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Wettest Week 20/08/2016

Posted by zoidion in agriculture, Climate, Event, forecast, herbalism, homesteading, Long Emergency, Photography, urban agriculture.
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Twin Cities ephemera: This morning, for the first time since probably May, I put on jeans and a long-sleeve shirt before going outside to check the rain gauge. Going past the hardy kiwi vines, I noted the many yellow leaves as those perennials respond to the shorter days: two hours of daylight less than at the summer solstice (Cancer solar ingress) two months ago. And the hops are approaching their fullness.

Yes, the seasonal shift is apparent, and the first hint of autumn comes right on astro-meteorological schedule.

Another round of rain showers has begun, leading me to total the numbers for the month so far: over six inches, with the awareness that many other locations across Minnesota have recorded much more.

It may not make much difference in my yard — though I’m concerned that the cherry and pear trees may be damaged by excess moisture — but the persistent wet conditions may spell trouble for large-scale harvest operations, dependent as they are on field access by heavy machinery. I wonder if a significant portion of commodity crops will end up rotting.

With plenty of heat and moisture, and enough sun, it’s been a good season for tomatoes. We put together a quart of salsa — using homegrown onion, chives and basil — and put up a half-dozen bottles of tomato juice. I dug up a patch of volunteer yellow dock (Rumex crispus), washed the soil off the roots, and spent an evening trimming and slicing them to fill a half-pint jar that I topped off with certified organic Prairie brand vodka (distilled in the region from corn grown in the region) to start a tincture: good (usually in combination with another herb) for treating skin disorders and general detoxification.

As I mosey about the back yard, squeezing through the narrowed paths resulting from the extravagant growth, I feel a bit impatient for autumn, when I can move several clumps of perennials that have become much bigger than anticipated. Even as I marvel at the eight-foot-tall sunflower plant that volunteered itself nearby, I look forward to pulling out the vast tangle of stems that have reached out from one mound of spaghetti squash. And I ponder if there’s enough season left to hand-pollinate a blossom on the huge butternut squash plant that has grown voluntarily on one of compost piles; it’s probably not a purebred plant anyway, so its seed would not grow out true to type next season.

I already did that, however — hand-pollinate, that is — with one of the spaghetti squash blossoms, and it’s been a marvel to watch it grow so rapidly.

one day after pollination

seven days after pollination

Yes, as the turn of the season comes into view, I find myself recalling the barrenness of this landscape only four months ago. It’s an annual astonishment.

It was the first-quarter Moon — at local noon (Sun at the upper meridian) on the tenth — that marked the following week as likely the wettest of the summer. It’s a cardinal rule of astro-meteorology that when a lunation (New or Full Moon, first or last quarter) aligns with either the meridian or horizon of the  season (ingress) chart, the most notable weather event of the season quickly follows.

In this case, the first-quarter Moon in water-zoidion Scorpio aligned with the eastern horizon of the Cancer ingress chart. For further emphasis on rainfall, Venus was coming into alignment with deluge-and-flood-potential Neptune, the latter potently located at the lower meridian (opposite the circle-with-vertical-line) of the ingress chart.


Within a few hours of the first-quarter Moon, the rain began falling, and within a few hours the gauge held two point six-three inches. Not too far west of here, the area around Willmar was inundated with nearly ten inches of rain.

But even that was less than half of what fell on southern Louisiana in what is now being recognized as the greatest weather disaster in the country since Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey / New York in 2012. Some 40,000 homes have been inundated. Some rivers there recorded their highest crests ever — greater than from any hurricane, and this from a storm without a name: just one aspect of the complex of abnormalities that now comprises “the new normal.”

The same two charts, recast for Denham Springs, Louisiana, have the same zoidia on the axes of horizon and meridian. The main difference is in the first-quarter Moon chart: Moon very closely aligned with eastern horizon. (Note the crescent-Moon symbol close to the degree indicated by the circle-with-horizontal-line.)


Bingo! Instances such as this afford astro-meteorologists the capacity to anticipate the approximate timing and location of crucial — even catastrophic — events far in advance: as far ahead as the astro-meteorologist is motivated to look. Something that techno-meteorologists can’t hope to do.

Far away, however, during Full Moon week, the equivalent of a Category Two hurricane was spinning  in the central Arctic Ocean — again, the strongest such event since 2012. In a way, that’s not surprising: considering that the recent weather pattern has had heat surging north from the Asian land mass, across Siberia, and over the Arctic Ocean. This and other storms have been breaking up and churning what remains of Arctic ice at its seasonal ebb.

What was formerly normal for the Arctic region is greatly disturbed: The Northwest Passage is open to shipping, villages along the shore are being abandoned, Greenland’s vast icecap is melting and collapsing.

And in the months immediately ahead, what cold(er) air masses remain, have to go somewhere. The North American continent appears to be the likely outlet. That, plus a key indicator in the autumn season (Libra solar ingress) chart, points toward a series of cold shocks that are likely to also affect harvests in gardens and industrial fields across much of fly-over land.

More later.




1. Mary Louise Turner - 26/08/2016

Looking at your photos, your yard looks like a slice of heaven. How beautiful! It must bring you a sense of peace and comfort. I had to come back to your posting to reread it. My stresssed-out brain could make little sense of your charts. Now that I’m better rested, I see I have questions for you when we talk again. I just want more clarity about the horizon. This is a very interesting point in a chart that I never considered or used before. I look forward to your thoughts on it.

2. zoidion - 26/08/2016

I do love the green and the variety of plant life, insects too (mostly — not Japanese beetles or the larvae that briefly attacked the asparagus, or the mosquitoes: lots of habitat for them to hang out in and wait for some blood to come by). But, as I’ve mentioned, at this point in the season it’s hard to get through.
I’ve seen it before, where a lunation’s Moon position lines up with the ascendant corresponds with the season’s most notable precipitation event. And the more exact the alignment, the more notable the event. It makes sense to me: The horizon (the ascendant being the eastern end) is where Earth and sky (atmosphere) meet. When the alignment with the Moon is very close, the heavens are saying, drop that load here!

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