Under the sliver of a waning, crescent moon at 6:00 this morning I walked the soup and cheese out to the farm stand. Some day I may actually capture the moon as my eye sees it. The camera snaps it like a ball every time, never a sliver, a crescent or a half moon. The half is not really a half but a quarter. I did not know this until very recently. The quarter may be 40% , 50% or 59% visible, making it look like a half, but it is never called a half. There is a first quarter and a last quarter, a full moon and a new moon. The moon is either waxing or waning on its way to Full or New between quarters. Is it taking a nap? I pay attention to all this moon stuff as I learn to grow by the lunar phases and the signs of the zodiac.
I thank the stars I have Jamie and Michele to guide me. Jamie has been growing by this method for a very long time, she grows beautiful food and I have been following her lead for 13 years. When I am feeling so far behind in the garden, like now, I can just remind myself I am waiting for the next correct line up of Moon and Zodiac. Until then I weed. The most fertile signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Add to that the first day of the Moon is better than the second day of the Moon. The second day is better than the third, etc. Add to that, the influence of each sign is intensified when the Sun and Moon are in the same sign. Aaaaauuuuggghhh !! Really ? Does it matter? I can’t say for sure, but it is true that many generations ago, the moon and the stars were what guided farmer families to plant, harvest and put up their food.
Ever curious how this little saying came about? From a meteorological perspective, there’s little truth behind this saying, as many locations go from February into March with fierce and active winter weather. But by the end of March, the weather usually is warmer and more spring-like. The truth is, “in like a lion, out like a lamb” has more to do with astronomy than meteorology.
This old folklore has to do with the constellations of Leo the Lion and Aries the Ram (or lamb). If you were outside looking up at about 8 PM March 1, above the western horizon, you would have seen the dim stars that make up Aries. If you turned around and looked east at almost the same height above the horizon, you would see the constellation Leo. Its stars form a sort of backwards question mark. So the Lion is rising in the east in early March, meaning the month is coming in “like a lion.”
Fast forward to March 31, and Leo will be almost overhead, while and Aries the Ram (lamb) will be right on the western horizon, preparing to set. With the lamb setting in the west, the month is going out like a lamb.
There is another Lion to Lamb theory from an English playwright, John Fletcher in 1624 who wrote “A Wife for a Month”, a tragicomedy that involves a hanging. I “chuse” to opt out of this explanation.