cassiopaeia at its apex.

I glanced at my watch and saw that it was pretty close to the time the ISS should come into view. And behold! There it was. It looked about like an airplane. I stood on the dock and stared at it until it disappeared from my view in the east. Then I took a walk down the beach.

I was looking into the pond to see if there were any aquatic plants in bloom yet, and maybe see if I could find any heron tracks. There are a few plants coming up now, but they have most definitely not bloomed yet, and in the dark I was unable to determine their identity. Then I came across this:

Mussel Shells in Sandogardy Pond

Mussel Shells in Sandogardy Pond

There must have been a thousand mussel shells busted open here. I looked around for animal tracks, figuring that a family of raccoons, minks, or fishercats must have been feasting here every night for a week to have made a pile this large. Someone (perhaps the city of Northfield) had just raked the beach though (they use a tractor to do that on a regular basis), so there was no sign there. I couldn’t see anything in the water either. Maybe it was just too dark, or maybe the sign was just beyond my ability to detect it. I moved on.

At the end of the beach I turned away from the pond and trekked south. There’s a trail there that goes along the brook that drains the pond. And there is a patch of Clintonia borealis that grows along the path. It hadn’t bloomed when I was there two Saturdays ago, but I saw plenty of it in bloom at Camp Lawroweld over the weekend. And bingo:

Clintonia borealis at night

Clintonia borealis at night

It was fully in bloom. I like this plant because it has green flowers. That’s an unusual color for a flower if you think about it. Then I turned around and went back to the beach. I turned off my headlamp and walked the last 10 yards of the path in the dark. I lef thte light off as I walked along the beach, but then I decided to check for blooms at the edge of the woods along the opposite side of that strip of sand. There was some bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) in bloom, but I didn’t take a picture of that. I had seen some during the daytime in my own woods and had already logged it. Besides, these night photos of flowers don’t really turn out all the impressively. As I walked back up the hill to my car, I scanned the edge of the beach access road. Some Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria) has a tendency to bloom there until the city mows it down. It’s not time for that to come up just yet, but it never hurts to check. I saw nothing though.

Sunday night I went to bed early (after clearing brush, etc all day, I was tired). I woke up at 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Then I remembered that the International Space Station would be visible at 4:10am. I got up and checked the web to make sure. Nope. 4:35. I surfed a bit, and then went outside at 4:34. It was a little cloudy, but I could still easily make out all the stars in the Big Dipper. And then the ISS appeared. It slowly crossed the sky, passing right across the lowest star in the Dipper’s Bowl. Cool.

I came back in after it disappeared (a four minutes show) and then went to bed. But while I was up waiting for it, I went to the bathroom and found a tick near my knee. I pulled, but it was hanging on pretty doggedly. I kept pulling firmly and eventually got it. But it wasn’t moving any more, which leads me to believe that its tiny little head is still under the skin. Bummer. I chucked it in the toilet, but it did not struggle or swim or anything like that. Hmmm.

Next day I checked the site and noticed two things: a nasty bruise, and a red ring around circling it, about the size of a dime. It was also itchy and sore to the touch. When I got home from work I asked Va who my doctor is. I haven’t been to a doctor since we moved up here five years ago, so I figured maybe it was time anyhow. I called and made two appointments. One for the tick, and another for a physical.

The tick appointment was this morning at 8:00am. Doc didn’t seem concerned at all, so I don’t see a reason that I should be either. Since the tick had been in there for only about 12 hours, he said there was very little chance of a Lyme’s infection. His recommended course of action was for me to keep an eye on it, which I will do.