The celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord is almost upon us. Last night was the Great Conjunction of 2020. A friend’s niece who lives in Virginia took the picture above. I don’t know if she added the lens flair or it just came out that way. It does make a statement for this time of year.
I have seen on some of the other folks I read, links to Advent and Christmas music. I thought that I would add to this. First is my favorite Advent hymn:
The next I heard over at Chant du Départ. It was the version by Sting. Having a bent more towards the “classical” sounds, I give you this rendering of the Basque carol:
But if you want a more authentic version here it is in Basque:
And finally for your joy and appreciation, the Irish Wexford Carol. The first is by Alison Kruass. When she sings some things, I think she has the voice of the Angels; this is one:
Here is a more traditional rendition by The Palestrina Choir of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.
Even in such dark times as we may be entering, this music brings joy to me and maybe also to anyone who stops by and listens.
A very Merry and Blessed Christmas to all. The Light came into this world to push back the Darkness.
As I said on Monday, I was awaiting SpaceX’s Starlink-15 mission launch before posting about SpaceX. Well it happened last night, Tuesday 24 November. Another 66 Starlink satellites were placed into their initial orbit (the satellites start at about 225 Km (~140 miles)). They will move up to a final 550 Km (~340 miles) orbit for operation. The Falcon 9 booster, B1049, used for this flight had flow 6 times before. They stuck the landing of the first stage on the recovery drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY)”. They now have a 7 times used booster setting a new record that only SpaceX owns. For me this kind of reuse was Science Fiction for most of my life.
The above follows SpaceX’s successful launch of the Sentinel-6A this past Saturday, 21 November from the West Coast Launch Facilities at Vandenburg AFB. That launch used Falcon 9 booster B1063, which I believe was a first use. I was late to the computer that day but did re-watch the live stream. The booster was successfully recovered on a Return to Launch Site landing right next to the actual launch pad.
The other SpaceX milestone this week was the successful static fire of the repaired Starship SN8 test article on this past Tuesday. I am adding the test article classification from what we used in aerospace that I worked in as these vehicles are still highly experimental. The repairs resulted from shards of Martyte blown up from the area underneath the test/launch stand that SN8 sits on. Those shards damaged equipment and wiring in the engine area causing damage to one of the 3 Raptor engines that was installed. Per Elon Musk, they are expecting to do the first 15 Km (49,213 ft) flight sometime from next Monday, 30 November, through next Wednesday, 2 December.
Elon still has some doubts about the success of the flight. Hopefully he is proven wrong. He was wrong with the first launch of the Falcon Heavy which he only gave a 50% chance of success to. That launch was mostly successful with just the core booster missing the drone ship.
Lot of things need to go right, so maybe 1/3 chance
This stuff is exciting! As I said above this reality used to be the stuff of Science Fiction. There really is the potential for private industry to take the lead in space flight and planetary exploration. Though there are some issues on the horizon. They rotate around the “wokeness” if Senator Biden becomes President. If the NASA Office of Planetary Protection and or the NASA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (EDIWG)can get their nose into SpaceX’s business because of a big-government, socialist leaning government all of this could be for naught. The Silicon Graybeard has an article “NASA Has an Anti-Exploration Group Fighting to Keep the US Earthbound” on the EDIWG.
I was thinking of posting about SpaceX today after what they were supposed to do over the weekend. I am a fan of SpaceX and their efforts to lower the cost to get to outer space, the Moon and Mars. But to my disappointment Space X cancelled their Falcon 9 Starlink launch yesterday evening so I decided not to post on that subject. The Silicon Graybeard has an excellent article on the current state of things SpaceX.
So what to post about? Ah, ha! We have an over abundance of fresh fall tomatoes from our 2 (yes just 2) vines we planted last spring. We almost pulled them up in August but there were a few late summer tomato scraglers. We (Mrs. BillB and I) decided to turn them into tomato sauce for pasta. So here goes the first (or maybe last) “Cooking with the BillBs” (hat tip to LSP).
I forgot to get a picture of the 24 plus tomatoes we had prior to today but here is a picture of today’s haul with one addition:
There isn’t going to be any peel in this sauce so we had to set about peeling these things. We used boiling water and an ice bath to loosen the skins and then stop any cooking with the additional outcome of making them easy to handle. Quite a pile of tomatoes, if I dare say; I weighed them and there are about 5 1/2 pounds.
We used our basic pasta sauce recipe that we created probably 15 years ago to take care of a bunch of fresh tomatoes and fresh basil using what was on hand in our kitchen at our little ranch of the time. In addition to the tomatoes we use olive oil, onion, garlic, sweet basil, oregano, dry vermouth, salt and black pepper.
We sauteed the onions, garlic, sweet basil, oregano, salt and black pepper in the olive oil. Next the pot was deglazed with a 1/2 cup of that cheap vermouth. Then we tossed in the tomatoes. Brought the whole mess to a boil and took it down to a simmer.
So after a little while we moved over to the electric burner for simmering as, hey, our propane cooktop just burns a bit hot even on the smallest burner. It had to cook down for a while before being emulsified by the hand blender. Didn’t even have to adjust the seasonings (salt, sweet basil, etcl). Then into containers to cool before going to the freezer.
I do enjoy cooking. I had considered becoming a chef while in high school but events drove me to an engineering degree and the U.S. Air Force. Then again there were some events while on Active Duty that might have forced me out that caused me to consider again a career in fine food service. But things didn’t go that way. So I sit here in the Texas Hill Country enjoying retirement and cooking some of time. My wife is a good cook too though not maybe as experimental as I am. I hope for future installments of “Cooking with the BillBs”.
Another lane I may go down is “Food from Opa Willie” or something similar. Since this is the second marriage for both my Beautiful Bride and I, and my only children are my stepson and stepdaughter whom have me call them son and daughter, we (all of us) adopted the German familiar term for grandfather for me “Opa” since my surname family came from Germany around 280 years ago. To differentiate me from the sausage and smoked meats company in Fredericksburg, Texas I added one nickname from my given name of William.
A point of this post was to experiment with putting pictures in-line in a post. I think I figured it out.
“Hello World!” has become the universally used “first program” in many programming languages. Though WordPress is not as such a programming language, “Hello, World” has more significance here as I am just opening the door into the world of blogging.
This is my own blog, on my own site, on my own computer and at my place. The name references where we live. The header image above was taken by my beautiful bride and it shows the road we live on. This place is probably the last place I will live at. It is a new frontier that I enter since I retired from my many careers.
I hope to expound on life, living, Amateur Radio, cooking to include Texas Hill Country BBQ and many of my other interests. This blog will grow and change as I learn more of the ins and outs of WordPress (or whatever powers it) and can improve this blog’s and website’s performance.