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A Fine Mess 08/03/2013

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera; A hazy sun shines on a deep and gently sculpted blanket of snow. Looking out my office window toward the alley to the east, I especially like the curves on each side of the raised garden beds; there’s just one vulva where, back in January, I several times poured kitchen graywater on one of them. The only color in sight is blue: the capped water barrel at one corner of the garage, and the tarp covering the compost bin that I enlarged last year. The most prominent track across the scene emerges from under the shed. The only decoration is the candelabra-like sunflower carcass along the border of my lawn-loving neighbors’ yard.


I gaze upon it wistfully, for probably the last time. Although I will cherish the weeks of spring green in April and May, the in-between time is near—the few days that call for rubber boots to negotiate the backyard, and the few weeks of brown ground. It doesn’t happen every year, but it looks like I’m due for a pond spring.  I still had better shovel the snow off the concrete that’s right up against the house on one side, but otherwise I think I’ve done everything I can to avert a flood in the basement.

My daughter has been home this week, bringing with her a two-week-old cough. She also seems to react to something in the house, but I haven’t figured out what. I arranged for a  mold abatement process to be done in the basement last fall, and I noticed my own chronic mold sickness seemed to disappear. (If only I could stay on track with a non-gluten/non-dairy diet.) Anyway, rather than merely sympathize, I decided to try preparing a remedy from Comfort to the Sick by Brother Aloysius (1901, 1992), about which I read in one of David Roell’s newsletters. Acquiring the main ingredients—thyme, licorice and anise seed—required a trip to the nearby food co-op, but the concoction was easy to make, and I enjoyed the process of cracking open the marvelous star-shaped pods to extract the hard, shiny anise seeds. I couldn’t quite prevail upon her to take a spoonful each hour, but next morning she did report a change for the better. This is exciting, especially since I already have comfrey, elderberry and black currant established, and have a plan for a new area in which to start a short list of both culinary and medicinal herbs.

This week I also attended the second session of a seed-saving class, bringing home a couple more packets of year-old seeds. I haven’t grown corn before, but I’m thinking of trying the “three sisters”—corn, squash and beans together—using the regional Mandan Bride variety as a possible source of homegrown corn meal. One big question, though, is whether the soil anywhere in the backyard is rich enough at this point to feed the corn. Squash and pumpkins did reasonably well last year.

Another round of precipitation is in the forecast, due to begin tomorrow, Saturday. The March 4 moisture chart—cast for the last-quarter moon—is still in effect, featuring water sign Scorpio on the crucial lower meridian. But Scorpio spells trouble with water, and Saturn was also sitting on the lower meridian, foretelling some sort of cold-related complications.

With Saturn involved, it could be an abnormally cold spell, but rising-temperature Mars is “lord” of Scorpio and this is the thaw time of year, so we must expect different problems. Mars is currently moving through the water sign Pisces, so this is apt to be a rather wet episode. We are likely to have ice from rain falling on cold pavement, but we’ll also have plenty of puddles and local flooding from snowmelt—the dry but nevertheless frozen ground has no capacity to absorb the urgently needed moisture.

In this region—the Saturn zone—the soil loses the chance to absorb the first dose of meltwater, but further east, where the ground is less cold, there is the potential for more serious, even catastrophic, trouble. Longitude 82 degrees West, roughly that of Charleston, West Virginia, is where the position of last November’s solar eclipse (at 22 degrees Scorpio) is exactly aligned with the lower meridian of this week’s moisture chart. (The season chart stemming from December 21, 2012, also shows vulnerability through that zone.) I hear the Appalachians received deep, high-moisture-content snow earlier this week during the aptly named “Saturn storm.” Emergency preparedness crews along “band 82” need to be completely ready.

^ St. Paul-based “Eighth-Acre Farm” is a nifty blog devoted to “learning urban self-sufficiency in the age of peak everything.” >



1. Dave of Maryland - 08/03/2013

Hello Pete,
My thanks for the plug. Someone emailed me to say they had found a version of Aloysius from 1972. I replied before I had time to think and dismissed it as something strange.

Now I am thinking more carefully. Weiser never had the means to commission a translator and a couple of researchers to put that book together, but Weiser reprinted old books when it could, as it put a copyright notice in its 1984 version of Robson’s Fixed Stars. Which in fact was decades beyond the then laws of copyright. So rather than let Aloysius sit out of print, or beg RedWheel/Weiser to redo it, I should reprint it myself. Publishing is made up of careful observation, sometimes.

A new printing of Heinrich Daath’s Medical Astrology – one of the very best – is done except for the cover. I have a serviceable copy of Dr. Duz, which I learn was from Foulsham in 1912. Let’s put all the good books together in one place, at one time. They’ve been scattered here and there for too long.

zoidion - 09/03/2013

You’re welcome. Looking closer at my copy of Comfort, I see the copyright page says, “This work was first published in Dutch . . . c 1979.” The English translator is listed, but was that commissioned by Weiser? I can only suppose.
I hadn’t heard of Daath before, but then I’m not much versed (yet) in that branch of the literature. I look forward to your announcement. You’re doing valuable work for which future generations will be grateful.

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