Welcome July

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays. *You can find our archive of previous welcomes here (a few months are missing from the archive, we’re bowing our heads in shame).*

Sarah wasn’t lying when she mentioned that July’s her favorite month. And mine too, for all of the same reasons!

In my mind, July is everything summer. It’s cannon balls in swimming pools, muggy nights filled with the sounds of cicadas and the glow of lightning bugs. It’s tomato and mayo sandwiches for lunch, followed by California burgers and corn on the cob (fresh from the garden!) for dinner.

Those are the memories seared into my brain, and I’m hoping to create some of the same for the boys. And on that front I think we’re off to a great start. Right now the boys are coated in sand, sunscreen, and lake water. If that’s not July, then I don’t know what is.

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Looking Forward

Here area  few things that I’m looking forward to this month:

  • The summer flowers in our garden are going to burst open at any minute. I can’t wait for more bouquets around the house and to post another garden and pond update.
  • I heard Alexandra Fuller speak in Boulder last week, and, of course, I hung on her every word. You may remember her from our summer reading suggestion a few years ago. I can’t wait to read her latest book and to share snippets from her talk and the book with you. If you want, please join along!

Natural Cycles

Birds

As I mentioned last month, we have birds nesting all around our house. The pair that we kicked out of the gas grill found a new (safe) nesting spot right next to our front door. We’ve identified them as a pair of house wrens. It’s been a lot of fun watching the parents collect sticks for their nest, and about a week before leaving we first heard the tweets of baby birds! And with that, activity around the nest picked up. The parents are continually flying to the nest with food in their beaks (mostly insects it seems?).

wren

 

Earth & Sun

I was recently reading a magazine and saw a mistake. They said that at this time of year, the Earth “ellipses closest to the sun”. If you didn’t know, our planet’s orbit around the sun is not a perfect circle, rather it’s an ellipse. But what may really surprise you is that during the Northern Hemisphere summer, the Earth is actually farthest from the sun in its orbit!

{The image below exaggerates the elliptical orbit to illustrate the different distances.}

orbit

You may expect to associate that distance with colder temperatures on Earth, but that’s not the way it works. While we’re making an annual orbit around the sun, every day our planet rotates on its axis, which is tilted by 23.4 degrees. As a result, during a portion of the year, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, receiving more direct sunlight, and thus warming up, even though we are also at the farthest distance from the sun. In turn, during the winter months, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, thus receiving less direct energy and experiencing colder temperatures. Meanwhile, during these seasons the opposite conditions exist in the Southern Hemisphere.

And, surprise, surprise, during spring and fall, the Earth is actually closest to the sun! During these seasons we are transitioning from the winter/summer orientation, and as you experience, temperatures and weather are in a state of flux.

If your mind is blown, down’t worry, it seems to surprise many people.

~

If all goes as planned today, I’m heading out on a hike with the boys, followed by some fun on the lake, and watermelon. Plenty of watermelon. We hope your day is filled with just as much *summer* as ours. xo

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Wren Image Earth’s Orbit

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