01 October 2012


“Then came October, full of merry glee,
For yet his noule was totty of the must,
Which he was treading, in the wine-fat’s see,
And of the joyous oil, whose gentle gust
Made him so frolic, and so full of lust:
Upon a dreadful scorpion he did ride,
The same which by Diana’s doom unjust
Slew great Orion; and eke by his side
He had his ploughing-share, and coulter ready tide.”

"This month was so named because it was the eighth month in the primitive Roman calendar ascribed to Romulus.  It became the tenth month in the calendar as revised by Numa, who added January and February, but it retained its original name, the more readily, perhaps, because it once more became the tenth month when the year commenced, as it did in early Christendom, with March.  Julius Caesar in his revision of the calendar gave it thirty days, which number was changed to thirty-one by Augustus.  As was the ease with September, many Roman Emperors sought to change its name in their own honor.  It was successively Germanicus, Antoninus, Tacitus, and Herculeus, the latter a surname of the Emperor Commodus.  But none of these names clung.  The Roman Senate had no better luck when they renamed it Faustinus, in honor of Faustina, wife of Antoninus.

The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleth, a name which indicated that winter approached with the full moon of the month.  In old almanacs the sport of hawking is adopted as emblematical of this which was accounted the last month of autumn."  William Shepard Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 762 (1898).

Astronomy for October: 
The full moon this month, on the 29th, is the Hunter's Moon.  As farmers could bring in their crops into the evening hours with the aid of the Harvest Moon last month, so hunters are given extra hours to fill their game bags this month.

Two meteor showers this month:
The Draconids, which peak this year on the 7th and 8th.  The moon will be in its last quarter (a half moon) and won’t rise until after midnight, so viewing these falling stars around nightfall should be easy. If it isn’t too cold, I like to fire up the grill for a last barbecue and enjoy the show (well bundled-up, of course), even if there isn’t much of a show.

The Orionids return around the 21st . The first quarter moon sets before midnight, so if you can get out of your warm bed in the wee (and very chilly) hours before dawn, you’ll be able to view this shower with no problem.

Novenas for October
Saint Francis of Assisi            continues from 25 September
Saint Faustina Kowalska        continues from 26 September
Our Lady of the Rosary          continues from 28 September
Our Lady of Good Remedy    continues from 29 September
Saint Gerard Majella              begins on 7 October
The Canadian Martyrs            begins on 10 October
Saint Raphael, Archangel       begins 15 October
Saint Anthony Mary Claret    begins 15 October
Saint Jude                               begins 19 October
Holy Souls                              begins 24 October
Saint Martin de Porres            begins 25 October

Since October is Respect Life Month, consider praying these novenas:
Of course, at the rate we are going maybe we should try the novena for impossible requests.
A good October and a good blast,
To blow the hog acorn and mast.

Weather for October

Based on the 12 Days of Christmas: Mostly cloudy and very, very cold.
Based on the first 12 days of January: Sunny with a slight chill in the air.
Based on the Ember Days: A gloriously beautiful day!  Bright sun, cool temperatures, invigorating!

Weather Lore for October

There are always nineteen fine days in October [Optimists and those who stretch the definition of 'fine' say twenty-one days].

If October is warm and fine, a sharp winter can be expected.

If the latter end of October and the beginning of November be for the most part warm and rainy, then January and February are likely to be frosty and cold. [Likely? LIKELY? Trust me, January and February will be frosty and cold, no matter what.]

                       on the other hand

If October and November are cold, then the following January and February will be mild and dry.

A warm October, a cold February (and vice versa).

As the weather in October, so will it be the next March.

Much rain in October, much wind in December.

Thunder in October signifies great winds and a dearth of corn.

If there is thunder in October expect uncertain and changeable weather during the winter.

For every fog in October, there will be a snow in winter; heavy or light accordingly, as the fog is heavy or light.

Full moon in October without frost, no frost until the full moon in November.

If October brings heavy frosts and winds, then will January and February be mild.

Much frost and snow in October betokens mild weather in winter.

If it freezes and snows in October, January will bring mild weather, but if instead there is thunder and lightning, the weather of January will be as changeable as April.

If the first snow falls on moist, soft earth, it indicates a small harvest in the following year, but if it falls on hard, frozen ground, there will be a plentiful harvest.

If, during the fall of leaves in October, many of them wither on the boughs and hang there, it betokens a frosty winter and much snow.

Ice in October that will bear up a duck, foretells a winter as wet as muck.

When birds and badgers are fat in October, expect a cold winter.

If the deer’s coat is gray in October, there will be a severe winter.

10/1 – On the feast of Saint Mary, expect the first frosts (this is from Russia, but some of us in the western hemisphere can expect the first frosts about now as well)

10/2 – If the leaves fall upon Saint Leodegarius Day, then will the next year be productive.

10/9 - A hard winter follows a fine St. Denis.

          Where the wind lies on St. Denis, there it will rest for three quarters of the year.

10/14 - If St. Calixtus' day be dry and windy, the winter will be wet, but if it be rainy and still, the harvest will be good.

10/16 - If it is fine on St. Gall's day, it will be fine up to Christmas.

            On St. Gall’s day, expect a late summer (Indian summer)

            A dry St. Gall’s day betokens a dry summer.

10/18 - St. Luke's Little Summer.  In northern Italy, it is called Saint Teresa’s summer, as it falls near the feast of Saint Teresa of Avila (October 15).  In Germany, for the same reason, it is called the summer of Saint Gall (October 16); in Sweden, Saint Bridget’s summer (October 8), and in France, the summer of Saint Denis (October 9).

            On St. Luke’s day, the thunder goes away.

10/21 – St. Ursula brings in winter (or at least the preliminary chills)

10/28 - St. Simon and St. Jude, almost certain to be rainy.

            There is oft times a tempest on St. Jude.

            Winter comes on the day of St. Simon and St. Jude.

             If it doesn’t rain on SS. Simon and Jude, it won’t rain until Saint Cecilia’s day (Nov 22)

 10/31 – Where the wind rises on the eve of All Saints, there it will rise for three quarters of the year following.

October - Hawking
Farming and Gardening for October:

Dry your barley in October,
Or you'll always be sober.  [Barley being necessary for malt, and malt being necessary for beer and whiskey, not paying attention to this admonition could mean a year spent drinking water]

In October, dung your field,
And your land its wealth shall yield.

If the first snow falls on moist, soft earth, it indicates a small harvest next year; but if upon hard, frozen soil, expect a good harvest.

10/16 – After St. Gall, keep your cow in the stall.

The 1817 Almanac advises the farmer to "Transplant your brown Dutch and common Lettuces upon warm Borders, to abide the Winter; sow all Sort of Sallad Herbs upon decayed Hot Beds, such as Lettuce, Cresses, Radish, Mustard, and Spinach.  Earth up Celery, Chardoons, and the Stems of Broccoli Plants to protect them from the Frost."

"Make Plantations of the Suckers of Gooseberries, Currants, and Raspberries.  Cut Artichokes with long Stalks, which you may preserve in the House, by setting them in Sand."

"Continue to sow Wheat, set up your Barley Land, sow Masts for Coppices or Hedge-Rows; plant Quicksets and plash Hedges; and plant all Sorts of Forest-Trees that shed their Leaves."

Cassell’s Illustrated Almanac 1871 for October
Flowers — Clear away all unnecessary growth from the garden, potting all plants requiring protection, and getting the ground generally clear, that it may be turned well over before the winter sets in. The exposure of the soil to the depth of a spade or more, in the frost or snow of winter, will purify the ground and make it productive.

Vegetables — Autumn-sown lettuce and cabbage will now require transplanting. Take up carrots and parsnips when the tops have turned yellow; and continue to earth up celery and to dig potatoes. Turn over all vacant spaces, and prepare for the next crops.

Fruit — Currant and gooseberry bushes may now be transplanted, and they should be carefully pruned, all cross branches being cut away. If propagation is desired, lay some of the strongest shoots. Put a coating of lime round about the stems, to protect the bushes from caterpillars.

Health Advice for October:
"Avoid being out late at Nights, or in foggy Weather; for a Cold now got may continue the whole Winter."

October. Engraving by Samuel Williams. William Hone, The Everyday Book and Table Book, (1838), p. 1346

Hawking. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898), p. 762