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Date:12/29/2014 2:58:09 AM
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Harvest Moon
I submit that there will actually be two Harvest Moons this year. There's a glorious yellow full moon that peaked from Wednesday night through tonight. We had our killing frost last week and so it really is harvest time. I will leave it to my muse, Hal Borland, to describe: "The harvest moon is not a hasty moon, it comes early and it stays late. . . . There was a time when the harvest moon gave the busy farmer the equivalent of an extra day or two. He could return to his fields after supper and evening milking and continue his harvest by moonlight. That was when corn was cut by hand and husked by hand, when shocks teepeed the fields and fodder was stacked in the barnyard, when the bangboard echoed and the huskin' peg was familiar to the hand." -- Hal Borland.

As for us at La Ferme Sabloneuse, I've already described how we husked out in the field and shelled corn in the Old House. A year or two before his death, Pa built a shocking tree. It was sort of an inverted cross where one would gather the cornstalks and place them waist-high in the quadrants of the "T" and then tied them up into a shock. Pa and I would pull the tree through the patch of Indian corn and make shocks.

Of course we never did it by moonlight. In another work of Hal Borland's, he describes how the Earth year at the time around the Autumn Equinox witnessed a time when the Moon's retrograde motion was slowed somewhat. What this meant was that the Moon, which usually rose somewhere from one to two hours later each night of the typical monthly lunar cycle, actually rose slightly earlier during the cycles accompanying the Equinox. That means that the Harvest Moon remains fuller, longer. I admit that I can't actually find the source materials to substantiate this but whenever I do, I will certainly post it.

All this means is that when the Full Moon occurs in mid-September, (as for this year, Sept. 19) and then again in mid-October, (Oct 18) we get two Harvest Moons. Harvest Moon is a white man's expression. The First Nations people of these latitudes named September the "Rice Moon" or "Corn Maker Moon". October, by the reckoning of the First Nations, was named the "Falling Leaves Moon".

I am made to think that the native crops of corn, pumpkins, and squash were historically harvested by the First Nations people in September. It was only later, when the European immigrants started growing crops to feed livestock heretofore unknown to the continent (cattle, horses, chickens) that there occurred the October harvest of late hay, oats, barley, rye, and wheat.

So, this year, there are two Harvest Moons, and we shall enjoy them both. --Gary
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