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Severe weather possible in the region in December
 
Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
 
Like the trees, we had to let each new year shape, teach, and renew us until our unconscious habits fell like autumn leaves to the forest floor, and new, more conscious ways of doing things sprouted in their place. – Ken Carey, Flat Rock Journal

The Moon: The Gourd Moon , full on the 27th, waned throughout the period, reaching lunar apogee, its position farthest from Earth, on Dec. 4 and entering its final quarter on Dec. 5. Rising in the middle of the day and setting after dark, this moon passes overhead in the afternoon.

The Sun:  The rate at which the night lengthens slows radically, dropping from 10 minutes per seven days down to about a minute per seven days. Sunset reaches its earliest time of the year now, and it remains at that setting time until the end of December’s second week.

The Planets: Rising in boxy Libra, Venus continues to shine through the morning darkness in the southeast at sunup. Mars comes up in Ophiuchus near dawn, but may be very difficult to see. Jupiter in Aries, lies in overhead after dark, setting well before sunup. Saturn in Aquarius is visible in the west after dark.
The Stars: December’s midnight brings Orion, the great hunter to the center of the southern sky, where he remains forever – in spite of having been poisoned by Hera, the wife of Zeus (according to the myth).

The Shooting Stars: 2023. The Geminid Meteor Show peaks on Dec. 13-14 near Gemini, with the crescent moon interfering only a little with meteor viewing. The Ursid Meteors fall after midnight at the rate of about five to 10 per hour on Dec. 21-22, but bright full moonlight is likely to obscure many of them.

Weather Trends: Weather history suggests that cold waves usually cross the Mississippi on or about Dec. 2, 8, 15, 20, 25 and 29. Precipitation usually occurs prior to the passage of each major front. Severe weather is most likely to occur during the following periods: Dec. 1-3, 24-26, and Dec. 31-Jan. 1. It is probable that New Moon on Dec. 7 and Full Moon on Dec. 22 will bring stronger-than-average storms to the region.
Most Decembers bring one or two days above 60, and four days in the 50s. The remaining afternoons reach into the 40s seven times, into the 30s 13 times, finding the 20s three times, and remaining in the teens or lower on three occasions. A morning or two below zero is experienced three years in 10. The 16-week snow period begins for the Lower Midwest the next seven days.

The Natural Calendar: In the woods, Second Spring, the autumn resurgence of the undergrowth, is usually halted by November’s most bitter weather. The most stubborn leaves fall. The heads of thimble plants explode in the winds. Bearded thistles are sagging, angelica breaking apart, asters coming undone. Leafcup is blackened by the cold. Dock, garlic mustard and dame’s rocket are limp. Seed wings still hang from the box elders. From this point forward, growth, even among the winter plants like purple deadnettle, ground ivy, dock and dandelions, is almost imperceptible, and the cold does away with all their November progress. The bittersweet berries have emerged all the way from their hulls; the winterberries are all pushing out.

In the Field and Garden: Early bedding plant seeding for 2024 starts a few days before the New Moon (Dec. 7). This is the time to prepare seeds and flats for May flowers. Set up a warm area with fluorescent lighting and keep soil moist. Continue seeding at New Moon time, which occurs during the first week of each of the winter months ahead. Mulch the roses and the last of the root crops against December frost. And this is a fine lunar week for planting all your indoor bulbs like amaryllis and paperwhites. If you set them in under the dark moon, they should grow quickly as the Jessamine Moon swells. They may bloom by Christmas, but will almost certainly flower in January.
As the weather becomes more challenging, separate your thinnest pregnant ewes and does now and give them a little extra attention in order to improve their condition and reduce risk of abortion. And remember that whatever precautions you take with your livestock should be taken with your pets and family.

Mind and Body: As harvest in the field and garden comes to an end, tie up all the loose ends of the year before the Christmas holidays begin. Even if you live in an apartment, try to do some year-end cleaning and organization now. Since depression and the winter blues are becoming more common, late November is a favorable time to start a winter exercise program. A gentle routine of low-impact exercises improves both mental and physical health.

Almanack Classics
Dirty Work
By William Eklor
A farmer was returning to the house from the barn one summer afternoon when he heard his two small children, a girl of about six, and a boy of four, arguing. The two were fussing quite loudly over some small thing when suddenly the little girl called her brother a pig, pushed him to the ground, and then spit on him.
The farmer rushed over, grabbed his daughter under one arm, picked up his son, wiped him off, quieted his tears, and then sent him into the house.
As soon as the boy was gone, the farmer sat his daughter on his knee and told her very seriously that the devil must have made her do it, and that as the devil was always looking for an opportunity, she should always be careful never to give the devil an opening to practice his dirty work.
The little girl thought for a minute, and then said: “Well, maybe the devil did make me call my brother a name, and maybe the devil did make me push him down into the dirt.
“But,” she added, “spitting on my brother was my own idea!”

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK’S SCKRAMBLER
LADNASDOOW           SANDALWOOD
OOOIEDHRBHGN  NEIGHBORHOOD
AIEOONHDDM MAIDENHOOD
STDOOREDNUMIS  MISUNDERSTOOD
SHOOOMKND   MONKSHOOD
HTIWSOTOD     WITHSTOOD
HHDTBROEOO        BROTHERHOOD
LOHLYDOOW        HOLLYWOOD
WERIFODO       FIREWOOD
BORNI OHOD             ROBIN HOOD

THIS WEEK’S RHYMING SCKRAMBLER
EEUDC
OGOES
OBCAOES
DDECEU
AOOEPP
CEDUROPER
NYHOTEPEUS
USESXE
DUCENI
ESZU

In order to estimate your SCKRAMBLER 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. Yes, you are a genius.
Copyright 2023 – W. L. Felker 
11/29/2023