Poor Will's Countryside Almanack for late spring and early summer 2007.
--James Russell Lowell
Astronomical data for May The phases of the Warbler Moon and the Daddy Longlegs Moon
As warblers move north, the full season of insects begins in the fields and forests. Easily identified by almost everyone, the daddy longlegs becomes active at the same time that late spring cedes to early summer. Hunting in the shade, the lanky daddy ushers in the longest and warmest days of the year.
May 2: The Warbler Moon is full at 5:09 a.m.
May 9: The moon enters its last quarter at 11:27 p.m.
May 16: The Daddy Longlegs Moon is new at 2:27 p.m.
May 23: The moon enters its second quarter at 4:03 a.m.
May 31: The Daddy Longlegs Moon is the full blue moon at 8:04 p.m.
The sun's progress
On May 10th, the sun reaches a declination of 17 degrees, 39 minutes, three-fourths of the way to summer solstice. Between this date and August 2nd (the date which marks one quarter of the way between solstice and autumn equinox), the northern hemisphere enjoys the longest and sunniest days of the year.
Venus moves into Gemini, high in the western sky after dark. Mars enters Pisces, rising along the eastern horizon after midnight. Jupiter stays in Ophiuchus, overhead in the early morning and setting near dawn. Saturn is in Leo, setting in the far west in the middle of the night.
Orion is the easy gauge of winter, rising with the Milky Way on November evenings, filling the southern sky throughout the night all winter, finally disappearing late in April. As Orion waxes, all of the pieces of summer recede; as that constellation wanes, each piece returns.
The Summer Triangle is the stellar gauge of summer. It is a parallel marker to Orion that clocks the unfolding of the leaves and flowers. Accompanied by the opposite end of the Milky Way, it appears on the evenings of May. Its triple constellations, Lyra, Cygnus and Aquila, contain three prominent capstone stars, Vega, Deneb and Altair, which form a giant triangle.
When all these stars come up after dark, the canopy of leaves is almost complete. Mock orange and peonies and iris blossom in the gardens, morning birdsong swells, strawberries ripen, sweet clover is open by the roadsides, and goslings enter adolescence.
When Vega, Deneb and Altair are positioned overhead at midnight, then the birds are quiet, ragweed pollen is in the air, blackberries are sweet, hickory nuts and black walnuts are falling, katydids and cicadas and late crickets are singing, rose of Sharon colors the garden.
When leaves are turning throughout the nation and the last wildflowers have completed their cycles, then Lyra, Cygnus and Aquila set in the west after sundown, leading the Milky Way through Cassiopeia and Perseus, dividing the heavens into equal halves, for an instant holding in balance summer and winter, linking the Summer Triangle with Orion rising again in the east.
The shooting stars
The Eta Aquarids are active on the 5th and 6th of May, but only a few meteors per hour occur with this shower, and those will be outshined by the bright gibbous moon.
Astronomical data for June The phases of the Daddy Longlegs Moon and the Firefly Moon
June (which began to flicker in February through the Deep South) brings fireflies to the nation's midsection in the month of June, brightening the nights. With fireflies come pie cherries, mulberries, black raspberries, and the first sweet corn.
June 8: The Daddy Longlegs Moon enters its final quarter at 6:43 a.m.
June 14: The Firefly Moon is new at 10:13 p.m.
June 22: The moon enters its second quarter at 8:15 a.m.
June 30: The Firefly Moon is full at 8:49 a.m.
The sun's progress
June is the year's high tide, the sun's declination remaining within two degrees of solstice all month. The midpoint of the solar year, the day on which the sun reaches as high in the sky as it will ever go, occurs on June 21st at 1:06 p.m. Between June 20th and 22nd, the sun holds steady at its solstice declination of 23 degrees, 26 minutes, and the day's length remains virtually unchanged.
Venus moves into Cancer this month, keeping its position as the evening star. Mars remains in Pisces, rising after midnight and becoming the faint morning star. Jupiter continues in Ophiuchus, setting in the west as Mars takes its turn as the morning star. Saturn stays in Leo, visible in the far west after sunset.
A few hours before sunrise, find Sagittarius deep in the southwest. Fomalhaut and Piscis Austrinus lie low below Aquarius, due south. In the east, the Pleiades and Taurus are just emerging. Along the northern horizon, the pointers of the Big Dipper point south to Polaris. Spring's Arcturus sets in the northwest, and winter's Capella rises in the northeast.
The shooting stars
The Lyrid meteors will be visible on June 14th through the 16th, but only at the rate of about one every six minutes. Even though the meteors will be few and far between, the dark moon will favor the sighting of at least one. Look for the Lyrids after midnight at the western edge of the Summer Triangle in Lyra.
An Apology Concerning the March Eclipse
The last Almanack listed the wrong time for the lunar eclipse of March 3rd. My apologies to all who might have missed that event because of my error.
The weather systems and your homestead
Now keep your buck from too much heat, Make sure the kids have grain to eat. Clean the udders, scrub the stall, Watch for lice and fleas that crawl.
Although any calendar will do for keeping track of city time, the counting and recording of cold fronts can be especially useful for keeping country time in perspective. While the nature of these fronts may change from year to year, their overall pattern provides an important guide around which to build a rhythm of family, garden and livestock care.
Using weather history, one can know 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.
Major storms are most likely to occur on the days between May 8-14, May 17-23, June 5-8, June 13-16, June 24-28.
2nd: The first three days of May are almost always marked by a high-pressure system that chills one of the most fragrant times of the year. Full moon on May 2nd could make this front worse than usual. Watch for snow across the northern tier of states, and be prepared to protect tender vegetables and flowers from frost well into the Border States.
Johnson grass, Sudan grass, sorghum and alfalfa can change their chemical composition when the night brings a late spring frost. Be alert for signs of a negative reaction in your sheep and goats if they are grazing the morning after a damaging freeze.
7th: May's second and third cold fronts carry the last serious threat of a hard frost above and along the 40th Parallel. The clash between these weather systems and mild Gulf air historically causes more storms than any other period except the days between May 17th and 24th. However, the weak moon (entering its final quarter on the 9th) should make the days following passage of the May 7th front relatively quiet.
Spring pasture now reaches its brightest green of the year, and haying Will be underway in the southern states. The cutting will move towards the Canadian border at the rate of about one hundred miles a week, and it will be taking place almost everywhere by mid June. As fresh cuttings become available, introduce them slowly into the diet of your herd and flock in order to avoid enterotoxemia.
12th: This is the final frost-bearing system for the Mid Atlantic states and the Border States. And sometimes the weather stagnates between the May 12th front and the May 20th front, creating conditions favorable for a heat wave between the Carolinas and the Southwest.
Your show schedule should have been made up months ago, and May is a good time for a reality check. How are you progressing with training the animals you intend show? How is their weight? How about conformation? Are your animals close to the ideal of their breed? Have you found defects that didn't seem so important a month ago? Should you scale back the number of shows you originally planned to attend? Have you made a timetable for getting your prize animals into peak condition for the fair?
Spring wheat is just about all planted in the North, and all the oats should be in the ground between Denver and New York. Tobacco transplanting has begun in Kentucky. Potatoes and commercial tomatoes and pickles have all been set out by the end of the month along the Great Lakes. By the 15th, winter wheat will be at least a foot high across the central states, will soon be pale golden green below the Mason-Dixon Line.
15th: This front and the next two are often followed by the "Strawberry Rains," the wettest time of May across the central portion of the United States. Farmers often try to have their field crops in the ground by this date in order to avoid delays and reduced yield. New moon on the 16th could complicate the arrival of precipitation, contributing to stormy conditions from the Plains deep into the South.
In the western states, prairie dogs have been working hard the past month or so, their new burrows causing problems in your fields and pastures. If you have burrowing owls on your property, however, those creatures may keep some of the dogs in line.
In the Northeast and upper Midwest, it's time for cherry and apple blossoms and tulips, azaleas and rhododendrons. And it's not too late to go to the local nursery and purchase small shrubs and trees in full bloom. May is an excellent time for starting or adding to your fruit tree collection.
Now blueberries are flowering along the Canadian border, and strawberries and wild black raspberries bloom in the Ohio Valley. All of that takes place as the high canopy of leaves closes over the entire country, and the zucchini harvest starts in the South.
Just as all the corn gets planted, the armyworms, slugs, and corn borers know it is time to go to work. They appear in fields throughout the country this month. They have some friends too: flea beetles, spitbugs and leaf hoppers. Not to mention those alfalfa weevils. And in southern gardens, squash bugs and Japanese beetles are out in force.
20th: The days surrounding this front are some of the most turbulent of May, often marked by rain, tornadoes and high winds. The May 20th system also brings the threat of frost along the Canadian border.
Complete string vaccinations while the weather is still mild. And get your goats TB and Brucellosis certified as soon as possible. Advantages include an improved selling edge and ease in registering your goats before show time.
Some goat owners claim that sunflower seeds added to the kids' diet helps keep them free from stomach upset and makes them less susceptible to enterotoxemia at this time of the year.
24th: This high often pushes the danger of frost deep into the northern tier of states from Montana to Maine, and it can bring cold rain four years in ten to the nation's midsection. Will this be one of those years? Since the moon is weak (entering its first quarter) on the 23rd, this high-pressure system should actually be milder than average.
While you are making plans for summer, think ahead to breeding time. Finalize all spring culling. Make tentative notes about which animal to breed to which, why and when.
29th: Precipitation is often heavy as the final front of May approaches, and the Blue Moon on the 31st will most likely encourage storms before and after this weather system. When this cool wave moves away, however, it usually leaves sunny, dry conditions.
As warmer weather changes the growth patterns of bacteria around the farm, keep udders neatly clipped, and be sure to disinfect them before milking. Clean equipment and milking areas are especially important at this time.
2nd: The June 2nd front can still bring a light freeze at higher elevations, and the full moon of May 31st may increase the chances for frost. Most homesteads in the northern half of the country, however, will enjoy mild temperatures that continue to be favorable for lettuce and peas.
Placing blackberries and raspberries along your hedgerows offers a simple way to offer healthful browsing material for your livestock. Since these shrubs propagate themselves, you may not ever need to think about them again. Other medicinal herbs you may already be growing include dill (the seed is said to increase milk yields), fennel (for fevers, and constipation and all eye ailments), anise (for digestive ailments).
You may also want to mix medicinal herb seeds when you are seeding the pasture. Some favorites are balm, borage, chicory, horehound, hyssop, marjoram, rosemary, rue, sage, tansy and yarrow. Not all will survive the summer, but those that do could return again and again to make the pasture a healthier and more nutritious place for your animals.
6th: The June 6th front is associated with a four-day period during which there is an increased chance for tornadoes and flash floods. Part of the reason for the rise in the risk for severe weather is the increase in the percentage of afternoons in the 80s and 90s. On the other hand, the moon's weak phase (entering its final quarter on the 8th) holds out the promise of relatively stable conditions this year.
The driest days for washing and grooming your animals typically occur during the second and third weeks of June. These are also the most favorable times, on average, for laying cement in the yard and for making fence and outbuilding repairs.
June is the month (late April and May in the South) during which insect infestations typically reach the economic threshold. Look out for rose chafers and two-spotted spider mites on your rose bushes. Cucumber beetles appear in the cucumbers and melons. Protect yourself against chiggers: they're biting now.
Gather cherries, mulberries, and black raspberries in the mild June days. Fertilize asparagus and rhubarb as their seasons end. Sidedress the corn. Harvest canola, commercial broccoli and squash. Begin the winter wheat harvest in the South. Consider putting in double-crop soybeans after the wheat is cut.
10th: Chances for highs in the 40s and 50s now recede from the probability until late August, except in the mountains. The sunniest June days usually occur between now and the 26th, and the first major heat wave often develops across the Gulf states and the central states.
Help keep your buckling out of trouble by making one of your wethers his companion. If the two goats were born and raised together, they will probably get along well. And if the buck has another goat to play with, he will be less likely to cause mischief.
If your animals have been out in the sun for a long period of time, and they are starting to pant and are unsteady on their feet, they could have sunstroke. Quickly check their temperature. If it is very high or unusually low, you might want to call the veterinarian. Otherwise, immediately get your animal in the shade, sponge it down with cool water and put wet cloths around its head and neck. Sorrel and bran-molasses mash can also be helpful to overheated livestock.
15th: Dry conditions typically prevail in mid June, and the period between the 13th and the 26th is historically one of the best times of the month for fieldwork. New moon on the 14th is expected to make this front slightly cooler than average, perfect for working outside.
Planting and harvest estimates or projections, combined with daily weather and progress notations of what actually occurs, can be one of the best planning devices for your farm and garden. The more you notice about the changing conditions and about what influence they could be having on your operation, the more information you will have for improving herd and crop management.
23rd: The June 23rd high-pressure system is typically cool and dry, and it is often followed by some of the sunniest days of all the year. The weak moon on the 22nd favors benign weather. As the next June front approaches, however, stability can be expected to give way to storms.
Watch for mold in the hay stall in the feed storage area when humidity levels rise dramatically toward the end of the month. Be sure grain is kept in clean containers and secure from summer rodents and marauding goats.
29th: The final weather system of the month is often followed by the Corn Tassel Rains, a two-week period of intermittent precipitation that accompanies the Dog Days of middle summer. Clouds and rain during the final two days of June are sometimes the coldest of middle summer, highs below 80 degrees occurring more than half the time north of the Border States. Full moon on June 30 means that chances for storms are twice as likely to occur than might ordinarily be expected.
Farming and gardening by the moon
Since the moon may exert less influence on ocean tides and on human and animal behavior when it comes into its 2nd and 4th quarters, it might be easier to perform routine maintenance on your livestock on or about May 9th and 23rd and June 8th and 22nd.
On the other hand, tidal lunar influences have been shown to be greater at full moon and new moon times. Therefore, you might expect more trouble with your flock, herd, spouse or children on or about May 2nd, 16th and 31st (May's Blue Moon) and on or about June 14th and 30th.
The waxing moon (in the last two weeks of both May and June this year) favors the planting of all flowers and vegetables that will bear their fruit above the ground. The waxing moon is also fine for the harvest of strawberries and spring vegetables. The first crop of alfalfa should be gaining a little more moisture as the crescent moon becomes a gibbous (fat) moon. Put in the last of the cucumbers, corn, soybeans, and hot-weather vegetables (like tomatoes, squash, eggplant and peppers) as the new moon waxes. New moon time is also favorable for pruning shrubs and trees that flowered earlier in the year.
Lunar lore suggests that the waning moon (in the first two weeks of May and June) is best for planting all the rest of your crops that will produce fruit below the ground. Also use the waning moon for hunting potato leafhoppers, cucumber beetles, corn borers, mites, bean-leaf beetles, fleas, lice, ticks, screwworms and fly maggots. The last two phases of the moon are also most efficacious for worming and spraying for external parasites, for weeding and for mulching.
The seasons of late spring and early summer
The following seasons typically occur at the times indicated at average elevations along the 40th parallel. The seasons will unfold several weeks later in the northern tier of states, several weeks earlier in the South. Once you know your particular location within the flow of this natural calendar, it is easy to follow along, no matter what your starting point.
May The First Week
The first week of May brings Daddy Longlegs Season to the undergrowth and Petal-Fall Season throughout town. Darner Season commences along the waterways. Dandelion Blooming Season ends in the fields as Ruby Throated Hummingbird Season begins at your feeders. Bellwort Season, Golden Seal Season, Golden Alexander Season, and Solomon's Seal Season mark the woods. Scarlet Pimpernel Season appears in the lawn. Sweet Gum Flowering Season, White Mulberry Flowering Season, Black Walnut Flowering Season and Oak Flowering Season spread through the high canopy. In the garden, it's Poppy Season, Columbine Season and Rhododendron Season.
The Second Week
This is blooming season for sweet Cicely, May apples and wood sorrel. Mayfly Season begins along the rivers and creeks. Weevil Season comes in throughout the alfalfa fields. As Petal-Fall Season closes for crab apples, cherry trees and redbuds, Thrush Season, Catbird Season and Scarlet Tanager Season come to the bushes. It's Bullfrog Calling Season in the swamp and Spitbug Season in the parsnips.
The Third Week
Iris Season, Mock Orange Season, and Peony Season reach the 40th Parallel as May deepens. Locust Blossoming Season sweetens the winds. For gardeners, it's Clematis Season and Star of Bethlehem Season (but Flea Beatle Season, too). Strawberry Ripening Season arrives, marked by the earliest days of Swallowtail Season and Monarch Butterfly Season. Along the byways, find Meadow Goatsbeard Season and Sweet Clover Season and Buttercup Season. At your screen door, it's June Bug Season. The lowlands host Tall Meadow Rue Season and Angelica Season.
The Fourth Week
The last week of May offers the best of Honeysuckle Blooming Season and Sweet William Season. It's Privet Blooming Season, Yellow Poplar Blooming Season and Spiderwort Season. In the woods, Gold-Collared Blackfly Season and Green Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle Season have started. Blackberry Blooming Season and Black Raspberry Blooming Season spread through the fencerows. In the garden, discover Leafhopper Season and Scorpion Fly Season. Grasshopper Season and Northern Spring Field Cricket Season bring the pastures alive. Butterfly seasons include White-Spotted Skipper Season and Red Admiral Season. It's Fledgling Robin Season in the bushes, Young Groundhog Season in the fresh grass along the highways.
June The First Week
June ushers in the four-month-long season in which the entire canopy of leaves is complete. Beside the green crown of summer, Multiflora Rose Season begins; then Lamb's Ear Season, Heliopsis Season, Floribunda Rose Season, Oakleaf Hydrangea Season and Tea Rose Season follow in the garden. Moth Mullein Season, Sweet Clover Season, Canadian Thistle Season, Crown Vetch Season and Meadow Goatsbeard Season decorate the roadsides. Clustered Snakeroot Season shelters daddy longlegs in the shade. Scarlet Pimpernel Season complements the lawn. Along the riverbanks, it is the middle of Turtle Egg Laying Season.
The Second Week
Parsnip Season is the signature of early summer. With it come waves of parallel seasons. Catalpa Season and Pink Spirea Season introduce Firefly Season and Cucumber Beetle Season, Day Lily Season and Coreopsis Season, Purple Coneflower Season and Hollyhock Season, Chicory Season and Trumpet Creeper Season, Nodding Thistle Season and Great Mullein Season, Asiatic Lily Season and Sweet Ripe Black Raspberry Picking Season. Delicate Honewort Season spreads through the forest.
The Third Week
At the end of early summer, the days are the longest of the year, and milkweed beetles appear for Milkweed Blooming Season. In the mild nights it is Giant Cecropia Moth Emerging Season; throughout the days it is Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar Season. Across the countryside, the last week of early summer brings Golden Wheat Season. Garden seasons include Great Blue Hosta Season, Gooseneck Season and Russian Sage Season. Lizard's Tail Season is open by the water. Elderberry Blooming Season and Yellow Sundrop Season and Black-Eyed Susan Season are visible from the freeways. Enchanter's Nightshade Season joins Honewort Season in the dark woods. Chigger Season and Mosquito Season and Tick Season make outside activities more challenging.
The Fourth Week
Wheat Harvest Season introduces the beginning of middle summer along the 40th Parallel, the time when Orange Butterfly Weed Season begins, and Sycamore Bark Falling Season points to aphelion and the center of the year. Thistle Down Season is another sure sign of middle summer. Leafhopper Season and Japanese Beetle Season reach economic levels on the farm and in the garden at this time. Cattail Flowering Season is visible from the roadways, as is Staghorn Season on the staghorn sumacs. The opening of Turtle Hatching Season presages the Dog Days of July, while Woolly Bear Caterpillar Season looks ahead to autumn. Thimbleplant Season, Wood Mint Season, Lopseed Season and Leafcup Season replace Clustered Snakeroot Season in the shade.
Lunar feeding and activity 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 and may eat the most.
The second-most-active times occur when the moon is below the earth.
Dieters, of course, should look for increased temptation when the moon is overhead; relief may 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.
Date: Above; Below
May 1-2: Evenings; Mornings
May 3-10: Midnight to Dawn; Afternoons
May 11-17: Mornings; Evenings
May 18-24: Afternoons; Midnight to Dawn
May 25-31: Evenings; Mornings
June 1-8: Midnight to Dawn; Afternoons
June 9-14: Mornings; Evenings
June 15-21: Afternoons; Midnight to Dawn
June 22-30: Evenings; Mornings
Results of the Scrambler Sweepstakes
A total of 115 readers responded to the March/April Sckrambler challenge by February 28th. Prizes were promised to the 5th, the 50th, the 130th and the 200th respondents who correctly solved the Sckrambler. The two winners, who have already received their $5.00 prizes, are Barbara Heater from Union City, PA (the 5th correct respondent) and Anna R. Noble from Seaman, OH (the 50th). Thanks to all who participated!
Answers to the March/April Sckrambler:
EEEUBBBLM SEASON: BUMBLEBEE SEASON
LAONWSLB UIUBVNMR: SEASON SNOWBALL VIBURNUM SEASON
NALW WMGNIO SEASON: LAWN MOWING SEASON
GNIPEERC XOLPH SEASON: CREEPING PHLOX SEASON
IIEATRSW SEASON: WISTERIA SEASON
ENEGR GFRO NOGS SEASON: GREEN FROG SONG SEASON
KYEUTR BOGGINLB SEASON: TURKEY GOBBLING SEASON
LPEAGTNG EIDEGNS SEASON: EGGPLANT SEEDING SEASON
SUSYP LIWWOL SEASON: PUSSY WILLOW SEASON
EIOATNC SEASON: ACONITE SEASON
OAERNK ACILL SEASON: KOREAN LILAC SEASON
TNIWRE SESRC SEASON: WINTER CRESS SEASON
ADOT IIUMLRLT SEASON: TOAD TRILLIUM SEASON
ODOW HHSRUT SEASON: WOOD THRUSH SEASON
IIIANGVR LLLEEUBB SEASON: VIRGINIA BLUEBELL SEASON
Now for a Sckrambler from Carol Sisson of Rothbury Michigan
Carol calls this Sckrambler "Homestead Employment Opportunities." If you are the 3rd, the 30th, the 100th or the 150th person to return your correct Sckrambler solutions by my deadline of April 30th, you will win $5.00. Entries will be numbered as they are received, and prizes will be mailed by May 5th. There should be no typos in this puzzle, and no typo prize will be awarded. Send your entries by regular mail to Poor Will at PO Box 431, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. Remember that even if you don't win, your entry may help someone else to win. Lots of entries are needed to enable the 150th person to win his or her prize!
UENTAR RVOEL TERAWHE SNORPE PRTEAECNR RMULPBE CANIITELERC VTIIAANNERRE TRSICNTUOR TOCNATNCUA EELRGAN CCORTATRON HDNFDILEA MSHAREDN LDAMIMKI EAESTT GARMEAN NCIMHECA PTUPORNOSTI MSOITIPT HLSIOPHPERO
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|Publication:||Countryside & Small Stock Journal|
|Date:||May 1, 2007|
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