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Penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible early on Nov. 29-30 
By Bill Felker
The stars are down close to the trees,
The air crisp, no wind, no cricket or bird. — August Derleth

The Fourth Week of Late Fall Astronomical Data and Lore
The Manger Moon reaches apogee (its gentle position farthest from Earth) on November 26 at 7:30 p.m. It waxes through the remainder of the month, becoming full at 4:30 a.m. on November 30. Rising in the evening and setting in the morning, this moon passes overhead in the middle of the night, encouraging creatures to feed at that time, especially as the cold front of November 28 approaches. 
The night of November 29-30, a penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible throughout North America. Get up early to see it begnin around 2:30 in the morning of the 30th. The best part of the eclipse will occur just before 5 a.m., and it will end around 6:30 a.m..

Weather Trends
The last high-pressure system of November generally arrives around the 28th, preceded by rain or snow three years out of four. This is one of the most dangerous weather systems of the month, and precipitation lingers through the cold for the 29th and 30th. Clouds dominate the sky, and travel conditions are typically uncertain. 
The full moon on November 30 will bring stronger-than-average storms to the United States, complicating harvest and travel. Most states will experience frost by full moon, or they will have experienced it already by then. Tender garden vegetables that survive the month will be taken by the mid-December front.

Notes on the Progress of the Year
The sun enters Sagittarius on the 22nd, having traveled three-fourths of its way from autumn equinox to winter solstice. Two hours before midnight, the sky carries the forms of Deep Winter: the Pleiades, Taurus and Orion are rising, the Milky Way cuts across the sky from east to west, Andromeda lies directly overhead, and the Summer Triangle is setting over the Pacific Ocean.
 The final rites of fall include a chronology of the last leaves and fruits. Major losses occur on beeches and pears as autumn ends. Sometimes oaks are the holdouts, sometimes forsythia or a hardy honeysuckle. Sometimes sweet gums and poplars keep a few leaves this late in the year; sometimes protected oak-leaf hydrangeas, Osage, mock orange or lilacs outlast all the other trees and shrubs. Bittersweet berries continues to fall to the sidewalk. Yellow witch hazel flowers are shriveling. Privets are bare, their blue berries revealed. Euonymus fruits are losing their white outer shells, orange cores unveiled by the cold.
New England aster and stonecrop foliage turned yellow in Middle Fall; now the plants are shedding. Late garden lettuce and the autumn growth of rhubarb have withered. Hosta leaves have collapsed into the remnants of maples, ginkgoes and white mulberries. The gooseneck turns chocolate brown. Most all the seeds are gone from milkweed pods; just a few wisps of down cling to their shells. Fragile pokeweed stems have exploded in the frost. The last roses have been frozen by nights in the teens.

In the Field and Garden
All the major harvest is typically complete; fall seeding should be done; the garden is pretty well picked clean, and the cover crops have sprouted.
Compare early-season estimates of your farm and garden crops with the actual results. Make plans to compensate for similar challenges next year.
Try to include in your Thanksgiving dinner at least one thing that you have grown. Plan for two things next Thanksgiving.
Review photographs of the garden or your summer notes for ideas about what seeds and plants to purchase and where to put them all.
Check seeds you have saved to see they are dry and not developing mold.
Put the vehicles and implements in shape; polish the tools; paint when the sun shines; repair the fences when the wind is quiet. Mulch or dig root crops in anticipation of a hard freeze.

The more I watch myself in nature, the more I see that my emotional life is tied to appearances more than to ideas or events in society. The time of year in my feelings is the reflection of my perceptions. The changes in the landscape produce changes in my mind. The Earth’s fluctuating relationship to the Sun may technically cause the approach of winter, but it is the bare trees and the frost that make the season in my head. 
Very literally, snowdrops and snow trilliums bring February to my brain. Robinsong before sunrise brings March. Fragrant peonies and lilacs make April and May. Green trees bring June. Lilies evoke July. Black-eyed Susans shape the middle of August. Goldenrod creates September, scarlet maples October. November is the sudden collapse of ginkgo leaves. Frost and snow and the call of the sandhill cranes mean winter. 
The simplicity of this psychological phenomenon leads me to a basic realism. Through the experience of the seasons, I recognize the limitations of my reason and convictions, as well as the fragility of my awareness and my will. I also realize that, without trying, I actually can and do remain in the moment much of the time, tied to and reflecting what is right in front of me.
I realize, too, the dangers and challenges involved in leaving that foundation for the untethered society beyond. Like God or love or a consuming passion, the material world is the simple truth that feeds as well as protects the self.

Almanack Literature
Help From Afar
By  Alice Killinger, Orrville, OH

Ma missed Ralph something fierce. He never had taken to farming, alwasys had his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. At 17, he left, walked into town, caught the train, was off to seek his fortune.
Every so often, he’d show up for a couple days. Didn’t help with the chores or corn picking . Didn’t see why the womenfolk were so old-fashioned, still doing all that canning and cooking.
One time he brought a souvenir from his travels, a conch shell with the tip cut off, which he blew like a horn. Soon some of the others got the hang of it, even Ma. Then he was off again.
They kept the conch shell there on the mantel. Ma saw it when she cooked, and felt dreadful lonesome. Well, lonesome and sad, if you know wwhat I mean.
Then something scary happened.
The men were doing field work back by the woods while Ma was fixing dinner. All of a sudden, she smelled smoke. Oh no, a house fire! What could she do? Spotting the conch shell, she grabbed it, ran outside and blew long, loud blasts. Would the men hear? They did. They came. They saved the family home.
Ralph heard all about it on his net visit. As he was leaving, Ma caught a quick glimpse out of the corner of her eye: Pa’s hand on Ralph’s shoulder.
Poor Will is STILL low on stories! Send yours to him at P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 or to You’ll receive $5.00 payment if your story appears in this column.
The Answers To Last Week’s 
In order to estimate your Sckrambler 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.

This Week’s Rhyming Sckrambler
Poor Will’s Almanack for 2021
is now available. This year’s Almanack contains detailed descriptions of all 48 seasons of the year and 30 Almanack Literature stories. Order from Amazon or purchase an autographed copy by sending a check for $20.00 to Poor Will, P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387.
Copyright 2020 - W. L. Felker