Whether we wish to admit it or not, the world really is a garden, and invites and even requires our constant participation and habitation.
-William B. Jordan III
Lunar phase and lore
The Robin Migration Moon wanes throughout the period, entering its final quarter Nov. 6 at 7:36 p.m. and becoming the new Deer Mating Moon on Nov. 13 at 5:08 p.m. By the time most bird migrations are complete, the rutting season for whitetail deer begins, often lasting through the middle of December.
One marker for the commencement of this season is the collapse of the high canopy; another is the close of aster season in the city and country. The moon rises after midnight this week and sets in the afternoon, moving overhead, its best position for finding game and for fishing in the morning hours.
Lunar influence becomes especially potent as the cold fronts of Nov. 6 and 11 approach, pushing down the barometer and bringing an increased chance for precipitation. Late planting of grains and bedding plants for spring is favored under Cancer on Nov. 3-5 and in Scorpio on Nov. 12-13.
Late fall almost always arrives in the second week of November. It is a transition season during which the last leaves fall, skies darken, wind speed increases, hard frosts put an end to the year’s flower and vegetable cycles, harvest is completed on the farm and final preparations for winter are made.
Late fall’s high temperatures shift decidedly into the 40s, and lows average 32 or worse. High-pressure systems, accompanied by clouds and rain or snow, typically arrive around Nov. 9 and 14. Nov. 9 is historically the wettest day of the month’s second week. Nov. 11-12 are the sunniest, and Nov. 13 is the driest.
At least one partly cloudy afternoon in the 60s or 70s comes six years out of 10 during this time of the year, but cold and precipitation are the norm. Heating-degree days are now more than double those of October.
Zeitgebers for next week include the emergence of orange berries from climbing bittersweet and euonymus vines, the increased danger from deer at night as rutting season intensifies, the collapse of late sugar maple, river birch, ginkgo and white mulberry foliage, the rusting of beech leaves, the bright flowering of witch hazel, the turning of New England aster leaves to dusky gold and zigzag goldenrod leaves to faded purple.
Nov. 5: The total disintegration of the foliage is one of the most dramatic changes in the whole year, and it comes on the heels of the end of Daylight Saving Time. This is also the period of the year that Christmas advertising intensifies in the media, and some people begin to feel the pressures of the holiday season.
Nov. 5 is also a pivotal day for autumn cloud cover to intensify throughout the country. A lack of sun means slow drying for wet hay and increased likelihood for mold in feed supplies. Clouds also mean major attacks of seasonal affective disorders (S.A.D.) in humans.
Nov. 6: The moon enters its final quarter today – its weakest position during the first half of November – favoring work with livestock, pets, friends and family. The weak moon is also recommended for surgery and dental work on animals and people.
Nov. 7: During this transition time to late fall, mums often keep blossoming in the perennial garden. In the fields and woods, the last autumn violets are still blooming beside a few last chicory, Queen Anne’s lace, thyme-leafed speedwell, mallow, the final asters and one or two stalks of goldenrod.
Wild geranium, thistle and cinquefoil can be growing back. Sometimes a parsnip is ready to bloom.
Garlic mustard, sweet cicely, Virginia creeper, burdock, red clover, waterleaf, ground ivy, celandine, sweet rocket, dock and leafcup have also revived, looking ahead six months to middle spring.
Nov. 8: Plant winter grains under the waxing moon. Order legume seed for winter pastures. Start all your bedding plants under lights to get a head start on spring. Deep water all perennials before the ground freezes, especially if your garden suffered from the drought this summer.
Nov. 9: Falling leaves let you know it is time to fertilize the pasture and garden. Manure and compost that is spread now will have a chance to work its way into the ground all winter.
Nov. 10: In warmer years, garlic mustard has grown 4-5 inches tall, its leaves wide and bright. Chickweed has come back all along the paths, and cress has revived in the pools and streams.
Skunk cabbage has pushed up all over the swamp, some plants even opening a little.
The low sun sets the new plants glowing like they glow in April. Along riverbanks, the water is rippled blue, black, green and brown, tree branches tangled in reflections.
Nov. 11: In the Northeast snowshoe hares change color about this time, and today is the average date for the first snow in the Mid-Atlantic states. Throughout the Ohio Valley, bats hibernate when insects have been killed by frost.
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