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Poor Will's Almanack: January 12 - 18, 2016

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The moon turned new just a few days ago, and now that moon, the Skunk Mating Moon, encourages skunks and other small mammals to break from their winter dormancy and wander for mates and food when thaws warm the nights

February’s moon is the Desert Wildflower Moon. When the deserts of the Southwestern United States bloom after the year’s early rains, then snowdrops blossom in the Midwest.

The great robin chorus begins before dawn under the Robin Chorus Moon in March, and then the early morning hours throw off their winter silence, and flaunt their songs all the way through summer.

In April, under the Sandhill Crane Migration Moon, the vast pods or flocks of sandhill cranes move north for breeding, and the great violet and dandelion bloom begins.

The year sweetens in May under the power of the Mulberry Moon, and then the sweetness grows in June with the Raspberry Moon. July’s Coneflower Moon shines on the greatest number of flowers blooming the entire year. Augusts Katydid Moon announces the great late-summer evening chants of insects.

Then September’s Puffball Mushroom Moon reveals the round, white surge of the worlds largest fungi. In October, frogs and toads seek shelter against the winter under the Frog and Toad Migration Moon. After most of the leaves come down, in the milder days of late autumn, the Second Spring Moon of November complements the brief resurgence of foliage that prophesies April.

And finally, as days become the shortest of the year, the Bedding Plant Moon marks the planting of seeds under lights, transition into the next phase of the garden year, seeds that are their own self-fulfilling prophesy.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the final week of deep winter. In the meantime, name your moons from what you see. There is no wrong name for a moon.

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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.