|Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
October 2-8, 2006
Dusk comes earlier, dawn later. The night offers more of itself for us to experience with all our senses. It is a feast of scents and sounds and sights and feelings. Memories seem no more than skin deep in fall; they catch us up suddenly, unaware. Our thoughts hurry to keep pace with the changes. The night is more available, more evocative. I wrap myself in a favorite jacket and stand dreaming in the crisp night air; I am content, and I know it.
The astronomical calendar for the fifth week of early fall:
The Woolly Bear Moon turns full at 10:13 p.m. on Oct. 6; it then wanes gibbous through the remainder of the period, entering its final quarter on Oct. 13 at 7:25 p.m. Rising in the evening, setting close to sunrise, this gibbous moon will be overhead after midnight.
Oct. 7: Average temperatures have plunged about six degrees since the end of September. Skies remain generally clear, but the afternoons are almost always cool. The days after this front are often favorable for harvest, but precipitation increases (along with the chances for snow in the North) as the October 13th system approaches.
And between this front and the October 13th front, snow becomes possible in the northern states. Full moon on Oct. 6 increases the likelihood that this front will bring light frost.
Oct. 13: The coldest morning so far in the season often occurs as this front arrives, and chances of a low in the teens or 20s reach 20 percent in the northern half of the country for the first time since spring. Highs below 50 degrees now occur about 30 percent of the time.
When goldenrod flowers are tufted and gray, then daddy longlegs disappear from the undergrowth and bird migrations reach their peak.
When Halloween crops have come to town, then the dark-eyed juncos will be returning to your bird feeders.
When you see the fruits of the ginkgo tree turning pink, then look for next year’s skunk cabbage in the swamp and the knuckles of next year’s rhubarb in the garden.
When the burning bush is completely red, then snow becomes a possibility above the 40th Parallel.
When beggartick seeds stick to your pants legs, then check your horse for horse-bot eggs.
When the winged seeds of Japanese knotweed fall, then look for great flocks of blackbirds to move across the land.
Mind and body
The S.A.D. Index, which measures the forces that contribute to seasonal affective disorders on a scale of 1 to 100, climbs to 53 on Oct. 6, indicating that a sizeable number of people will be experiencing mild seasonal affective disorders.
Although temperate weather and mostly clear skies are characteristic of this week of the year, the shortening day combines with full moon to bring Index readings as high as they have been since the middle of April.
On a brighter note, the Index does fall quickly after Oct. 6, reaching a much milder 30 by Oct. 13.
Best fishing & hunting
The moon will be overhead in the night this week, making mornings the best lunar time for hunting and fishing (when the moon is at its second-most-stimulating position). The falling barometer in advance of the October 4th and October 7th cold fronts should encourage fish and game activity. Once the fronts pass through, activity often declines.
The Bummer Lamb by William S. Weinrich, Piketon, Ohio
(Note: a lamb is often called a “bummer” if it is unable to obtain milk from its mother and needs to be bottle fed or grafted to another ewe)
This is a story about a bummer ewe lamb that was given to me and my wife for a wedding present. My wife raised her on cow’s milk, and this small lamb grew into a nice ewe that looked like a small Jersey cow, and even after she had lambs and they nursed, she had plenty of milk to spare.
A friend of mine had a nanny goat who had triplets but died soon after. My friend didn’t have time to fool with these baby goats and gave them to my wife. My wife decided to see if the ewe would feed the baby goats, and to my wife’s surprise the ewe took the three baby goats plus her own twin lambs and raised all five of the little creatures.
After everyone was weaned and on grain, the ewe wouldn’t go dry. My wife had to milk this ewe like you would a nanny goat. Then one day my neighbor asked my wife if she would like to have his weak calf. Maybe she could find a way to raise the calf. The sheep milk had to be rich because the calf grew and finally the ewe went dry. But she lived for years and put us in the sheep business.
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 Sept. 27, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.