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New moon could speed mid-May chance of frost in North
May 6-12, 2013
Come, we’ll abroad: and let’s obey
The proclamation made for May,
And sin no more, as we have done by staying.
But, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.
-Robert Herrick

Lunar phase and lore
The Apple Blossom Moon becomes the new Mock Orange Moon on May 9 at 7:29 p.m. As apple blossoms disappear, the full force of late spring envelops the land, bringing the most fragrant time of year with the flowers of Japanese honeysuckles, peonies, iris and mock orange.

Rising in the morning and setting in the evening, this new moon comes overhead at midday, making the hours around noon the most favorable lunar hours for fishing and feeding friends and livestock. As the May 12 cold front approaches, angling should be most productive. Ideal lunar planting conditions occur under Taurus (May 8-10) and Cancer (May 13-15).

Throughout the evenings of May, the Big Dipper overhead tells about the bloom of daisies and rhododendrons and chives and wild raspberries. Castor and Pollux setting in the west pull the last of the dogwood and redbud petals from the trees. Rising Vega and Cygnus in the east foretell summer sweet corn and tomatoes, warm from the sun.

The Eta Aquarids are active on May 5-6. Find them after midnight in Aquarius above the southeastern horizon. The dark moon should favor meteor viewing, and the early morning of May 5 should produce the most meteors.

Weather trends
Normal temperatures continue to rise at the rate of 1 degree every three days this month. Average highs move from the upper 60s on the first of May to the upper 70s by the beginning of June. Lows climb from the middle 40s to the middle 50s.

The distribution of high temperatures this month normally includes five days in the 80s, 15 days in the 70s, seven days in the 60s and four days in the 50s. The warmest days – those with the best chance (40 percent or better) for a day above 80 degrees – are May 11-14, 16, 20-22, 25 and 31.

Holidays for gardeners, farmers
May 12: Mother’s Day: Strawberries, fresh vegetables, along with young kid and lamb, help to create tempting menus for folks considering a homemade Mother’s Day dinner. And Mother’s Day is a slam-dunk for flower sales.

May 6: Spring rains and humidity can increase the risk of internal parasites in livestock. Consider using stool sample analysis to ensure drenching has been effective.

May 7: In the woods, oblivious to the possibility of cold, golden seal and Solomon’s seal are blooming. Rhododendrons fill with color as locusts, black walnut trees and oaks come into flower.

May 8: If your kids and lambs are getting diarrhea as you increase their ration of grain, slow down the weaning process, keep them away from the pasture for a little while (they may have sampled a poisonous plant or encountered toxic residue of some kind) and continue to offer the free-choice hay.

Try feeding your livestock twice a day before they transition to pasture in order to head off their urge to overeat. Increasing the number of small meals can also help dieters.

May 9: The new moon today could accelerate the May 7 and 10 high-pressure systems and bring frost to the northern half of the country. Johnson grass, Sudan grass, sorghum and alfalfa can change their chemical composition when the night brings a late-spring frost.

Be alert for signs of a negative reaction in your livestock if they are grazing the morning after a damaging freeze.

May 10: Major planting of peppers, cantaloupes and cucumbers is taking place when you see spitbugs hang to the parsnips. Canadian thistles are budding then, too. The spitbugs and thistles know the possibility of frost from now on gets lower every day.

May 11: This is blooming season for sweet Cicely, May apple and wood sorrel. Mayfly Season begins along the rivers and creeks. Weevil Season comes in throughout the local alfalfa fields.
As Petal-Fall Season closes for crab apples, cherry trees and redbuds, Thrush Season, Catbird Season and Scarlet Tanager Season come to the bushes.

May 12: The offspring of monarch butterflies that left Texas in February will soon cross the Ohio River. In the garden, white and yellow cabbage moths play and spiral above the rhubarb. Flies become pesky in the mild afternoons.

Crappie fishing peaks in the shallows as the sun nears three-quarters of the way to summer solstice.