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From the Publisher's Desk – Sometimes I'm a little 'spacey' (July 15, 2015 issue)

There will be some big happenings around the world. Some may even be getting ready to take place with you. I hope you are up for the challenge.
I am speaking about the Blue Moon. We have one occurring on July 31, 2015. Remember those things you said would happen “Once in a Blue Moon?” Remember what you said you would do “Once in a Blue Moon?” Lookout, it’s time to make good.
According to recent definitions, a Blue Moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. For a Blue Moon to occur, the first of the full moons must appear at or near the beginning of the month so that the second will fall within the same month (the average span between two moons is 29.5 days). We had a full moon July 1 and the next one is July 31.
I have always been amazed by the Moon. It holds such nighttime beauty along with amazing power on Earth to be so far away from us. Its position around the earth allows it to reflect the sun’s light into our night. The moon’s orbit around the earth lasts about a month giving us different levels of this light. The “new moon” has little light to offer and the “full moon” provides us with the best lighting. The second effect comes from the Moon’s gravitational pull on the earth. As the earth rotates, the Moon’s pull causes the world’s bodies of water to experience “high tides.” At a given time there are two high tides on earth. The gravitational forces between the Earth and the Moon cause some interesting effects on our oceans.
I grew up planting by “the signs.” The older farmers knew what was the best phase of the moon and calendar signs. I still have a worn copy of a little book given to my family years ago by a good friend who passed away several years back. The book was “Planting by the Signs – God’s Ways.”
Now I didn’t try and apply everything in the book to my everyday life, but I did use the book for crops and proved it the “signs” for myself. The book also includes the signs for getting teeth pulled, weaning babies, curling hair, deadening shrubs and trees, making jelly and other such tips.
Just as many before them, my ancestors realized the importance of the Moon and sun not only to the existence of Earth but in connection with their everyday life.
Speaking of space, I must have been spaced out recently and didn’t realize the rocket “New Horizons” was headed toward Pluto. This news came to me as a surprise Sunday when Spud Chaffin told me at church. If you know Spud, you know he likes to joke so I did have my doubts at first, but I researched and, sure enough, it’s true.
Anyway, by the time you read this there should be plenty of photos and information on Pluto since the flyby is July 14. The rocket was launched nine years ago, in 2006 and has traveled 3.6 billion miles from home.
I still remember the excitement this little 9-year-old boy had when he heard Neil Armstrong’s most famous line – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I watched that in 1969 on the black and white TV in our living room. It still seems amazing to me that we can leave this Earth, land on the Moon and return. Now here we are getting a look a Pluto.
July has even more to offer. We are now in the beginning of those famous “Dog Days.” The Romans considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). The Dog Days originally were the time of the year when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun.
Dog Days were originally believed to be an evil time “the Sea boiled, the wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria of 1812.
The Ancient Greeks thought that Sirius emitted something that could affect dogs adversely, making them behave abnormally during “Dog Days,” the hottest days of the summer.
In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days ran from July 24 through Aug. 24. The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional period of Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending Aug. 11.
I grew up hearing that whatever weather pattern we entered Dog Days with was how it would be for the 40 days. I have tried to watch that over the years and it seemed to somewhat hold true. If it started rainy, look out. If it started hot and dry, it was going to get hotter and dryer.
I’m not quite sure how to interpret this year’s Dog Days. It seems we had hotter than normal weather starting early in the season. We are getting some rain now but neither element of heat or rain seem to be dominating the pattern.
I don’t claim to be an expert on any of these subjects. I got my first lesson as a child from Mother Goose and I’m sticking with it. The rockets weren’t the first to explore the moon – a cow was.
“Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon; the little dog laughed to see such a sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon.” It’s right there. You can’t argue with that.