By Bill Felker
Perceiv’st thou not the process of the year, How the four seasons in four forms appear, Resembling human life in ev’ry shape they wear? — Ovid
Astronomical Data and Lore
The Snow Flea Moon waxes throughout the week, entering its second quarter at 4:02 p.m. on January 20 and reaching apogee (its position farthest from Earth) on the 21st at 8:00 a.m. Rising in the afternoon and setting in the morning, this moon passes overhead in the evening, encouraging creatures to be hungerier and be more active at that time, especially as the cold fronts of January 20 and 25 approach.
The Sun enters the sign of Aquarius on January 19, foreshadowing the last subseason of winter (aptly called “Late Winter”).
This week often brings the January Thaw, and lunar apogee on January 21 increases the odds for mild weather. Statistics show a warming trend that brings a 35 to 40 percent chance of a high in the 40s on January 20, 23 and 24.
Zeitgebers (Events in Nature that Tell the Time of Year)
Zeitgebers for this week include the arrival of bluebirds, the beginning of cardinal mating songs at about 7:15 in the morning, the appearance of the first snowdrop, day lily, crocus, daffodil and peony foliage, the rapid disappearance of the remaining orange euonymus berries and the last seeds of the small-flowered asters.
The daily calls of crows begin about 7 a.m., about a quarter of an hour earlier than their first morning calls a month ago.
Watch for pale Asian ladybugs to emerge in the warmth of your sunny windowsills. When they come out, then nurseries and grocery stores set out their spring flower displays.
Mind and Body
The S.A.D. Index that measures seasonal stress on a scale from 1 to 100 falls to a low of 68 on January 21 as the moon reaches apogee, its position farthest from Earth. After that, the Index rises throughout the period, registering a high of 88 on January 28, full moon day. Even though the day is lengthening, and the likelihood of milder weather steadily increases, the Index still reveals the powerful influence of the moon. For full S.A.D. statistics, consult Poor Will’s Almanack for 2021.
In the Field and Garden
Prepare for tapping trees as the weather moderates for the January Thaw.
Protect perennials with a little mulch if they advance too much in the milder weather.
Some traditional supplements for your animals during winter include a little whole barely, a teaspoon of molasses in a pint of milk, powdered slippery elm, calcium rich powdered willow bark, flaked oats, powdered seaweed, and mashed raw carrots
Test a sample of old seeds for germination. Order supplies for February pasture seeding.
Plan to plant flowers and vegetables under lights as the moon darkens during the first week of February.
Consider selling lambs, kids, beads and other carnival paraphernalia for Mardi Gras (February 16).
Almanack Classics from 1991
Damsels in Distress
by Lloyd Geringer, Wauseon, Ohio
Back in the early 1920s, my mother had a cousin and her family up from Lima for a weekend visit. As I recall, the cousin was a very big lady.
Well, her husband told how back in his single days he had one of the first automobiles, and how one Sunday afternoon he took his future wife and her sister, also a large young lady, out for an auto ride in the countryside.
No rest rooms or gas stations in those years, so they stopped at a country church yard. The outhouse there was a twin two-holer with a partition in the center.
The two ladies entered and soon started to scream for help. They were both stuck on the board seat. Come to find out that the seat was one big wide board that had split lengthwise, and they had got caught fast in the crack.
Of course, the man couldn’t lift the nearly 600 pounds to release the captives from the vice-like grip of the board. He ended up getting the jack out of the car, and with the aid of several blocks of wood from the woodpile behind the church, he was able to jack up the seat board from below and behind the toilet.
The ladies were freed by this trick, but were later subject to considerable kidding about the whole affair.
Answers To Last Week’s Sckrambler
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
Copyright 2021 - W. L. Felker