March 25-31, 2013
All the afternoon there has been a chirping of birds,
and the sun lies warm and still on the western sides
of swollen branches.
Lunar phase and lore
The Maple Blossom Moon becomes completely full at 4:27 a.m. on March 27. Rising in the late afternoon or evening, and setting in the morning, this moon moves overhead in the middle of the night.
Lunar position enhances nighttime fishing this week, and seeds may be a little more eager to sprout if placed in the soil when the moon is in wet Scorpio on March 28-30.
On March 30, for the first time since Oct. 22, there is a 5 percent chance for highs to reach 80 degrees. And on March 31, those chances double. On March 23, the odds for morning frost are about 1/2, but on March 29, those odds fall to just 1/4.
Through March 28, cold afternoons in the 30s still happen one year in 10 or 15, but then on March 29-30, chances for such cold drop to less than 5 percent for the first time since the end of October.
March 25-28 are the driest and sunniest days of the week, each bringing a 60 percent chance or better of a break in the clouds. March 29 is the day most likely to bring overcast conditions; the sun is absent on that date 65 percent of the time, and rain falls 50 percent of the time.
March 27 is the day this week most likely to produce thunder and lightning (20 percent chance).
Allergy index: Pollen count
Allergy season comes to the whole nation with the last front of March. During the weeks ahead, trees are in full flower throughout the Central Plains, the Northeast, the Northwest and the Rocky Mountains.
In the Southeastern coastal plains, all the grasses are blooming. Pollen from whatever is blossoming to the west of you will arrive at your homestead every 2-3 days. Cold fronts bring Northern allergens to Southern areas. Low pressure in advance of the cold fronts brings up allergens from the South.
The following estimates are based on average counts across the Central states.
Although each village and farm will have different pollution levels, a clear rise is visible in the amount of pollen and mold in the air in most parts of the country throughout April.
Major pollen source: box elders, maples, pussy willows, flowering crabs and cherries.
On a scale of 0-700 grains per cubic meter: April 1, 10 grains; April 10, 50; April 15, 100; April 20, 150; April 25, 200; and April 30, 400.
March 25: When you see bumblebees and carpenter bees working in the flowers, then you know it’s time for termites to swarm. White cabbage butterflies in your backyard announce bass and sunfish are moving to spawn in shallow waters.
March 26: Spring can be a “dying time” for your rabbits, often because of stress from exposure to rapid changes in the weather. Continue to provide adequate shelter after cold fronts pass through, and plenty of ventilation when heat builds up. Hay also seems to help rabbits deal with change.
March 27: Spring is a good time to give your chickens a quick checkup. Inspect the vent, examine the keel and beak for sores, cut toenails and clear the nostrils. Also take a look at the waterers. If the waterers have rust, many people feel they should be replaced.
March 28: As you cut your asparagus, take a look at the strawberries; they should be blossoming when the asparagus stalks reach a foot in height.
March 29: The last weather system of early spring introduces tornado season to the nation’s midsection, and the likelihood of a thunderstorm is six times greater this week than it was last week.
As the March 29 front moves east, a significant chance for a high in the 80s occurs for the first time this year in the lower Midwest.
March 30: Spring rains can be bad news for hooves. Check your animals regularly.
March 31: Caulk or put up new trim around the house. Openings need to be closed because yellow jackets and carpenter bees come back to the same nesting sites year after year.
Flick, Flick in the Outhouse
When Grandmother Linda was a girl, she lived in the country. Then her cousin Jean from the city came for a visit, and Jean was terribly afraid of insects, especially of wasps.
One morning while eating breakfast, Jean jumped up screaming, saying there were wasps in her stomach and she thought she might throw up. So Linda quickly took her to the outhouse. All the way out, Jean was complaining about not having an indoor bathroom.
At last, they got to the privy, and Jean went inside while Linda waited outside. Then Linda had an idea. She decided to scare her cousin.
Flick, flick, she went, with the tip of her finger against the outhouse wall. “Hey! What was that?” yelled Jean.
“Oh just a wasp. I’ll keep the knotholes guarded so none will get in,” replied Linda.
Then she did it again: Flick, flick … And she called in to Jean: “Hey, did any get in? I had to leave one hole unguarded to chase the others away.”
“How should I know? It’s pitch-black in here. Are you crazy? When can I come out?” screamed Jean, hearing the sinister flick, flick once again.
Linda waited just a little before she answered. “Oh, soon. You can come out soon.”
Jean was getting frantic, so finally Linda gave her the signal: “The wasps keep coming. Get ready, set … NOW RUN FOR THE HOUSE!”
Poor Will’s note: The big question is, did Jean ever speak to Linda again?