Gardening by the moon is an age old practice.  Since the moon controls ocean tides, it is believed that it influences the groundwater tables beneath our feet and the movement of fluids in plants.  This is why planting at a certain phase and harvesting at a certain phase is supposedly beneficial.  These photos I took of the moon by no means do it justice but they remind me just how amazing the moon is. web-moon-041

    The size of the moon when it first appears on the horizon is enormous. It appears like that because our brains perceive a low moon to be larger than one that’s high in the sky.  They actually have a name for this ~Moon Illusion. The moon also can appear warmer or reddish on the horizon.  This is caused by moonlight passing through a larger amount of atmospheric particles than when the moon is overhead, this scatters the bluish part of moonlight (which is really white light reflecting from the sun), but it lets in the red parts of the light which travel a straighter path to our eyes.web-mu

 The Harvest moon is actually the full moon closest to the fall equinox.  It usually occurs in late September or early October.  It was called that because it’s brightness made it possible for farmers to harvest after dark.

  After doing a little reading I found out the November full moon which is also referred to as the Beaver moon which lets you know it is time to set your beaver traps before the swamps freeze. This info ensures a supply of warm winter furs for a trapper. So if you are a trapper, get to work soon.  If you’re not you can do other things when the full moon is out like dance by the light of the moon, or howl at the moon, or turn into a werewolf…web-moon-058

It all sounds like lunacy to me. ;) 

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Men should take their knowledge from the Sun, the Moon and the Stars.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 Ever heard of a Bird-scarer, a Moggy, a Bogeyman, a Shuft, maybe a Rook-scarer or a Kelson, Hodmedod or a Tattie bogle?  How about Priapus? web-o-025

 Let me enlighten you,  Priapus was the son of Aphrodite in Greek mythology. Priapus was a protector of gardens and orchards, and is typically portrayed as a hideous looking man.  Birds tended to avoid fields where Priapus resided, so Greek and then Roman farmers soon adopted the practice of carving wooden statues that resembled Priapus in thier gardens to keep crows from eating the corn.   web-o-026

In the Middle Ages children worked as crow-scarers.  They would run around in the fields, clapping blocks of wood together, to scare birds that might eat the grain.  Later as the plague claimed many lives, farmers found there were less children to shoo birds away so they stuffed old clothes with straw, put a gourd or turnip on as their head and mounted the figure in the fields.  These lifelike figures kept the crows at bay.  Also before the white man arrived, Native American men would sit on raised platforms and shout at birds or ground animals that came near the crops.  The use of scarecrows also came to North America with immigrants from Europe. German settlers in Pennsylvania called them bogeyman, which stood guard over the fields.

So now you know a quick history of where scarecrows came from.  We tend to only use them as decorations that represent fall harvests these days. Who amongst us doesn’t enjoy seeing a scarecrow overlooking a lush vegetable garden.    I know I do. web-o-039

~If I only had a brain! ~the scarecrow, Wizard of Oz

 

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shakersMy Vintage Thingies this week are my black cat salt and pepper shakers.  I found them on Ebay several years ago and though they are out all year, they are especially cherished during October.  Halloween  is such a fun day to be a bit mischevious and enjoy the fall spirit.  I especially love black halloween cats and have acquired a bit of a collection over the years.  I mostly bring them out for Halloween which is one of my favorite times of the year. pumpkins

Black cats, spiders, pumpkins and jack-0 -lanterns.   Where did the tradition of pumkins for halloween begin? web-h-024

 If you let my husband spin his  halloween story that we hear every year as we carve our jack-o-lanterns, you would think Halloween  originated with the Ween family and their tradition of hollowing out pumpkins for lanterns.  We humor him each year as he tells the story in a different way.  The neices roll their eyes at my sons and they all listen to hear this year’s version. Maybe because he can’t remember how he told it the year before, or maybe he makes it up as he goes along, either way it’s our family’s joke at Halloween when we get together to carve our pumpkins.  web-halloween-021

In real life there are other stories to explain why we indeed carve  out pumpkins for Halloween.  The one that I found to be the most popular among web sites, is that of an Irish thief named Jack Stingy who tricked the devil to promise he wouldn’t take Jack into Hell.  But when Jack finally died, and was barred from Heaven for his evil ways, he had to go back to the gates of Hell and beg for a final resting place from the Devil who promptly refused him a place but  did offer a burning ember from Hell.  Jack put the glowing ember into a carved out turnip to light his way in the limbo between Heaven and Hell where he supposedly still lingers today.  

Thus the name Jack of the lantern or Jack- O- Lantern. web-halloween-062

Immigrants who moved to America found pumpkins growing abundantly so they started carving out pumpkins instead of turnips and carving a demonic face on them.  These were supposed to keep evil spirits away on All Saints  and All Souls days( Nov. 1 and 2).  They were symbolic of souls trapped in pergatory.  web-halloween-048

 All this folk lore is fun to learn about, and however they came upon Jack- O- Lanterns doesn’t really matter because it is such a fun tradition for kids and adults alike.  Halloween is a favorite holiday among many of us for it’s creative fun impersonations of evil and well, there is the candy.  Especially… Chocolate.   No, wait, that’s why it is my favorite!web-h-025

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~Author Unknown