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Late next week carries small chance of pre-fall light frost
Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 2013
And the days began to walk.
And they, the days, made us,
And thus we were born,
The children of the days,
The discoverers,
Life’s searchers.
-Mayan Cosmology

Lunar phase and lore

The Blackberry Moon wanes throughout this week, coming into its last phase 4:35 a.m. Aug. 28. Rising in the middle of the night and setting in the afternoon, this moon comes overhead in the morning.

Angling (but not dieting) is favored at breakfast time this week, and the approach of a cool front due in the last days of the month will help the fish to bite. When the moon enters Taurus between Aug. 26-27 and Cancer, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, set shrubs and bulbs for spring flowers. Harvest with the moon in Gemini, Aug. 27-29.

Late in the evening, the house-shaped star group, Cepheus, moves into the middle of the sky by midnight, forecasting early fall. To the east of Cepheus, find the zigzag formation of Cassiopeia, followed by Perseus (looking vaguely like a horse) rising in the northeast. The Big Dipper continues to hug the northern horizon throughout the night.

Weather trends

Rain precedes the last of August’s cool fronts two years in three, and when this high-pressure system arrives, the likelihood for chilly highs only the 60s or 70s becomes almost autumnal.

Nights in the 40s or 50s occur half the time, and the morning of Aug. 29 brings the slight possibility (a 5 percent chance) of light frost to the lower Midwest for first time since the end of May.


Aug. 26: Watch closely for the first sign of cycling in ewes and does. If you breed on the second cycle, the chances of producing twins are increased.

Aug. 27: Ragweed pollen disappears with the last of the garden phlox. The great blue lobelia, landmark of late August, is in full bloom. The year’s final tier of wildflowers is ready to open: bur marigolds, asters, zigzag goldenrod.

Although the morning chorus of birds is over for the year, cardinals, crows, doves and blue jays sometimes call off and on before sunrise.

Aug. 28: It is the week of the first frost in Montana, time for snow in Canada. Sundogs, sun through crystals sometimes forming over Midwest skies these afternoons, foretaste of the winter sky. But basal leaves growing from old sweet rocket foretell next year.

Aug. 29: Cottonwoods are turning, and box elders, catalpas and black walnuts have started to lose their color. A few big yellow leaves of the white mulberry drop early.

Locusts and lindens are rusting from leafminers. The rare Judas maple of early August spreads its orange and red across the hillsides. Tall coneflowers decline.

Aug. 30: Soybean leaves are turning gold from Georgia to North Dakota, and pods could be set on almost all of the acreage. Pickle season is often over by now. Peach picking may be done for the year.

Aug. 31: New England asters are coming in, along with the small-flowered white and violet asters. Waysides show giant, golden Jerusalem artichokes.

Sept. 1: Flickers, redheaded woodpeckers, red-winged blackbirds, house wrens, scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, Eastern bluebirds, robins, grackles and black ducks are moving south.