|Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
February 27-March 5, 2006
Wars and storms are best to read of, but peace and calms are better to endure.
The astronomical calendar for the third week of early spring:
The new Pussy Willow Moon enters its second quarter at 3:16 p.m. on March 6. Rising in the middle of the morning, setting close to midnight, the second-quarter moon is overhead in the afternoon.
The Delta Leonid shooting stars fall after midnight throughout the first week of March. During this period the moon will still be dark enough for good meteor gazing.
This week, the sun reaches two-thirds of the way to spring. It took almost six weeks for it to move the first third, about four weeks to move the second third, and now it will take fewer than three weeks to travel the rest of the way to equinox.
On March 2, the day’s length becomes a full two hours longer than it was on December’s shortest days.
This month’s major storms are most likely to occur on the days between March 9 and 14 and between March 19 and 30.
March 3: As the last front of February moves towards New England, mild temperatures occur in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky more often than any time during the first three weeks of March. Skies often clear with the passage of the March 3rd high, but then they darken quickly as low pressure anticipates the March 5th front with showers or snow.
March 5: The day before this front arrives is typically one of the wettest days of the month, with rain or snow likely 70 percent of all the years. Across the South and Border States, this high can be accompanied by thunderstorms or tornadoes.
Once the March 5th front moves through, expect steady winds and brisk temperatures followed by sun.
March 9: March’s third front signals an increased likelihood of storms almost everywhere in the country; this weather system is accompanied by floods and tornadoes more often than any other front during the first three weeks of the month.
And March 9, 10 and 11 bring some of the chilliest temperatures of the first half of March.
When pussy willows emerge all the way, then maple syrup time is about over. When maples flower and woodchucks dig up the hillsides, then onion sets can be tucked into the garden soil. When bleeding hearts are an inch tall, look for purple cress blooming in the bottomlands. When you see bumblebees and carpenter bees working in the flowers, then you know it’s time for termites to swarm.
When dandelions are flowering in the yard, set out pansies, cabbages, kale, collards and Brussels sprouts in flats to become used to the cool spring weather. Try lettuce and spinach in flats, too.
Tobacco growers can seed tobacco beds when the first mid-season crocus comes into bloom.
When red maples flower, ducks and gees are scouting for nesting sites, and chipmunks have come out to find their mates.
When red-winged blackbirds sing in the swamps, then carp begin courtship rituals in the shallows.
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, slides from the 70s into the 50s this first week of March, offering relief from the February doldrums.
Fishing should be most productive during the afternoon when the moon is overhead. The shallows will be warming in the sun by noon, and air temperatures are expected to heat up through the first days of March.
Plan your expeditions between the March 3rd, March 5th and March 9th cold fronts, and then again between the March 9th front and the March 14th weather system. The mildest weather for angling can be expected between March 11 and 13.
2005 story winners
Almost two dozen original stories were received from regional readers of Poor Will’s Almanack during 2005. As announced in Poor Will’s Almanack for 2005, one prize of $50 is to be awarded for the best story received, with $5 going to each of five runners-up.
First place goes to Rick Etter from Delta, Ohio for “A Sudden Snowstorm.”
The runners-up are: Susan Perkins from Hardtimes Farm, Ky. with “Grannie in the Hole;” Sara Beck from Jeffersontown, Ky. with “All Things Bright and Beautiful;” Marvin Gray of Albany, Ind. with “The Unexplained Gas Mileage;” Fanny Mae Lindsey from Greenwich, Ohio with “The Man in the Cellar” and Bob Christiansen of Salvisa, Ky. with “Dumb Ol’ Aggie.”
Send your stories to Poor Will, P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. And for more almanack information, visit poorwillsalmanack.com
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 February 22, 2006 issue of Farm World.