All posts in NC

Here Comes the Eclipse!

What are you doing next Monday afternoon? Watching the solar eclipse, perhaps?

NASA is, of course, the best source for information about the upcoming event, but we can break it down for you.

What they’re calling the Great American Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies across the country, from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles wide.

This phenomenon happens when our view of the sun is blocked by the moon. When the moon lines up between the sun and Earth, the moon will cast a shadow onto Earth. This is what we on the ground observe as a solar eclipse.

This will be the first total solar eclipse crossing the US from coast to coast since 1918, making it a once-in-a-lifetime event for most folks.

Lucky for us in Apex, NC, we’re just beyond that line, meaning we’ll see approximately 93% of the sun blocked by the moon.

If, like us, you’re in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, here are some ideas for where you might watch this truly awesome event unfold: http://www.wral.com/11-events-in-raleigh-the-triangle-to-catch-the-2017-summer-solar-eclipse/16848738/

Keep in mind, skywatchers, you should NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness.

Even if you can’t see it in person, most local news stations, and even some national cable stations, as well as dozens of websites (including the NASA link above!) will allow you to watch the sun disappear for a few minutes from the comfort of your home.

More

April Showers and May Flowers

Although it’s nearing the end of April, we haven’t had many showers in the Apex, NC area (which is where we’re located). And that’s got us thinking… do April showers really bring May flowers?

Believe it or not, it’s not a simple answer! It depends if you’re talking about annuals or perennials.

Perennials are plants and flowers whose roots stay alive even after the part aboveground dies. Their beauty is usually what announces the arrival of spring. When they arrive depends on where you live. If you’re way up north somewhere like Maine, you won’t see them until around May. But down here in the south, we see them much earlier, in March and April.

Regardless of when the perennials bloom, the rainfall of the previous month isn’t that relevant. 

And annuals, those beauties you plant each and every year, they kind of depend on April showers. But that actually has more to do with when they’re planted than any specific April showers.

You see, lifespan and growth are influenced by the rainfall in the months immediately after they’re planted, not the month before. But if they’re planted in the month of April, those showers could be helpful.

According to Slate:

The one place where April showers would truly bring May flowers is the desert. In arid regions like the Mojave, plants sit under the sand, sometimes for years, just waiting for enough water to send up shoots and leaves. A few weeks—or sometimes even days—after a heavy rainfall, the desert will explode with color.

More

When it’s Hot, Stay Hydrated

We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s been awfully hot in North Carolina for the past couple of weeks. As the temperatures rise, staying hydrated becomes more important than ever.

As everyone knows, you ought to drink water to stay hydrated. Lots and lots of water. Health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon.

If you don’t like plain water, rather than add calories and unhealthy sugar by drinking soda, you can infuse your water! Toss some lemons, limes or even cucumbers into your water bottle to add some flavor and interest as you stay hydrated.hot

You can also eat your liquid. Say what! By that, we mean eat soup, fruits – such as watermelon and strawberries – and even vegetables. All of those items contain high contents of water, which can be beneficial, not only to your body but also to your mental functions and sleeping patterns.

And while you’re drinking, it’s also good to add some liquids with electrolytes. Electrolytes are certain minerals (i.e., calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, sodium ions) essential to human health.

When you sweat, your body loses both fluid and electrolytes. If you don’t maintain hydration throughout the day, dehydration can occur through the act of sweating.

A well-known electrolyte-infused drink is Gatorade, but there are numerous options on the market that can help give you an extra punch of electrolytes to help during the long, hot summer months in the South.

More