Winter Wolf, Snow Crow, March Moonlight and McDonald’s Madness

moon in the mountains

I have always loved the Farmer’s Almanac – the original, now called  “The OLD Farmer’s Almanac was begun in 1792 and is the oldest continuously published periodical in North America. In the 1848, it officially became the OLD Farmer’s Almanac.  The Smithsonian has the full set of this, AND ONLY THIS Almanac, though many others have come and gone…


The one we are reading now, because it was a Christmas gift, is “The Almanac – for Farmers and City Folk”  ! Nooooooo – haven’t we given in enough to the onslaught of cities/civilization? I refuse to share one of the last good old-fashioned traditions about planting, harvesting and eating with the yuppies in the metropoles who are making it more and more difficult to have clean organic earth, plentiful fields and forests and healthy FOOD, but too late!  This particular Almanac has gone and done it!

Anyway, regardless of the Almanac type, we tend to read it the most on the toilet – studying it in small increments of time.  (Well, MINE are ‘small increments of time’ !)

It is the original Almanac, however, that has a section I am most interested in, as so much of the farming cycle is based on the moon’s.  (By the way, we still haven’t been able to get the planting tables’ earth in, considering one of the biggest storms of the season just happened last night  – the last vestiges of what Ontario and New York got at the beginning of the week – –  so our planters are still covered and frozen outside! We are certainly not going to use ALL potting soil, as a) it needs to be a mix with our own earth, and b) I refuse to generate that much plastic bag rubbish!)  Having lived and taught on the reservation in Montana for 4 years, I am most interested in the natives’ names for the various moons, and their meanings.

“– Full Wolf Moon – January Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon. ”



The Wolf Moon, taken from my bed in January, above

 By the way, just as a post-script, wolves do NOT howl AT the moon.  They ALWAYS howl at night, calling to each other, and it’s just that when there is a full moon, they tend to be SEEN more!

Full Snow Moon – February Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.

nb moon, road

Early morning Snow Moon up the hill and round the bend on Blue Bell Road (rte. 380) (above)

Full Crow Moon – March  The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

Taken LAST March (by the previous owners of Blue Belldon Farm) of the Crow Moon, or Sap Moon  from the side of our barn looking out at Blue Bell Mountain. (above)

While it’s all very nice to have the time changed, it’s ridiculous to do it this early. Global warming climes or not, we’re NOT needing the extra time for harrowing or planting just yet.  With shingles being blown off the roof last night (Richard actually managed to get a roofer here by noon today!  Usually we wait weeks if not MONTHS every time we call in a tradesman in New Brunswick!) and a 30 cm accumulation on top of what we already have, it feels utterly inane to have it light out at 7:30 p.m. and be staring out at massive snow drifts.

Although it IS pleasant to hear the crows cawing in the mornings now, which is why the northern tribes CALLED the full moon in March “Crow Moon”.  But we want to tap our trees and it isn’t even quite time for that yet, with minus 20 temps at night! So calling it a Sap Moon isn’t quite right either, not this year, anyway.  WE’RE the saps for thinking we could have our planting boxes full of earth and seeds by now, not to mention having the maple trees producing… What a March it’s been!

But now that it IS March, I can look back at the predictions using the moon/sun/stars of ALL the Almanacs on offer, and discover that – surprise, surprise! The only one that was accurate was THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC!  This was from a statement on CTV last Sept:

“Dust off your parka and unpack your boots: according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Canada is in for a cold, snowy winter. “The winter is looking pretty crazy,” Almanac spokesperson Jack Burnett told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. “It looks as though it’s going to be colder and snowier from coast to coast to coast.” According to the Almanac, most of Canada can expect a snowy winter with below-average temperatures followed by an unseasonably cool summer.

So, since it claims to be 80 percent accurate for the last 225 years, why use another Almanac, I ask you?  They were definitely right about the winter of 2016/2017 here in the Appalachian Mountains, at least!  And in some parts of the northern province, the wind and gales last night were so horrible, the golden arches which have been upright since 1970 decided they’d had enough.  Last month, New Brunswick men got arrested going through the drive-thru on a couch.   And THIS month, Northern N.B. McDonalds are again in the news today:

mcd 'm'

Talk about yer fallen arches!  But I suspect it’s how most of us are feeling after this rightly predicted ‘long, cold and bitter’ winter!