|Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2006
Our bodies have formed themselves in delicate reciprocity with the manifold textures, sounds, and shapes of an animate earth – our eyes have evolved in subtle interaction with other eyes, as our ears are attuned by their very structure to the howling of wolves and the honking of geese. To shut ourselves off from these other voices, to continue by our lifestyles to condemn these other sensibilities to the oblivion of extinction, is to rob our own sense of their integrity, and to rob our minds of their coherence.
The astronomical calendar for the fifth and final week of late summer:
The Puffball Mushroom Moon waxes throughout the period, entering its second quarter on Aug. 31 at 5:56 p.m., and turning completely full on Sept. 7 at 1:42 p.m. A partial lunar eclipse will occur on Sept. 7.
Venus and Saturn move into Leo as September progresses; they will be prominent in the east before the sun rises. Mars is lost in the sunset most evenings this month. Jupiter keeps the same position it has held all year, disappearing into the west with Libra before dark.
Sept. 2: Weather history suggests that light frost occurs about once every quarter of a century in conjunction with this front. Most of the time, however, the Sept. 2 high-pressure system is more like a summer high than an autumn one.
Sept. 8: Early fall comes to most of the nation with this front. It is a period during which the Dog Days of summer almost always fade, fog forms in the early mornings, and the cycle of flowering plants comes to a close.
When about a third of the leaves of the Virginia creeper turn red, then fall apples are ripe and beggarticks are flowering in the waysides.
When zigzag goldenrod blooms in the woods, then harvest is nearly half over for tobacco, tomato and potato growers.
When soybean leaves have turned yellow on about a third of Midwestern farms, then normal low temperatures drop below 60 degrees.
When the Pleiades, harbingers of winter’s Orion, rise after 10 p.m., then bobolinks and woodcocks fly south and the soybean harvest typically gets underway.
When late summer’s wingstem and ironweed go to seed, then buckeyes and Osage fruits fall to the undergrowth.
When you see cedar waxwings migrating, then ragweed season will be over; slippery elm, catalpa, poplars and ash foliage will be turning pale and the American mountain ash will be golden with berries.
Mind and body
The S.A.D. Index, which measures the forces that contribute to seasonal affective disorders on a scale of 1-100, begins September at a mild 29. As the moon waxes, however, Index readings shoot up to a troublesome 50 by Sept. 7.
The waxing moon is overhead in the evening this week, making that time the most likely to produce strikes on your line. Evening fishing should be even more productive as the barometer falls in advance of the Sept. 2 and Sept. 8 cool fronts.
By Norma J. Corbean Ward, Xenia, Ohio
During World War II, I was married and left with two small children and expecting another when they drafted my husband. A lot of wives, the “war widows” as we were called, had children to care for all alone. We got a small amount of money from the pay given to our men, but some women went to live with relatives because they couldn’t make it on that amount. You had to be careful or someone would steal your ration coupons. Some of the women cashed in their war bonds. I didn’t. I took in washing, ironing, sewing and doing people’s hair in my house. I saved my war bonds and bought the lot my house is now standing on.
One day I was at the grocery store, and I heard a commotion, people bickering. I saw it was my grandmother being held for thieving. In those days you had to bring your own bags for your purchases. Grandma said she dropped the articles in her bag to free her hands to get something else. She didn’t intend to leave without paying.
I told the clerk that when my grandfather had a store, he told me you couldn’t accuse anyone of stealing until they went out the door with the merchandise hidden. They let my grandma go, but she never went back to that store again.
Something ALIVE in the Outhouse! By Bob Christiansen, Salvisa, Ky.
I was a farm boy raised without plumbing of the indoor variety. The family outhouse was first class, meaning you had a two-holer and you had REAL toilet paper, not the outdated Sears slick-paper catalog.
Two-holer meant a big one for adults, and a small one for kids, which - being four years old when the following event occurred - I had occupancy thereof. In the corner of the said building was a 15-gallon oil drum that you threw your paper in, and, when full, my mom would set across the fence in the adjacent sheep pasture and burn. My dad had dutifully cut holes around the base so as to make a decent incinerator for her.
On this day, sitting on the kid’s seat, pants down to ankles, occupied appropriately in taking care of business, something caused me some concern. There was something ALIVE in the bottom of the paper barrel, randomly pausing, then scurrying and rustling around.
I listened with a little anxiety then, out jumped a field mouse from one of the bottom vent holes and raced out the door as fast as he could go.
Ah...Relax. That was the noise...back to the matter for which I am here, I thought. A moment later, however, first a head appeared, then oozed out to become a four to five foot bull snake who then glided out the same open front door.
This terminated all further activity for which I had been there... rapidly! I decided to give him the outhouse. Didn’t even stop to use the classy real paper, just headed for the house. Of course I got my Saturday night bath early.
Poor Will’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.
Here is this week’s rhyming Scrambler:
This farm news was published in the August 23, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.