Modern Moons

February is loaded with prime numbers. Since this is a leap year, February contains 29 days, the first of many numbers that can only be divided evenly by 1 or itself and is connected with the month.

Earliest sunrise for the month is on February 39, at 7:11 am. Both hour and minutes are prime numbers. The latest sunset is also on the last day of the month, 6:30 pm. But these are not prime numbers. In between, we find the latest sunrise and earliest sunset on February 1 at 7:45am and 5:58 pm. On this day hours are prime but minutes are not.

Within the ideal temperature range for snow we find two Fahrenheit prime numbers: 29 and 31. The range includes everything from -2 c or 27-28 f degrees to +2 or 34 f degrees. Snow forms when the atmosphere is sporting a temperature of at or below freezing –that is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. There has to be moisture of some amount in the air. Snow reaches the ground when that ground temperature is at or below freezing as well.

February forecasts call for 45% of the month to be in freezing temps. (15 to 32 degrees) 50% of the month will be in cold temps. (32 to 50 degrees) and 5 % to be in cool temps. (50 to 65 degrees) Twelve prime numbers show up in this group of temps.

Can it be too cold to snow? Primarily speaking-no. As long as there is any amount of moisture in the air it can snow. But the colder the air gets the less amount of moisture it can hold, so the falling flakes will be light and airy.

Native Americans named February full moon Hunger Moon or Moon of the Hungry Fox as the month is a bleak time when not only the fox but other small creatures succumb to lack of food. On the other hand, the full moon has also been called Raccoon Moon and Moon when Frogs First Croak. By the end of the month, mammals such as the raccoon, beaver and others have mated and are preparing to raise the expected family. Frogs may stir in wetlands and swamps as the first warm spells occur.

Today we might call this month’s full moon Restless Moon as humans and animals alike become aware of the northern movement of warmer air up through the states. Some birds are beginning to show up, however early it may seem, to claim their places in parks, wetlands, back yards and woods.

Fishing/Gardening

As gardening catalogs were perused with a fine-tooth comb for seeds and products conducive to a garden of plenty in the coming summer and order forms filled out and mailed, Mrs. Greengate’s mood lightened up quite a bit. On the other hand, Mr. Greengate moaned at the thought of all that labor. It was only when one of his fishing buddies sent him a catalog with all things bright and beautiful for hauling in that prize catch did he perk up.

 While seeds orders included such mild monikers as Touchon carrots, Pinto Gold potatoes, Silver Queen corn, Sun Gold and Cloudy Day tomatoes and Cupcake summer squash, Mr. Greengate’s order blank included macho names like Snake Head minnows, Grave Digger crank baits, Mean-Eye jerkbaits (all available in twelve enticing colors) and an incredible slithery-looking hard bait called BBZ-1 Rat. All in one convenient Cabela’s catalog. If hubby’s package arrives while he is gone it will definitely sit in the workroom, for Mrs. Greengate will not at all be tempted to open it.

Outside the Yard

February second is Ground Hog Day. Since the late 1800s mankind has looked to the mammal for a weather prediction concerning which there are two schools of thought. Some people insist the ground hog/seeing his shadow thing is right 75 % of the time while the others feel it is accurate only 35 % of the time. (Neither are prime numbers.)

Here in southern Ohio, ground hogs, wood chucks or Whistle Pigs as they are sometimes referred to are a normal sight. In farm fields, around the barns, skirting along roadsides, rummaging in gardens and orchards, the largest of North America’s rodents is considered a pest. When chased, cornered or run up a tree (they are excellent climbers), they emit a whistle hence the name whistle pig. They also are known to bark, squeal and grind their teeth to warn others of their plight.

 They are the erroneous subject of the tongue-twister beginning with “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if”. Fact is they do not chew or cut down wood nor could they chuck it anywhere. As far as digging though, they can move hundreds of pounds of dirt in an effort to excavate their burrows.

Word of the Month

Agonistic: pertaining to the range of activities associated with aggressive encounters between members of the same species to establish territory, including threat, attack, appeasement or retreat. Ground hogs are good examples of this behavioral inclination. (Of course, so are humans.)

Quote of the Month

“Old groundhog stretched in his leafy bed, he turned slowly and then he said, “I wonder if spring is on the way; I’ll go and check the weather today.” Favorite children’s poem-author unknown.

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