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Soggy Season 21/06/2014

Posted by zoidion in agriculture, Climate, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The solstice moment here, minutes after sunrise, was, unsurprisingly, a bit murky, even though the Sun shone and the waning Moon was visible. I jumped on my bike for a ride to the Mississippi River, more than bank-full and surging toward the faraway Gulf.

Here’s how the scene looked. (The exhaust from the power plant, converted a few years ago from coal to gas, looked rather sulfurous.)


For the first time in a week this morning, there was no precipitation to report, but the week yielded 4.88 inches. (Not so much, relatively: Some places in Minnesota reported that much or more in a day.)

June is typically the wettest, stormiest month in these parts, but this one is turning into a record breaker. At this point, thirty-five of Minnesota’s sixty-two counties have been declared disaster areas by the governor, and farm fields in some counties have so much standing water in the midst of new crops that replanting appears impossible. For those farmers, 2014 is already a washout.

17062014-flooded-fields-steil(Photo by Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio)

It’s been the wettest year to date. It’s even inspiring the adventurous (or foolhardy) to attempt deeds previously unrecorded: a kayaker has evidently intentionally taken the plunge over fifty-three-foot Minnehaha Falls, where plenty of rocks await at the bottom.

In my backyard garden, wet but unflooded, almost everything has been growing like crazy–especially the crabgrass, whose seeds were probably lying dormant for years. Casting aside any notions of a pristine array of vegetables, I’ve been bending my back to the task of simply preventing it from taking over entirely. I’ve had to very carefully pluck it out from the vicinity of the few tentative vines of groundnut, from among the radishes and onions. When the rainy spell was starting, I spent a fair bit of time kneeling at the edge of the ring around one of the pear trees, yanking out the tight web of hefty plantain plants so that the broccoli and onions could have a chance.

The small patch of raspberries that I started from a few canes ten years ago seems to be taking off now, probably thanks to the morning’s worth of sunlight that it receives following the felling of the big elm tree two years ago. But it’s somewhat infested with the vines of morning glories: pretty flowers when they come, I know, but otherwise a pest of a plant.

The hardy kiwis are also taking off, after six years, and they are in some danger of being overwhelmed by one of the hops plants. Gotta figure out something . . .

The elderberry bushes are also growing magnificently (and starting to blossom), so much so that one of them started to sag in an unwelcome direction. So I had to rummage around in the garage for a good length of nylon cord (saved from a Home Depot run some years ago) to tie it back, in combination with a small length of rubber (salvaged from a bicycle inner tube) looped around the cluster of stems.

There’s always something more to do: All I have to do is walk around with eyes open. 

The planetary evidence for the wet period is rather clear: The Full Moon chart for 12 June has an exact-to-the-minute opposition of Venus and Saturn that is exactly aligned with the Moon in the season chart. Venus and Saturn–especially when in angular conjunction, square or opposition, or in parallel or contraparallel of declination–is a combination denoting precipitation, especially of a gloomy, lingering kind. And they were aligned with the meridian (the circle-with-vertical-line symbol) in the Full Moon chart, so this longitudinal zone was ripe.


When the Moon moved into that chart’s rising sign (Capricorn) on the thirteenth (approaching perigee on the fifteenth), the clouds began gathering. The rains, accompanied by high winds, began on the fourteenth: It was a rough day for the opening of the Green Line light-rail train between Minneapolis and St. Paul, with many festivities washed out or blown away.

It was a bit eerie to see several instances of daytime darkness, despite the days at their longest, the Sun at its annual highest. It was worrisome to hear pelting rain, sounding like hail, in the night, along with the gush of water in the downspouts. How would the garden–and the basement–fare?

The rains continued into the Fourth Quarter Moon week, beginning on the 19th: Venus-Saturn and the seasonal Moon position all in fixed signs indicated a persistent pattern.

The next round of heavy rain came on the 18th and through the 19th, as Moon moved through the water sign of Pisces, crossing the Mercury-Neptune-upper meridian of the season chart. As Moon entered Aries, the rains tapered off, the low clouds gradually rose, and the Sun’s power could again be felt.

At least for a glorious Solstice Day, the prospect of doors unstuck seems possible.





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