Yesterday was the big day. The solar eclipse, visible across most of the US. Here in Michigan we were in the 70-something percent totality zone.
Being frugal, and immune to societal whim, I did not purchase eclipse glasses for viewing the big event. Oh, I fully intended to take a peek or two at the sun while it was being partially hidden by the moon, but I wasn't going to run to the store and get some darn wear-em-once plastic glasses. You see, I have a vague memory of being very young, early in my elementary school days, and being ushered outside with a piece of cardboard with a pinhole in it, and viewing another solar eclipse. So I knew it wasn't necessary to see this one with some store bought glasses. (Some googling brought me the info that the eclipse I was remembering happened in 1979, when I was a wee 7 year old second grader. Or maybe third grader, depending on it if was in the Spring or the Fall, since I was a year younger than the majority of my classmates.)
Anyway, the eclipse was just a small part of my itinerary yesterday. A very large part was canning tomatoes. Because my tomato plants are now starting to have red ripe 'maters, and it's time to get cranking on my canned tomatoes.
Before I could can them, I needed to pick them. It just so happened that by the time I got home from work, changed out of my smelly sweaty barn clothes, and had some lunch, it was about time for the eclipse to 'begin'. So I grabbed some bags to put tomatoes into as I picked, went into the garage and dug out DH's welding helmet (full of cobwebs because he welds so rarely), and headed to the garden.
Well, not straight to the garden. First I wiped all the cobwebs out of DH's helmet and put it on for a selfie. Did you know that it's incredibly difficult to take a selfie while wearing a welding helmet? For one thing, I couldn't see a thing through the dark glass, so I had no idea where my phone was aiming. For another, I have a fairly small head for an adult, and DH has a kind of large head. So the helmet kept tilting downward, and the glass window ended up about level with the tip of my nose unless I held it in place with one hand.
sorta in the picture
Satisfied I had a decent picture to remember this by, I took off the welding helmet and headed out to the garden. Once there, I commenced to picking tomatoes. Every ten minutes or so (I had a lot of tomato plants this year, about 90, and it took a while to work my way through the rows), I would slap the welding helmet on my head and take a peek at the sun. I could see it, the glass made it glow green--which was really cool since green is my favorite color--and just on one edge I could see where the sun was no longer perfectly round; the moon was moving in.
Now, yesterday's weather here was hot and really humid (if you hadn't guessed, I'm wearing a tank top in the above photo). I was sweating buckets out there in the garden. I'd pick a few tomatoes, then wipe the sweat away from my eyes with the back of my hand. It just so happened that I picked tomatoes, wiped sweat, and put that welding helmet on for my first peek at the sun. I saw that slightly asymmetrical green orb, then looked down and took the welding helmet off. I wiped the back of my hand across my face again to remove more sweat, and went back to picking tomatoes.
Shortly after, I felt an uncomfortable sensation in my left eye. And immediately wondered if I'd done a bad thing, looking at the solar eclipse with DH's welding helmet. Had I burned my eye? Was that why it did, indeed, feel like it was burning? Oh no! How long did it take for blurred vision to set in? Slight panic! Other than feeling hot, my eye seemed to work just fine, I could see as well as I normally do. And why wasn't my right eye feeling the same heat? I knew I'd had both eyes open as I'd looked through the glass window on the welding helmet.
But then I smelled the unmistakable smell that bruised tomato vines give off. Whew! I hadn't permanently damaged my eyeball with the sun's rays. No, what I had inadvertently done was rub tomato vine residue into my eye area when I used the back of my hand to wipe off sweat. The hand that had been reaching into the tomato plants, brushing up against and slightly bruising the vines and leaves while picking the red fruits. I know from experience that my skin doesn't play well with tomato vines (I have sensitive skin); just working with the plants to transplant or weed around them often makes me itchy.
What a relief it was to know that my eye wasn't scorched. Nope, it was just irritated by the tomato plant stuff that the sweat now running down my face had carried into my eye.
So I slapped that welding helmet on again and took another look at the eclipse. The moon had moved across more of it, cutting a definite arc out of the right side.
As I picked tomatoes, I took four or five more looks at the sun through the welding helmet. At it's most covered point, it looked like a green crescent moon. I even put my cell phone up into the helmet with me and tried to take pictures through the glass, but all the phone picked up was light streaks, and not the crescent shape.
Still cool, though. Being my favorite color and all.
Later, after the eclipse was done, and all the ripe tomatoes picked, I put the helmet away, and took the tomatoes into the kitchen. Where I proceeded to put up 14 pints of canned tomatoes. And make BLTs for dinner because it was still way too hot and humid to cook. :0)