Last year, when the 2013 almanacs came out, I sat down (back in Flagstaff) and proceeded to block out planting dates for 2013. For those of you who don't plant by the zodiac, basically what I try to do is match up favorable zodiac planting signs and favorable moon planting signs within the frost-free planting season of eastern KY. I'm a fair novice at this, so it's a long job. I make mistakes.
So I sat at a Barnes & Nobles, happy as a displaced farmer-clam could be, scribbling up the 2013 calendar, until I tried to schedule this year's corn planting. Corn (from what I gather) needs to be planted in the sign of Pisces, or the feet. That gives it strong roots, and helps it set good ears, instead of just producing lots of leaves. It also needed to be planted in a waxing moon sign (but not on a new moon date) after the weather got warm enough to get the soil above 50, but with enough time to let it pollinate before the weather hit a consistent 90* (corn stops pollinating above 90* and starts filling out the ears. If it hasn't properly pollinated, that's when you get ears with blank rows (no kernels).
There just was not a good corn planting date for 2013 that I could find. Pisces didn't line up with the proper moon phase at all. I finally decided it just wasn't a good year for a corn crop, and to just plant the corn when I planted other things (which turned out to be moot, since it looks like I won't have the raised beds ready to plant until it is time for the winter crops. Oh well.)
Last week, one of the news sites I follow posted a short blurb about the state of the US corn crop. I went looking, and found this chart on agweb.com:
Corn Planted - Selected States [These 18 States planted 92% of the 2012 corn acreage] ----------------------------------------------------------------- : Week ending : :-----------------------------------: State : May 12, : May 5, : May 12, : 2008-2012 : 2012 : 2013 : 2013 : Average ----------------------------------------------------------------- : percent : Colorado ........: 80 12 32 64 Illinois ........: 94 7 17 64 Indiana .........: 92 8 30 54 Iowa ............: 86 8 15 79 Kansas ..........: 88 17 31 73 Kentucky ........: 95 32 39 66 Michigan ........: 58 5 32 52 Minnesota .......: 86 2 18 68 Missouri ........: 92 22 28 65 Nebraska ........: 89 14 43 77 North Carolina ..: 97 89 92 97 North Dakota ....: 79 1 18 43 Ohio ............: 83 7 46 49 Pennsylvania ....: 53 28 48 45 South Dakota ....: 76 7 37 46 Tennessee .......: 99 56 63 81 Texas ...........: 90 70 78 88 Wisconsin .......: 54 4 14 47 : 18 States .......: 85 12 28 65 -----------------------------------------------------------------
Compared to 2012, farmers this year are way behind the curve on planting, and hot weather is already heading our way (it has been pouring rain and in the 80s here.) Just like the zodiac showed, this is not turning out to be a good corn year.
Danny is fascinated by the whole "planting by the zodiac" and wants to find the underlying reason it works (long-term repeating weather cycles is his current thesis.) I can't understand why/how it works, but it just does. I think we're going to start stocking up on corn for the animals (and maybe us?) before the prices start going up even further.
That just about covers the corn and the zodiac. On to news about us:
Other than watching the corn markets, things here have been busy as ever. Arabella is coming into her ballet recital season, which translates as "hectic." Last Saturday, she performed her part in "Peter Pan"on the courthouse steps and marched in the parade at the town's "Spring Fling." Giselle is busily finishing up her freshman year of high school. Danny has been working what seems like constantly. He works 24 hr shifts, twice per week, and has been picking up extra days for missing/vacationing paramedics at the base. Add in conferences, continuing education, teaching classes, and base meetings, and he hasn't been home very much lately, it seems.
I've been chipping away at house stuff and chasing dead ancestors at off moments. I finally got the kitchen light up (a four fluorescent bulb fixture!), so now we have LOTS of light to cook and wash dishes by. The kitchen had been the darkest room in the house, before. Now I can actually see that the windows need scrubbing, and the refrigerator needs dusting, and, and,...well, maybe the old fixture had its merits. I also got the office outlet properly wired (but ran out of electricians tape, so next paycheck I get to go back up into the attic and wrap all the wirenuts before I close the junction boxes. Joy.)
On the dead ancestor front, I'm beginning to discover just what an interesting sense of humor God has. To begin at the beginning: my maiden name is Spurlock. Growing up in CA, I was the only Spurlock I knew (besides my father, of course.) I thought we were one of those family names well on their way to dying out. Imagine my surprise when I move to eastern KY and find whole passels of Spurlocks. Not just people, but creeks, churches, hills; Spurlocks were everywhere. But from what little I knew of my family, they were all from the mid-west. I hadn't found a connection to the Spurlocks here, so I had let the matter drop.
For our first anniversary, I had bought Danny a 6-month subscription to Ancestry.com so he could chase down his family tree. I know LOTS about my mother's side of the family, but next to nothing about my father's side (my mother didn't talk about them; I grew up thinking my grandfather had died before I was born; I found out that wasn't true when he died in the mid-90s), so one evening I sat down to try to find the name of my greatgrandparents on that side. After fighting with my GGmother's name (which changed from document to document; who names their child Mahulda, anyway!), I finally cracked the code, and the whole family line opened up.
Turns out the Spurlocks are Irish, not Scottish as I had been told. They came over in the 1600s to VA. One of my ancestors married the daughter of an Indian chief, Moytoy of Tellico (she's listed as "Indian Princess" which gave me giggle-fits. No such thing, as I understand it.) Another ancestor, John Spurlock, did move in the 1790s to Floyd County, Kentucky. He established Spurlock Station, which was later renamed Prestons Station, which later still became Prestonsburg, which is the big town in the next county over from where we live. He had 8 children, all of which stayed in the area...except for the one I'm descended from. That one was the family blacksheep and left to avoid being arrested for various reasons (bigamy and fleecing his 'flock' figured prominently in the charges.)
Almost 175 years later, God apparently decided that the remaining Spurlocks (me) had no place in the general population and when I (having failed a finding my place, and being the smart-butt I am) told him, "Well then, YOU find me a house!", out of the vastness of the entire United States of America, he brought me straight back to where the rest of the Spurlocks still live.
Makes me wonder.