Modern Moons

April is the month to look heavenwards for clouds of change. Cirrus clouds are high and appear as locks of hair or thin feathers. Cirrostratus clouds are thin, like a white veil or shower curtain.

Clouds that seem to bring a smile and sigh of contentment are Cirrocumulus-those small, white, cottony patches that drift across the blue sky, whispering calm.

More serious in the cloud formations are Stratus clouds. Gray in appearance and shaped the same across the sky, they bring drizzles of rain. Cumulonimbus clouds are large, unstable and dense with rain, thunder and lightning.

The old saying, April showers bring May flowers, depends on those clouds that burst forth with hard or soft rains. Flowers aren’t the only things that follow showers though. Old Native American full moons were called Grass Moon or Wild Goose Moon or Egg Moon. As grass greens up and becomes nourishing, geese and water fowl come into their summer breeding grounds and nests hold clutches of eggs. They know the greener the grass, whether in yards or pastures or along streams, the more likely insects and worms will be available.

Perhaps today’s modern moon would be appropriately named Mowing Moon, for as sure as it rains, the yard will need mowing. Another possibility is Watercress Moon. Ohio streams and creeks are filled with a tasty green blanket of the plant; both water fowl and humans enjoy it.

Fishing/Gardening

Our master fisherman is gone. He decided not to forsake April 1-5, the best five days of the month for crappies and other assorted small frying fish. His local buddies convinced him to join them for a week’s worth of early morning casting across their favorite lake. As one who is herself a bit cabin weary, I could only sigh and help him pack enough blankets and food to stave off any freezing winds and hunger pangs.

In the meantime, in order to sooth my own tortured nerves, I spend most of each day outside. Perhaps it is no more than walking my lines with the resident robins trailing me in case I stir up worms. They stand nearby as I work in the cold frames, stirring up the soil, planting tomato and pepper seeds. As I close the glass roofs for the day, they tilt their heads in disbelief that I would lock them out. They, too, seem to want to get on with summer, even before the best of spring is upon us.

Outside the Yard

A number of fields in nearby farms are almost under water with the late rains. Puddle ducks including green heads and mallards are drawn to these temporary ponds where they feed and pair-off for coming mating. Take a drive and search for these birds of shallow marshes, low areas where rain accumulates and streams. Even roadside ditches hold enough water to be a swim hole for them. Another term for these puddle ducks is dabbling ducks. They tip their head below the water to feed. They eat smartweed, wild rice, coon tail, wild millet, aquatic invertebrates, small fish and snails.

Larger bodies of water attract diving ducks, ones that push their entire bodies below the surface. While diving ducks migrate, puddle ducks are here in Ohio year round.

Kiser Lake State Park is a good place to search for duck life. Besides the large lake, there is a diverse wetlands. Located at 4370 Kiser Lake Road, St. Paris, Ohio, call 937-362-3565 for more info on the marina and camping.

To the south is John Bryan State Park, 3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs, Ohio where miles of hiking trails travel over gently rolling hills. It has a day lodge available beginning April 1 that accommodates 50 people with kitchen/restrooms/covered porch. Call 1-866-644-6727 for more info.

Word of the Month

Mizzly: Adjective form of mizzle. Mizzle is rain in fine droplets, a misty rain or drizzle. Puddle ducks relish a mizzly day.

Quote of the Month

“The best thing we can do when it is raining is to let it rain.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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