Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Article from The Old Farmer's Almanac on Full Moons

Historically, the Native Americans who lived in the area that is now the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to the recurring full Moons. Each full Moon name was applied to the entire month in which it occurred. These names, and some variations, were used by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.

January Full Wolf Moon:

This full Moon appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages. It is also known as the Old Moon. To some Native American tribes, this was the Snow Moon, but most applied that name to the next full Moon, in February.

February Full Snow Moon:

Usually the heaviest snows fall in February. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some Native American tribes this was the Hunger Moon.

March Full Worm Moon:

At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.

April Full Pink Moon:

This full Moon heralded the appearance of the grass pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers. It is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.

May Full Flower Moon:

Flowers spring forth in abundance this month. Some Algonquin tribes knew this full Moon as the Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.

June Full Strawberry Moon:

The Algonquin tribes knew this Moon as a time to gather ripening strawberries. It is also known as the Rose Moon and the Hot Moon.

July Full Buck Moon:

Bucks begin to grow new antlers at this time. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.

August Full Sturgeon Moon:

Some Native American tribes knew that the sturgeon of the Great Lakesand Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon.Others called it the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon.

September Full Corn Moon:

This full Moon corresponds with the time of harvesting corn. It is also called the Barley Moon, because it is the time to harvest and thresh the ripened barley. The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox, which can occur in September or October and is bright enough to allow finishing all the harvest chores.

October Full Harvest Moon:

The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox and is bright enough to allow finishing all the harvest chores.

November Full Beaver Moon:

For both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes, this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. This full Moon was also called the Frost Moon.

December Full Cold Moon:

This is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. This full Moon is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes.Note: The Harvest Moon is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. It can occur in either September or October. At this time, crops such as corn, pumpkins, squash, and wild rice are ready forgathering.

It’s a good day to rid your house of evil spirits

By Donna Drago

It’s Feb. 25. That means it’s a good day for baking. I am craving pumpkin bread, so I might make a loaf or two. It is also a very good day to wax floors.
Wax floors? Does anyone still do that?

I am referring to the astrology section of the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac, in which both good and bad days for performing various mundane tasks are recommended for those who need guidance in these matters. For instance, if you were planning on potty training your toddler, you will have to wait until March 4. You will not get good results on a paint job today, but you can do it tomorrow and Saturday.

I guess I can infer that today is probably a good day to choose a color and buy a paintbrush.
What about more complicated tasks like dieting? Well, the prognosticators at the Almanac suggest Feb. 28 as a good day to begin a weight-loss program.

The Farmers’ Almanac has been publishing folksy wisdom and gardening advice from Lewiston, Maine since 1818. On a gray, cold day, it can be fun to pore over a copy with a cup of tea. I especially like the ads.

Essiac Herbal Formula bought a full color page. You can buy some in powder, extract or capsules, but it doesn’t say what it’s for. In tiny print, it says, “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

So what does it do? And on what day should I use it, according to the astrological calendar?
I like the down home sayings that are sprinkled throughout the book, such as, “Good character, like good soup, is usually homemade” and “To be happy, don’t add to your possessions but subtract from your desires.”

These are the kinds of things I’d expect to hear Grandpa say on the Waltons.
Grier’s Almanac 2010 is published for the southern states. They have been around since 1807 and have their headquarters in Atlanta. They also offer old-fashioned advice, but do it southern style.

They give a complete refresher course on the Ten Commandments, just in case we forgot them. In an ad for a “new” Bible, the sellers claim that this book is printed on “high-quality French bible paper.”
What exactly is “French bible paper?” Is that superior to others?
Grier’s ads also include mysterious unguents and creams like “Tetterine Ointment,” which doesn’t offer a single clue as to what condition it can help with. Then there’s the Baridium Urinary Analgesic – a product name you’d surely have to whisper to your friendly pharmacist while trying to stifle a giggle.

But the ads that intrigue me the most are those like the full page that hawks “Lucky Mojo Bags & Kits.”

The mojo bags come in regular strength for $15, double strength for $25 and, if you think you can handle it, triple strength for $35. You can get a “Love Bag” to strengthen a relationship or find a lover. The “Protection Bag” will drive away evil. These folks also sell “Lucky Lottery Perfume” for just $5, which, after you apply it, will help pick the winning numbers.

There is a Rexall Drugs ad from a location in Atlanta that is advertising an herbal tea called Planta #32, which is used to stamp out “the evil crawling around and inside you like little worms or evil snakes.”
I’m totally serious.
It costs $19.99. If I had that condition, I’m sure I would think that price was a great bargain.
Another company sells a large selection of herbs, roots and oils. They offer a product called “Stop Evil Sprinkling Salts and Yard Dressing.” It’s only $5, and “works to move out all evil, enemies, and jinx on you and your home and family.” It can be used inside or out, and the company says that instructions are included.
I would hope so.

The common theme in Grier’s ads seems to be the riddance of evil – either by potion, mojo bags or reading Bible verses.

In my experience down here, Southern folks tend to be more superstitious than northerners. On a Saturday afternoon, I can take a ride and find women with booths set up on the roadsides. They sell herbal cures and love potions.

There is a lady that sells bottle trees nearby, too. The bottles are supposed to trap evil spirits before they get into your house. Many people down here paint their door and window trim a blue-green shade they call “haint blue” because evil spirits won’t pass through a portal painted that color.

I don’t have a bottle tree, though I think they are pretty. My windows and doors aren’t painted haint blue and I don’t own a single mojo bag. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t seem to have any evil spirits or worms or snakes in my house either.
Maybe it's just a souther thing