Nov. 26-Dec. 2
Stars with the seasons alter; only he
who wakeful follows the pricked revolving sky,
Turns concordant with the earth while others sleep;
To him the dawn is punctual; to him
the quarters of the year no empty name.
-Vita Sackville-West, “The Land”
Lunar phase and lore
The Deer Mating Moon becomes full on Nov. 28 at 9:46 a.m. Rising in the evening and setting in the morning, this moon moves overhead in the middle of the night, making midnight the best lunar time for fishing and midday the best lunar time to scout for game.
Weather systems at the end of November and in the first days of December are expected to be enhanced by the full moon. Lunar position in Cancer between Nov. 30-Dec. 3 is favorable for setting out spring bulbs and for landscape plantings.
The sun’s declination reaches 21 degrees, 37 minutes on the last day of November, just a little less than 90 percent of the way to winter equinox.
Weather trends: December
Average December high temperatures in the lower Midwest fall from the middle 40s on the first of the month down to the middle 30s on Dec. 31. Typical lows move from 29 to 21. Most Decembers bring one or two days above 60, and four days in the 50s, those temperatures frequently recorded before the arrival of early winter (around Dec. 8).
The remaining afternoons reach into the 40s an average of seven times, into the 30s 13 times, finding the 20s three times, and stay in the teens or lower on three occasions. A morning or two below zero is experienced three years in 10. The period most likely to produce such lows is Dec. 18-26.
The coldest days, those with better than a 35 percent chance for temperatures in the 20s or below, are Dec. 17, 18, 19, 25 and 26. The warmest days, those with a 25 percent or better chance of producing highs in the 60s or 50s, are Dec. 1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 12 and 29.
The most stubborn leaves fall. The heads of thimble plants explode in the wind. 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.
Nov. 26: Average low temperatures fall below freezing in almost all of the Northern and Central states, but as the final weather system of the month approaches, this is sometimes one of the windiest and mildest days in late November.
Nov. 27: Sand hill cranes are departing from the Midwest, flying south across the Ohio Valley on their way to Florida. Listen for their sharp cries as they pass in formation high above you.
Nov. 28: Full moon today is likely to intensify the final cold front of November, making travel problematic throughout the country. Below-zero temperatures now become possible along and above the 40th Parallel.
Nov. 29: It’s clean-up time all around the farm and garden. Put the vehicles in shape; polish the tools; paint when the sun shines; and repair the fences when the wind is quiet.
Nov. 30: Fertility in mammals, especially those that have had trouble conceiving earlier in the fall, tends to rise as early winter approaches. Their bodies may know that now will be the last best chance to produce offspring to be born in the year’s milder months.
Dec. 1: In the woods, whitetail deer enter their secondary rutting period, which lasts approximately two weeks. Sparrow hawks have arrived, hunting for mice in the snowless fields.
Dec. 2: Breed goats and sheep in early winter for spring babies that will be able to take advantage of fresh April and May pastures. And if you are drawing tourists to your dairy or starting a petting area, the youngsters will be ready for the first nice weather and the first wave of passersby.