There is a seasonal exhaustion in the air. The ground is cool and subdued as the hills turn dusky and purple by late afternoon. I pass cleared fields full of stubble, the lank, dark stalks of corn. Milkweeds, where monarchs deposited their eggs, have opened their pods, and the white silk lies over browning grass like wisps of cotton, or is concentrated in spots like the downy feathers of a chicken caught by a fox. -- John Hay
The Sleeping Frog Moon reaches apogee (its position farthest from Earth) on Nov. 7 at 3:37 a.m. It grows more gibbous through the week until it becomes full at 8:34 a.m. on Nov. 12.
Rising in the afternoon and setting after midnight, this moon passes overhead in the evening, favoring that time for angling, but not for dieting, especially as the cold front of Nov. 11 approaches and the moon turns full.
Highs just in the 30s or 40s were relatively rare during the final week of October, but by the end of November’s first week, they occur 35 percent of the time, and chances rise to over 40 percent by Nov. 10.
High-pressure systems, preceded by clouds and rain or snow, typically cross the Mississippi River around Nov. 9 and 14. Nov. 9 is historically the wettest day of November’s second week; Nov. 13 is the driest.
One partly cloudy afternoon in the 60s or 70s comes six years out of 10 during this time of year, but cold and precipitation are the norm. Full moon on Nov. 12 will increase the cold and double the likelihood of snow or rain on Nov. 10-11.
The natural calendar
Nov. 6: The workday begins to shrink more quickly, losing about 2 minutes every 24 hours: November takes almost an hour from the day’s length along the 40th Parallel.
Nov. 7: This is Ecuadorian Independence Day. Consider selling lambs and kids to this market.
Nov. 8: From today through the third week of the month is the normal rutting period for whitetail deer in the central part of the country. Male deer lose their antler velvet, rub and scrape on branches, and chase does.
Rutting is also thought to contribute to the great increase in the number of accidents involving cars and deer. Half of those incidents happen between 6 p.m. and midnight – and almost all of them occur when weather conditions are mild and clear.
Nov. 9: Sunni Muslims celebrate Muhammad’s birthday tomorrow; Shia Muslims celebrate on Nov. 17. You might expect a rise in halal meat sales near this time.
Nov. 10: Many people who live above the 40th Parallel may now begin to experience vitamin D deficiency as cloud cover thickens.
Field and garden
Consider applying nitrogen, phosphate, and potash to the fields after harvest in order to decrease the springtime workload. Finish the fences and outbuilding repairs before the weather turns colder. Eliminate the drafts from the livestock barn, but not the ventilation.
Don’t forget ventilation in the beehives. Clustering bees produce water vapor in the hive, and if it is not removed, it condenses on the inside of the hive top and comes back down on the bees in the form of cold rain, which can chill and even kill the bees.
Purchase amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs before they disappear from the stores. Start some of them now so you will have blossoms through the holiday season.
Fertilize trees and shrubs. Leaf-drop should be complete on most plantings except forsythia and Osage orange. Cut wood. Remove tops from everbearing raspberries.
Old Outhouse Archeology
By Jay Budde
When Barbara and I purchased an 1870s farmstead on Lauber Hill in Fulton County, Ohio, a few years ago, the property’s history was much of the appeal to us. This was the first home settled in German Township. We did not dream we would ever find the shallowly buried “treasure” we uncovered when we purchased an outhouse recently.
Yes, we bought a vintage wooden one-holer at auction from a Defiance area fruit farmer. Transporting the outhouse 20 miles in a small pickup is a story for another time. What we learned about our property and its owners when we looked for the right spot for the “new” old outhouse involved a little outhouse archeology.
With a little intuition, luck, and probing with rebar, we found the concrete foundation of a 4-by-4-foot pit – clearly the footprint of an outhouse – behind the smokehouse. My wife’s studies in history told her that families deposited much of their discarded history in their outhouses, so the decision to dig was made.
Fortunately, we had friends visiting who had not read Tom Sawyer and agreed to help us dig for historic treasure.
After 2 feet of brick bats (whose idea was this?), several hours, and 3.5 feet of digging, we ran out of energy and interest, but we did find treasure and history: A plastic toy rifle (1950s layer), cracked plow share (1940s layer), and numerous dinnerware, medicine bottles, crockery, and metal household items. You get the idea.
The lesson? There may be more deposited in your old outhouse pit than you think. We recommend leaving it there for future archeologists.
This week's Scrambler
In order to estimate your Scrambler IQ, award yourself 15 points for each word unscrambled, adding a 50-point bonus for getting all of them correct. If you find a typo, add another 15 points to your IQ.
Last week’s Scrambler
FLCKRIE – FLICKER
EIURKCQ – QUICKER
RQLOUI – LIQUOR
CARVI – VICAR
KERCIW – WICKER
EIKCNKR – KNICKER
RECKI – KICKER
REKLIC – LICKER
RECKIS – SICKER
KCILSRE – SLICKER
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