Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Summer Solstice 2023

August 7, 2023 Update: John's Island is on break

Like the youngsters at Seattle's Broadview Thomson
Elementary school, I'm taking a summer break.
I happened to see the school's reader board and
its current message impressed me. To the Principal,
or whoever came up with this ... well done!

Hello everyone and welcome to John's Island. 

In this post ...

    ➤ Today is the longest day of the year

    ➤ A Cottonwood tree nature experiment

    ➤ Kilauea eruption

    ➤ 2 Months of change on waterfront walk

    ➤ Natural wonders

    ➤ Ship pics, just for fun

    ➤ Looking back 20 years ago

    ➤ Closing thought

Longest Day of the Year

Wed, Jun 21, 2023 7:57 AM

At 7:57AM, this morning in Seattle, Washington, USA, the moment of Solstice will occur. Today's sunlight is ... 15 hours, 54 minutes, 10 seconds ... the exact amount of time between sunrise and sunset in Seattle. Tomorrow will actually be 3 seconds shorter and everyday will continue to get shorter until the December Solstice.

The June solstice is the moment the Sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the northernmost latitude it reaches during the year. After the solstice, it begins moving south again.

Since the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun in June, it receives more sunlight during the course of a day. The North Pole's tilt toward the Sun is greatest at the solstice, so this event marks the longest day of the year north of the equator.

This effect is greatest in locations that are farther away from the equator. In tropical areas, the longest day is just a little longer than 12 hours; in the temperate zone, it is significantly longer; and places within the Arctic Circle experience Midnight Sun or polar day, when the Sun does not set at night.

Cottonwood Nature Experiment

Cottonwood trees are plentiful in the Pacific Northwest. Recently, out on a walk, cottonwood seeds floated around me almost looking like snow. This year the trees seemed to have an extra abundance of seeds and the scene, like a snow in June, piqued my curiosity. I wondered, of the millions of seeds, what percentage actually germinate and establish a new Cottonwood tree. I decided to try a Nature Experiment and see if I could get some trees started. Here are a few pictures telling the story ...  [PS I'll be the first to acknowledge that most humans find these trees annoying when the seeds begin to fall. However, for me, nature's amazing method of propagating the trees overcomes the annoyance.]

Cottonwood seeds floating away from the
the tree that produced them.

Lots of seeds on this tree.
Ready to drift away.

Each seed is attached to a bit of fuzz that looks
just like cotton. They drift slowly away from
the parent tree.

Seeds accumulate along walkways.

Seeds are produced in bunches on little stems.

A cottonwood leaf and a couple of seeds.

A handful of seeds.

One tiny seed.

2 days after planting the seeds
and keeping them watered.

7 days after planting the seeds.
Cottonwood trees on the way!

14 days after planting.
Be sure to see the large view.
Slow but on the way.

21 days after planting.
Note how the tiny leaves have already
started to get that jagged edge.

Here is the goal ... Get the seedlings up a couple of inches
and transplant them to a location riverside, where,
hopefully they will thrive.
[In this photo from the web, note how the tiny
seedlings look. I'm amazed at how many germinated!]

June 7th - Kilauea
Kilauea volcano in Hawaii erupted
on June 7
[Screenshot from AccuWeather]

2 Months of Change on Waterfront Walk

Around April 1 the powers in control
buzzed away most of the vegetation at this
popular spot on the walk.

I am amazed at how fast the plants and grass
have come back. 

Natural Wonders

Mt Rainier as seen from the waterfront walk.
The mountain is about 50 miles away.
June 4, 2023

At an intersection near home.
Yes, another Natural Wonder, in my mind.
This is a busy street, but at the moment, I was
stopped at a traffic signal. I happened to notice
this little spot and what nature had done with it.
It's kind of like a message to humans ... throw it
at me and I'll clean it up. Thank you,

A few ship pics just for fun ...

I like this picture ... it's a nice view of scale ...
the average sailboat vs the MSC Container ship.

I like this picture ... it's something I see almost every
Sunday morning. A tug pulling a barge from Alaska.
I'm always curious about how a tug Captain decides
how long the tow will be to the barge. This one
is several hundred feet.

Busy weekend afternoon in the port of Seattle.
In front ... Discovery Princess
Next ... Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam
Next ... A bulk carrier at anchor, in process of refueling
Out in the middle of The Sound ... The Victoria Clipper
Near center ... mast of M5 ... see next picture. 

The M5 -- World's tallest single-masted sailing yacht!
This is the 2nd year the M5 has visited Seattle.
See YouTube video below for details.
[Not my video but I really like it. 😊 ]

20 Years Ago

I've kept most of my digital photos since 2001, a decade before starting John's Island. So, I've decided to go back and pick out some memories to share over the next few posts. The following four pics are all from 20 years ago, 2003 ...

Seattle skyline from Kerry Park
February, 2003

Enjoyed a stay in Hawaii
March, 2003

Visited Yellowstone National Park
and snapped this photo of 
Great Falls of the Yellowstone
July, 2003

Discovered a Rattlesnake while in Montana
July, 2003
[Added this pic for my ticket to link up
with Saturday's Critters. Check it out!]

Closing Thought ...

     “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
            Wayne W. Dyer

Weather Update
Sunday - June 25 2023
Ten Hottest Cities (500K+) Today


  1. Hello John,
    Happy Summer Solstice. We are having a much needed rainy day, I won't complain we really needed the rain. Cool photos of the Kilauea Volcano. We have the Cottonwood trees here, I have seen the white seeds coming down looking like snow. Great shots of the ships and your memory photos. I have a similar shot of the Yellowstone waterfalls. Take care, enjoy your day and a happy week ahead.

  2. Happy Solstice! I hate the thought of the decreasing daylight but there it will be, starting tomorrow. Brilliant what you did with the cottonwood seeds. Love the ships especially the single mast compared to the container ships. You are so right about nature! She makes hay while the light and weather are just right, despite what humankind does. Love seeing the older photos too.

    Great post!

  3. Hi there John, another interesting post. Cottonwood trees are one of those things that make my allergies kick into high gear. I didn't know this until we had a neighbor with a huge tree. Every year when it snowed cotton I would sneeze and have watery eyes. Thankfully it's a short period of time :) Yesterday I looked at the temperature at around 2 o"clock and it was 62 degrees, "wait tomorrow is the first day of summer", what's up! Well it's warmer today in the 70's and climbing through the next few days.
    I enjoyed your walk down memory lane. Have a sweet day dear blogging friend.

  4. Hard to believe that this is the longest day of the year already.
    What a nice surprise to find the flower growing there. :)

  5. I am one who likes poplar trees. Interesting experiment with cottonwood seeds.

  6. Good luck with the cottonwood trees, John. Anything we can do to help nature, having ravaged it so much, is honourable conduct in my book. And years from now just think what an elegant, stately memorial it will be to you! The solstice has come and gone and now we are on the downside once again. It seems to happen faster each year. I spent part of the day interviewing a fascinating woman for a feature on my blog. Stay tuned! All the best - David

  7. Great blog from you as always. The cottonwood seads remind me if the Dandilions growing in our garden

  8. Best of luck with the trees. We are always trying to plant new trees/vegetables and anything that will grow here on our farm.

  9. Hello John
    Thank you for another lovely blog post with lots to see and read.

    It doesn't seem possible that the Solstice has come and gone. Watching the UK news there were many in attendance at Stonehenge.

    Eddie and I enjoyed 'Solstice Day' by having a very nice walk. I did take some photographs using my mobile phone, but not sure if I will be putting them on the blog ... we shall see.

    Nice to see your older photographs.

    Enjoy your June days.

    All the best Jan

  10. I love Cottonwoods - and wish I had one in my yard (even though it most probably don't even belong there). How marvellous that you are going to plant the seedlings near a river - that's where they belong, right? This is such a beautiful idea and nature will thank you, John.

    Since it happened again, I have been following the eruption of Kilauea with interest. I spent many hours on the volcano and just love it to bits. The last time I was there was in 2018 a couple months before that eruption. I was staying in Puna and think that area has changed quite a bit since the 2018 eruption.

    Your idea of posting pictures from 20 years ago is very inspiring. Maybe I'll "steal" it from you.

  11. What fun we are having with those seeds. I have been sneezing my way through the Cottonwood season. And I love all the things you have highlighted in this post. We are so lucky to have such a !great place to live, and people like you to share it with. Happy Solstice!

  12. Hello John,
    I enjoyed this post, a nice variety of photos. The rattlesnake is a good find? I would not want to come across a live rattlesnake. I hope the tree seedlings are growing well. I visited the Hawaii Volcano National Park in 1982, a week before there was an eruption. Isn't it lovely to see all the flowers and greenery again, our winter was so dull. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  13. I had a great time going through this post. The photos are fantastic! Let's hope the tree seedlings are doing well and growing strong.

  14. Happy Solstice, John.
    Yet another delightful post!
    Love the shots of the ships.
    Good luck with the cottonwood trees.


  15. I don't think I have ever seen a cottonwood tree. I looked up the range and we have them here, but it looks like you have a different kind out there.

    The volcano is amazing. Our planet is like a pan of brownies that hasn't cooked long enough! It is still not done in the middle.

  16. Wonderful post comparing the past with the present and some fantastic photos of Seattle.

  17. John--What a wonderful collection of photos, commentary, scientific experiments and memories. Love the photo of you with the rattlesnake!

  18. I didn't know June 21st is the longest day of the year. Wow! I hope your summer is going well, John. Stay cool and safe!

  19. Sorry I'm late to read this post. Good luck with the Cottonseed Trees. I think the mortality rate is fairly high for the new seedlings, if you cannot take care of them for at least the first year after you plant them at the site. Sometimes it is better to plant lots of seeds at the site, and let nature take it's course. The survivors will be able to fend for themselves much better that way. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck on your project. I remember Cottonwood Trees growing along the rivers in the desert when I was growing up in Nevada.

    The waterfront area you walk looks very beautiful now. I watched the video, and the M5 Yacht is amazing. You've traveled around quite a bit, and I like seeing the old photos. It's been awhile since the longest day of the year, so please forgive me, and I'll try to not be so late visiting your next post, but I promise nothing :) Life seem to get in the way quite a bit, and I never like breaking a promise. Please stay safe.

  20. Dear John, thank you for your lovely and diverse blog. I especially found the part about the cotton seeds beautiful. It looks just like snow. And those little flowers in the asphalt jungle, that touches me. Thanks for your enjoyable blog. Warm greetings from the Netherlands.


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