Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon comes most often in September bringing with it brilliantly colored leaves, shorter days, and a chill in the air sometimes accompanied - for a brief visit - by Jack Frost himself.  It marks the first view of your own breath on the air.  A time when you start your day with a sweater and end your day in a sweat.  It is a time for reflection on your accomplishments in the garden.  For the very ambitious it is a time for fall planting - for many of the rest of us it is a time to slow down and catch our breath.
The Harvest Moon always shines around the time of the autumn equinox.  It is said that the Harvest Moon was so-named because it was a valuable source of light to help the farmers continue their harvest after the sun had set.  A full moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night while it is full, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon rises at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later.  Making the day time roughly the same length as the night time - thus Equinox:  Equi = Equal,  Nox = Night.

The Moon has always been associated with magic, folklore, superstitious beliefs and ancient rituals.  Here are some sayings you might enjoy related to gardening:

"When the moon is at the full,
Mushrooms you may freely pull
But when the moon is on the wane,
Wait ere you think to pluck again.'"
English Folk-Lore, by the Rev. T. F. Thiselton Dyer, M.A., Oxon. London, 1880, p. 42.

"If the moon shows like a silver shield,
You need not be afraid to reap your field
But if she rises haloed round,
Soon we'll tread on deluged ground."
Dyer's Folk-Lore, p. 42.
Well, I don't know about all of the superstitions and folklore, but I do know that I love this time of year.  Autumn is a wonderful time to sit back and enjoy the time we have on this beautiful earth.  With that I leave you with one last poem:

"I see the moon, and the moon sees me.
God bless the moon, and God bless me."
God bless you all - now go out and get your hands dirty! 
(And leave some comments!  I get lonely talking to myself.)


  1. Fall is a wonderful time of year!! (it's my favorite too). Interesting stuff about the moon but it makes sense the farmers didn't have all the equipment with lights we have today. I also liked the poems. Thanks

  2. I caught sight of the harvest moon this year. The sky was clear and the moon shone so brightly. Right below it was what I thought at first to be a star. Later I learned that it was Jupiter. I've been watching the last few nights but have not seen the two together so perfectly again.

  3. Harvest moon -- is that when it shines huge and orange?


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