Printer Friendly

Poor Will's Almanac for early spring 2004.

It is Early Spring: frost melts down The furrow in the West Wind, Plowshares glisten in the sun, The sleek black land shines open.


Astronomical data for March The Phases of the Salamander Moon and the Cabbage Moth Moon

Not long after the salamanders have laid their eggs, but before the American toads whistle for their mates, the first butterflies of the year, the white Cabbage moths (and often the mourning cloak butterflies), emerge to find the first pollen.

March 6: The Salamander Moon is full at 6:23 p.m.

March 13: The Salamander Moon enters its last quarter at 4:01 p.m.

March 20: The Cabbage Moth Moon is new at 5:41 p.m.

March 28: The Cabbage Moth Moon enters its second quarter at 6:48 p.m.

The sun's progress

Spring equinox occurs on March 20th, the same day as in 2003, at 1:49 a.m. Also on the 20th, the sun enters its middle spring sign of Aries.

Sunrise-sunset guidelines

In the southeastern states, the morning gains half an hour this month, the sun coming up around a quarter past six by April Fool's Day. Sunset slowly moves later in the day, adding another 15 minutes to the 15 it gained in February. In the Pacific Northwest, the day now lengthens more than twice as quickly as it does near the Gulf of Mexico: the morning increases by a full hour during March, and sunset becomes up to three-quarters of an hour later. In the Midwest and the Northeast, the gains are similar. And even though the day lengthens at different rates at different locations throughout the country, equinox is still equinox and brings equal day and night to Bangor, Maine as well as to Seattle, Washington, and Miami, Florida.

The planets

Venus keeps its western position after dark these spring evenings of 2004. Mars moves into Taurus, adding another red eye to the Bull Constellation (the other red light--a twinkling one--is Aldebaran). Locate Jupiter in Leo, almost overhead near midnight. Saturn lies between Jupiter and Orion in Gemini. On the 27th of the month, Mars will be less than a degree south of the moon after sunset.

The stars

By the middle of the month, all of winter's stars are clustered together in the far west just a few hours after dark. Taking the Milky Way with them, they completely disappear from view by three o'clock in the morning. And if you scan the horizon an hour or so before sunrise, you will see the wandering summer stars of Capricorn in the southeast. In the south, find Sagittarius, and then Scorpius (easily identified by the red star, Antares, in its center). West of Scorpius is the boxy Libra. West of Libra is Virgo, marked by Spica, the brightest of the western stars.

The shooting stars

The Delta Leonid meteor shower continues through the first week of this month. The bright moon, however, will make it difficult to locate these shooting stars this year.

Astronomical data for April

The Phases of the Cabbage Moth Moon and the Warbler Moon

The first butterflies call out daffodils and tulips. They also bring the warblers swarming up their ancient flyways, announcing middle spring as they arrive.

April 5: The Cabbage Moth Moon is full at 6:03 a.m.

April 11: The Cabbage Moth Moon enters its final quarter at 10:46 a.m.

April 19: The Warbler Moon is new at 8:21 a.m.

April 27: The Warbler Moon enters its second quarter at 12:32 p.m.

The sun's progress

Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 4th. Many people set their clocks ahead an hour before they go to bed on the 3rd. Make a gradual feeding transition for pets and livestock over the next week or so; animals may experience stress if their schedule is changed abruptly. Humans may be even more disoriented than their livestock by the change in time, and full moon a day after the change could cause even more disruption.

Also on April 4th, the sun reaches a fourth of the way between equinox and summer solstice. On the 21st of April, the sun reaches its halfway point; that day is called Cross-Quarter Day. The 21st is also the time at which the sun enters its late-spring sign of Taurus.

Sunrise-Sunset Guidelines

Each garden in the U.S. begins with the same 12-hours of daylight during the third week of March, but as the day continues its unequal growth, northern locations receive their longer day more quickly than southern locations. April gives Florida less than an hour extra daylight this month, but it adds almost an hour and a half to the Northeast and Northwest, and about 70 minutes the Midwest.

The planets

Mars continues to be visible in the evenings, passing north of Aldebaran in Taurus on the 7th. Venus is the familiar evening star throughout April. Saturn is in Gemini in the southwest after sundown, disappearing into the horizon a little after midnight. Jupiter moves into the southwest as dawn approaches. It will appear closest to the moon on the 30th of the month.

The stars

Walk out under the night sky at 10:00 p.m. Find the Big Dipper moving in above you. The constellation Leo lies south of the Dipper; Leo contains Regulus, which is the brightest star overhead.

To the east, Arcturus leads the Corona Borealis up from the horizon. In the far west, Orion is setting as the Pleiades slide down into the northwest. At morning chore time, Vega is the most prominent star above you. Arcturus is the strongest light in the western sky. Deep along the northern horizon the most brilliant star is Capella.

The Shooting Stars

The Lyrid Meteors are active during the second and third week of April. Since the moon will be dark during this period, your chances of finding a shooting star will be pretty good. Search after midnight in the eastern sky between the Northern Cross and Hercules.

Seasonal Counts

Barometric and temperature records kept since the late 19th century indicate that cold waves will cross the Mississippi around the dates listed below. The fronts reach Western states 24 to 48 hours prior to their arrival in the Midwest; they reach the East 24 to 48 hours later.

Fishing and hunting should be most successful if scheduled as the barometer is falling one to three days before the arrival of each weather system. Livestock care should be less stressful in the relatively stable times between fronts (but before the barometer starts to drop below 30.00).

Although storms can occur prior to the passage of each front, tornadoes and floods are most likely to occur within the following windows: March 9-14, March 19-30, April 111, and April 19-27.


3: The first front of March is a treacherous weather system. Schedule travel either before or after its passage.

5: The March 5th cold front is another dangerous high, and it sometimes brings major snowstorms to the North.

9: March's third front is generally milder than the first two. Flooding, however, is common in many areas between now and the 14th, and tornadoes often occur as mild spring temperatures clash with the remnants of winter.

14: This cold front threatens to freeze the new daffodils, fruit trees and tomatoes across the South and Border States.

19: The equinox cold front is often the last severe front of the spring. In milder years, frost can stay away from gardens below the 40th parallel between March 21st and October 15th.

24: This front is relatively gentle, offering a good chance for conditions favoring outdoor work.

29: This last front of early spring sometimes introduces tornado season to the central states.


2: This first weather system of middle spring is one of the more dangerous fronts of the year for tornados and hail.

6: Middle spring's second front also brings heightened chances for severe weather, but odds for milder conditions increase after its passage.

11: Watch for rain or snow ahead of this weather system, then sun and warmer afternoons.

16: Beginning with this front, a major increase in the average daily amount of sunlight takes place throughout the country: a rise from early April's 50/50 chance for sun or clouds up to a brighter 70 percent chance for clear to partly cloudy conditions.

21: Like the April 6th cold front, this front is yet another major pivot time for much more pleasant weather.

24: After this front passes, chances for frost virtually disappear in the South, become relatively insignificant throughout much of the North.

28: This is the first front of late spring. The April 28th front, and the first three fronts of May bring the last serious chance for snow and a damaging freeze to strike lower elevations along the 40th parallel.

Farming and Gardening by the Moon March

Under the waxing moon between March 1st and 5th and then after the 20th, plant seeds for flowers and for vegetables and fruits that will produce their fruit above the ground.

Southern gardeners can seed tobacco and set out pansies, cabbages, kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts as the moon waxes. It's a great time for lettuce and spinach too.

Remove heavy mulch from around bulbs due to flower this month. Dig in fertilizer for spring bulbs due during April and May. Since the maple sap will be running in most of the maple trees early in the month, get your tapping supplies ready.

Put in your root crops as well as all your landscape plantings between full moon and new moon March 6th through 20th. That time will also be the best lunar time for vaccinating livestock, trimming feet, shearing sheep, tattooing, and clipping wattles on the young goats.

The waning-moon period of March 6-20th period also favors the cutting of tree limbs damaged by winter storms. March is also not a bad month for general pruning, provided that you cut on chillier days and before leaf growth has started.

As the days lengthen and the moon gets stronger (near new moon time and full moon time), expect your mares to show signs of estrus.


Best lunar conditions for field crop, frost-seeding, and other pasture planting occur as the moon waxes between April 1st and 4th, and especially after new moon between April 19th and 30th. All across the country, oats and spring barley are being put into the ground. Spring wheat is being seeded in New England, sugar beets all across the northern states. Field corn planting is in full swing throughout the South and the central states, cotton planting along the Gulf.

Fertilize your pastures at least two weeks before you let your livestock graze. Keep an eye out for bloat, however, as you let your kids, calves and lambs enjoy the new greenery.

The recommended lunar practice is to shear sheep, and dehorn, castrate, tattoo and dewattle your young goats late in the moon's third quarter or during the fourth quarter. That would be between April 6th and 19th.

Also during this period of the waning moon, destroy tent caterpillars as they hatch. Protect new foliage from aphids. Watch for weevils in the alfalfa. Be on the lookout for cutworms and sod webworms in the corn. Pull the fresh weeds as they emerge.

A weed and wildflower calendar

The dates listed in this calendar are average times for the first blossoming of some common wildflowers along much of the 40th parallel (at 1,000 feet above sea level) in an average year. In a cold spring, blooming can be set back as such as two weeks. If April and May are exceptionally warm, flowers can be 10-15 days early. Drought and excessive precipitation change matters, too. Despite such fluctuations and the influence of habitat, the general progression of flowering remains relatively predictable and can serve as a broad guide for floral sequence across the nation's midsection. At other locations in North America, once the wildflower year begins, it remains close to the cycle listed in this calendar, even though the specific dates may be considerably different. In addition, the wildflower calendar provides you with a structure for making your own adjustments and additions.

Day Flower

March 10: Chickweed

March 11: Dandelion

March 12: Henbit

March 20: Snow Trillium

March 24: Periwinkle

March 25: Violet Cress

March 26: Harbinger of Spring

March 27: Hepatica

March 28: Bloodroot

March 29: Spring Beauty

March 30: Small-flowered Bittercress, Twinleaf

March 31: Virginia Bluebell

April 1: Ground Ivy

April 3: Small-flowered Buttercup

April 4: Swamp Buttercup

April 7: Violet

April 8: Toad Trillium

April 11: Cowslip

April 13: Dandelion: major bloom

April 15: Trout Lily

April 18: Thyme-Leafed Speedwell

April 19: Watercress, Ragwort

April 20: Greek Valerian, Rue Anemone

April 21: Early Meadow Rue, Columbine

April 22: Wild Geranium, Large-flowered Trillium,

April 23: Winter Cress, Miterwort, Wild Phlox,

April 24: Celandine

April 25: Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Wild Ginger

April 26: Meadow Parsnip, Wood Betony

April 27: Garlic Mustard

April 28: Fleabane

April 29: Spring (white) Cress, Catchweed

April 30: Nodding Trillium, Larkspur

Lunar feeding patterns for people and beasts

The following weekly key to lunar position shows when the moon is above the continental United States, and therefore the period during which all creatures are typically most active. Second-best times occur when the moon is below the earth.

Dieters, of course, should look for increased temptation when the moon is overhead; relief will come as the moon is either rising or setting (its weakest daily positions). Fishing may be more successful and animals may be slightly friskier with the moon overhead.
Best (Above) Second-best (Below)

1-6: Evenings, Mornings
7-13: Midnight to Dawn, Afternoons
14-20: Mornings, Evenings
21-28: Afternoons, Midnight to Dawn
28-31: Evenings, Mornings

1-5: Evenings, Mornings
6-11: Midnight to Dawn, Afternoons
12-19: Mornings, Evenings
20-27: Afternoons, Midnight to Dawn
28-30: Evenings, Mornings

The seasonal calendar for March

March 1: Buzzards return to northern states between today and the 25th.

March 2: Pussy willows are often completely open now, a traditional signal for the end of maple syrup time in the Border States and the South.

March 5: When woodchucks are digging up the hillsides, then ducks and geese are scouting for nesting sites. Red maples flower. Chipmunks are out. The rivers are high, and carp mate in the shallows.

March 6: Flocks of robins continue to move north even in the coldest springs. Red-winged blackbirds sing in the swamps.

March 7: Coltsfoot is budding in the mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Azaleas and camellias are blooming in the Deep South. In the Mid-Atlantic states, celandine has sprouted. Buds lengthen and brighten on multiflora roses, honeysuckles, mock orange, and lilac. Forsythia blooms in Memphis. The first bluebells press through the mulch in the Appalachians. Some bleeding hearts come too, along with foliage of April violets.

March 10: Purple martins migrate. Peregrine falcons lay their eggs. Bald eagle chicks hatch. Lawn growth is usually perceptible three weeks before grass is ready to cut. This is an early date for cherry trees to be in full bloom in Washington D.C., and the average date for flower and garden shows throughout the East.

March 11: Parsnip, horseradish, dock, and dandelion root are dug at this time, when foliage just begins to emerge; root quality is usually at its best before the soil begins to warm. Flats of pansies are set out on milder days to harden them for late March planting.

March 13: This is the week that the first mosquito bites and that the box elders, and silver maples come into bloom in the lower Midwest. The tips of resurrection lilies have risen a few inches above the ground by this week of the year. The spring beauties are budding. The foliage of lemon verbena, mallow, lupine, phlox, columbine, coneflower, yarrow, sage, sweet pea, mallow, goldenrod, ranunculus, snow-on-the mountain, New England aster, Queen Anne's lace pyrethrum, bleeding heart, and evening primrose is coming up.

March 16: The male titmouse spirals in his mating frenzy as water striders breed in the ponds and rivers. Wild parsnips grow back. Mock orange leafs out beside the new honeysuckle foliage.

March 18: In the wetlands, ragwort is budding when weeping willows glow yellow-green. In the woods, toad trillium pushes up through the leaves when turkeys start to gobble.

March 20: In Illinois, Clematis leaves emerge beside new growth of the dodder. Comfrey leaves reach two inches long, Motherwort swells into clumps, and henbit is in full bloom. Lamb's quarter, beggarticks, pigweed, and amaranth sprout, and the first periwinkle petals unfold.

March 21: Magnolias are blooming in Cincinnati. Sandhill cranes are migrating in the Rocky Mountains.

March 22: When new raspberry leaves are almost ready for tea, scillas color city lawns blue, and touch-menots have sprouted in the wetlands.

March 24: This is the time of year that early spring's firsto butterflies--the question marks, the mourning cloaks, the tortoise shells and the cabbage moths--almost always emerge along the 40th parallel. When the butterflies appear, catfish are getting ready to feed, and pollen forms on about half the pussy willow catkins. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are mating. Goldfinches are turning gold.

March 26: Cardinals are singing half an hour before dawn. Half an hour earlier come the first notes of the great predawn chorus of robins. Later in the day, flickers and pileated woodpeckers call. Winged ants are flying then, and the first green-bottle flies. Garter snakes lie out sunning. In the woods, foliage of wild geranium, clover and columbine is growing. September's zigzag goldenrod is two-inches long. Leaves of the golden Alexander are an inch across. Scarlet cup mushrooms swell in the dark.

March 27: The first blue periwinkles open among last year's fallen leaves when summer's lizard's tail is sprouting in the river mud.

March 30: In wilderness areas of the Southwest, late March brings the peak of wildflower season. Golden corydalis, desert phlox, desert chicory, spiderwort, popcorn flower, thistle poppy, fiddlenecks, deer vetch, desert anemone, scorpion flower, strawberry hedgehog cactus and pincushion cactus are in bloom.

The seasonal calendar for April

April 1: This is the week that white and pink and violet hepaticas reach their height of bloom at lower elevations of the southern Appalachians. Spring beauties, violet cress, harbinger of spring, bloodroot, bluebells, twinleaf, small-flowered buttercup, toad trillium, Dutchman's britches, and even toothwort are coming in around them.

April 3: From North Carolina into Oklahoma, plum trees are full of flowers, and the pears start to open. Quince, magnolias, crab apples, cherries, and the last of the cornus mas blossom, too. The peak period of pussy willow pollen begins, and some of the heavy golden catkins are falling in the wind.

April 5: Nettles and leafcup are six to eight inches tall when hepaticas are at their best. Asiatic lilies and columbine are three to five inches. Skunk cabbage leaves are more than half size, about ten inches long, eight across.

April 6: When June's chicory is six to nine inches high, ragwort and garlic mustard are forming clumps; some sweet rockets and money plants are getting ready to send out their flower stalks. Hops vines twine around the honeysuckle. Japanese knotweed catches up with the rhubarb (just about big enough for pie).

April 7: Daffodils, pushkinia, anemone, and hyacinths are at their brightest in the lawns and gardens of the central states.

April 8: The rare grouse is drumming. Downy woodpeckers are mating. Baby groundhogs have come out of their dens. Water rushes and purple loosestrife, water lilies and pickerel plants have suddenly produced foliage. Water striders are courting now, and small diving water beetles hunt for food.

April 11: Privets are filling out. Branches of the multiflora roses are almost completely covered with foliage. Gardeners are cutting asparagus throughout the Border States, picking strawberries in Alabama and Louisiana.

April 12: Allergy season is here throughout the nation. During April, trees are in full flower throughout the Central Plains, the Northeast, the Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. In the Southeast, all the grasses are coming into bloom.

April 13: American toads are chanting, and tadpoles are already swimming, in the backwaters. Young hummingbird moths and bumblebees come out to sip the annual mass flowering of dandelions. Gnats become bothersome.

April 14: Snakehead mushrooms, which have a tall, light-colored stalk and a small, dark cap, begin to appear now, and their season typically lasts through the end of the month. Throughout the country's midsection black and gray morel mushrooms also come up at this time of the month, the same time that orchard grass is ready to harvest. When ticks and mosquitoes appear, the morel season is about over.

April 16: This is usually apple blossom week along the 40th parallel, and redbud week, and dogwood week. By this time of the year, honeysuckles and spice bushes have developed enough to turn the undergrowth pale green, and color rises throughout the tall tree line.

April 18: In the East, pheasants lay their eggs, and bird migrations peak with the arrival of whip-poor-wills, red-headed woodpeckers, catbirds, cedar waxwings, yellow-throated vireos, meadow larks, indigo buntings, scarlet tanagers, Baltimore orioles, cowbirds, kingbirds, and more than a dozen varieties of warblers.

April 19: In the Northwest, Kestrel hawks are nesting, and aspens flower. Wood ticks follow the receding snow, and grizzly bears come out of hibernation. In Vermont, trout fishing time begins. The crocuses are blooming in

Minneapolis. Azaleas are open in Norfolk, rhododendrons in St. Louis. Dogwoods are at their best in Atlanta. New Orleans is all decked out like an Ohio June. Along the north Atlantic coast, mackerel move toward inshore waters.

April 21: This is the time the antlers of white-tailed deer begin to grow. The first parsnips bloom, and all major garden weeds are sprouting.

April 26: Buckeyes come into bloom and admiral butterflies hatch lust as field grasses and winter wheat become long enough to ripple in the wind.

Poor Will's insect scrambler

Guess who is eating your flowers and vegetables? Guess who is biting you? Guess who is feeding the bats and the birds and the fish? All of the below. Except that they are all scrambled. Help them out and be the 4th person to get your answers to Poor Will!

Be the 4th person (not the 1st or the 3rd!) to get your unscrambled forms of these words to Poor Will. If you are the winner, Poor Will is going to mail you $5 and a real intelligence certificate. Send your entries to Poor Will at 316 South High, Yellow Springs, OH 45387 or to poorwill And if you are among the first five to find a typo (Poor Will often gets confused), you get $1 and a certificate, as long as you unscramble all the words.

What happened with last month's puzzle?

Lots of people struggled with the complicated scrambled tree names. Lots of people found Poor Will's typos. Lots of people solved the puzzle despite the typos.

Before we talk about the winner, here are the answers to the corrected version:

And here are the names of those who submitted correct or mostly correct solutions: Jayne Stephens, Otway OH; Carol Grant Dayton, MD; L. Singley, Shippensburg, PA; Pauline Cameron, Sierra Vista, AZ; Faith Geisel, Conklin, MI; Alice Beisiegel, Williston,VT; Edgar Chrisman, Parsons, KS; Mike Virgil, White Pigeon, MI; Lora Morris, F. G. Grooms, Lynx, OH; Lewis Dale, La Cygne, KS; Karl, Barron and Dande Rau, Newport ME; Karen Johnson, Jefferson, OH; Georgeann Tramell, Longview, TX; Anna Hershberger, Orleans, IN; Mrs. Ellen Ross, Underwood IA; Patricia Quier, Quakertown, PA; and Karen Sundeen.

Where were typos? The winner (who was the 3rd person to submit her completely correct answers) was Pauline Cameron from Sierra Vista, AZ and she said in bright red ink:

"kinngi--I think you mean kinngo for GINGKO ...

"ttllaoie--I think you meant ttllaoiei for ELLIOTIA ...

"wiliwlo--I think you meant wilwlo for WILLOW ... "

What about the people who were stumped by the typos?

Everyone besides Pauline who submitted their solutions by New Year's day will receive a dollar and an intelligent certificate to compensate them for their frustration. And what if this happen again? The same compensation will be awarded--but Only for the firstfive who find Poor Will's Mistake(s)!
COPYRIGHT 2004 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Previous Article:The virtues of 12 volts.
Next Article:Nightmare in the Ozarks: they thought they were living their dream, until they lost a loved one to a cougar attack.

Related Articles
Kick back with your almanac.
Mailing lists.
Poor Will's COUNTRYSIDE Almanac for late autumn and early winter.
Poor Will's vegetable and flower scrambler.
Poor Will's almanac for late spring and early summer.
Poor Will's almanac for early & middle autumn.
Junior Scholastic spring 2005 planning guide.
Early spring.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters