You'll only get to learn about blue moons once in a blue moon: Kids Corner for the week of 10/26/20 |

You’ll only get to learn about blue moons once in a blue moon: Kids Corner for the week of 10/26/20

Editor’s note: The Vail Daily’s weekly kids section is chock full of activities and fun to keep the young and the young at heart entertained during the pandemic. If you have an idea for the section or would like to get involved, email Entertainment Editor Casey Russell at

Outside Scoop

Blue moon

October 2020 is extremely rare for many reasons. This week, on Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31, there is a second full moon in the month. And, since it is the second full moon, its nickname is the blue moon. Surprise, it’s not really blue. The moon will still be the same color as the other months of the year.

Blue moons usually occur every second or third year. However, some years might present two and others none and at all.

“Not only is a Blue Moon a rarity but, for this year, it is an added ‘treat’ with the second October full Moon coming on Halloween. Use your imagination to create Blue Moon/Halloween ghostly stories that match this fun and scary time of the year,” said Phillip Virden, a Colorado stargazer, lecturer and dark sky expert who’s spent his life studying the skies.

Prime moon viewing time will be around 9 p.m. on Halloween, and the added treat of seeing Mars as well is exciting.

What are the next Blue Moon dates?

  • 2020: Oct. 31
  • 2023: Aug. 31
  • 2026: May 31
  • 2028: Dec. 31

Does the phrase “happens once in a blue moon” make a little more sense now?

Outside Scoop is submitted by freelance journalist Julie Bielenberg. Contact her at

Word of the Week

Learn new words in English and Spanish each week.

blue moon / la luna azul

Special to the Daily

Riddle me this

Test your wits and smarts with these riddles.

Click or hover over the black boxes to reveal the answer.


Riddle: How does the man in the moon cut his hair?

Eclipse it. (He clips it).

Riddle: Have you heard about the restaurant on the moon?

Great food, but no atmosphere.


Riddle: How much money is the moon worth?

A dollar: it has four quarters.

Riddle: Although the moon is ancient and old, on the darkest nights it is also what?


Time travel

Learn about Eagle County history each week.

The Brooks waterwheel at McCoy following restoration in 1976.
Courtesy ECHS/EVLD

Early day ranchers were often good at solving problems. Although most lacked formal engineering skills, they had the vision, determination and common sense that made it possible for them to build houses, bridges, roads and irrigation ditches.

The ranchers and farmers in the McCoy ranching community in northern Eagle County were particularly clever. Although the Colorado River flowed through the community next to much of the farming country, the river was lower than the adjacent land. There was not enough “drop” to guide the water into irrigation ditches.

The ranchers had to figure out how to make water flow up hill.

John Patrick Quinlan, an Irishman who homesteaded at McCoy in 1897, is credited with being the first pioneer of that area to build a waterwheel for lifting water into ditches. A set of paddles and “buckets” or boxes mounted around a large wheel collect water, making the wheel turn. Circling around the downside of the wheel, the water spills out into a flume, that in turn carries the water to the ditch watering the rancher’s crops.

Several early McCoy ranchers used waterwheels to deliver water into irrigation ditches. Modern day ranchers use pumps for this purpose.

Location was the most important aspect of a working water wheel. The wheel needed a river current that could adjust to the rise and fall of the stream. Ranchers had to be careful with their wheels. Driftwood washed down by high waters in the spring could easily wreck the mechanism.

The most prominent waterwheel in McCoy, which remains a local landmark today, was built in 1922 by Wymer Dixon and Earl Brooks. Built with more than 4,000 separate pieces, the wheel stands 48 feet in diameter. The magnificent wheel is located on the Water Wheel Ranch, owned by John Comer, who has rebuilt the waterwheel three times since 1969.

Time Travel is researched and written by Kathy Heicher, president of the Eagle County Historical Society. Learn more about ECHS at

Coloring page

This week’s coloring page is submitted by local illustrator Jasmine Valdez. Follow her on Instagram at @artgirl_studios.
Jasmine Valdez | Special to the Daily

Print the page here.

Learn how to make your own coloring pages here.

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