Opinion

Arcturus

The two stars that I seem to mention the most are Arcturus and Spica. Since I wrote about Spica last month, I thought it was time to tell you about Arcturus. You know the drill: find the Big Dipper and follow the arc of its handle to Arcturus.... more

Gobble, gobble

By the time most of you read this you will have already found yourself elbow deep inside a cavernous turkey carcass trying to stuff it with old bread. At least that is how it used to be before people found out you could make dressing in a casserole dish much easier.... more

Letter to Editor: MVS, Moffat and Crestone students are off to the Eastern Seaboard

That is right. After lots of hard work and support the trip to Europe in March of 2023 is fully paid off! We can’t thank all of you enough for your help and support! Since we all know the importance of hands-on learning, we have decided to do another trip to see all of America’s great history in person.... more

You are a winner

I know some of you readers out there who are probably too young to remember the days before Al Gore invented the Internet or even the time he claimed to have done so. But believe it or not, prior to the www-everything, U.S. Mail was the primary carrier of outrageous claims and promises to your mailbox.... more

Comet Encke

This is the year of the comet, so far, we’ve had Lemmon and Pan STARRS. Soon you’ll be able to see ISON, but for now you’ll have to settle for our “old faithful” comet Encke. It’s “old faithful” because it has the shortest orbit of any known periodic comet and appears every 3.3 years. Periodic means that it orbits the Sun in a reliable pattern like a planet.... more

Letter to Editor: Food banks need support during holiday season

The holiday season is almost upon us, reminding us of the needs of all the food banks in the San Luis Valley. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, our local food banks all experience increased demand as families strive to provide their families with holiday fare.... more

Red or blue, it's up to you

By the time you read this, the votes should have all been counted and tallied and we can, at least, watch a little bit of television without a political ad being blasted into our homes.... more

Leonid Meteor shower

This time it's the Leonid Meteor Shower that runs from Nov. 6-30 and peaks on the 18th. Since the full moon was on the 8th, and the new moon will be on the 23, they should be fine.... more

Demon star

The new moon was on the 25th, we still have beautiful dark skies for viewing. The Milky Way is beginning to move from the South to the Southwest as Earth's solar orbit changes into the autumn position. The other end still appears in the NE. Don't forget to look for the Taurid fireballs in the eastern evening sky.... more

You can go home again

This past weekend found Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch traversing the plains of North Texas and through Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Mountains in a journey back in time. For it was home to Kansas for me and the 70th anniversary of the founding of my home church.... more

What's your password

I do not suppose there has ever been a larger jump in technology than there has been in the last decade. And some would say it really all took a light year leap forward in about 1947 with the crash of the UFO at Roswell, New Mexico, where the U.S. Government supposedly reverse engineered alien technology found in the flying saucer recovered there. For it was then that the transistor was “invented” and suddenly we were in a new era that led to a communication unrivaled since Eve gave Adam the apple. And we all know how that turned out.... more

Ghoul Star

Algol is one of the stars in the constellation Persius that sits below Cassiopeia. Its Arabic name means head of the ghoul, or head of the demon. Beta Persei is the official name, but Algol is more common because of what it means.... more

Autumn Equinox

We’ve been getting a lot of rain which is good, but hopefully the sky will have cleared, and we can welcome the Harvest Moon!... more

Water, water everywhere

There is an old poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge named “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and before you say I have a typo in the title of the poem and it should be “Rhyme,” it's not. I guess he didn't have a spell check on his laptop back in 1798 at the time he wrote it or something.... more

Milky Way constellations Cassiopeia and Perseus

Queen Cassiopeia is the wife of Cepheus. She's represented as being chained upside down to her throne in the sky as punishment for boasting that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful that the daughters of the sea god Nereus.... more

Fall somewhere

This Thursday marks the Fall Equinox, the time when the tilt of the earth is neither away from nor closer to the Sun and in fact the Sun is shining directly on the equator. This provides those of us on Earth with “nearly” equal amounts of daylight no matter the latitude where you live.... more

Letter to Editor: Superhero, at my service

Liza Marron is my kind of superhero; not the comic book-action movie kind, who can fly, or bend steel, but with equally unusual powers. More practical than the ability to dodge bullets: consensus-building, budget-managing, and transforming endless hours of meetings into progressive action.... more

Halloween then Christmas

Early in August, Miss Trixie and I were at a local shopping venue and Ol’ Dutch noticed that they had some Halloween decorations already out. I am sure you all can remember when they used to start in with that marketing madness about the first of October, but it seems that every store has begun digging out the orange stuff earlier and earlier hoping to corner the market before their competitors can do so.... more

Fall is in the sky

Fall is in the air! The aspens are starting to change color, and the days are getting shorter. September to November are the best times to view the night sky because it gets dark earlier, yet the temperatures are relatively mild. Since the full moon was on the 10th, and the last quarter moon is on the 17th, the sky is getting better to look at.... more

Hunting on the Rio Grande National Forest

A twig snaps, sharply breaking the quiet, and I wince a little as I turn back around to pay attention to where I am walking in the wee hours of daylight. Otto snickers at me from behind. It’s his fault really. I was actually very quiet up until the point where he lightly tapped my shoulder with a stick to make me aware of the developing incredible sunrise on the skyline behind me. One of the best I have ever seen. Later that day and through the weekend, area social media pages lit up with hundreds of images of the same sunrise. We weren’t alone viewing nature’s splendor that early November morning, but we were alone, in that area of the Rio Grande National Forest.... more

Planets over the sky this month

Since the full moon is on the 10th, a lot of stars won’t be visible. But the Planets will be visible. Jupiter is highly visible this month. The Zodiacal light will also be visible this month in the Eastern horizon.... more

Does a bear poop in the woods

I would imagine that everyone has heard that rhetorical question stated at one time or another when someone is asked something so blatantly obvious that a simple yes just will not do. Such as someone asking a doctor if he sees any sick people. To which he might answer “does a bear poop in the woods?” Which means of course he does. He’s a doctor for Pete's sake. What other kind of people would he see?... more

Milky Way Southern Galaxies

I'm still waiting for a clear night to take out my telescope. Hopefully, it will happen soon. Clouds are welcome when they bring rain. Otherwise, they can go away. The 1st quarter moon is Sept. 3, and Labor Day is the 5th.... more

A hunting I will go

This next week Miss Trixie and I will celebrate the anniversary of nabbing my first bear. It just so happens that was sometime in the beginning throes of Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch’s harmonious relationship, too.... more

Letter to Editor: Not in favor of county clerk’s new office hours

I am writing this letter hoping to inform the electorate in Rio Grande County about plans for our unopposed, three-term Rio Grande County Clerk suddenly decided that her office need only be open four days per week.... more

Clear Sky

Last night, Aug. 14, it was 9:10 and I went to close the front door. But when I looked outside first, the sky was clear, and I could see stars. We had rain in the afternoon and usually the sky stays cloudy. So, I went out the backdoor and looked all over the sky. There weren’t clouds anywhere!... more

Amazon’ed

It’s unlikely there is anyone around here that has not used Amazon to order stuff, or at least has heard of it. It's the Sears catalog of the modern age and those of you old enough to recall such a book know how many hours we all spent perusing the pages of wishes.... more

Letter to Editor: Center Kiwanis thankful for Livestock Sale Fund support

Thank you for your generous donation to our 4-H FFA Livestock Sale Fund and making this investment in support of the youth of our community.... more

Rocks in my head

Ol’ Dutch comes from a very long line of rock collectors, so it comes as no surprise that I find all kinds of “treasures” scattered on the ground wherever I go. While most people walk around with their head up and eyes front and center to keep from running into things, if you watch me very much you will notice my eyes are always glued to the ground in front of me. This has caused me to walk into no small number of things as I stroll along which is a little embarrassing to say the least.... more

Early morning and evening viewing

Don’t forget that the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks on Aug. 12. Even though that time is a full moon, it sets close to 4 a.m., so then we can go out and view them.... more

Delta Aquariid Meteors

The Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks early in the morning of July 29 and 30. This isn’t a big meteor shower with only about 15 per hour, but sometimes there are 25 per hour.... more

Re-ran my reruns

You do not have to watch much television to understand the prevalence of shows that have previously aired being run over and over and over. This is called being in syndication and once they get into that avenue, they seem to take on a life of their own.... more

Letter to the Editor: Need to rebalance the Supreme Court

Right now, the right to abortion care is at risk because of a deliberate, decades-long takeover of the Supreme Court by powerful right-wing extremists. We’re seeing the culmination of this takeover as the Court just overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that made abortion access a constitutional right.... more

Star Clusters and Nebula

While you are looking low in the southern sky toward the center of the Milky Way, you will see many interesting objects which are only visible in the summer. The Teapot asterism, which is part of the constellation Sagittarius, sits in front of the Milky Way, and appears to be pouring tea into the tail of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. Scorpius sits to the right of and slightly below the Teapot and looks like a large “J” leaning to the right.... more

Independence never felt so good

As I write this column each week, Ol’ Dutch tries to look down at the week or weeks ahead to what is happening hoping to find some inspiration to add to my normal great wisdom.... more

About our Sun

Since the last quarter moon is on June 21, and the new moon is on June 29, if you want to stay up late, this will be a good time to look at the night sky. Since the dark night is going to be short for the next month, I thought I'd tell you about our universe. Today I will give you some interesting information about our Sun.... more

So spiritually minded you’re no earthly good

I need to preface this with a little bit about my own growing-up years so as to not offend everyone out there who has any kind of religious persuasion. I was raised in a church family with both my father and mother being pastors of a large congregation with satellite churches around the state.... more

Summer solstice

This year the June solstice, also known as the Summer Solstice, occurs on June 21. This is the longest day of the year for all of us north of the equator, and the beginning of summer. South of the equator, it's the shortest day of the year and the beginning of winter. This is the day that the Sun rises and sets as far north as it ever does, which gives 24 hours of daylight north of the Arctic Circle, and 24 hours of darkness south of the Antarctic Circle.... more

Doubling down on special days

Summer for us in Colorado began with two nice and most welcome rains. There is hope that this Rain Man can keep that up and have a long monsoon season.... more

Backing into a divorce

Miss Trixie and I have finally arrived in the bountiful state of Colorado and the cool temperatures sure are a nice change from the hot Texas sun. Before we left the Lone Star State, we experienced some 90 degree days there and while that might be a nice spring day to those hardy Texans, it was too much for Ol’ Dutch and his sensitive disposition.... more

Cygnus the Swan

Cygnus the Swan is another Summer Triangle constellation. It's a bird flying through the sky. This is Deneb's constellation with 13 stars, and it is one of the easiest to find. Vega is up high, and Deneb is at the lower left of the Triangle in the ENE just on the edge of the Milky Way. Cygnus is also known as the Northern Cross. In December it stands upright in the NW and is also known as the Christmas Cross. This time of year, it's high in the sky.... more

Letter to Editor: Summitville is no place for an RV park

Summitville was already the site of one of Colorado's biggest environmental disasters. Can we spare this fragile landscape another?... more

Then drive a spike to Spica

How many times have I quoted the phrase “follow the Big Dipper handle arc to Arcturus, and then drive a spike to Spica”? Orange Arcturus is the first bright star the handle points to, and blue, white Spica is the next brightest.... more

Put on your long pants

Once again Miss Trixie and I return to Colorful Colorado for what will hopefully be a cool summer of relaxation and fishing. If you have never visited the Rocky Mountain State, I encourage you to do so as it is so full of wonderful things to do and see.... more

New meteor shower

Three independent studies have investigated the likely hood of a new meteor shower occurring this year at the end of May. They have predicted that it will really happen. We’ll see if it really does happen. They’ve predicted that it will occur at 10 p.m. on May 30, and early morning on May 31.... more

Take it off, take it all off

Way back in the Stone Age of 1967 there was an advertising campaign that ran utilizing the Swedish model Gunilla Knutson. Now for those of you who do not know who she was or maybe still is, she was a blonde bombshell of no small fame at the time.... more

Little Johnny comes calling

As Miss Trixie and I approach our soon-to-be 11th summer together, we just may have hit the inevitable seven-year itch where people break up.... more

Corona Borealis — the Northern Crown

High in the eastern sky you will find the constellation Corona Borealis, the “Northern Crown”. It’s an almost perfect semi-circle of stars that will gradually arc across the sky from now until September. The sky doesn’t get dark early, so you’ll have to wait until at least 9:30 PM, or maybe even a little later.... more

Letter to Editor: Mitchells rebuff investigation, say there is more to story

My husband Clay and I have two children in the Sargent School District, and I am a member of the Sargent School District Board of Education. We focus on resilience and grit in everything we do. We recognize the need for continual self-improvement and growth, and we are working on that with the district.... more

Lunar Eclipse

Eclipses occur when the full moon is opposite the sun in the sky with the Earth directly between them, preventing sunlight from shining on the moon. This causes Earth’s dark umbral shadow to fall on the moon creating a red-orange glow.... more

Here’s your sign

Probably most of my readers out there can recall the comedian Bill Engvall doing the routine about people asking dumb questions. He contends that stupid people need to wear a sign so that anyone in contact with them will know they are, well, stupid.... more

Thank a nurse during National Nurses Week

The American public has again ranked nurses as the professionals with the highest honesty and ethical standards, according to a Gallup poll released in December, 2021. The annual poll marks the 20th consecutive year that nurses have been ranked the most trusted out of a wide spectrum of professions, including medical doctors and police officers.... more

Eta Aquariid Meteors

The last time we saw comet Halley was in 1986, and it won’t return until 2061, but it left a trail of debris in its path as it went around the Sun.... more

Yankee In the South

No matter where you are from, it seems that we are still somewhat identified by the events that occurred during the Civil War. The dividing lines during that conflict determined if you were a Yankee or a Southerner and that designation for people of a region seems to have held over even today.... more

Sounds of an abundance of rain

There is an old adage that says if March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb, referring to the wind speeds normally associated with that Spring month.... more

Hercules

Hercules is the fifth-largest constellation in our sky. It's also one of the dimmest. Although it contains 20 stars, not many are visible unless the sky is very clear and dark. Fortunately, that happens here. Since the new moon is April 30, this is the perfect time to look for it, unless it's raining which we really need this year.... more

Letter to Editor: Phillips announces run for Saguache County Commissioner

My name is Jeff Phillips and I am running for Saguache County Commissioner District 3. I am a native of Colorado and have lived in Saguache County for 15 years with my wife and family. I am a rancher and the manager and equipment salesman for Sharpe Equipment. I have been manager of Sharpe Equipment for 10 years and have been selling farm equipment for 15 years.... more

Long live the Bunny

Since we last spoke, Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch successfully navigated our way into Mexico.... more

Commentary: Building back, building up, and investing in our rural economy

Living in rural Colorado is a special opportunity that few get to experience. The attraction of the Front Range includes its conveniences and bright lights. However, the attractions of the rural parts of Colorado include the bright stars at night, livestock serenades, open panoramic views, and peaceful spaces. This country boy could not ask for more.... more

Commentary: April is both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM) is a time to highlight the importance of individuals and communities working together to prevent child abuse. Our goal is to increase awareness about child abuse and neglect and to decrease it from occurring. During 2021 in the San Luis Valley alone, there were 1172 child abuse reports made to the Colorado Department of Human Services.... more

Spring Sky

Now that spring is here the winter stars are in the west, and new stars are rising in the east. There are only three bright stars in the spring which also form the Spring Triangle. They are Regulus, Arcturus and Spica. The three constellations they are part of are Leo the Lion, Bootes the Bear Driver and Virgo the Maiden.... more

Fallen and can’t get up

I guess there is no greater fear when people grow old than falling and not being able to get up. And who can imagine lying somewhere, maybe cold, waiting for someone to come along and find you there. That would be horrible.... more

Cancer the Crab

The full moon is on March 18, and the last quarter is on the 25th. By March 28, you’ll be able to view the morning sky.... more

Spring forward

This Spring forward deal with the clocks has really gotten to Ol’ Dutch. And even Miss Trixie seems to have been afflicted with the clock-altering event.... more

Letter to Editor: SLV Rocky Mountain Farmers Union hits the ground running

Last fall the San Luis Valley chapter of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) elected officers, and they have come out of the gate in 2022 excited to get back together. Secretary Liza Marron, Treasurer Kris Steinberg, Vice President Patrick O’Neill, and President Kyler Brown are this year's officers. We are proud to have Emily Brown continue to represent District 5 on RMFU’s Board. ... more

ASU asks Douglas County to opposes RWR proposal

The Board of Trustees of Adams State University respectfully submits this letter for your consideration and asks you oppose the Renewable Water Resources proposal. We are privileged and honored our great University calls the San Luis Valley home, and we recognize the conservation, protection, and use of water resources of the Rio Grande basin are vital to the continued economic and cultural prosperity of the San Luis Valley and of Adams State University.... more

President Biden deserves our support

It’s been stunning to see the speed with which hardballs have been thrown at President Biden since his 2021 inauguration.... more

Let’s all celebrate March

They say the older you get the faster time seems to go and that certainly seems to be the case for Ol’ Dutch and Miss Trixie. And poor Mr. Cooper, the Yorkie, really sees it fly by as one dog year is the equivalent to seven human ones.... more

Commentary: Water is more precious than gold these days

People in Washington, D.C., or in Denver may not understand this, but the San Luis Valley’s foundation is farmers and ranchers who have worked the same soil for generations. The Valley’s agriculture industry depends on sustainable groundwater supplies in the Valley’s aquifers. Recently, a $600-million proposal to pump seven billion gallons of water per year from one of the San Luis Valley aquifers to the Denver suburbs while also drying up at least 22,667 irrigated acres in the Valley has begun to pick up steam.... more

I wasn’t talking to you

Way back when Ol’ Dutch interviewed Miss Trixie for a position on “the team,” I was working at the local church helping remodel.... more

Gemini the Twins

A constellation high overhead above Orion in the southwest is Gemini the Twins. It's easy to identify because it contains 2 of the bright Winter Circle stars, Pollux, and Castor. They are famous brothers in Greco-Roman mythology and are the heads of the twins.... more

Making food in case I die

I was the first to start having some symptoms but Miss Trixie, ever the copycat, soon followed suit and we both were stretched out in bed like two big, old beached whales.... more

Letter to Editor: Saguache County Assessor, Treasurer welcome questions 

Regarding anyone that has experienced a tax increase on their property in Saguache County, or that simply has questions regarding their taxes, the County Assessor's Office and County Treasurer's Office welcomes inquiry and will provide an explanation. ... more

Letter to Editor: Gilbert announces candidacy for Saguache County Clerk and Recorder

I am announcing my candidacy for re-election to the office of Saguache County Clerk & Recorder.... more

Darwin was right

Most of you probably already know of Charles Darwin and his famous theory about the evolution of the species but for those of you needing a memory jog due to aging synapses, it goes something like this.... more

Zodiacal Light and Morning Planets

The full moon was on Feb. 16, so in a few more days it will rise later, and you'll be able to observe the sky before it rises. On the 18th you can start looking for the Zodiacal Light. It will be visible for two weeks.... more

Letter to Editor: Traumatic visit to Saguache County Assessor’s Office

After receiving my recent commercial property tax bill, I went to the Saguache County Assessor’s Office to find out why my new tax bill was $4,500 after being only $57 last year. Since there is no business on the property, I thought it was a typo and was meant to be $450.... more

Too close to you

This past week, our winter “neck of the woods” had an ice storm. For those of you unfamiliar with such events, an ice storm is when you lose electricity, water, and heat so you can get closer to your other half.... more

Letter to Editor: Marron announces running for Saguache Commissioner seat

Twenty-five years ago, my grandmother Nadine told me I should run for county commissioner. She was a woman ahead of her time with a degree in music and a talent for sewing. She ran the Singer Sewing Machine, gave lessons and had a weekly sewing show on the Cedar Rapids TV station. Her faith in me has always stayed with me.... more

And then there was you

You have to be a little long in the tooth to remember the famous musical “The Music Man.” This was a very popular production starring Shirley Jones, Robert Preston, and a tiny Ron Howard.... more

2022 Zodiacal light

It's that time of year when we get to see the evening Zodiacal light. This is a huge softly radiant pyramid of white light with its base near the horizon that stands almost straight up in the dark sky this time of year.... more

Letter to Editor: Xcel Energy cuts power without warning

On Dec. 30, 2021, electrical power supplied by Xcel Energy in Denver was shut off at approximately 6 p.m. to parts of Alamosa, Rio Grande and Saguache counties as a result of the tragic fires around Boulder.... more

Water shortage

It seems that every day now that I peruse the Internet, there is a new story about the water shortages facing our country.... more

The Pleiades

Since the full moon was on Jan. 17, the last quarter moon is on Jan. 25, and the new moon will be on Feb. 1. We're getting close to being able to observe the sky. Unfortunately, when Venus got low in the sky and Mercury was visible also low in the sky, I couldn’t see them because of the mountains covering them. But I loved observing Venus when she was so high and bright.... more

Commentary: The time is now to plan for solar energy

Here in Saguache County, some of my constituents are customers of Xcel Energy others are members-owners of San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative, which in turn purchases virtually all its power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission per a contract that runs until 2050.... more

Let me pull you pork

They say the secret to the success of any project, product or endeavor is good marketing. With a good presentation and enough exposure, you may not be able to make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but you can make people believe that you can.... more

Christmas Gift Giving Made Easy

By the time most of you read this, you will be long into the Christmas present buying process and more into the opening phase.... more

New Year

Even though we haven’t had much snow, the clouds managed to block out the peak dates of December’s meteor showers. One thing I have noticed is that the sky is always crystal clear after a storm moves out.... more

Christmas Gift Giving Made Easy

By the time most of you read this, you will be long into the Christmas present buying process and more into the opening phase.... more

Winter Solstice

Winter is finally here, almost. Our weather has been so strange, one week cold and the next week so warm that it's hard to believe winter will soon arrive. The December solstice comes on Dec. 21 at 9:48 p.m., which is the longest night of the year. That's when winter arrives. ... more

The New Math

When Ol’ Dutch was in the 5th grade — shortly after the earth cooled according to Miss Trixie — the educators took it upon themselves to change to what was known then as “new math.” All of us at the time were doing fine with the old math plus, it had taken man to the moon and back, but schoolbook salesmen and others convinced the teachers that new was better.... more

Memorization is a lost art

Most of you out there in reader land can remember the days when we had to memorize certain things.... more

Orion the Hunter

Now that winter has almost arrived, there are different things to look at in the night sky. My favorite constellation Orion the Hunter is back! It's currently low in the east around 9 p.m., but by the end of this month it will rise at nightfall.... more

If you got it, flaunt it

The past two weeks found Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch engaged in family duty with the two grands.... more

Geminid Meteor Shower

The Geminid Meteor Shower is now rated as our best shower of the year. They run from Dec. 4 to Dec. 17, with a peak on Dec. 14. The good thing about that is that the new moon is Dec. 4, so you can start looking at them while the New Moon is occurring. The other good thing is that they start in the evening and run all night. So, 9 p.m. is the perfect time to go out and look for them.... more

World Series spit fest

Ol’ Dutch has never been much of a watcher of sports either live or on television. I am of the old adage that if I cannot play, I don’t want to watch, either. That holds true for other things like cooking shows, home remodeling and kissing. I mean honestly people. If you feel the need for the latter, get a room and spare me the details.... more

New Moon

Since the New Moon is on Nov. 4, this is a perfect time to observe the sky. When you look in the SSW at 6:45 you can see bright Venus. It's the brightest object in our sky, but it's only visible for about 30 minutes. Then it gets low and our mountains block it.... more

Pegasus, the Flying Horse

A good constellation to view now is Pegasus, the Flying Horse. It's one of the largest constellations in our sky, and the best time to observe it is September and October.... more

Cheaper than dirt

Ol’ Dutch being some kind of Scottish persuasion, has always had a penchant toward the cheaper way of doing things. It can be said that I can squeeze a dime out of a nickel and even though some people might find that to be a dig at their image, I find it to be quite the compliment thereby proving some Scottish heritage is latently hidden.... more

Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy is autumn's greatest show piece! It's the largest galaxy of our local group of 30, and the single most distant object visible to the naked eye. The New Moon was on the 6th, so this is a great time to look at the sky. Jupiter and Saturn are still highly visible in the South. Venus is visible low in the SW. So, if you see something bright there, it’s definitely Venus.... more

Cohabitating can get hairy

I may have touched on this subject before but sometimes situations change and the information then bears repeating. And speaking of bears, Ol’ Dutch did not get a bear this year during the September season although a nice 6x5 elk decided he wanted to go home with me and filled two freezers in our RV.... more

Masks are for the little people

It's been an amazing month as we see people once again jamming together in every kind of venue imaginable — football games to soccer matches to the Met Gala and even the Emmys.... more

Zodiacal Light and Meteors

The Zodiacal Light will be visible the next 2 ½ weeks starting now. I've watched them many times in February and March when I look in the west after sunset. But this is a morning event that I've never seen. It occurs in the east before sunrise and lights up the sky. It occurs in September and October, but only when the moon isn't shining.... more

The California friends

This past week Miss Trixie had the pleasure of entertaining a load of her friends from the land of fruits and nuts — California.... more

Cassiopeia the Queen

We're finally getting some clear nights to look at our beautiful sky. It's been too windy to set up my telescope, but I can still go out and enjoy looking at the Milky Way. What do you see when you look at the northeast? Cassiopeia the Queen, of course. It's currently about halfway up the sky and hard to miss the five-star W or M depending on the time of year you're looking at it. Currently, it's sideways with the bottom of the W pointing to the right.... more

The Moon and its Missions

This day on the 9th is three days past the new moon. About ½ hour after sunset, the Moon joins up with Venus low in the west-south-west. The star Spica flickers to the low right of the pair. It is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. There is also a chance that you might see Mercury low in the sky at this time. Mercury and Spica will set 1 hour after the Sun, and Venus and the Moon will stay visible for another ½ hour.... more

 

Letter to Editor: Time to do our part as neighbors

I write to you again as I am concerned about how our progress of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has hit a wall. I have seen how so many people are getting sick again and the suffering of grieving families across the nation is unnecessary.... more

Planet Jupiter and the Meteor Shower

Jupiter and Saturn are at opposition this month. That is when they are opposite the Sun making them very bright and easy to see. Saturn reached its opposition on Aug. 1-2, and Jupiter reaches its opposition on Aug. 19-20. They are in the SE early evening, high up around midnight, and low in the west near sunrise.... more

Vacations Are Over

Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch recently made a sojourn out into the Valley for needed supplies, including stops over in Center, Monte Vista, the Amish area and Alamosa, then home to South Fork. We needed some specific items for the Chapel Jewels Annual Fashion Show to be held Thursday, Aug. 12, at The Chapel on the South Fork so we got to spend the day out and about in the beautiful San Luis Valley.... more

Meteor Showers and Planets

Brilliant Venus dominates the western sky this month. At 45 minutes after sunset, it will be 8 degrees high, so if there are high mountains in your sky, you may not be able to see it. But it's very bright. So, look for it in the west to see if you can find it.... more

The Sunday morning parade

Summer seasons of late have found Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch involved in more things than I can count. This past month we have been busier than a mosquito at a nudist convention, with no end in sight.... more

Spectacular Sagittarius

The arms of the Milky Way are named for the constellations they pass through: Perseus, Sagittarius, Centaurus and Cygnus are the major arms. Sagittarius is the most spectacular because the center of the Milky Way lies behind it, and that's where it's the densest and brightest.... more

Remember Lot’s Wife

I don’t know about all of you out there amongst the reader land, but it seems that with each passing year things get harder to remember. That is unless you are Miss Trixie whose memory not only exceeds that of an elephant’s but runs a close second to a laptop computer.... more

Don’t Eat the Olives

I don’t know how or when but at some point, in the nine years of Ol’ Dutch and Miss Trixie’s habitating bliss, certain foods became off limits for Ol’ Dutch to eat as a snack.... more

Meteor Showers and Scorpius

The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower is active from July 12 to Aug. 23. It peaks on July 30. This is a southern meteor shower. So, in the north they will rise only about 30 degrees, and only show about 10. Since we live in Southern Colorado, they will rise a little higher and give us more meteors per hour.... more

Hercules and our Planets

The new moon is on July 10, so this is a great time for sky viewing. The only problem is that the days are still long, so you either must stay up late or get up early. You can always just get up during the night when you wake up. There are a few things that do happen when the sky is still relatively light.... more

The Gift Registry

Weddings have long been a tradition celebrated around the world as a time of joyous gatherings for friends and family members of the nuptialers. For it is at this time that people can get together and wish the newlyweds well and admire all the gifts that they get and to wager how items will be divided up after the divorce some years later.... more

Night Sky: Planets and the Summer Triangle

The Summer Triangle is a group of three bright stars in the summer sky. Each is the brightest star of the constellation they are in, and there are three constellations. Although they start in the summer, they last until the end of the year.... more

Busy as a bee

Another week has flown by like the hummingbirds that seem to have bypassed this part of Colorado this year. For some reason, they have either been delayed in coming or fell victim to some primitive tribe hunting them for a feast of “wings” at their next human sacrifice party.... more

Letter to Editor: Thank you for supporting Sgt. Martinez Memorial Run and Golf Tournament

We the Martinez family would like to thank all of you runners, walkers, and golfers who participated in the Sgt. Glen Martinez Memorial Scholarship 5K Run/Walk and Veterans Golf Tournament on May 29 and 30 to support and honor Glen for his service to our country and his ultimate sacrifice to fight for our precious freedom. ... more

Letters to the Editor: Do away with the filibuster

Year after year, we see politicians in Congress make promises about what they can do for constituents like me. And year after year, the progress is usually less than we hoped for. ... more

Night Sky: Night Planet Viewing

June is not the greatest month for constellation viewing since it's so light for so long. It really doesn't get dark until 10 p.m., and begins to brighten up at 4 a.m. So unless you like to stay up late, the only things you'll be able to see are the planets and some bright stars.... more

The Birthday Boy

By the time you read this Ol’ Dutch will be in the middle of a birthday celebration. Yep, you got that right, no matter what time you are reading this, I will be in the middle of a birthday celebration. For you see for quite some time now we have been having Birthday Weeks whereby the lucky honored person gets to celebrate another year on this planet for an entire week.... more

Night Sky: Algieba, the Double

The constellation Leo the Lion's second brightest star is Algieba. It's about 170 light years from us and looks yellow or orange to the naked eye. When you view it from a dark sky like we have here, you'll notice a fainter star just below it. This star is called 40 Lennis. Even though it looks close to Algieba, it isn't. It's about 60 light years closer to us.... more

Like lemmings over a cliff

Over in the Old Country — which is anywhere near the European Continent when referenced that way — there is a strange occurrence that happens every few years.... more

Perspective: SLVH employees, caregivers address hesitation of COVID vaccination

If you have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, first of all that is normal. You should always feel empowered to ask questions regarding any medical treatment or procedure you or your family are going to have done. What we do need to make sure of, is that all of our patients and community have access to reliable information and data backed by science and evidenced-based practice. ... more

Night Sky: Moon visits Jupiter and Saturn

On May 17, Mercury was farthest from the Sun making it very easy to see. Now it's moving back to the Sun. Although it's still visible, tomorrow it's going to meet up with bright Venus making it hard to see. So, when you look at Venus, use binoculars to help you see Mercury next to it. They're very close together.... more

Are you inny or outie?

Depending on who cut your umbilical cord and how they tucked that baby in, we all seem to end up with a variety of belly buttons. It's kind of interesting to Ol’ Dutch that doctors, society or fashion mags have let that left over from our mother’s womb remain unchanged as it really seems to have no real purpose.... more

Night Sky: Full Super Moon

Our Full Moon on May 26 is the closest and biggest full moon of the year, so it's called a Super Moon. What's interesting about this one is that it's going to be a lunar eclipse that morning.... more

The Rain Man Cometh

Years ago, there were men who traveled around the countryside in horse-drawn, colorful wagons who claimed to be able to make it rain. They would move from area to area literally “drumming” up business with drought-stricken farmers and stockmen.... more

Letter to Editor: To parents of young children

I am Shannon Gonzales Certified Nurse Midwife at San Luis Valley Health, and I would like to talk directly to expecting parents, new parents, and guardians about childhood vaccines. Not the COVID-19 vaccine in the news today, although it is important, but the other vaccines such as HepA, measles, mumps, and polio, that protect us from other diseases.... more

 

Regulus the Little King

As I'm sure you remember, Regulus is the third star of the Spring Triangle. It sits along the Ecliptic where the Sun, Moon and planets travel. It's also part of Leo the Lion constellation. When you see the star Arcturus, just look to center of our sky until you find a backward question mark.... more

Eating at the Barrel

I think that most of you probably know what Ol’ Dutch is talking about when I mention The Barrel in the title to this column but for those of you hitting on only about five cylinders, it’s officially called Cracker Barrel. You know? The place with the expensive rocking chairs on the porch and old people wandering about like the local nursing home just let out for recess?... more

Break out the Eggs

Easter came and went like a thief in the night this year for Ol’ Dutch. But thankfully a friend sent me a photo of the tomb where they placed Jesus after he was crucified, and it was empty. So, that saved me a long trip to the Middle East to make sure.... more

Virgo the Maiden

When you look along the ecliptic where the Sun, Moon and planets travel, you will see this constellation with its bright star Spica in the southeast.... more

The Spring Triangle

The last quarter moon is on April 4 and the new moon is on April 12, so this is a good time to look at the night sky. The moon will rise late and be visible in the morning and during the day. You will be able to see it joining up with Saturn and Jupiter in the morning.... more

It's never what it appears to be

While it seems, the year has barely begun, here we are staring April full in the face. Ol’ Dutch is in Texas for another month or two and that means it's 70 degrees every day and sunshine is abundant. This brings on what is known as “happiness” in my life as I am just not a fan of cold weather.... more

The lost generation

Not a day goes by that Ol’ Dutch is not amazed at just how inept a good share of the younger generation really is.... more

Your Night Sky: Mars and the Pleiades

Daylight Saving Time started Sunday, March 14, so now the sky stays light an hour longer, and morning stays dark an hour longer. Spring starts March 20, but we still may get more snow. Never a dull moment! I love snow, and we can always use it.... more

Spring has sprung

Depending on where you live you are either in the throes of spring springing upon us or at least on the foreseeable horizon. Even if you are buried this morning under a new blanket of lofty white snow, there is still that feeling in the air that mud season is just around the corner. Lovely.... more

Poor Little Rich Girl

On Sunday night, Ol’ Dutch came dragging his exhausted self in the door expecting a delicious meal, hot shower and an evening of quiet solitude. Well, I expected at least the meal and shower part as living with Miss Trixie never guarantees quiet. But two out of three ain’t bad for most men and you throw in a little television on the side, and you have the makings of a great evening.... more

Letter to Editor: We need to advocate for our educators

I have been hearing people discuss how they are mad at our teachers’ unions. The fact that people who educate our children have the legal right to unionize, gain better work environments and pay are deeply connected to the Ludlow Massacre.... more

Letter to Editor: Large broken promise from DA Payne

There is a two-fold intent to writing this letter. First and foremost, to honor and uphold the beautiful memory of beloved community member Barbara Vigil. Barbara was senselessly killed in an automobile crash in Moffat, Colo., on Nov. 25, 2019, by a driver who reportedly was driving 100 mph until seconds before the crash, which destroyed the familiar old red Blazer that Barbara drove.... more

Letter to Editor: What happened to Republican party?

The Republican Party is broken. Its face, a self-styled QAnon “shaman” wearing horns and animal skins. Many within its ranks are neo-Nazis, white supremacists, QAnon and other domestic terrorists. Most Republicans, myself included, detest what the party has become.... more

Pardon me!

Ol’ Dutch and Miss Trixie survived the Polar blast that arrived last week like a freight train without brakes across America. I am not sure why they call it Polar as it was 55 degrees in Alaska at the same time we almost froze to death in Texas. But regardless, it was a challenging week for all no matter where you live.... more

 

Letter to Editor: Think of becoming a Democrat

I’m sure we are all aware that the new POTUS has been inaugurated and that his cabinet is slowly getting filled. This should have been done months ago, but due to Donald Trump and his “belief” that the election was stolen, President Joe Biden is still trying to get Senate approval for his cabinet nominees.... more

Not a fit night out for man nor beast

I guess it's only fitting to address the record cold this week that has plunged even the Deep South into a morass of frozen pipes, electricity blackouts and firewood hoarding. Moments before the snow hit in the DFW area, Miss Trixie and I were out and about. On a major highway, we came upon a half-mile long traffic jam of folks trying to score wood to burn. Of course, people waited until the last second and that is what is called “The American Way.”... more

Center of Focus for Feb. 20

Focus on our Fabulous Staff... more