Country Traditions

September 17, 2010

Farming by the Moon

Filed under: animals, farming, weather — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 10:53 am
Lunar libration. see below for more descriptions

Image via Wikipedia

When to Plant, Wean, Castrate, Build Fences, Harvest The age-old practice of performing farm chores by the Moon stems from the simple belief that the Moon governs moisture.

Pliny the Elder, the first-century Roman naturalist, stated in his Natural History that the Moon “replenishes the earth; when she approaches it, she fills all bodies, while, when she recedes, she empties them.”

The Moon’s Phases
The Moon’s phases guided many a farmer and gardener in the past, and still do today:

Moonrise occurring in the evening brings fair weather, says one proverb, harking back to the belief that the waning Moon (full and last quarter, which rise in the evening) is dry.
The New Moon and first quarter, or waxing phases, are considered fertile and wet.
The new and first-quarter phases, known as the light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting.
From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.
The time just before the full Moon is considered particularly wet, and is best for planting during drought conditions.

Moon Folklore
Folklore is rich among farmers, given their close ties to Earth and her natural rhythms.

Rail fences cut during the dry, waning Moon will stay straighter.
Wooden shingles and shakes will lie flatter if cut during the dark of the Moon.
Fence posts should be set in the dark of the Moon to resist rotting. Ozark lore says that fence posts should always be set as the tree grew. To set the root end upward makes a short-lived fence.
Don’t begin weaning when the Moon is waning.
Castrate and dehorn animals when the Moon is waning for less bleeding.
Slaughter when the Moon is waxing for juicier meat.
Crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the Moon is full.
Best days for fishing are between the new and full Moon. See our best fishing dates for the year.
Dig your horseradish in the full Moon for the best flavor.
Set eggs to hatch on the Moon’s increase, but not if a south wind blows.


September 13, 2010

Predicting The Weather

Filed under: weather — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 1:19 am
Late-summer rainstorm in Denmark

Image via Wikipedia

Ready for do-it-yourself weather predicting? Long before meteorologists had sophisticated technology to help them predict the weather, people made forecasts based on their observations of the sky, animals, and nature.

Many of the traditional sayings they used, called proverbs, are accurate. Try out some old-fashioned forecasting—that still works today!

Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning.
A rainbow in the morning indicates that a shower is west of us and we will probably get it.

The higher the clouds, the finer the weather.
If you spot wispy, thin clouds up where jet airplanes fly, expect a spell of pleasant weather.

Clear Moon, frost soon.
When the night sky is clear, Earth’s surface cools rapidly—there is no cloud cover to keep the heat in. If the night is clear enough to see the Moon and the temperature drops enough, frost will form.

When clouds appear like towers, the Earth is refreshed by frequent showers.
When you spy large, cauliflower-like clouds that look like castles in the sky, there is probably lots of dynamic weather going on inside. Innocent clouds look like billowy cotton, not towers.

Ring around the moon? Rain real soon.
A ring around the moon usually indicates an advancing warm front, which means precipitation. Under those conditions, high, thin clouds get lower and thicker as they pass over the moon. Ice crystals are reflected by the moon’s light, causing a halo to appear.

Rain foretold, long last. Short notice, soon will pass.
If you find yourself toting an umbrella around for days “just in case,” rain will stick around for several hours when it finally comes. The gray overcast dominating the horizon means a large area is affected. Conversely, if you get caught in a surprise shower, it’s likely to be short-lived.

Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.
A reddish sunset means that the air is dusty and dry. Since weather in North American latitudes usually moves from west to east, a red sky at sunset means dry weather—good for sailing—is moving east. Conversely, a reddish sunrise means that dry air from the west has already passed over us on their way easy, clearing the way for a storm to move in.

Observe the sky and see if these proverbs work for you!

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