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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.



Failure to Forecast 05/06/2016

Posted by zoidion in Climate, Event, Long Emergency, Photography, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Now that June is here, I seem to detect (or imagine) a slowing-down in the growth of the remaining grass in the back yard. When it does get about six inches tall and starts going to seed, I have to get out the weed whip and whack away. That’s a tiresome chore, when there are plenty of others waiting.

Such as getting (hopefully) protective chicken-wire around the kale and broccoli plants that are tasty treats for the woodchuck. Yes, another one has set up unwelcome residence. At last I got the entrance plugged to the space under the shed, but this one decided to just excavate a den under the woodpile.

It hadn’t shown much interest in the vegetables, but found the tops of milkweed plants quite delectable. So the yard may not have much to feed the monarch flutterbys this year. Not good. I’d gladly do my part to provide habitat for a new generation.

Now there’s a small patch of faux prairie out there, following a visit to the annual Landscape Revival event. Six plants each of meadow blazingstar and fireweed make a start — native plants, unlike so much that have found the soil and climate conducive. And out front, a shadier place near but not under the Colorado spruce (dying by degrees: a dumb choice, made by a former owner, for this climate), one each of sweet joe-pye weed and big leaf aster. May they have happy homes in company with the cup plants, daylilies, azuga, wild ginger and solomon’s seal.

The forecast for the upper Mississippi valley area for the week following the Full Moon was on the verge of dire: Expect a siege dumping two to three inches of rain.

Well, that didn’t pan out. No place around here got dumped on, and my backyard gauge registered slightly more than one inch over a five day stretch that included two no-precipitation days.

So much for the much-touted computerized weather-forecasting models, at least in this instance. Instead, east Texas got hammered — again. As much as nearly twenty inches of rain over two days, producing major flooding, a slew of emergencies and a few fatalities. Significant rain had been forecast, but the computers completely missed the potential for severe weather.

The irony is that Houston is at the forefront of the widening controversy and political gamesmanship over denial of climate disruption and the urgent need to sharply reduce pollutants from the burning of fossil fuels.

Maybe, as Robert Scribbler suggests, the computers are unable to factor accelerating climate change into specific unfolding weather events.

“A basic understanding of atmospheric physics in a warming world points toward an increasing risk of extreme rainfall events as El Nino transitions to La Nina. . . . However, current weather forecasting appears to be completely unaware of or unwilling to report on this new risk.”

As with the increase in wildfires and the length of the wildfire-risk season, this situation bodes ill for the capabilities of emergency response teams.

Let’s have a look at the applicable astro-meteorology.

The base chart, as usual, is the season chart: in this case, the Aries 2016 solar ingress. It shows a classic indication for the likelihood of heavy rain and flooding events: a Venus-Neptune conjunction in watery Pisces near the lower meridian. (This factor is most potent for the longitude of Cincinnati and Atlanta.)

In addition, the other symbol for moisture — the Moon — is near the upper meridian in the season chart. This factor is most potent for west Texas and points north and south.

Austin-Waco-Houston — the epicenter for these torrential rains — is in between.

Indications for the Full Moon week and for the start of the torrent on 26 May seem less emphatic.

True, it was a rather unusual Full Moon: in exact conjunction with Mars, a potent indication of very abnormal warming, but not for Texas. (That’s been happening across Asia and Siberia and into the Arctic: See Robert Scribbler’s post “Siberian Heatwave Wrecks Sea Ice as Greenland High Settles In.”)

The Full Moon chart for Houston showed Pluto near the lower meridian, showing potential for an extreme / destructive event.


Through the week, however, Mercury — the wind indicator — was hovering within the same degree of the zodiac: The end of its three-week retrograde period occurred on 22 May, the day after the Full Moon. In addition, Mercury was occupying a position one-third of the way from both Jupiter and Pluto: what astrologers call a “grand trine.”

This is reflective of newly strange and persistent wind patterns. As Robert Scribbler described it:

“[By 26 May] an expansive trough had extended down from Canada and over Texas. Exploiting this hole in an increasingly weakened Jet Stream cool, Arctic airs plunged south. Crossing the Great Plains into Texas, this unstable atmospheric mass came directly into confrontation with a super-heated, moist flow rising off the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean.”

At the same time, Jupiter — having ended its four-month retrograde period on 9 May — was hovering around the same degree as it opposed Neptune (and each at a right angle with Saturn).

This is / has been a most unusual configuration, appropriate for a period of accelerating disruptions on climatic, ecological, economic, political and cultural levels. In that sense alone, it is entirely appropriate that the vast and vulnerable metropolis of Houston was a target.

But there are strong links and parallels between the current sky configuration and that at the date of Houston’s incorporation, 5 June 1837. For instance, on that date going on two centuries ago, Jupiter opposed Neptune, with Saturn at the square point, just as they are now (in different zoidia). It is no exaggeration to say that Houston is now in the cosmic cross-hairs.


Maybe that hard rain — in the Bob Dylan sense: “a hard rain’s a-gonna fall” — was a message from Gaia to the oil industry to get its collective head out of its collective lower gastrointestinal tract. (Like the recent wildfire that engulfed the Alberta oil patch town of Fort McMurray.) But is that likely? Nah.


(For a view of what is really happening worldwide via stories covered in the business and alternative media, tune in frequently to the Rice Farmer.)

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