If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve gathering, you’ll probably end up going one of two ways. Either you’re going hardcore minimal effort: chips and dips, salsas, maybe a cheese and cracker tray, or you’re looking to impress and will go the homemade delicious, but labor-intensive, hors d’oeuvres route. You can tell its fancy, from the French-ness of it. And while I applaud that thought process, as you’re way less likely to end up with a room full of guests getting Cheeto dust fingerprints on everything that way, the sheer thought of all that work is exhausting. Once we’ve all limped, tattered and bedraggled most of the way to the holiday finish line that is New Year’s Eve, we should take it easier on ourselves.

Nearly 10 years ago (next March) I was asked by then-Goshen News publisher Jim Kroemer and editor Michael Wanbaugh if I would be interested in writing a gardening column for them. They lacked this particularly interesting topic (everyone loves gardening, right?) and were interested in adding it to the paper. A meeting followed with a discussion on what was expected of me.

As darkness slowly crept down the mountain, the snow started falling, first in soft, small, spiraling flakes, then in a thick, swirling curtain. We were driving up to our Christmas destination in the Rocky Mountains. Until now, the road trip had been uneventful and the road clear. But as soon as we hit the turnoff for Estes Park, a tiny snowflake came down and then another until the sky above us became an endless blur of snow.

Because of the infrequency in time and location of total solar eclipses, scientists historically have had difficulty studying broad, controlled data collections on eclipse-related animal behavior. But with the advent of smartphone technology, researchers are looping in citizen scientists to help record the effects of solar eclipses. 

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