Modern Moons

After July’s ending heat wave, we look at August’s 80 degree days and believe it to be cooling down for autumn. In fact it is. With only four days predicted to be in the nineties, August is marked by gradually falling daily high temperatures. Daily lows will range from 70 to 61 degrees.

The length of August days is also decreasing. By month’s end, we will be just over one hour short on daylight. August 31st will be the shortest day of course with 13 hours of daylight. Still, that is enough time for crops to ripen, wild berries to turn purple on the vine, autumn asters to bloom along hedgerows and families to picnic under their favorite shade tree.

While brilliant and abundant sunshine will bless Ohio for most of the month, there are several chances for much-needed rain during the first nine days and later, scattered possibilities.

Bright goldfinches can be seen and heard daily as they nest and raise young. Blackberries can be seen in fence rows and fields, deep blackish-blue fruit, sought after by both wildlife and humans.

Native Americans looked to the full moon as Ripe Moon or Big Ripe Moon, as corn and other field crops were gathering their last bursts of growth and ripening powers. Thunder or Heat Moon was still appropriate as late rains gave the earth a few last soakings. It is a rather quiet month though, as birds molt, cicada buzzing dies down and many schools start classes.

Today the moon might be called Blackberry Moon as those wild berries are ripe for the picking.

Fishing/Gardening

Mr. Greengate is not saying much about fishing right now. He’s nursing a very sore finger from a July encounter with a large Cambarus Diogenes, otherwise known as a crawdad. They are powerful hunters, stealing bait from hooks, fish from lines and fingers from distracted anglers. While I have much sympathy for an injury, it seems to be turning into the beginning line of another ‘how the big one got away’ story. Hopefully, the only days (three) marked as good fishing on the bait store calendar will quietly pass by as we work on gathering and processing green beans and tomatoes from a prolific garden. Just enough rain and high temperatures have given everything the optimum growing conditions. Even the rabbits in the next field over are welcome to recon this side of the fence. There is plenty to share with all sorts of creatures.

Outside the Yard

August is a last chance for family vacations. Many interesting activities are planned by the Ohio Parks Department. Need to sort through belongings and have a yard sale while a last vacation beckons? You can do both on August 6, 2016, at the Camper’s Yard Sale at Rocky Fork State Park. Call the park office at 937-393-4284 or 937-393-3210 for details about camping and participating in the yard sale.

Everyone loves Mark Twain. Look for Mark Twain Family Fun Day at Blue Rock State Park in Blue Rock, Ohio, on August 6, from 10 to 5. Old time games and fun for all ages. Call the park office at 740-674-4794 for more information.

Stargazing your interest? The Perseids Meteor Shower Campout at Caesar Creek is on the 13th of August. Camp on the beach as you enjoy the sky show. Registration opens at 4 p.m. that day. All funds raised support the Nature Center. For more info call 513-897-2437 or go to their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/caesarcreekstatepark

Finally, if you enjoy somebody else doing the cooking while you vacation, check out Country Breakfast at Mt. Gilead State Park. VIPs (volunteers in parks) will cook their legendary country breakfast of pancakes, sausage gravy, biscuits, eggs and more. Only asking donations, the moneys will go back to the park for improvements. Held in the shelter house near the camp store, breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. Check out Mt. Gilead State Park website or Face Book page for more info.

Word of the Month

Karmadharaya: a compound of two words, in which the first is an adjective and the second is a substantive, i.e. blackberries, daylight.

Quote of the Month

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Warren Buffett.