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Forecast: Fall 2014 19/09/2014

Posted by zoidion in forecast, Long Emergency, permaculture, urban agriculture.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The small green orbs of the hardy kiwi keep on dangling as the leaves that hide them turn yellow. Daily now, I give several a gentle tug, but no, they aren’t ready. Even so, I’ve sampled a couple that I’ve found down on the deck: tart, yet tasty, with the familiar kiwi consistency.


I’ve chopped down the mini-forest of sunflower stalks that made it a challenge to get to and check on one of the hazelnut seedlings that I put in the ground on the day before the solstice. (The seedlings are the same size they were three months ago, but I have confidence that they’ll be erupting with visible new growth six–well, make that seven, no, eight–months from now.) A mycologist friend tells me that a bed of the stalks makes a good medium for growing oyster mushrooms, but neither she nor I have been able to find definite information. Perhaps I’ll get an answer when I attend next month’s stop of the Radical Mycology tour. In the meantime, I plan to proceed with further chopping, laying the chips in part of the south garden–ironically, the shadiest spot in the yard.

A couple of evenings ago I attended a small gathering to watch and discuss a Bioneers conference  presentation by Michael Pollan–a presentation from five years ago. I had been invited to be present to talk about my own urban homesteading efforts and my involvement with local Transition Town groups. The presentation was a sobering reminder of how much–and how little–has changed in the interim. Pollan talked about the emergence of the healthy food movement, and the perception that Pres.-elect Barack Obama was prepared to take steps to support that movement–IF it grew so loud and forceful to force him. The old make-me-do-it politics.

What with the continuing juggernaut of Big Ag and its allies within the federal bureaucracy, it’s clear that the movement has yet to attain such power. And yet–as I heard at the North American Permaculture Convergence, some small-scale community-based projects are getting positive reviews and funding from the big Department of Ag. Why? Because some insiders fully recognize the rough shape of the woes before us–recognize that the industrial-scale agricultural system is crumbling, and recognize that it is vital to support viable alternatives.

Some of these alternatives are becoming an integral part of primary and secondary education: The group heard from three people involved in the Spark-Y Youth Action Labs, which engage students in hands-on projects in aquaponics, vermi-composting, and algae and mushroom cultivation. These are becoming commonplace.

Several people during the discussion picked up on Pollan’s observation that many more people–as in millions–would be / are needed to be involved in food production in this country, to make the difficult transition from industrial to sustainable agriculture. And yet they could not imagine conditions that would induce such numbers to repopulate the nearly-empty countryside. 

I can: further stages of economic collapse foreclosing on urban housing and employment prospects.

They could only imagine would-be farmers unable to afford sky-high land prices. 

I can imagine relocated urban peasants striking deals with struggling farmers to live and work on-site, doing the grunt work in place of the too-expensive machinery and chemicals. Alas, many will take sick from exposure to polluted soils and waters, but that is one of the unfortunate aspects to be expected of the hard and uncertain path toward an ecotechnic future.


With only a few days left of astronomical summer, anxiety about the coming winter is increasingly palpable. It’s curious how the expectation of an “easy” winter has been so roundly punctured. Now, many folks seem to be dreading another winter like last winter.

But first comes fall. And following the early frost, mostly in the northern half of Minnesota, a beautiful Indian summer is in the offing. Details below.

Outline for the season in the the Upper Mississippi River basin: Autumn 2014

The region receives a partial respite from the persistently wet and cooler-than-average conditions through the previous three seasons: a welcome run of generally warm, dry, pleasant weather, including most of October. Wintry weather arrives on-time during Thanksgiving week. Overall,the season sees a shift to a drier-than-average trend.

Week by Week

New Moon: 24 – 30 September

Cool, dry

First Quarter: 1 – 7 October

Some rain early in week, continued cool

Full Moon (Lunar Eclipse): 8 – 14 October

Warmer, drier

Fourth Quarter: 15 – 22 October

A little rain, a little cooler

New Moon (Solar Eclipse): 23- 29 October

Warm front, drier

First Quarter: 30 October – 5 November

A little rain, cooler

Full Moon: 6 – 13 November

Significant, possibly heavy rain

Fourth Quarter: 14 – 21 November

A shot of cold, then warming again; dry

New Moon: 22 – 28 November

Snow, blustery; a classic wintry Thanksgiving

First Quarter: 29 November – 5 December

Severe cold following heavy snow

Full Moon: 6 – 13 December

Persistent cold, intermittent snow

Fourth Quarter: 14 – 20 December

A shot of unusual cold, then warming; dry

Libra Ingress 2014

Primary indications: Fire sign Leo and Jupiter at lower meridian (warm, pleasant), but Jupiter square (~ ninety degrees) to Saturn in Scorpio (stormy, cold extremes). Sun in Libra (mild, somewhat dry) ruling fire sign Leo, Venus in Virgo (slight moisture) ruling Libra.




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