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Transition the livestock slowly from old to fresh hay, for May
April 29-May 5, 2013
Like love, spring can depend on the slightest movement of an object, the faintest scent, a glimpse of what might happen, an oblique suggestion of fulfillment. And so the sight of one daffodil or the first robin in the yard can create sudden spring, spring-at-first-sight. It can also grow and accumulate year after year like long, true love until each corner of its nature and each crevice of its devices are part of us.
-Bill Felker

Lunar phase and lore
The Apple Blossom Moon enters its final quarter on May 2 at 6:14 a.m. darkening the night throughout the period. Rising near midnight and setting in the middle of the day, this moon moves overhead (its most favorable position for catching fish and feeding babies) in the morning.

The moon’s position in Capricorn (April 29-May 1) and in Pisces (May 3-5) will be superb for planting root crops directly in the garden, for setting out new roses, shrubs and trees. The approach of the May 2 and 7 cold fronts should will lower the barometric pressure and increase temptations to dieters and bass.
Venus once again becomes the bright evening star beginning on May 7, when it moves into Taurus with Jupiter. (Venus is the brighter of the two.) It will keep its dominance during the evening throughout the remainder of the year.

Venus is in conjunction with Mercury on May 25 and with Jupiter May 28. Saturn continues in Virgo, overhead south of Arcturus in the middle of the night.

The Eta Aquarids are active on May 5-6. Find them after midnight in Aquarius above the southeastern horizon. 

The dark moon should favor meteor viewing, and the early morning of May 5 should produce the most meteors.

Holidays for farmers and homesteaders
Early May through the middle of June: At this time, explore the possibility of marketing to consumers who are celebrating the graduation of a child from high school or college. Lambs and kids born in late winter and spring may be suitable for this market.

Weather trends
Cool fronts are due to cross the Mississippi on or about May 2, 7, 12, 15, 21, 24 and 29. New moon on May 9 and full moon on May 24 could contribute to unseasonable cold and to unstable meteorological conditions.

Tornadoes, floods or prolonged periods of soggy pasture are most likely to occur within the following windows: May 3-12 and 17-24.
Approximate chances for freezing temperatures after the following dates: May l, 50 percent; May 10, 25 percent; May 15, 15 percent; and May 31, 5 percent.

May allergy index
Pollen from flowering trees usually peaks about May 10, but trees continue to be the major source of pollen in the air until grass pollen replaces it in the third week of the month.

Estimated pollen count on a scale of 0-700 grains per cubic meter: May 10, 500; May 15, 300; and May 31, 100.

April 29: When possible, move your livestock when the weather is cool and dry, in order to reduce shrinkage and stress-related problems. Movement after the passage of a cold front usually provides more pleasant and more stable weather than transporting prior to the arrival of a front, when dropping barometric pressure sometimes makes animals a little more skittish.
The stability of high pressure can make worming and clipping feet a bit less traumatic, too.

April 30: As the year’s fifth month begins, haying gets under way across the South, moving up quickly the Ohio Valley and beyond. Transition your livestock slowly from last year’s old hay to this year’s fresh hay.

May 1: When daisies flower by the wayside and white mulberries and mountain maples bloom, then daddy longlegs hunt in the undergrowth and darners, by the water’s edge. And when lamb’s ear, tea roses, pink spirea or privets are blooming, then frost is likely to stay away until autumn.

Since the moon may exert less influence on ocean tides and on human and animal behavior when it comes into its second and fourth quarters, it might make more sense to perform routine maintenance on your livestock and pets on or about May 2, 17 and 31.

May 2: In the fields, fight armyworms and corn borers. Attack carpenter bees around the barn. The dark moon also favors traditional worm control methods such as liming the pasture, planting garlic and plowing in mustard.

It’s not too late to go to the local nursery and purchase small shrubs and trees in full bloom, and May is an excellent time for adding to your fruit tree collection.

May 3: As conditions permit, sow seeds for forages that will provide as close to year-round grazing as possible: tall fescue, ryegrass, wheat, oats and rape for early spring; Kentucky bluegrass and orchard grass for spring and fall; bromegrass and timothy for early summer; birdsfoot trefoil, bahiagrass, Bermuda grass, Sudan grass, crabgrass and lespedeza for mid- to late summer.
Plan to seed turnips in middle summer for late fall and early winter grazing.

May 4: Tidal lunar influences have been shown to be greater at full moon and new moon times. You might expect more trouble with your herd, spouse or children, therefore, on or about May 9 and 24.
May 5: Today is Greek Orthodox Easter. Plan on marketing kids and lambs to this market next year when both Roman and Orthodox Easter occur on the same day, April 20.
Today is also Cinco de Mayo each year: The number of Hispanics currently exceeds 35 million in the United States, and they might also enjoy your lamb and chevon.