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Breaking Through the Gloom 25/10/2013

Posted by zoidion in Uncategorized, urban agriculture, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: It was a bit of a shock to go outside today at first daylight (time to check the rain/snow gauge and report to CoCoRaHS) to find a clear sky, a glow in the east, and the Moon and Jupiter together and just past the zenith: Those two seemed to me to be the heralds of the beautiful, mild day that the techno-weather folks have virtually promised. It’s been nearly a week of waiting for what I was expecting , the wait punctuated by occasional flurries of snow pellets.  

There’s been much to do to prepare the yard and garden for winter’s rest: Protect the fruit trees and bushes from loss of bark and stems to the rabbits over the winter; move a vigorous French sorrel plant from the chemical zone to one of the new forest-garden circles; acquire a bale of straw to lay down in those circles and elsewhere; move a couple of ligularia plants from the rain garden in front (not consistently wet enough there) to the water garden in the low spot of the community garden; burn some wood down to biochar and add it to the raised beds and the former elm-root zone. 

That last item is one that wasn’t on my list until last week, when I looked at the latest post by one of my recommended blogs: Turkeysong. I’ve been interested in biochar for awhile, but figured I needed to acquire–more likely, build–a specially-configured burner. But now I think, maybe not. I am especially moved by the photo of that fellow’s raised bed with a layer of  char ground to gravel size (to be dug into the soil). Without a backup wood stove (yet) for the house, this seems like a good use of part of the woodpile: soil-building.

I enjoyed seeing and catching up with some other local soil-builders the other night at a forum of mayoral candidates: There are a slew of them this year, the inaugural run of a ranked-choice voting system. Eight presented themselves and their cred when it comes to recognizing the importance of urban gardening and farming. Several talked of growing up on farms, another of currently keeping chickens, and there was plenty of talk about solutions. Gag.

One friend remarked to me afterward that the occurrence of this forum was an indication of the remarkable movement of the movement. But I was less sanguine: Every candidate but one used the term “growth” in a way that showed a failure or unwillingness to recognize that the era of economic growth is over, that growth has pushed the Great Bozo Bus (remember Firesign Theatre?) to a very short distance from Collapse Cliff.

Tonight: a presentation by Nicole Foss and Laurence Boomert. I suppose I’ll see some of the same faces, and get a better sense of how much more lately humanity has closed the distance from the Cliff.

So why did it take so long for some pleasant weather to arrive? The indications of the weather for the week are in the Full Moon (lunar eclipse) chart, cast for 18 October (see figure below).

Full Moon October 2013

The eclipse signaled a break in the pattern, and it has been fairly dramatic: notable lake-effect snowfalls downwind from the Great Lakes, and abnormal chills deep into the South. (Note: This is a three-day forecast map, the colors indicating expected inches of snow.)


Here, the wet pattern of the previous three mild weeks (1.08, 0.48 and 1.83 inches of rain) has given way to the first frosts within the urban heat island, persistently cloudy skies and only 0.23 inch of precipitation. In the portion of my seasonal forecast for this week, I said: “Mild with some rain, followed by cold and windy conditions.” I got it backwards.

The cold water sign Cancer on the lower meridian has been consistent through the past three weeks’ charts. Accordingly, there’s been plenty of moisture present, though, this week, it has remained mostly in the form of low, thick clouds. But this week’s chart has been like the one for the week of the New Moon (4 October) in having good-weather Jupiter close to the meridian. This time, though, it took nearly a full week of the Moon’s movement to arrive at the meridian and activate Jupiter.

It ain’t Indian summer, but I’ll take it. I’ll take some time to bask.

<- zoidion ->



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