Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Snow Moon

At dusk as we pulled out of the driveway from our house to enjoy dinner out, we saw barren wintry trees etched against a magnificently huge Snow Moon. By the time we came home from dinner, the moon was smaller, higher in the sky, yet was shining brilliantly. Incidentally it was fun to clearly see Jupiter nearby!
Since moving here I've learned that brilliantly lit moons that occassionally appear are given different names. Perhaps this is because the various names of the full moons originate with the Native Americans, specifically from the tribes ranging from New England to the Great Lakes. Each full moon was given a distinctive name, to help keep track of the seasons.  Europeans who later settled in these areas picked up the custom.  (information from the Farmers' Almanac)

In the autumn the Harvest Moon (the name I'm most familiar with) showed so much light that farmers were able to harvest longer in their fields, long into the night. The Snow Moon, however, appears in February, and is so named because February tends to be the snowiest month of the year in America.
When I lived in Texas, I certainly started planning my gardens in February. Forsythia blooms in San Antonio in February. However in Northern Virginia, snow is commonly predicted. Indeed the other day we drove in snowflakes, and more snow chances are predicted in our near future.
Therefore, gardening was least on my mind, until An Oregon Cottage announced day 1 of the Tuesday Garden Party!Spring is just around the corner!

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I used to garden quite extensively when we lived in Texas and I've even won some awards. However as my kids grew older and advanced through homeschooling, I became busier. By their middle school years we moved to Virginia. I was even busier yet. Furthermore, I had a lot to learn about gardening in Northern Virginia! It can get just as hot in the summer as we did in San Antonio. However the winters can be dramatically colder and definitely snowier! Perennials that thrived in San Antonio might thrive as summer annuals in NoVA.

My Goals
Last summer I graduated my youngest from homeschooling. Although we've done some gardening since moving here, my husband did most of it. However he kept coming to me with questions and I kept trying to find time to research answers. Now that I at least *think* I have more time, I hope to devote more time to gardening. I certainly envision more from our gardens than we have achieved. I hope to document some of this for future garden parties. Meanwhile, I have during this winter rest started a tab at the top of my blog page to archive specific garden posts. There aren't many...yet! Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, in celebration of the evening of the Snow Moon, here are photos from our first winter here. When we moved here we were told we wouldn't see much snow, perhaps a couple of inches a year with the ocassional blizzard.  Well surprise, surprise, our first winter here the area received a record 50+ inches of snow for the season! From December through February we had regular snowfalls, and we had blizzards. Most of the blizzards each yielded about 10" of snow. However this February blizzard lived up to the name of Snow Moon...yielding 20" where we lived in NoVA (and 30" in other parts of NoVA), the weekend of February 7, 2010. Here are photos from that month of the Snow Moon.

My Texas Longhorn Grill Shivering in NoVA


Look at all that snow!


This was more snow than we had had at one time yet!


The playscape.


At the edge of our driveway looking down our sidewalk.


My kids have never seen this much snow before. Previous storms brought 10". This storm brought 20".


My husband walking down the plowed sidewalk.


Some creative plowing...


Snow hanging from the roof.


Loved these snow views.


Amazing how that snow just hangs there...


Snow and icicles!


A wave of snow in suspension...


Drama in suspense...


Love the Christmas trees!

Note: This was our first winter in Virginia. I had planned on getting sleds for my kids for Christmas. When I went shopping in December, all the sleds had sold out...because December yielded our first major blizzard. I think this was our third...with smaller storms in between.

My Texan kids sledding on our latest experiment...swimming innertubes!


Look how high the snow is when my daughter stands in it!


Well, my son wasn't getting too far so he enlisted my daughter for a push...


Oompf...well that didn't yield much yardage.



Well, obviously we can't do much gardening on these wintery days. However this is the time for planning. I shall be sharing that in future posts, along with our pre-winter prep of the gardens. 

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