Sometimes the best trips are a just a short walk from the house. And Chiclet is always ready for a walk regardless of distance.
This was the week, of course, of the solar eclipse — the first one in more than a century to cut a large swath of totality across the USA. Sadly, northern Maine and Rusty Metal Farm were hundreds of miles north of any view of totality, but that was not going to stop us from taking in any and all of the astronomical event that we could.
Some quick online research indicated we were going to get about 53 percent of the eclipse — a phenomona when the moon passes between the sun and earth casting a shadow in, in some locations, completely blocking the sun for a brief period of time.
I figured half an eclipse is better than none. Plus, I’ve read Stephen King’s Delores Claiborne, I know what can happen in Maine during a full eclipse.
Nefarious literary dark activities aside, Chiclet and I were excited to view the event. Well, truth be told, I think her excitement was more about watching me pack things up for a short hike to our farm pond, which turned out to be the best viewing spot on the farm.
I do have a fairly good camera and zoom lens, but no safety glasses or filters for safely viewing the sun. However, I do have an old welder’s helmet with glass rated for sun-viewing, so we added that, along with a tripod, to our eclipse-viewing bag and off we went. To give it more of an eclipse party air, we took some — what else? — dark beer and soda water, plus a towel in case we wanted to take a dip in the pond while we waited.
At the pond, we set up and waited until the moon began taking what looked like bites out of the sun. It was fascinating. Well, it was to me. Chiclet was a very good sport about the whole thing. For awhile she chased frogs at the pond’s edge. Then she discovered some raspberry bushes and picked herself a snack. For a bit she nosed around a pile of discarded lumber and then came to sit next to me the entire time I photographed the celestial event.
That’s what good travel dogs do – they explore within the limits given them, but make sure to return to whatever base you’ve established to check out what’s going on and make sure all is well.
I had worried a bit about some articles I’d read about animals looking up into the eclipse and damaging their eyes. By the time that was of any concern here, Chiclet had fallen asleep. I’d like to say she was exhausted by the eclipse excitement. I fear the reality is she had gotten straight bored.
Either way, we had a really fun afternoon with our mini staycation here on the farm with a terrific show complements of Mother Nature. We’re already planning the party for 2024 eclipse when Rusty Metal Farm will be in the path of totality.
Chiclet gives the notion of finding fun and adventure in your own backyard a five biscuit rating.