Orion and the Fog

Sunday night Redquarters got just over an inch of rain. Most of that within ten minutes as a massive, oh-my-heavens-paddle-faster squall line slammed into the city. It had already flattened the airport at Dalhart, and the fear was the 80 mph winds would hit Amarillo. With waterlogged ground and big trees… We were lucky. First came the frog-strangler, then the wind. And then the skies cleared. Continue reading

August ’17 Playa Report

I was away in June, and July was a “wee bit” busy writing. Plus the construction season is upon us, making getting to the playa of record a little bit of a pain. However, the road is more open, and the playa has gotten over two inches of rain in the last four days.

For those readers new to the blog since the last playa report, I’ve been informally chronicling a rainwater lake, or playa, for a year or so now. Playa lakes are a vital feature of the Llano Estacado and High Plains. No one knows how they formed, and some are tiny, while others cover almost a square mile. Many are “dry” and only get water from rain and snow, while a few have springs in them, or had them before the water table dropped. They are refuges for wildlife, migratory birds, and native plants, and are considered an endangered land form of the Great Plains. Developers think they are a pain in the patoot, home owners who discover that the developer put their houses in the bottom of a playa think they are [censored, censored censored], ranchers like then, and farmers tried to level them out, or converted them into tail water pits for irrigation. Continue reading

Boats! (And Ships, and Engines, and Fish-in-a-Jar, and Letters, and Art, and…)

Edited to Add: Welcome, Instapundit Readers! Thanks for stopping by. And the diorama question has been answered in the comments.

Not everything in northern Germany is creepy. Honest. The Maritime Museum in Hamburg is fascinating, spectacular, and enormous. I had two and a half hours there, and could have spent all day. I ended up skipping two whole floors, more or less*. I also managed to see it backwards, which seems to have become a habit on this trip. You are not supposed to take the elevator to the top floor and walk down. You can, but if you don’t know maritime history, you may be a little lost. Anyway…

Five bonus points to the first person to identify what this diorama shows.

Continue reading

The Flat Part of Europe

Quick. When I mention Germany, what kind of landscape comes to mind? Mountains, the big rivers, castles on hills, Neuschwanstein (which falls into “all of the above”). And lots of trees, probably pines, pines on hills, that sort of thing. In other words, Bavaria, the Black Forest, Heidelberg, and similar sites. Actually, more of Germany is rather flat to rolling, while northwestern Germany is pancake flat. In part because it got pancaked by ice, and covered in river sediment after the ice ages ended. It is closer to Holland than to Bavaria in terms of topography, and can be forested, grassy, swampy, or all of the above at once. Continue reading