Best Apples for Baking

Below is a chart with some of the best baking and cooking apples in North America. Almost any apple can be enjoyed when eaten fresh. However, not all apples are ideal for cooking dishes in the kitchen. Note: When it comes to cooking with apples, it may be helpful to know the following: 1 pound of apples = 2 large, 3 medium, or 4 to 5 small apples 1 pound of apples = 3 cups peeled and sliced apples Please post your favorite apple varieties and any cooking tips below! Best...

How Rainbows Form: 12 Types of Rainbows

Most everyone is fascinating by rainbows and how rainbows are formed. Did you know that there are 12 different kinds of rainbows? On December 17, 2015, Jean Ricard, a serious rainbow scientist (what a fun job!), reported that there are 12 types of rainbows and why. A rare winter rainbow SOURCE: Old Farmer’s Almanac   How Are Rainbows Formed? Rainbows are wonderful reflections of sunlight off raindrops. As the light is reflected, it is refracted, which changes...

List of Names for 2016 Hurricane Season

Tropical storms have been named for 2016, so here is the list of hurricane names for the Atlantic Basin (Miami hurricanes) and Eastern North-Pacific (California hurricanes). Is your name listed? How are Hurricanes Named? Native Americans called these storms Hurakons, after "a great spirit who commanded the east wind." Spanish explorers adopted the word and then began giving hurricanes the names of patron saints on whose feast days the storms occurred. Later, hurricanes were...

Take Note of Garden Journals

Winter is a great time for garden planning, We can make lengthy lists of plants we want to try growing, seeds to order, and drawings of new plot plans. Unfortunately a lot of this gets lost when the gardening season revs up and we are overwhelmed with work. Even though I start out the year with every intention of keeping close track of things in a garden journal, I am usually so busy by June that my record keeping has degenerated into hasty notes scribbled on muddy scraps of paper....

Looking for Planet Nine

Find out more about the so-called discovery of Planet Nine and win brand-new binoculars in our Name That Planet Contest! Name That Planet Contest Win New Celestron Binoculars! For FIVE lucky winners!   There's been a lot of news about a possible new planet in our solar system. IF this new planet is discovered, it will need a name. So, let's have fun naming it! Legally, anyone can name anything. (Which official agency will accept a given name is...

See Five Planets Align in the Morning Sky

Every naked eye solar system object now appears at the same time. Like a string of pearls, the Moon and five planets are arrayed across the heavens.  Dates to View Five Planets This planet line-up is good from Monday, January 25 right through February 6 or so. Ignore the media which reported it was happening a week prior—when only four of the five planets were visible. Mercury was only 2nd magnitude (it's always dim when it first emerges from the Sun's glare, on the near side of...

The Coldest Week

Statistically, the coldest week falls about now— in late January—for most places in Europe and North America. Some of us who live in rural areas heat with wood, which may sound romantic until you've done it for awhile. You grab icy logs barehanded and lug them to the house, where any remaining wrist hairs are burned off as they're tossed in the stove. En route, one sometimes peers up at the frosty January sky, its stars seemingly detached from our self-inflicted exercise in...

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