Urban Almanac

December 2019 Almanac

By Greta Belanger deJong

DECEMBER 1  Average temps today: high 43º, low 28º. 20% chance of precipitation. Sunrise: 7:32am. Sunset: 5:00pm.

DECEMBER 2  Red Butte Garden in the winter is especially fetching. Enjoy half-price admission throughout December, January and February.

DECEMBER 3  The Utah chapter of Slow Food USA works with local farmers, chefs and foodies to build a community based on good, clean, fair food. They gather at tasting events, farm mobs, harvest dinners and workshops. Dues are regularly $60. Today is “Pay What You Can” Day. SlowFoodUtah.org/

DECEMBER 4  Cozy nights call for candlelight. Consider beeswax over petroleum-based paraffin. Beeswax candles release a subtle honey aroma and are easier on the air. You can find them at Salt Lake City’s Winter Market (Saturdays, 10a-2p, Rio Grande Building). Keep the wick trimmed to 1/8-1/4 inch.

DECEMBER 5  Prohibition of alcoholic beverages began in the U.S. in 1919, ostensibly putting an end to all manner of civic problems. But after 13 years, it was clear the ban failed to accomplish its goals. On this date in 1933, Utah cast the deciding vote that repealed Prohibition and restored beer, wine and spirits legally to the American table.

DECEMBER 6 For the budding naturalist, consider a pair of “real” binoculars or a 10X hand lens. Astronomy, anyone? According to the Space Tourism Guide (spacetourismguide.com), you can get a decent telescope for under $200. Check out the Meade Polaris 130 and Astronomers Without Borders’ OneSky 130.

DECEMBER 7  Elk Festival at Hardware Ranch (15 miles east of Hyrum) today. Learn how to call elk and participate in the amateur elk calling contest. Ride a horse-drawn wagon through an elk herd. Make habitat ornaments. https://bit.ly/37rlaiv

DECEMBER 8  On this day in 1941, the U.S. entered World War II—a response to Japanese war planes attacking Hawaii (not yet a state) and killing 2,300 American soldiers the day prior.

DECEMBER 9  Seasonal classics worth revisiting: A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas; A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens; The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry; and A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote.

DECEMBER 10  Christmas trees are thirsty! Keep yours fresh by checking the water level in the stand frequently.  Rule of thumb: one quart daily for each inch of the trunk’s diameter.

DECEMBER 11  Full Moon rises at 4:53pm. Clouds allowing, go for a quiet walk in the moonlight tonight. What do you see?

DECEMBER 12  If ordering from Amazon, be sure to select their “frustration-free” packaging. Besides being easier to open, the packing materials are 100% curbside recyclable.

DECEMBER 13  When you’re out of traditional gift-wrapping paper, don’t buy more; it’s not recyclable. Make your own, using brown paper bags or newsprint. (Wouldn’t the cover of this issue make a stunning wrap for a little present?)

DECEMBER 14  950 tree species are native to North America; 45 of them native to Utah.

DECEMBER 15  Be your own sleep lab. In The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan, author Michael Breus, Ph.D. offers lots of practical advice on how to achieve better living through healthy sleep.

DECEMBER 16  It’s normal, nowadays, to get six to seven hours of sleep each night. Up until 1800, however, it was normal to get 10 hours of sleep. The decline began in 1790 when the gas lamp was invented and proceeded more rapidly after Edison perfected the lightbulb.

DECEMBER 17  Confused about the ingredients in your personal care products? Environmental Working Group’s guide offers tips on how to read product labels and shop smarter. https://bit.ly/2KNQVII

DECEMBER 18  There are many ways to procrastinate. This chart helps you identify your particular roadblock and offers thoughtful work-arounds: https://bit.ly/33ccQ2V

DECEMBER 19  Use a neti pot to clear away viruses that attach in the back of the nose and throat. Choose distilled or filtered water. If using tap water, boil and cool it first.

DECEMBER 20  The pollution from one wood-burning stove is equivalent to the amount emitted from 3,000 gas furnaces producing the same amount of heat per unit.

DECEMBER 21  Author Charles Eisenstein says a miracle is simply an event or experience that exists outside our current story of what is possible. Tonight, the longest night of the year and so near the end of a decade, is a good night to dream up a few miracles. What unlikely event will you envision for 2020?

DECEMBER 22  Walnuts are tasty and full of healthy fats, protein and fiber. For a festive dress-up, toast them in a skillet with butter or ghee. Add honey or maple syrup and some vanilla, stirring to coat. Maybe sprinkle with cinnamon and black or cayenne pepper. Dry on parchment; store in fridge.

DECEMBER 23  Clothes moths are seldom seen because they avoid light. Adult clothes moths don’t eat your clothes—they don’t eat at all! However, they like to visit your wool, fur, silk and feathers upon which they lay pinhead-sized eggs that turn into fabric-eating larvae.

DECEMBER 24  Practice random acts of interest. Writer and futurist Richard Watson suggests we randomly pick up books and magazines and strike up conversations with strangers to break our information consumption routines and expose ourselves to new viewpoints.

DECEMBER 25 New Moon (10:42pm). Nature-based traditions consider this a time to set intentions and start new ventures. Within these traditions, the New Moon is second only to the full moon in its ability to lend power to earthly intentions.

DECEMBER 26   “Let us give thanks for unknown blessings already on the way.” — a Quaker mealtime blessing. From The Whole Heaven Catalog, by Marcia and Jack Kelly.

DECEMBER 27 Got some long winter scarves? Keep warm and look great this winter with this quirky video, “hướng dẫn cách buộc khăn đẹp” (“instructions on how to tie a beautiful scarf”). https://bit.ly/2qC5rwk

DECEMBER 28 Time seems to speed up as we get older because our brains calculate the perception of time based upon the percentage of time we’ve lived. When you’re two, a year represents half your life. But the years between ages 10 to 20 seem to pass as quickly as those between ages five to 10.

DECEMBER 29 Looking for a nature-based outdoor activity that doesn’t require hills? Head to the University of Utah campus for a tree identification walk. Locate trees on this map, bit.ly/2qzVKP5, which links to photos of each tree in all seasons, complete with close-ups of bark.

DECEMBER 30 To keep your pointsettia looking good, water thoroughly  when the soil is dry down to about two inches. Keep it cool—60 to 70º is perfect—in at least six hours of indirect sunlight each day.

DECEMBER 31 Average temps today: high 35º, low 23º. 21% chance of precipitation. Sunrise: 7:51am. Sunset: 5:09pm.

This article was originally published on December 1, 2019.