In the conversation during one of our recent dates (I think from the “Enchanting Evening” date), my prince expressed an interest in stargazing with me. He’d hoped to include it in a date he planned, but at the time we just weren’t getting the killing frosts to keep the mosquitoes at bay (and with all the rain we had this summer, they were worse than I’ve ever seen them before).
This week, although I had another date planned, I noted that this might be our best shot at a night outside (it’s cool, but still warmer than usual for October). My prince agreed. Here’s the invitation: (Note the starry heart around the couple!)
For starters, I went here and followed their link here to get a free chart of the current night sky. If I’d had more lead-time, it’d have been nice to get some red plastic to put over our flashlight (red light doesn’t knock out your night vision the way white light does). As it was, my prince ended up shining our flashlight through an orange part of his coat… better than nothing!
This was one date where food allergies were a bit of a nuisance. I couldn’t serve Starburst candies or starfruit or Starbucks coffee (not that either of us like coffee anyway!), chicken & stars soup, etc. Even our stockpile of tuna is “Chicken of the Sea”, instead of “Starkist”. I don’t even have a star cookie cutter (no sweets=no cookies, so why get one?). *sigh*
For the meal, I pulled yellow summer squash out of the freezer–at least the color’s right–and contemplated trying to make star-shaped patties of fish. I ultimately decided against that (not sure if I could pull it off). Pisces (fish) is a constellation currently in the night sky. Good enough! (I also considered serving beef for “Taurus”, but my prince already had beef in his lunch & the bull hasn’t quite come over the horizon in the evening anyway). I just breaded & fried Pollock, which we enjoyed. I did get my stars in with the potatoes. I sliced steamed potatoes & cut star shapes with a paring knife (tedious, and some of the “stars” fell apart, but I got enough to make the point!), then breaded & baked those with all the potato scraps. And, of course, our traditional seed milk was a stand-in for the “Milky Way”!
Once the sun went down we bundled up, grabbed the star chart, a flashlight, a blanket & a tarp & headed out to our back yard. We do live in a village, but with a population of only 500, it just doesn’t throw that much light ;). We are surrounded by trees, though, so we picked as central & tree-free a location as we could (for a better view of the sky). The tarp on the ground kept us dry & the blanket went on top of the tarp.
It never did get all that dark. The moon was about half full & lit up the southern sky rather effectively, but we did find the Big & Little Dippers, the North Star, Cassiopeia, Arcturus, Jupiter, the Corona Borealis, Vega, Altair & Deneb (and, of course, the Milky Way!). There were flying objects with flashing lights which we took to be planes, and several moving pinpricks that my prince thought might be either really high-flying transcontinental flights or satellites.
And, of course, I spent some time gazing at my “star” :).
Gotta cuddle to keep warm right ;)?
I was surprised by how noisy it was when we got out there. Apparently a farmer was still hard at work with some sort of harvester (there’s a field about a block away from us). Eventually he must’ve called it a night because it did get a lot quieter! At least there were no mosquitoes. I’d encountered some in the garden earlier in the day, but I guess it was just too cold for them by the time we got outside! (no complaints from us!)
We did eventually get chilled & moved our date inside. I was sorry we couldn’t have hot chocolate & graham crackers & asked my prince if he wanted some ginger tea (one hot beverage he can still have), but he declined.
My prince went online & found a picture of Arcturus that showed just how vastly it dwarfs our sun. He also found the flight paths of some satellites that would be visible here. It’s amazing how much stuff we’ve launched into the atmosphere!
By then we were both ready to call it a night.
We’d had a few late nights & needed to play catch-up on sleep.
It wasn’t our most elaborate date, but simple can be nice too–
especially with the right person :)!