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Heavy Weather 14/07/2017

Posted by zoidion in forecast, homesteading, Photography, urban agriculture, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The solstice has come and gone, the poignancy of the start of the long slide into darkness replaced by a sometimes febrile rush to embrace the fruits of the season. Along with the poignancy, and alongside the lushness of midsummer, comes a sobering recognition of areas of failure in the garden, and the necessity of waiting ten months for the next opportunity to do better.

For improved yields, two main points stick with me: I would do much better to use fresh seed (and discard older seed), and I can better safeguard the viability of the garden’s produce by saving seed from what has (obviously) successfully adapted to weather and soil conditions on the most local level of all: my yard.

As for fruits: First came the red currants. Not enough to make jelly, but enough to press and cook (just a bit) for a very rich juice. Then came the cherries: a prodigious yield from one medium-sized tree, five years out from planting, requiring much labor in the picking and pitting. (Neighborhood fireworks on the Fourth of July punctuated a delicious cherry cobbler.) Almost simultaneously, the year’s first crop of red raspberries and only crop of black raspberries began ripening. And now: black currants.

One might gather from such a report that weather has been favorable. Indeed so.

Though there have been scattered incidents of severe weather events in the region, this has been an easy summer so far. Obnoxious heat and humidity have largely remained to the south, and there have been some days — including yesterday — that were cool and cloudy, more typical of September. (Some northern Minnesota low temperatures dropped into the thirties.)

But that pattern is due to change.

The period that most concerns me about local weather is about three weeks away. I know from five years of observation with astrological weather charts that heavy weather is most likely when a lunation — New, Full or quarter Moon — aligns with either the vertical or horizontal axis of the season chart.

It’s fairly to easy to see it coming. With Sol in the late-night quadrant of the Cancer solar ingress (Northern Hemisphere summer solstice) chart, Sol is moving (counter-clockwise) in zodiacal passage toward the western horizon of the chart, where the zoidion Leo is in command.

When Sol enters Leo (where Sol is lord) on 22 July, in hot pursuit of Mars — they conjoin on the 26th — more persistent and withering heat can be expected. As they come to the descendant of the season chart around the fourth of August, challenging conditions of dryness are likely to become more prevalent through the mid-continent. (Keep a watch on the U.S. Drought Monitor, mentioned in the previous post.)

CN-ing_FM-Aug-2017

The Full Moon (partial lunar eclipse, not visible from North America) of the seventh of August — stretching across the horizon of the season chart — presents a troubled picture for this area. Capping an extended period of heat buildup, a great degree of atmospheric turbulence is indicated as a cooler air mass advances from the north. What symbolically adds to the forcefulness of the storm potential is Venus: That symbol of moisture has now arrived at eight degrees of water-zoidion Cancer. That is the very midpoint — a power point — between horizon and meridian.

The missing ingredient — a northbound air mass brimming with Gulf of Mexico moisture — seems set to unleash a major rain event.

After multiple such events scattered around the state in recent years, one wonders about the readiness of this metropolitan area, with its vast areas of pavement and water-shedding buildings.

(Fun facts: The all-time record hottest recorded temperatures in this region date from 1936, when the season chart featured fire-zoidion Leo on the ascendant, and Scorpio — where Mars is lord — on the lower meridian: where weather comes down to Earth. The hottest-ever local temperature — one-hundred-ten degrees F — occurred on 14 July 1936, with Sol and Mars less than ten degrees apart in Cancer, plus Mercury and Venus there.)

-<zoidion>-

Recent reading: The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben, 2015; The Harrows of Spring, James Howard Kunstler, 2016
Recent listening: “Koyaanisqatsi,” Philip Glass; “Casual Gods,” Jerry Harrison; “Heavy Weather,” Weather Report; “The American Shadow,” Carolyn Baker on Radio Ecoshock
Recent investigation: The background to the “Qatsi” series of three films; link — “A Visit with Godfrey Reggio,” WNYC radio 2014

Flash Drought 09/06/2017

Posted by zoidion in forecast, Photography, Weather.
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orange-fungus_17052017

Twin Cities ephemera: The clouds or rain were nearly ever-present through the month of May: perfect conditions for the emergence of strange and unusual life forms, such as the fungus on a juniper tree, shown above. 

The wettest period accounted for a full five inches of rain falling on my backyard, between the fifteenth and twentieth of the month: the time of the fungi.

One of those mornings, a bit of movement caught my eye: a goldfinch (I think) swooping and alighting on one of my rings of chickenwire in the garden. I stood mesmerized for minutes as it pecked again and again at . . .  something. When it flew off, I went to the spot: Apparently, it had been picking individual freshly-formed seeds off a dandelion.

Given all that moisture, the vegetative growth erupted even more than usual, the hops plants taking the prize, as usual. The most vital one has sent many shoots seven feet up the vertical strings, and  now racing each other across the horizontal wires above the deck: the leading ones about eight feet out.

Through it all, I kept watch on the soil thermometer, awaiting a minimum sixty-five degree reading before transplanting young pepper and tomato plants. (Tomatoes in particular are notorious for disliking “cold feet” — and I don’t blame them.) The temperature had reached that mark by the end of a sunny spell at the end of April, before dropping back to the fifties under all that rain, through many gloomy and chilly days and nights.

There was no surprise for me in reading that the month’s average temperature had broken a twenty-month string of above-average temperature.

The reign of rain ended fairly abruptly, as expected, with the New Moon of 25 May at five degrees of Gemini: at the lower meridian of the season chart. Nearly every day since been entirely sunny and significantly warmer — many quite pleasant, with three days reaching ninety degrees thrown in. (Tomorrow, according to the techno-weather folks, should be a humdinger of heat and humidity, before storms start erupting.)

AR-ing_NM-Gem2017

The New Moon — Luna engulfed in Sol’s warming and drying radiance — marked a dramatic shift in the season’s weather. One added feature — Mars at the upper meridian at the local New Moon moment — signaled: more heat.

The warming and drying were welcome, but now the lengthening list of zeros in the precipitation reports are cause for concern.

Following today’s Full Moon, Luna moves past Saturn, signaling — as a month ago — a stormy spell. But the overall pattern of dryness is likely to hold through the summer.

As observed here previously, the horizon and meridian are essentially the same — every year — for the Aries (spring) and Cancer (summer) ingresses.

To spell it out: The recent New Moon (Sol dominant) at the lower meridian of both spring and summer charts is a strong indication that increasingly dry conditions will prevail. (A region of moderate to severe drought is already established in the Dakotas — centered approximately on the Standing Rock reservation, where eight months ago thousands were gathered to protect the precious waters of life — and expanding. See the U.S. Drought Monitor.)

How silly now are the echoes of those local meteorologists who declared, in mid-May, that the region was practically “guaranteed” another wet growing season. Oh really? — I thought.

-<zoidion>-

[ Recent reading: Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha, 2010; A History of the Future, James Howard Kunstler, 2014; Majipoor Chronicles, Robert Silverberg, 1981. Recent listening: Jean-Luc Ponty, “Enigmatic Ocean”; Emmylou Harris, “Red Dirt Girl”; David Byrne, “Rei Momo”; Neil Young, “Greatest Hits.” ]

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