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Moon lore says: Seeding and livestock care ideal next week
Poor Wills Almanack
Feb. 25-March 3
I prefer to take “landscape” as a collective term for the temperature and pressure of the air, the fall of light and its rebounds, the textures and surfaces of rock, soil and building, the sounds (cricket screech, bird cry, wind through trees), the scents (pine resin, hot stone, crushed thyme) and the uncountable other transitory phenomena and atmospheres that together comprise the bristling presence of a particular place at a particular moment.
-Robert MacFarlane, The Old Ways

Lunar phase and lore

The Lenten Rose Moon wanes throughout the period, entering its last phase at 4:53 p.m. on March 4. Rising at night and setting after daylight, this moon will be overhead between midnight and dawn.

The period of the waning moon offers some of the best lunar seed starting of the entire year for flowers and root crops, as well as all for landscape plantings. The best lunar time for spring vaccinating of pets and livestock, for trimming feet on goats and sheep, shearing sheep, tattooing and clipping wattles on the young goats is this and next week, while the moon darkens.

According to traditional lore, the moon’s phase also favors surgery, cutting hair to retard growth and visits to the dentist.

Nighttime fishing may be the most productive this week. The moon will be overhead after dark, and fish should be especially eager to eat at the approach of the Feb. 27 and March 3 cold fronts.
Lunar position in Scorpio on March 1-3 will encourage all your sprouts to grow big and strong, according to moon lore.
On March 3, the sun reaches a full 70 percent of the way to equinox.

Weather trends

Dates for the arrival of the next month’s weather systems are March 2, 5 (usually the most severe front of the month), 9 (ordinarily followed by quite mild temperatures), 14, 19 (frequently the second-coldest front of March), 24 (typically followed by the best weather so far in the year) and 29.

These fronts are all accompanied by shifts in temperature and barometric pressure that affect the behavior of livestock, pets and people.

Daybook

Feb. 25: Today is full moon day. Expect a little more trouble from children, parents, pets and livestock. Medical and law enforcement personnel could expect more calls for their services.

 Feb. 26: Killdeer, rusty blackbirds and canvasback ducks migrate. Horned owlets hatch in the woods.

Sweet corn has been planted along the Gulf coast. Redbuds and azaleas are in bloom throughout Georgia, rhododendrons just starting to come in. In the lowlands of Mississippi, swamp buttercups are open, violets and black medic, too.

Feb. 27: The front that arrives near the end of this month is almost always more gentle than the Feb. 24 front, and its transit typically signals the end of Snowdrop Winter.

Feb. 28: Count the number of pussy willows emerged. Look for new leaves on garlic mustard and poppies. Check for chickweed greening in the bushes.

The longer the list of plants observed in February inventory, the greater the context for observing the subtle alterations in each day to come, the more exciting each addition.

March 1: Markers for this week include woodcocks arriving from the South, cardinals singing near 6:30 a.m., wild violet leaves beginning to grow when the snow melts, carp mating in the warmer shallows and woodchucks coming out of hibernation.

March 2: This is the earliest date along the 40th Parallel for planting most hardy vegetables directly in the garden. Oats, spring wheat and ryegrass can also be put in for quick vegetative cover.

Only 11 weeks remain before the most delicate flowers and vegetables can be planted outside, and four weeks until most hardy varieties can be set out. Fertilizer spread on lawn and field this month will have tine to dissolve in the ground before April or May planting.

March 3: Lupine leaves push out of the ground beside the snowdrops and aconites. The earliest blue squills blossom. Red maples flower. Crocus buds are opening, beginning the countdown to the last hard frost seven weeks away. Day lily spears are strong.
Flocks of robins continue to move north even in the coldest springs. Red-winged blackbirds sing in the swamps. Red-tailed hawks, the horned grebe, the common snipe, all types of gulls and black ducks are migrating.

Almanac classics
The Ancient Roman’s Outhouse
By Naomi Bliss
Switzerland County, Ind.

Back in about 1970, I visited the United Kingdom and enjoyed many tours. I saw many walls, roads and buildings constructed by the Romans, who occupied the country from 43 A.D. until the early 400s.

One day in a small town, the entire tour bus had the same urge, and the guide directed us to a rectangular stone building. He announced proudly: “This structure is exactly the same as when it was erected by Roman soldiers.”

I fell into one of the two long lines that formed, a mixture of men and women in each line. It was apparent the building had two rest rooms. As I neared the destination, I noticed the beauty of the building, which acclaimed the super skill of the stonemasons.
I was just behind a man who entered the outhouse in my line. He seemed to have trouble closing the door, and eventually he came out shaking his head – a negative shake.

I pushed open the wooden plank door and entered a windowless stone room about 4-by-7-feet. I glanced about for a light. None existed. With the door still open, I looked for the toilet.
There it was! A stone slab on the stone floor, about 1.5 feet long and a foot wide. It had been chiseled out to form a bowl. In the center was a six-inch hole. On either side of the hole, cut into the stone, were two large footprints. Overhead was a water tank with a pull hanging down.

I considered that: I wore three layers of clothing, the top layer a pair of slacks; I carried a handbag; the door did not latch; I would need to hold it closed; with the door closed, the room was dark as night.

The waiting line was growing restless. I tried ...

No, I didn’t succeed, but I was determined to do something. So, I pulled the leather string to the water reservoir. It worked perfectly: A profusion of water was emitted. The small room was sprayed with a flood of water. I was soaked to the hide.

Wet? Yes. But the urge was gone.
2/21/2013