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Second of December’s cold fronts coming the next week
 
Dec. 10-16
I began to see how little of the beauty and the richness of the world is of human origin, and how superficial and crude and destructive – even self-destructive – is man’s conception of himself as the owner of the land and the master of nature and the center of the universe.
-Wendell Berry

Lunar phase and lore
The Deer Mating Moon wanes throughout the week, becoming the new Crow Gathering moon Dec. 13 at 3:42 a.m. Great flocks of crows now come together to feed in open corn and soybean fields. Since crows are some of the more intelligent creatures, and since they have been known to make use of tools, there is no telling what they may be planning. This new moon comes overhead in the middle of the day, making that time the most favorable lunar period for fishing and finding game.

As cold fronts approach around Dec. 13 and 17, the barometer is expected to fall, increasing the likelihood you will catch more fish and find more game (but be hungrier and possibly more depressed, and have more aches and pains).

But lunar position in Capricorn on Dec. 13-15 is especially favorable for setting out the last bulbs for spring and for seeding bedding plants for May.

December’s shooting stars are the Geminids, appearing at the rate of about 40-50 per hour on Dec. 13-14. Find them following Orion in Gemini after midnight.

Sunset remains at its earliest time of the entire year through most of the week, but as December’s second half approaches, sunset actually starts to occur later in the day, a shift that starts the end of winter before it even officially starts. On the other hand, sunrise comes within 10 minutes of its latest time of the year, and by Dec. 12 the sun reaches a declination of 23 degrees, just a few minutes from its solstice of 23 degrees, 26 minutes.

Weather trends
This week of the year typically brings the second major cold front of the month, between Dec. 7-9, and the third major high pressure system between Dec. 12-15. Completely overcast skies dominate 60 percent of the days, and precipitation should be expected as the cold waves approach.

Afternoon highs are usually in the 20s or 30s (a 55 percent chance for temperatures so cold). Dec. 10 and 12 are the days this week with the best chance for warmth in the 50s (slightly better than 30 percent), and severe weather with below-zero temperatures and highs only in the teens is rare; Dec. 14 is the only day when such things might occur.

Zeitgebers for this week include the increasing numbers of red-tailed hawks and sparrow hawks on the high wires, the season of blooming orchids and the budding mother-of-millions plants in the greenhouse.

Daybook

Dec. 10: Holiday time can be bad for your heart, thanks to family stress, a lack of sunlight, excess alcohol consumption and Grandma’s fruitcake. Since more heart attacks occur during early winter than at any other time, be sure to keep your diet balanced, continue to exercise and drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids.

Dec. 11: The early sunset time will be starting your melatonin flow as the sky darkens. If you schedule a balanced snack between 3-4 p.m. and then do some form of exercise before or after dinner, you may be able to reset your physical and mental clocks and get a second wind.

Dec. 12: If you or your children are faced with final exams this week, remember times between 9-11 a.m. have been shown to be some of the best for studying and learning. Then, if you can take your tests in the early to mid-afternoon, that period will provide you with some of your best long-term memory for answering questions.
Dec. 13: The moon is new today, favoring the seeding of bedding plants and March’s cabbages, kale and collards.

Dec. 14: The Halcyon Days, a traditional two-week period of calm before the turbulence of winter, begin today. According to Greek legend, the halcyon (kingfisher) built its nest on the surface of the ocean and laid its eggs late in the fall. In order to ensure the brood would emerge safely, the bird calmed winds for a week before and after winter solstice.

Dec. 15: When honeysuckle berries have all fallen, then the pussy willows will be opening and spring will be just around the corner.
Dec. 16: Pay attention to circaseptans cycles. These are body cycles of approximately seven days each that appear to be related to the cycles of the common cold, recovery after surgery, the progress of pneumonia and the risk of rejection after an organ transplant.
Mark on the calendar any change in your physical or mental health (or the health of your livestock and children), then watch to see how it progresses over the next seven days.
12/5/2012