Posts Tagged ‘gardening by the moon’

Daylight Savings Time and Ready for Spring

I have always liked the concept of daylight savings time, but when it actually comes around it always messes me up for a few days. First, I always have to remember the “spring forward, fall back” thing, to be able to remember which way to turn the clock. Then I have to fight with the VCR, microwave, clock in my dashboard and my cell phone- I am really bad with all things tech, so this is a problem for me every year. It always takes a few days for my body to adjust to the “extra” or “missing” hour-but I never did understand why they say we gain or lose an hour, when there are still 24 hours in a day. We did not “gain” an hour in our lives-if that really happened we could just give ourselves more hours in time and at some point I think it would cause some time warp in the universe. I guess it is just something that the government cooked up so we would not have to drive to work in the dark in the winter months when the days are shorter. Anyway, to me it just feels like jet lag, but without getting to go on vacation. I do like getting home and being able to get a couple of things done in the goat yard before it gets dark though.

I am ready for spring. We have had over 2 1/2 months of freezing temps every night and no rain (and remember, we get to complain because this is Southern California.) Everything has been brown and crunchy for a long time. I am starting to see little signs that spring is trying to peek out in a few places, hoping that the freeze is over. The last frost date for our area is April 9th – so we may still get hit with some low temps again, but it has been 38 degrees and above for the last 4 mornings in a row. So this gives me hope that the worst is already over. The plum tree has put out a timid row of blossoms and the mulberry tree has broken bud. I planted out some artichokes that we started in the greenhouse a few months back, and put down very heavy layers of mulch to protect them. I also put some rose clones into the ground that had been hardening off outside near the house, and have moved more from the greenhouse to the front garden to get them used to the outside temps. I have tomato starts that I am chomping at the bit to plant out but I know full well I will have to drag out the Wall-O-Waters and keep a close eye on them if I do.

I have been eying the boxes of seed packets on the kitchen shelves that I have earmarked for this planting season but I don’t want to jump the gun. I will not let myself be seduced by their glossy photos and promises of days to harvest. I know the ground is still too inhospitable to plant warm weather veggies, no matter how tempting it becomes. It will only end in heartbreak otherwise.

We are on the dark side of the moon cycle this week, so I will spend this week battling weeds, pruning the last of the frostbitten canes and branches and putting up bean poles and trellises.

The incubator is now full of eggs that are set to hatch the week before Easter and the fertility is up in all of the breeding pens now. I got the first turkey egg of the season yesterday so I am sure the other game birds will follow along soon. I have been keeping an eye on the nursery pen, and have my birthing kit cleaned up and organized, and a stack of clean towels at the ready.

Spring is always a crazy time on the farm, but I am ready!

The Full Taurus Moon

Full Taurus moon 2010

We are going into the a full Taurus moon- it will actually be exact at 9:28 am Sunday morning the 21st. It is also known as The Hunters Moon. A Taurus moon’s energy is fixed, semi-fruitful, feminine, calm, nurturing, and earthy. The Moon is exalted (very strong) in this sign. Taurus is known as the “farmer’s sign”, because it is associated with precipitation and farmland. It is a good sign when  patience, perseverance, and practicality are needed in a project. Anyone who knows anything about this particular sign can interject the word stubborn in in various places also. The sign of Taurus is ruled by the planet Venus, the planet of love and pleasure. In mythology she was the goddess whose dominion is emotions and love. She was said to make life beautiful.
In an astronomical look, Venus is the second planet from the sun (just over some 67 million miles away) and is very close to earth in density, mass and size. It’s orbit is in between us and the sun, and no other planet comes as near to us. This time of year Venus appears in the morning star position, and can be seen on the eastern horizon a few hours before sunrise. It has a faint blue color, and is very bright. If you are still having a hard time finding it, grab your Blackberry (or in my case, grab a friend that has one) and find it’s location on the that cool star map that is on there. After a while you will get to where you can spot it on your own.
With the full moon in this position, is a very good time to plant cabbages and green leafy annuals and trim things back to increase growth.
It is also just a wonderful moon to grab someone you care about, and spend some special time outside just looking up at the sky- *wink* !

Welcoming the next generation

You can find in one of my earlier entries that I find it easier to garden by getting in sync the lunar cycles for planting and harvesting. This same wisdom also works well for our animals and birds here on the farm. You can learn much, kind of like having a sixth sense, when you are able to tap into the moon’s rhythm. It has served me well over all these years, and if nothing else, may help you out in being able to predict just when certain things are most likely to happen.

July 26, 2010 brought the full moon in Capricorn. This was the Buck Moon for the Algonquin tribe. It is a good moon for achieving a goal. Earth sign Moons are excellent for labor, especially physical labor, including birthing. This sign is feminine, receptive and watery. Also, goats come under the rule of the Capricorn influence. This is what made me check on the nursery pen just one more time before going to bed on the 26th.

Flashlight in hand, I did a sweep around the pen, and noticed my doe Kitty standing there staring at me with “that look” in her eyes. I turned right around and made a run for the birthing kit and a stack of towels and my camera. I knocked on Christy’s door to tell her the good news and we headed back for the goat shed together. Kitty was already having close contractions but it was her first birthing so I did not know what to expect from her. The moon was full, but not up over the mountain top, so we were definately in need of more light. I left Christy to watch and went out to string a long power cord from the greenhouse all the way back to the goat shed so I could get the light working. I told Christy to just holler out if things started to change. In a few minutes she called out that she could see the birth sack and I called back for her to let me know if she spotted the hoofs. A few more minutes passed and she said she could see the hoofs and then a nose. I put down the cord I was still untangling, and returned to the shed. Yep, two front feet and a little nose presented just right, but the mom was straining a bit hard. We would have to do this one by flashlight. I gently pulled the 2 front feet forward so as to give the head just a little more room to pass, and in just one more contraction, the kid slid right out. There is always that terrifying moment until you know if the newborn is passing air. We held our breath and said a silent prayer as I “swung” the kid (more about that later) until we heard that first tiny little squeak from the babe. It was a fairly cold night for July, but we had a nice thick stack of towels, and started to dry the new baby off. A girl! Yeah!
At this point, the new mom, not really knowing what to make of the whole thing, got up and wandered out of the shed. I left the newborn with Christy and resumed getting the light hooked up. Christy was texting her family a play by play description of the event. Techno farmers! I finally got the power cord untangled and the light on, and there was time for Christy to get a chair and make some nice hot tea for us – it would be a long night. After what seemed like forever, the doe came back into the shed and we put the towel-dried kid down in front of her so she could begin to bond with her new daughter. They squeaked and nickered their little sounds to each other in a language that only goats can understand.

Another while went by and the doe started to get restless again as her labor resumed. The second kid was much smaller and slid out rather quickly still encased in the birth sack. In this situation you have to quickly break the sack and get the fluid out of the nose and mouth or the kid will drown. Ok, no breath happening – this is where knowing how to “swing” a kid really comes in handy. It might seem like a harsh thing to do to something just entering the world, but it is harmless, and it works very well to quickly clear the fluid from the nose, mouth and lungs if any is restricting the airways. Your left hand goes under chest, right hand gets a good grip on those very slippery hind legs, and you stand up and literally swing the kid from the ground to up about your waist level. The centrifugal force clears the fluid out. Most first time witnesses to this procedure have been momentarily horrified, but then come to understand the necessity of the process. After about four swings, I could start to hear a sputtering sound and stopped to check. Yes! the kid was moving air on her own! I could feel a strong heart beat as she continued to cough and sputter up fluid. Another girl! We let out a cheer! Back to the mommy to get bonded and dried off completely.

The doe was not too sure of herself with the whole nursing thing, so I milked out the colostrum (first milk, very important for the kids to get) and fed both kids with a syringe. It was now getting to be the wee hours of the morning but we had to wait for another hour or so until the doe passed the afterbirth. When she did, and upon inspection it was complete, we moved the whole new little family to the nursery pen. We closed them in for the night so the new mom and kids could bond without any outside interruptions after their long night. Exhausted, cold, but smiling ear to ear from the miracle we had just witnessed, we trailed back to our respective homes. I crawled into a steaming hot shower then passed out right away in bed, still with that smile on my face, and the blessing of new life bestowed to the farm.

Introduction to gardening by the moon

For those of you who know anything about astrology profiles, I am a Taurus. For those of you who know nothing about astrology profiles, I am a Taurus.”The” fixed earth sign. May born- meaning: strong, dependable, reliable, hard working outdoor people who enjoy doing things with their hands. If you are a person who poo-poo’s astrology profiles, chances are better then not, you might be a Taurus as well. You might want to check. Anyway, whatever your astrology sign is, at least hear me out on this one.
I garden by the moon. I have not always gardened by the moon, but since I started, things have gone much easier for me. I like easier. I am not talking about any kind of magic or the occult, I am talking about the moon’s gravitational pull on the earth and the effect it has on bodies of water and the tides. Most surfers and sailors already know this stuff.  As the moon waxes and wanes every month, it affects the oceans and other bodies of water. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water and plants and animals are made up of a lot of water as well. Do you know where the word “lunatic” comes from, have you ever noticed that people get a little crazy on the full moon?
I have found it much easier to work with this energy then against it. You can just work whenever you want to and get results, but why not try working with the elements and make things go a lot smoother and get the best results possible?
Here are some quick and simple guidelines to go by if you want to start getting in sync with the  phases of the moon. Most calenders come with a little moon table printed right on them. If not, it would be worth it get yourself one that does.
There are 4 quarters to the moon’s phases (see illustrations of each here). In the first quarter plant things that produce above the ground that are leafy, and that produce their seeds outside the fruit. Examples; cabbage, lettuce, spinach, cereals and grains, etc. The only exception is cucumbers, as they do best in the first quarter, even though the seeds are inside the fruit.
Second quarter: plant things that are viney, that produce their seed inside the fruit. Examples: beans, peas, squash, melons, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
Third quarter: plant below ground root crops, bulbs and tubers.
Fourth quarter: I have found this is best left to pull weeds and turn the earth.
So to summarize, during the increasing or waxing light – from the New Moon to Full Moon – plant things that produce above ground. During the decreasing or waning light – plant things that produce underground.
Yes, you can increase your accuracy in timing your efforts to coincide with the natural forces! Take the pebble from my hand young grasshopper!