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Forecast: Summer 2015 17/06/2015

Posted by zoidion in forecast, Photography.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The yard, front and back, is amazingly lush, as usual in mid-June: the peak of our rainy season.

As I look up from my keyboard, my eyes are caught by the first white umbels on one of the two elderberry bushes, reminding me that berry time is not so far away. I can see the patch of bee balm that will soon turn a blaze of red. Indistinguishable are the two hazelnut seedlings that I acquired from Badgersett research station  a year ago on the solstice; when I check on them at ground level, they show some growth and healthy leaves, but I remember not to expect a great deal of growth in the second season. (The saying is: Sleep, creep, leap.)

It’s been catch-up time for garden work around here, since spending the week of the Full Moon as part of a work crew on wondrous Mallard Island in Rainy Lake. 

columbine-spider

It was a rather different situation there at the start of this year’s visiting season, after the lake lived up to its name in June last year: The shores of that narrow, rocky island were inundated, and the waters invaded one cabin, the kitchen building (the “wannigan”), and most of the gardens.

The previous week, one crew raised the wannigan by fourteen inches, leaving some finish carpentry and the task of filling the supporting cribs with rocks for the next bunch; another crew spent both weeks repairing many of the waterline stone walls.

None of my group were spring chickens, and I dare say we all felt stretched to our limits. On one occasion, I endeavored to de-grass a sizable patch of about-to-bloom irises–without stepping (or falling!) on said irises. I spent a couple of hours one day with a pair of loppers, cutting dead wild rose bushes down to their bases while wading through a patch of stinging nettles. (I left one dead bush alone: It contained a fairly fresh bird nest, no eggs — yet.) And I spent a couple of other work sessions inching my way down short slopes to cut dead juniper. There was always, somewhere, a small drowned bush calling to my blades. My shoulders kept screaming: Stop!

If I had any energy at all left after group dinner, I was typically too sore of hand and shoulder to feel like playing my fiddle, so several times I played dominoes with the group instead. Nobody seemed to have the will for the usual end-of-the-week soiree.

But on that last night before leaving, I put my camera on a tripod and sought a clear view of the western sky. It wasn’t easy to find, though once, my eyes were drawn down, to a bright patch in the inky water: It was the reflection of Venus! Both Venus and Jupiter were riding long arcs downward toward the horizon. And as I at last settled into what had been Ober’s bed, head to the south, I found I could tilt my head to the left and still see, through a gap in the tall white pine, the bright spot of Venus.

Ven-Jup_Mallard

Outline for the season in the upper Mississippi River basin: Summer 2015

A warm and dryer-than-average season overall is indicated, but it begins relatively cool; the most notable heat holds off until August and (especially) September: until after Mars enters fire sign Leo.

Lingering stormy conditions through several periods, with above-average winds, make for a somewhat gloomy summer. The last week of June through the first week of July, 22-23 and 29-30 August, and the days surrounding the autumn equinox (23 September) will likely see the most notable and problematic storms.

Primary chart indications: An early degree of fire sign Sagittarius on lower meridian, with Saturn in last degree of water sign Scorpio; earth sign Virgo rising, with lord Mercury conjunct upper meridian; Neptune in water sign Pisces conjunct western horizon; Venus conjunct Jupiter in fire sign Leo; Sun six days past conjunction with Mars.

Sun and Mars are in parallel of declination; Mercury and Venus are in very close parallel, and contra-parallel to Saturn.

Cancer Ingress 2015

Lunar Week by Lunar Week

First Quarter: 24 – 30 June
Warmth and humidity increasing; wet 22 June, persistent (possibly severe) storms 28-29 June.

Full Moon: 1 – 7 July (lunar perigee 5 July)
Storms continuing, becoming more energetic, then tapering off with abrupt wind shift 6-7 July.

Last Quarter: 8 – 15 July
Cooler, becoming dryer, windier.

New Moon: 16 – 23 July
General increase in thunderstorm activity, with some strong storms likely.

First Quarter: 24 – 30 July
Decreasing weather drama, though still notably windy.

Full (Blue) Moon: 31 July – 6 August (lunar perigee 2 August)
Distinct shift in weather regime, becoming dryer.

Last Quarter: 6 – 13 August
Warmer, dry, windy.

New Moon: 14 – 21 August
Somewhat cooler, dry.

First Quarter: 22 – 28 August
Severe storms likely 22 – 23 August, then a continuing showery pattern.

Full Moon: 29 August – 4 September (lunar perigee 30 August)
Major storms likely from Texas to the Great Lakes region around the Full Moon date, but especially heavy in the northern areas and Texas itself. The most notable period of the season.

Last Quarter: 5 – 12 September
Warmer with continuing turbulence.

New Moon (Solar Eclipse): 13 – 20 September
Late-season heat, dry.

First Quarter: 21 – 27 September
Notable heat with likely heavy storms bringing little moisture.

Be well. Stay aware.

-<zoidion>-

Taraxacumusic 26/05/2015

Posted by zoidion in Weather, permaculture, Photography, forecast.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The rain is still falling as I begin this report, so I won’t include it, though it’s definitely over an inch since this morning.

I’m nothing short of amazed at the amount of rain that has fallen since my previous post: 2.77 inches.

The moisture has been feeding the cherry tree, its fruit seemingly plumping by the minute. I’ll have to get something in place to induce the birds to feed on other goodies in the neighborhood: On one of my forays by bicycle, I noticed a foot-long cord, with small square mirrors attached, hung in a small fruit tree. It seems like a good idea.

The new bed of asparagus has needed almost no attention, though it occurred to me that I could plug in a couple of broccoli seedlings and scatter some scallion seeds in the gaps between asparagus plants. The peppermint began its annual gallop through the rest of the herb garden, so I wasted no time in wading in and yanking out quite a bit of it: gotta give the slow-growing arnica and echinacea some space.

Given the cool weather, the sorrel has been bounteous, adding its lemony flavor to the first salads of the season. Only now is it beginning to be more determined to set seed.

With the copious rain, the back yard erupted with many big dandelions, and it was easy to pull out many plants, long roots and all: a testament, I’m convinced, to my soil-building efforts. I snapped off the leaf clusters and seed stalks, saving and drying the roots. In the process, I’ve made a bit of “taraxacumusic”: the soft, high-pitched “boink” sound made when breaking the taller, hollow seed stalks.

The days and evenings of the crescent Moon, with Venus and Jupiter high in the west (but Mercury, retrograde, gone into the Sun’s beams), were lovely, prompting me to return to River Terrace Prairie. The young oak leaves were especially striking:

oakleaf_closeup2

All in all, it’s been a remarkable turn-around, especially in the past few days, in the regional drought situation: one-half of Minnesota in moderate drought as of the 21st, a forty-percent improvement from the previous week.

Granted, May and June are typically the wettest months of the year here, but still . . . 

And the reversal has been even more dramatic — and destructive — in Texas, with much flooding the past few days.

The techno-weather folks now sound certain that El Nino conditions are altering the pattern.

But how is the shift from dry to wet represented in the astrological pattern? The primary factor in the season chart — fire sign Sagittarius, with Saturn therein, at the lower meridian — strongly suggested a continuation of dry conditions. Cool as well.

But the season chart was cast for a peculiar moment: a New Moon on the day after a solar eclipse, two weeks before a lunar eclipse.

It seems that the latter, occurring at sunup and with Uranus (abrupt change, reversal) in the axis of the Full Moon, was the signal, though it took another month for the shift to manifest.

It was the Full Moon of May — which occurred at a moment when the horizon (much the same in Texas as in Minnesota) coincided with the meridian in the season chart — that marked the shift from dry to wet. (Locally, the Full Moon was marked — at the end of the May Day Festival — by a big wind and hailstorm followed by a sudden chill.)

AR-Ing_FM-May-2015

But will the faucet turn off? There are strong indications associated with the Full Moon of 2 June — with Mercury, Mars and Saturn also in the axis — in alignment with the season’s meridian.

AR-Ing_FM-June_2015

My take: The pattern of dry weather will resume thereafter.

-<zoidion>-

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