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Poor Will's Almanack: December 29, 2020 - January 4, 2021

Bill VanderMolen
Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the First Week of Deep Winter, the Third Week of the Stell Moon (when livestock owners often need to provide stells or shelters for their animals), the second week of the Sun in Capricorn.

In the cold of the Stell Moon, I look forward to the year’s lunar cycles and the seasons they bring with them.

On January 13, the first of the year’s moons is the Snow Flea Moon, the moon that hosts the tiny black snow fleas right on top of the snow.

Then on February 11, it’s the Great Groundhog Moon; the Great Groundhog, according to a story I once told my daughter, brings gifts to good girls and boys in the dead of winter.

In March, the Robin Mating Chorus Moon is new, announcing spring throughout the country.

And when spring comes so do flies in the barnyard, along with, logically enough, the Cows Switching Their Tails Moon.

The Cottonwood Cotton Moon of May spreads soft cottonwood throughout the countryside.

In June, the Mating Milkweed Bug Moon watches over the shiny milkweed bugs that mate in the fragrant milkweed.

In July, the Buzzing Cicada Moon celebrates the height of summer insect song, the great chorus of cicadas and katydids and crickets.

In August, the Restless Billygoat Moon announces the breeding season for goats and sheep.

Then comes the Hickory Nutting Moon of September opening the nutting season throughout the nation.

The Traveling Toad and Frog Moon of October follows the migration of frogs and toads as they seek out their winter quarters.

The Deer Rutting Moon of November presides over the time the great herds of deer look for mates,

and finally the Sandhill Crane Migration Moon of next December ends the cycle of bird migrations just as the earliest signs of spring occur deep in the Gulf Coast.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Deep Winter. In the meantime, think ahead. And be good…. It’s not too early to get ready for the coming of the Great Groundhog.

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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.