In February, if the days be clear,
The waking bee, still drowsy on the wing,
Will guess the opening of another year
And blunder out to seek another spring.
— Vita Sackville-West
The Almanack Horoscope
Moon Time: On Feb. 3, the Lenten Rose Moon enters its second phase at 11:19 p.m., and on Feb. 6, the moon reaches perigee, its position closest to Earth, increasing its influence over weather and creatures.
Sun Time: By the time the Groundhog Day Thaw is over (today or tomorrow), the sun will have reached more than 30 percent of the way to spring equinox.
Planet Time: Venus moves retrograde into Pisces this month, remaining the bright and benign evening star, still protected by Mars.
Star Time: The evening sky of February pushes Orion into the west, weakening his winter power. Behind him, Sirius pursues Lepus and Columba. Monoceros, the Unicorn, gallops below Procyon and Canis Minor.
Weather Time: In the month ahead, average temperatures slowly climb throughout the nation. Within the next four weeks, Springfield’s leap from 28 to 30 degrees is matched by Houston’s jump from 54 to 56 degrees, Juneau’s 25 to 27, Denver’s 29 to 32, San Francisco’s 49 to 51, and Chicago’s 26 to 28.
The Feb. 6 Front: The second barometric high of February arrives near the 6th and generally reinforces the cold of late winter. The next three days frequently bring dangerous weather to the nation’s midsection and produce some of the most frigid mornings of the entire year. Lunar perigee on the 6th increases the likelihood of bitter conditions.
Zeitgebers: Events in Nature that Tell the Time of Year: February accelerates the movement of spring, often bringing cardinals and mourning doves into full song by the first week of the month. Blue jays bob up and down, calling to their mates with a bell-like call. Wild turkeys flock in the woods, socializing before spring breeding. Sparrows mate in the trees and under eaves. Roadkills increase for small wild mammals.
Farm and Garden Time: Six weeks from now, the hardiest of spring cabbages and kales can be set out. In eight weeks, almost all frost hardy plants can be put into the ground.
Treat ash, bittersweet, fir, elm, flowering fruit trees, hawthorn, juniper, lilac, linden, maple, oak, pine, poplar, spruce, sweet gum, tulip tree, and willow for scales and mites. Spray trees when temperatures rise into the upper 30s or 40s.
This is the time to separate dahlia clumps into single roots and get ready to start them growing for summer
Marketing Time: Prepare for Dominican Republic Independence Day on Feb. 27: Urban areas that have a sizeable population of residents from the Dominican Republic may show an increase in sales of lambs and kids. And then Mardi Gras occurs on the 28th, starting the six-week vigil for Easter (April 16).
Mind and Body Time: Since the moon’s position is relatively weak in the first days of February, this week’s horoscope (time watch) suggests that livestock, pets and children should be more easily managed than they were last week. Nevertheless, lunar perigee on the 6th quickly changes the equation, and weather continues to stress your immune system. Take vitamins and drink plenty of tea in order offset the effects of the season. This time of year also seems to produce the worst migraine headaches.
Creature Time (for fishing, hunting, feeding, bird watching): When the barometer falls just before the cold fronts of Feb. 3 and 6, creatures often become much more active. And the waxing moon will be overhead in the afternoon throughout the period, making that time of day the most favorable for seeking fish and game.
My home has become a private observatory. At this time of year, the sun comes up just on the other side of the Danielsons’ house across the street, and it shines in to the north wall of my home office, reaches high on the west side of the greenhouse wall, lies across the bed in the green bedroom, settles briefly next to the television in the living room.
At spring and autumn equinox, the sun rises directly over Lil’s house, shines through my east windows all the way through my office to the west wall of the hall and the living room and the green bedroom, barely strikes the greenhouse at all. And at summer solstice, the sunrise over Jerry and Lee’s house (as far north as it ever rises) lights the south wall of my office, and the green bedroom and the living room.
Sometimes I make pencil marks on the walls, with dates of the different intrusions of light. On December 20, I check the line I made years ago that shows how far the noonday sun reaches through my south windows at winter solstice. Sunsets have their own iconography on different walls.
Here the Earth does not circle the Sun. It is the Sun that circles my unmoving space. This place is the center of the galaxy. It is also a planetary map of my history, with souvenirs following the shadows.
The larger web spreading out from the town is clear enough on the other side of my windows. Through their prism, links of geography and politics, control and purpose fall into place. I filter what I cannot see and understand with my scribblings on the walls. Grounded in homely lessons, I walk outside if I wish, leaving the prints of gnomons behind, but still remembering where I am.
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