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Poor Will's Almanack: January 28 - February 3, 2014

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On January 30, just a few days away, the Tufted Titmouse Moon, the first complete moon of 2014, will become the new Snowdrop Moon, continuing a lunar trajectory that travels inexorably across the span of the year.

With February’s Snowdrop Moon, the time of blooming plants gets underway. When white snowdrops and yellow aconites come into flower, they tell the maple sap to run, and they push back late winter to leave room for early spring.

March's moon is the Bumblebee Moon, the moon that encourages the emergence of spring insects, and the early morning robin chorus.

April brings the Morel Mushroom Moon, which parallels the peak of middle spring wildflower bloom and the mating of frogs and toads.

May's moon is the Duck and Goose Hatching Moon that shines on new ducklings and goslings.

June brings the Cherry Pie Moon as all the pie cherries ripen.

July's moon is the loud Cicada Moon, when insect calls start to replace birdsong throughout the day.

August's moon is the Katydid Moon, the boisterous katydids alternating with new crickets to fill the nights with song.

September's moon is the Goldenrod Moon that presides over corn harvest and the start of soybean harvest and the peak of spider web abundance in the woods.

October's moon is the Toad Migration Moon, shining down not only on traveling toads but on almost all the autumn migrants.

November brings the Witch Hazel Moon and December the Sandhill Crane Migration Moon.

Poor Will made up all these names, of course. Take a little time and name your own moons. Naming is, after all, one of our jobs on earth, finding the story of each piece of earth and time and shaping it in our own image and likeness.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of late winter. In the meantime, watch the moon swell through the nights ahead, pulling you into summer.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.