Nature Almanac for November 2021

Autumn leaves and gray stones
Autumn leaves and gray stones. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Here in Philadelphia…

As I write this on Friday afternoon, there is a strong wind blowing outside. The sky is gloomy and gray. We are waiting for a rainstorm.

We haven’t had any frost yet. Next week’s night temperatures will dip into the thirties (Fahrenheit).

Plants are full of water and if water is present in the cells and seems when the temperatures fall to freezing (32 degrees F) then the plants freeze and die. I’ll cover my cool-season crops (lettuce, carrots. beets) with a frost protection fabric. The kale and collards will actually be sweetened by the frost. Cool season and winter hardy crops don’t mind cold temperatures.

Local Organic Sustainable Food

I am upping my kitchen garden game. I’m reading Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest: Organic vegetables from your home garden all year long. The cool season crops and growing methods are very useful to me. In the cool season the crops don’t grow but sort of hibernate. You can harvest them through fall and winter with some protection.

I picked leaves of swiss chard and sautéed them for breakfast with scrambled eggs yesterday. I really enjoy harvesting vegetables, fruits, and herbs from my backyard kitchen garden. I finished reading Nicole Johnsey Burke’s Kitchen Garden Revival in October. I found her book very inspirational. Both books advise gardener’s to keep the garden simple and small.

Having an organic kitchen garden ‘grocery store’ or ‘farmer’s market’ in my backyard, eliminates fuel and transportation costs, pesticides, herbicides, and many other ‘cides’. And you can’t get anymore fresh or local.

photo of Open star cluster, the Pleiades.
Open star cluster, the Pleiades. Juan lacruz, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Pleiades Update

If you read the post, Using the Pleiades as a Natural Calendar, you might want to check out the videos I added to the post. The videos talk a little about the constellation and how to find it in the night  and early morning sky.

Yesterday, I saw a groundhog walking along the edge of a thicket. It was fat. And still awake. The weather is still mild here in the Delaware Valley. The trees still have most of their leaves. Why go to sleep in a stuffy old den when you can walk around in the sweet autumn sunshine?

Female Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) eating black sunflower seeds in my garden. Photo by Donna L. Long.
Female Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) eating black sunflower seeds in my garden. Photo by Donna L. Long.

From my nature journal

October 6, 2021, New Hunter’s Moon Waxing to Full.

The squirrels which scout the front porch for food are very young. They are too skinny for this time of year. It’s three weeks before the first fall frost is due and they have little fat on their bodies. How will they make it through the winter?

Last month I find o dead adult squirrel. I think it was their mother. The dead squirrel was full grown and looked very healthy. It drowned in the rain barrel in my garden. I had screening and coverings over the barrel but somehow she managed to fall into the barrel and drown. I gave her a proper burial in the woods.

The three skinny squirrels which count my front porch as their home territory, dig in my flower pot. Potting soil is scattered on the floor. Just about every day I have to clean it up. They are searching for food.  And they very young and inexperienced.

Hunger is a terrible thing.So, I left a small pile of slightly stale almonds for them, I put the pile is a sheltered spot so they could eat in peace. Through the open front door I watched and waited. One young squirrel wandered up to the almonds. It grabbed a nut in its paws, sniffed and tasted one almond. Then it scamped off.

Disappointed I wondered if the almonds were too stale or maybe squirrels didn’t like almonds. Maybe they weren’t hungry after all. Then i delighted by a heartwarming sight.

And I was reminded of the verse form the Words Before All Else: “We gather together to send greetings and thanks to all the animals. They have much to teach us as people.”

The first squirrel came back and had brought its’ two siblings. They all sat on their hunches feating on almonds. The world is a beautiful place.

Philly Squirrel Fun Facts with Ed Edge

 

banner of vivid autumn leaves. Photo by Donna L. Long.
banner of vivid autumn leaves. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Nature Almanac for November 2021

How Long Does Autumn Last?

Autumn lasts from the autumnal equinox September 22, 2021 to December 21, 2021. That’s 90 days.

  • Autumn Equinox – September 22, 2021
  • Winter Solstice December 21, 2021
  • Spring Equinox – March 20, 2022

As the growing season closes, and insects, spiders, and butterflies have disappeared until spring. I turn my attention skyward. I feel so small and also so infinite when looking deep into the dark night sky

Events to Watch

Partial Eclipse of the Moon November 18-19. The eclipse will be visible from North America and Hawaii.

Taurid Meteor Shower November 9th originating in south part of sky, with 3 meteors per hour.

Leonid Meteor Shower, November 17-18, originating in south part of sky, with 10 meteors per hour

Andromedid Meteor Shower, November 25-27, with 5 meteors per hour

Event Not Visible to North America

Total Eclipse of the Sun on December 4th. This eclipse will be visible from the Falkland Islands, the southeastern most tip of Africa, Antarctica, and southeastern most Australia.The  This Month

The Moon This Month

  • November 4th – New Frost Moon – New moon always rises near sunrise – waxing
  • November 11th – First Quarter Frost Moon  First Quarter rises near noon – waxing
  • November 19th – Full Frost Moon – Full Moon always rises near sunrise
  • November 27th – Last Quarter Frost Moon – Last Quarter rises near midnight – waning

Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day

“The Moon’s path across the sky changes with the seasons. Full Moons are very High in the sky (at midnight) between November and February (winter) and very low in the sky between May and July” – The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2021, p. 102

Midnight Sun At the South Pole – the Sun never sets from September 23rd to March 20th,

Best Fishing – When the Moon is between New and Full : November 4-19

Stars in the Winter Sky

Circumpolar Constellations – from latitude 40 degree north – these constellations are always in the sky: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia, Draco, Cepheus, and Camelopaedalis. link to post

The Sky This Month on Astronomy.com

 

Great Posts You Might Have Missed

Using the Pleiades as a Natural Calendar

Why Do Trees Shed Their Leaves (with video)

Why Do Leaves Change Color? (with video)

How to Observe the Sky In Ten Easy Steps (Astronomy.com)

Nature Study and Nature Journaling Activities

The Autumn Nature Journal

Autumn Nature Journal Prompts

Citizen Science Events to Participate In

Project FeederWatch 21-22 Season begins November 13

Audubon Christmas Bird Count

That’s it for this issue. Look for the next issue at the end of November.

If you have a comment or suggestion, as always leave a comment below.

Happy Nature Journaling!

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