Monday, July 26, 2010

July's full moon...

"July's full moon is called the Full Buck Moon.  July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month’s Moon was the Full Hay Moon." ~Farmer's Almanac

It's a beautiful full moon.  Aren't they all?  We can attest to all the reasons that the full July Moon is called by so many names -- all of them evident where we live.  Very soon those velvety buck antlers will begin to itch and they'll come in close to where we have trees and start scraping the velvet off their horns and injure the tree bark of the youngest of the trees.  Now is the time to make sure young trees are properly fenced against the deer.  The deer are also becoming bored with their dry prairie feed so they will start moving in to the home place for some more interesting forage -- tree leaves, carrot tops, geranium petals and other such delicious greenery.
On the plains it is definitely thunderstorm season as well.  We've had temperatures climbing into the upper 90's and low 100's and since we've had a good, wet spring and summer, there is a lot of humidity in the air to help fuel evening thunderstorms.  It's an awesome and beautiful thing to watch thunder clouds form in our big skies.

These evening cloud formations didn't amount to anything but a few sprinkles here, but may have developed more intensity and dropped more rain as they traveled eastward.  We have more clouds developing tonight.  I'm hopeful that the clouds are only of the rain variety and not hail.  Many ranchers around us have had terrible hailstorms that destroyed gardens, wheat fields, hay crops, and damaged homes.

We are still busy cutting hay in the hay fields.  For the second time in my life here on the ranch, we are getting a second cutting of alfalfa on our best field.  We live in dry country where there is no irrigation and usually very little rain in mid-summer and so it is rare, very rare, to get a second cutting of alfalfa.  What a gift.  Most often the second cutting is especially rich in protein and vitamin content and sells for a premium price.  We will make some of it into small square bales for the sheep to feed during lambing time.

If he doesn't get rained out, Hubs will be baling by the light of the Full Hay Moon tonight.  Nights are often the best time to bale alfalfa hay because it starts to cool down and dew begins to develop and give the hay just enough moisture so the leaves aren't beat off the stems as it goes through the baler.  When there is too much moisture in baling, you get rot and mold.  It's a fussy, meticulous process which results in excellent hay.

Happy Buck-Thunder-Hay Full Moon!


  1. I am loving this moon too...and we haven't got a lot of rain but wowza, the thunder and lightening going on is hair-raising! ;D

  2. Jody, your pics of summer skies are breathtaking. Just this week I have heard about the Children's Moon (was that from you, too?) and now the Buck Moon...
    I love the moon. Must look into all his names!

  3. I love your blog. It reminds me of Little House on the Prairie. There's so much to think about -- when to sow and when to reap. It's so beautiful -- thanks for sharing it all with us Jody!

  4. I saw the moon through the trees last night when I was looking out my kitchen window.

    I had to stand there awhile and drink it all in... gorgeous!

  5. I can only imagine the drama of the thunderstorms rolling in. And it's nice to think we're looking at the same moon--only yours has much better names than mine! I wonder if it looks bigger out there. I lived in Kansas when I was in third grade, and as the moon rose into the evening sky it seemed unbelievably huge.

    Congrats on the second wave of alfalfa! Isn't that the funnest word to say?


  6. The sky just seems bigger where you are :0)
    Love the lessons from your prairie!

  7. The moon has been beautiful. Like yall we have had a wet summer. Highly unusual. I could get very used to it. Love the green. Sure perks up this old desert. But the weeds! OH MY.


  8. Wow ~ look at those gorgeous thunderheads! When I was a little girl, we took a road trip to the Black Hills and visited Mt. Rushmore. I'll never forget the ferocious thunderstorm that shook our tiny cabin one sultry evening ~ both terrifying and awesome.

    How providential to get a rare second alfalfa cutting this year. Hoping for eXcellent baling weather tonight and (please Lord) NO hail!

    My Dad had a tough time finding anyone to cut and bale his grass hay field this year ~ his usual fellow retired and not many younger farmers have the equipment, nor the time.

  9. You know because of where you live, it is soo flat and open (well compaired ot here) you get such full views of the sky. That is so cool xoxoo Clarice

  10. Your storms sound wonderful Jody. Oh I do hope the wea
    ther was right for baling, I would love to see it.
    Amy has just been in Bulgaria on mission and she watched them cutting and baling hay manually. She said it was quite a sight and like moving into a different time zone.
    Beautiful pics Jody:)

  11. I love your photos! The storm cloud ones are just jaw dropping gorgeous!


  12. It WAS a beautiful full moon here, too... but hearing about it in your part of the woods (plains) is so fascinating. Loved the details about hay cutting!


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