The whole universe is, as it were, a book written by the finger of God,
in which each creature forms a letter.
— Louis de Blois
The Almanack Horoscope
Moon Time: The Apple Blossom Moon continues to wane throughout the week, becoming the new Mock Orange Moon on the 26th at 7:16 a.m. Rising before dawn and setting near sundown, the waning moon will be overhead in the late morning.
Sun Time: On April 21. the sun is 75 percent of the way to summer solstice. The sun is setting pretty close to half past eight now, making the evenings almost seem like June evenings.
ERIC ELWELL: Mobile phones aiding in weather forecasting
Star Time: Now the sky at 11 p.m. is in its prime spring planting position: Castor and Pollux to the west, Leo with its bright Regulus directly overhead, and Arcturus dominating the east. The Milky Way fills the western horizon as Orion sets just behind the sun.
Shooting Star Time: The Lyrid meteor shower peaks after midnight between April 21 and 23.
Weather Time: The April 21 Front: Chances for snow and frost recede quickly after this front comes through. Winds and hard rain, however, still threaten new plantings, young kids, lambs and calves.
RELATED: Springfield weather
The April 24 Front: The odds for outstanding field and garden weather improve immensely after the passage of this front. Seed all the rest of your flowers and vegetables in flats or directly in the garden. New moon on the 27th, however, should strengthen this front and the next, so keep a lookout for light frost.
Zeitgebers: Events in Nature that Tell the Time of Year: Now winter wheat, the pastures, and the lawns are the brightest of the year. Winter cress and violets turn some fields gold and purple. Bluebells nod on the hillsides. Bellwort, meadow rue, ragwort, columbine, white violet, winter cress, small-flowered buttercup, large-flowered trillium, wood betony, miterwort, and Jack-in-the-pulpit are out.
Forsythia flowers turn a darker gold and magnolia petals fall as locusts, mulberries, ash, tree of heaven, ginkgoes, Japanese honeysuckles, wild roses and virgin’s bower leaf out. Grub worms come to the surface of the lawn, and grasshoppers are born in the fields. Weevils appear in the alfalfa.
Farm and Garden: Farmers seed spring wheat in New England, sugar beets all across the Midwest. Field corn planting is in full swing throughout the South and Border States, cotton planting along the Gulf.
When you see the first monarch butterflies in your garden, and the iris plants start to bud, that’s the time to go out to the fields looking for armyworms, slugs, corn borers, flea beetles and leafhoppers, and when you see bumble bees in the dandelions, watch for termites to swarm around your house.
Prepare soil and seeds for new moon planting on the 26th under the dark moon, destroy tent caterpillars as they hatch; then plant all your remaining root crops.
Spring rains and humidity can increase the risk of internal parasites in livestock. Make use of stool sample analysis to ensure that drenching has been effective.
Marketing Time: Plan marketing now for Mother’s Day (May 14) and Memorial Day (May 29). Throughout the coming month, bedding plant sales are at their peak, ideal for selling as well as purchasing flowers for Mom or remembering a loved one.
Mind and Body Time: It’s so beautiful outside, and you have so much planting and loafing to do, how can you possibly feel bad? Well, some people do have a tendency to feel a little down in the springtime — and there are many reasons why that might be. One reason is that other people — maybe those with more money — seem to have more time to enjoy the fine weather. Or maybe you see young lovers walking around hand in hand, while you are alone at this point in your life. Spring can seem to promise everything, but we are not always able to find fulfillment of those promises in our lives. If we can combat our jealousy and limit our expectations, however , we take the first steps towards a fulfilling season
Creature Time (for fishing, hunting, feeding, bird watching): The dark moon is overhead in the morning, making that the best time for fishing (worst for dieting). As the barometer falls in front of the April 24 cold front, morning fishing and scouting for wild turkeys should get even better. Birders could spot the arrival of the wood thrush, the broad-winged hawk, the king rail, the sora, the common gallinule, plovers and sandpipers.
A drive north to Wisconsin, from the Miami Valley. I leave behind the middle of spring, with the maples and cottonwood starting to leaf, forsythia and daffodils fading, apple and cherry trees in full bloom, tulips mid season, grass long and green, lilacs blooming, silver olive shrubs leafing, poplars pale green. And the landscape stays almost unchanged until I get above Urbana, Illinois.
Then as I drive, I notice that the apple trees are no longer flowering. A few miles north, near Peru, Illinois, redbuds become paler. At Rockford, the tree line is suddenly bare. Only the willows, yellow green, stand out in the suburbs. Near Madison, Wisconsin there are only a few patches of flowering trees. Honeysuckles are still just leafing, daffodils just opening, peonies and rhubarb only six to nine inches tall.
On arrival at my sister’s house, I have traveled 600 miles and 30 days back into March at the rate of one day for every 20 miles.