Tag Archives: Julius Caesar

Spring Is When the Meadowlark Sings~


Flashes of lightning and the rumble of an approaching thunderstorm woke me early this morning.  Typical crazy March weather here in the Shenandoah Valley.  Yesterday a cold snap followed on the heels of several wonderfully balmy days.  The weatherman predicts more storms this afternoon, but we’re glad for the rain after last summer’s drought and a fairly dry winter.  Cold, but dry.  Now we’re catching up on some much-needed moisture.

Ducks and geese love all the puddles that come with the rain, and our pond is finally full again after dwindling to a sad state last summer. Happy quacks resound against the lovely trill of the meadowlark, my favorite songbird.  Also, one of the first signs of spring.  My goal is to ever actually see one of these elusive birds again.  Supposedly, this shouldn’t such a challenge.  Once or twice, I’ve glimpsed a yellow flash  and spotted the bird perched on a fence post before it flew.  Mostly, though, they hide in the grass and skim away to another spot before I get a good look, calling all the while from various positions in the meadow.

Last spring daughter Elise and I were determined to track down the evasive songster and tenaciously followed its calls, even climbed over the fence into the neighbor’s pasture and picked our way along the little creek, but never caught up with that bird, or birds.  There may have been more than one.  So unless I catch another rare glimpse, I must content myself with their beautiful trills.  Birds like this need tall grasses and untidy hedge rows for nesting.  Bear that in mind in your own yard and garden.  Keeping everything trim and cultivated robs our feathered friends of habitat.  It’s also a good excuse for a less than perfectly kept landscape.     A little wilderness here and there is a good thing.

We have the Eastern Meadowlark.  For more on that variety click here.

For more on the Western Meadowlark~

*Images of our farm taken by daughter Elise. Royalty free Image of meadowlark–until we can finally photograph one.

The Ides Of March and The Old Farmer’s Almanac


I love The Old Farmer’s Almanac website and their interesting newsletters.  Free, btw.  Today’s subject is the Ides of March,  spring tonics and recipes for St. Patrick‘s Day…

In a nutshell, what they say about the Ides of March (March 15th) “has long been considered an ill-fated day. Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C. Historians note that it is likely that a soothsayer named Spurinna had warned Caesar that danger would occur by the ides of March. William Shakespeare included the phrase “Beware the ides of March” in his play Julius Caesar.”

Outside of falling down my steps and skinning my knee, so far the Ides of March have been uneventful here.  And that happened yesterday, so technically it wasn’t The Day yet.  I’ll just sir tight and avoid assassins.

For more on the Ides of March and the Old Farmer’s Almanac click here.

Early history of the Old Farmer’s Almanac:

“The first Old Farmer’s Almanac (then known as The Farmer’s Almanac) was edited by Robert B. Thomas, the publication’s founder.

There were many competing almanacs in the 18th century, but Thomas’s upstart was a success. In its second year, distribution tripled to 9,000. The cost of the book was six pence (about four cents).

To calculate the Almanac’s weather predictions, Thomas studied solar activity, astronomy cycles and weather patterns and used his research to develop a secret forecasting formula, which is still in use today. Other than the Almanac’s prognosticators, few people have seen the formula. It is kept in a black tin box at the Almanac offices in DublinNew Hampshire.

Thomas also started drilling a hole through the Almanac so that subscribers could hang it from a nail or a string. Subscribers would hang the Almanac in their outhouse to provide family members with both reading material and toilet paper.

Thomas served as editor until his death on May 19, 1846. As its editor for more than 50 years, Thomas established The Old Farmer’s Almanac as America’s “most enduring” almanac by outlasting the competition.”

We’ve gotten the annual Old Farmer’s Almanac for years and find that it’s weather forecast is usually right.  Interesting to note that “in 2008, the Almanac stated that the earth had entered a global cooling period that would probably last decades. The journal based its prediction on sunspot cycles. Said contributing meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo, “Studying these and other factor suggests that cold, not warm, climate may be our future.”

With the exception of the blistering hot summer of 2010, this would be true of the Shenandoah Valley.   So far, March has mostly been chilly here, and I see the Almanac is calling for a cooler than normal spring, also a slightly cooler than normal summer. We shall see, but they’re probably right.