Aug. 19-25, 2013
What means this sense of lateness that so comes over one now – as if the rest of the year were down-hill. The night of the year is approaching. What have we done with our talent? All nature prompts and reproves us. How early in the year it begins to be late!
-Henry David Thoreau
Lunar phase and lore
The Blackberry Moon, ripening the last of the blackberries, becomes completely full Aug. 20 at 8:45 p.m. Rising in the evening and setting after sunup, this moon is overhead in the middle of the night.
Midnight angling is always suggested at full moon time, and this month’s middle-of-the-night fishing will be enhanced by the approach of the Aug. 24 cool front.
The moon will travel through Pisces on Aug. 21-23, favorable for seeding biennials and perennials in the garden, setting established collard and kale plants and getting in a row of lettuce.
The high-pressure system that arrives near Aug. 24 erodes summer a little more. At average elevations along the 40th Parallel, odds for an afternoon in the 90s are now only half of what they were two weeks ago, and the likelihood of mild highs only in the 70s is twice as great as it was at the end of July.
As this cool front moves away, the period between Aug. 25-27 usually brings a return of warmer temperatures in the 80s or 90s.
Aug. 19: Wood nettle, tall nettle and small-flowered agrimony have gone to black seeds. Buckeye leaves are browning, walnut trees weathering and shedding. Redbuds and the burning bush shrubs are blushing. Mint has reached the close of its cycle, teasel is complete and coneflowers are fading.
Aug. 20: The Blackberry Moon is full today, filling all the northern blackberries with juice and chilling the nights in the mountains. It also is likely to make hospital patients, criminals, children and spouses more rambunctious.
Aug. 21: Wild grapes are ready to pick. Some farmers are preparing their fields in advance of seeding winter wheat.
Aug. 22: Today is Cross-Quarter Day, halfway between summer solstice and autumn equinox. It is a traditional point at which to fine-tune harvest, canning, freezing and breeding schedules.
Aug. 23: The lowering sun accelerates its message to the monarchs and swallowtails, to the fall webworms and to the Hickory Horned Devils (the giant caterpillars of the citheronia regalis moth).
Aug. 24: Summer apples are almost all picked. Judas trees betray the Christ of summer, patches of gold showing on the Osage and cottonwoods and poplars and maples, kisses of scarlet on creeper and poison ivy. Panicled dogwood has its first white berries.
Aug. 25: A third to a half of the nation’s field corn is often mature by this date, and denting has occurred on more than three-fourths of all the fields.
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