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Wake-up Call 05/08/2013

Posted by zoidion in urban agriculture, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: A single booming crash of thunder split the quiet night, reverberating for what seemed to be several minutes. Then the rain came: not a downpour. Actually, I was surprised to find 0.62 inch of water in the rain gauge come morning. More fell in a narrow band to the south and west: a “million-dollar rain” for many farmers, breaking the typical dry stretch.

The storm came as a reminder that the lazy hazy crazy days of summer are nearly over, to be followed by the harvest, the weighing and measuring and reckoning of the fortune and wisdom of this year’s crops.

On the chilly but at-first brilliantly sunny last Saturday of July, I joined about ten others for a seed-saving field trip to a small “pizza farm” tucked into the edge of the Big Woods, twenty miles west of the Cities. In the chaos of car-pooling arrangements, I set aside my own caution and left behind my windbreaker; by mid-morning the clouds rolled in on a northwest wind and the wind picked up ahead of some downright autumnal showers. I paid for my foolishness and ruefully admitted, a couple of hours later, my eagerness to get into a car—a shell—again.

Even so, I gained exposure to the process of hand pollination of corn and squash, though I had already chosen to start with easier plant species from which to save seeds this season. And I came away with a deeper sense of the importance—in this era of attempted corporate control of the entire sequence of food production—of educating more and more people in this age-old way of making provision for the future.

squash-flowers

(Instructor’s fingers indicate where to cut yet-to-open female flower
before pollinating from yellow male flower and sealing shut with tape.}

Here at the homestead, the one-week rush of the black raspberry harvest seems like an old memory, though I’m still drinking the diluted juice. The cherry juice is long gone. The hardy kiwi fruit are ripening—or are they ripe now? It’s easy to overlook them in the midst of the extravagant vines and multitude of flowers of the hops. The first couple of clusters of elderberries are beginning to turn their rich purple color. (Oh, and the finches in the neighborhood are loving the sunflowers; I can stand quietly twenty feet away and watch them hang on to the stems as, upside down, they peck at the blossoms.)

Life is about to get rather busier.

The coming week should provide a notable example, for this region, of one of the fundamental aspects of astro-meteorology: the significance of lunations (New, Full and quarter moons). About this George J. McCormack, in A Text-Book of Long-Range Weather Forecasting is quite clear:

The changing phases of the Moon do not, as commonly supposed, change the character of the weather. It is rather the relative positions of planets to the geographical meridian that indicates such changes. For example, Uranus in the zodiacal sign occupying the meridian at a lunar quarter tends to higher barometric pressure and lower temperatures for the week.

The chart below for the New Moon at this location shows just that:

New-Moon-Aug-2013

Uranus in fire sign Aries appears very close to the lower meridian, the foremost local weather indicator. The nature of Aries is hot and dry, while that of Uranus is cold and dry. Let’s split the difference and call the week cooler than average and dry.

Mercury, which turned retrograde on 26 June, and was thus very nearly stationary at the time of the Cancer ingress on 21 June, has now passed its position (twenty-two degrees of Cancer) in the season chart. As planetary governor of Gemini on the lower meridian of the season chart, Mercury is now entering new territory, suggesting a shift in wind patterns.

Cancer-Ingress-2013

[On the new-territory front, as Mercury began apparent forward motion again, the Guardian web site published a disturbing story on the latest stage of the warming of the Arctic region.]

The wind shift is likely to be pronounced as Mercury passes the eighth-point from the lower meridian. (Thirteen Gemini fifty-four is on the lower meridian of the season chart for this location, thus adding forty-five degrees yields twenty-eight Cancer fifty-four.) Mercury passes that point on 7 August, the day after the New Moon, and the next day forms the same angle with Mars in the season chart.

On the 26th and 27th of August, Mars reaches the same degrees of Cancer: a stronger indication of destructive forces unleashed.

Thus, a pair of sharp spates of troublesome wind is likely, concentrated along this line of longitude. Battening down construction sites, and cutting weak trees and limbs, in advance of these indications seem, well, smart moves.

 

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