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New moon after next week favorable for setting bulbs
Oct. 8-14
A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill’s shoulder
-Dylan Thomas

Lunar phase and lore

Cobweb-in-the-Woods Season begins its decline as frosts and the full development of honeysuckle berries follow the shortening days. With the prospect of those berries all along their flyways, robins accelerate their migratory activity, sweeping down river valleys and through towns and forests, peeping and feeding as they follow the Robin Migration Moon, new on Oct. 15 at 7:02 a.m.

Rising after midnight and setting in the afternoon, this moon will move into its most favorable position for angling and seeking game in the morning. Low barometric pressure in advance of the Oct. 13 cool front will increase the moon’s effects.

The new moon in Scorpio Oct. 15-17 offers extremely propitious lunar conditions for setting out spring bulbs, for seeding winter wheat and for landscape plantings.
Venus remains the morning star, this month occupying Leo before sunrise. Mars, continuing to move retrograde, finds Scorpius, becoming more and more difficult to locate along the horizon as the month progresses.

Jupiter, still in Taurus, leads Orion into the western sky at dawn. Along with Virgo, Saturn disappears from the evening sky this month. Find it in November as Virgo appears in the morning sky.
As October begins, the Pleiades, and the Hyades of Taurus, outriders of Orion, lie on the eastern horizon well after dark. Summer’s Milky Way is still directly overhead, and June’s Corona Borealis has still not set by 10 o’clock. Cygnus, the swan, is still high above you, along with August’s Aquila and Lyra.
The pointers of the Big Dipper point north-south at 10 p.m. Find them deep in the northern sky, right along the horizon.

Weather trends

Average temperatures have plunged 6 degrees in most of the nation just since the end of September. Skies remain generally clear, but the days are almost always cool.

The first part of the week is generally dry, but precipitation often increases after Oct. 8, with Oct. 10 bringing a 40 percent chance for rain, and Oct. 12 a 50 percent chance. Oct. 12 is also the first day that snow has a 5-10 percent chance of falling.  Highs only in the 40s and 50s are more common this week than last, with Oct. 11-13 being the days most likely to see cold (a 40 percent chance).
While some days are often warm (Oct. 8 has a 40 percent chance of highs above 70 degrees), others are typically cooler (for example, Oct. 11 has only a 15 percent chance of this). The coldest morning so far in the season usually comes on Oct. 13, when the chances of a low in the 20s are at 20 percent for the first time since spring.
Zeitgebers next week include the sudden decline of white boneset and white snakeroot, the leaf fall of the ash trees and the beginning of maple-turn all along the 40th Parallel.


Oct. 8: As middle fall arrives, many people experience mood swings related to the transformation in the landscape. No matter whether you are excited about the new season, sad about the end of summer or dreading the winter to come – and no matter if you live in the middle of the city or in the country – the immensity of the changes in the foliage and the weather often creates feelings and behavior that do not usually appear in the summer.

Oct. 9: Mulch root crops too in order to keep them from turning to mush when the ground around them freezes solid. Heaping leaves around kale and collards can often keep these hardy vegetables alive through numerous heavy frosts.

Oct. 10: In the fields, asters and goldenrods show obvious declines this week. In garden ponds, water lilies stop blooming. By the roadsides, only the pink smartweed seems impervious to the shortening days. Brown beggar ticks stick to your stockings, and the winged seeds of Japanese knotweed fall.

Oct. 11: In the garden, the addition of manure and compost throughout the autumn months allows full incorporation of that material with the soil, eliminates the risk of imbalance and increases earthworm activity before planting begins.

Oct. 12: Plants and bulbs intended for winter and spring forcing should be placed in light soil now and stored in a place where temperatures remain cool (but not freezing). Although winter flowers may seem a luxury, their positive psychological effect during the coldest time of year can help you endure until spring.

Oct. 13: In addition to bringing cold weather, the Oct. 13 high-pressure system marks the transition from leaf-turn to leaf-fall in the mountains of the Northwest and Northeast; in the Central states, ashes shed and maples become orange and red. In the South, a gradual alteration in leaf tone forecasts November’s radical transformation.

Oct. 14: Check the chicken house as the days shorten. Make sure ventilation is adequate at the floor level and near the ceiling. A smaller area for winter perching often means warmer hens.