By Bill Felker
The human body is susceptible to the same cosmic influences as the Earth and … body processes ebb and flow with the tides, just as do the crust and the waters and the magnetic field of the Earth. – Arnold L. Lieber, M.D.
The Moon and Sun
The Hickory, Black Walnut and Pecan Nutting Moon, full on Sept. 20, wanes throughout the period, reaching apogee, its benign position farthest from Earth, on Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. and entering its final quarter on the 28th at 8:57 p.m. Rising in the middle of the night and setting in the middle of the day, this Moon passes overhead in the morning, encouraging creatures to feed a little more at that time, especially as the autumn cool fronts of Sept. 24, 29 and Oct. 2 approach.
Equinox occurred at 3:21 EDT on Sept. 22.
The likelihood of highs in the 90s now disappears until late April, and chances for highs in the 80s fall to just 20 percent for the first time since early May. On Sept. 23 and 26, chances for a high below 70 degrees are better than 50 percent, the first time that has happened since May 4.
The 23rd is the average date for “light frost season” to begin in Ohio, Indiana and southern Michigan. The 24th and the 27th even carry a 20 percent chance of a mild freeze – the greatest chance since May 10.
The cool fronts will bring a dropping barometer and an increased chance of rain for at least one day prior to their arrival. Students may have more difficulties concentrating as the barometer falls. Animals may become harder to handle at that time. Your sinuses may start acting up, even though the pollen count is way down from late August, and your joints could start aching.
(Events in Nature that Tell the Time of Year)
Great crested flycatchers, blue-gray gnatcatchers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, eastern wood peewees and bank swallows move south across the Ohio River.
The first tier of trees, including the remaining ashes, the cottonwoods, box elders, hickories and locusts, starts to turn quickly after equinox. As that first layer of the canopy loses its leaves, the trees of the second tier, especially the maples and oaks, come in for 10 to 14 days.
Monarch butterflies sometimes become more numerous, visit the late zinnias in the afternoon sun; other insects, however, become less common in the field and garden as the number of pollen-bearing flowers dwindles.
After equinox, the night continues to lengthen at the rate of three minutes a day, the day’s length losing another hour between the end of September and the third week of October.
Asters, beggarticks, and goldenrod start to disappear; their departure parallels the leaf-fall, the end of the insect season, the end of the spider web season, and the acceleration in bird migration, everything seeming to unravel at once.
Mind and Body
The S.A.D. Index, which measures seasonal stress on a scale from 1 to 100, falls to the 20s and even the teens this week, and September’s final days are expected to be especially favorable for good moods and the absence of S.A.D. since the decreasing likelihood of clouds and summer heat will combine with weak lunar position to create ideal Index conditions with light to no stress for the last time this year.
In the Field and Garden
Most weeds and wildflowers have gone to seed. The last summer apples have been picked.
Half of the region’s corn is ordinarily mature, and up to a fifth of the crop has been harvested. Grapes and apples are normally one third picked. Most of the third cut of alfalfa has been cut.
Begin your renewal of the perennial garden under the dark moon. The sugar beet, pear, cabbage and cauliflower harvests commence near this date in the Great Lakes region. In Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington State, the cranberry harvest starts as berries darken in the cooler weather.
The season of killing frosts now begins along the 40th Parallel; it lasts until May 10.
by Peggy Case, New London, OH
The day before was nice. Very nice. No warning, no hint of things to come. We enjoyed our recess, came in, passed out papers, and worked on math for the following day. We went through our usual routine, totally unaware of our impending week-long vacation.
But no one in my house had listened to the weather report. That’s what happens in homes where every evening the kids are doing homework, Mom is getting supper while grading papers, and Dad is outside in the barn.
That night it was windy, but really not any colder, so I went to bed with no clue. In the morning, before the alarm went off, my husband asked, “Do you have any idea what’s going on outside?”
“Is it snowing?”
Wow! It was white! Everything was white. I couldn’t see the barn. I couldn’t even see my back steps. And we could feel the wind coming in at every old crack in our house. Suddenly the telephone rang; I knew right away, no school.
My poor husband had to go out and milk cows. I was a little worried now, remembering stories I’d read of farm people getting lost in their own barn yard during bad storms.
Through the window I watched the wind whipping around things left in the yard. Buckets and apple crates were tumbling across the lawn, and twigs were flying off the trees. The snow was weighing down dead branches.
On the way to the barn, my husband was coping with the biting snow. Every breath he took produced a halo of frost around his head. In the barn, the cows, too, were in their own little clouds of mist, as their frozen breath swirled back in their faces.
With all the schools closed and most of the traffic halted, we were like people on a deserted island, alone in the world, cut off from everyone and everything. We reveled in it. We celebrated. Busy mothers and fathers rarely have such lovely mornings to loaf and enjoy each other and their children.
We had a routine on no-school days, big breakfasts with oatmeal, hot chocolate, and sitting around the table talking. We had a second cup of cocoa and planned our day. We were excited! A whole day to watch TV or put together puzzles or play some board games.
We were farmers with a ton of food in the freezer or canned up in the pantry. We had our own milk and could make our own bread. We had all our own meat and fruit as we were also fruit farmers. Our furnace would be fired with the wood we had cut and stored in the basement. And, we had a generator in case we lost electricity for the milking!
Wow! We would survive!
Poor Will Wants Your Stories
Poor Will pays $5 for unusual and true farm, garden, animal and even love stories used in this almanack. Send yours to Poor Will’s Almanack at P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 or to firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Bill Felker’s Poor Will’s Almanack for 2022 is now available. In addition to weather, farming and gardening information, reader stories and astronomical data, this edition contains 50 essays from Bill’s weekly radio segment on NPR’s WYSO. For your autographed copy, send $22 to Poor Will, P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. Or order from Amazon or from www.poorwillsalmanack.com.
Copyright 2021 – W. L. Felker