01 November 2012


Next was November; he full gross and fat
As fed with lard, and that right well might seem;
For he had been a fatting hogs of late,
That yet his brows with sweat did reek and steam,
And yet the season was full sharp and breem;
In planting eke he took no small delight,
Whereon he rode, not easy was to deem
For it a dreadful Centaur was in sight,
The seed of Saturn and fair Nais, Chiron hight.

"This name signifies the ninth month, which position it occupied in the ten-month calendar ascribed to Romulus.  The name was retained when two additional months were added.  The Emperor Tiberius was born in this month.  Hence the Senate wished to give it his name, following the precedent set by Augustus, but he declined the honor, saying, “What will you do, conscript fathers, when you have thirteen Caesars?"

“It was the Windmonath or Wind Month, of the Saxons, who knew it also as Blotmonath, for this was the month when cattle, pigs, and sheep were slaughtered and preserved for the winter's meals.”  Now begin the days of salting, smoking, and pickling the larger cuts of meat, while the scrapings go into sausages and head-cheese.

Astronomy for November   

Fall Back!  Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 AM on Sunday, the 4th, for those who follow it.  Put your clocks back one hour before you go to bed.

The full moon on the 28th is the Full Beaver Moon (also known as the Full Frost Moon). 

Meteor Showers   
The South Taurid Meteor Shower  peaks after midnight on November 4th and 5th.  The waning moon will be with you all night, so seeing these slow-moving shooting stars won’t be easy.

The moon, what there is of it, rises between 3:00 and 4:00 am on November 11th and between 4:00 and 5:00 am on November 12th, so dress warmly and watch the North Taurid Meteor Shower after midnight on both days.

The almost half-moon sets in the evening and only rises for elevenses the next morning, so this should be a good viewing of the Leonid Meteor Shower on November 17th  - 18th,  (barring any clouds, of course).  Best time to watch is (brrrrrr) pre-dawn on both days.

See EarthSky's Meteor Shower Guide for a list of upcoming showers.

Novenas for November
This month is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.  EWTN has a novena for them and for us.  It takes nine days (nov = nine), so I start over again on the 10th, and again on the 19th, making the entire month one of prayer. On the 28th, I triple the prayers, so that that the nine prayers are again said on the final three days.

And if that is too much, try to find time each day to say Saint Gertrude's Prayer:
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

Holy Souls in Purgatory             continues from 24 October
Saint Martin de Porres                continues from 25 October
Christ the King (General)           begins 16 November
Saint Francis Xavier                   begins 24 November
Saint Nicholas                             begins 27 November


Dull November brings the blast
Then the leaves are whirling fast. 

Weather for November 
Based on the 12 Days of Christmas: Mostly sunny and very, very cold. 
Based on the first 12 Days of January: Mostly sunny and mild. 
Based on the Ember Days:  Cloudy in the morning, clearing to a lovely, golden day.

Weather Lore for November: 

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. [A pretty safe bet, no matter what the weather of October and November]

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

If the robin becomes more familiar than usual at the fall of the year, a severe winter may be expected.

Ice in November brings mud in December.

If there's ice in November that will bear a duck, there will be nothing at Christmas but mud and muck.

Flowers in bloom late in autumn indicate a bad winter [even if the bad winter won’t show up until the following year]

As in November, so the following March.

A heavy November snow will last until April.

Thunder in November, a fertile year to come.

A wet November, a plentiful year.

11/1 - If All Saints' Day will bring out the winter, Saint Martin's Day will bring out Indian Summer (and vice versa)

         All Saints’ Day has a little summer of three days. When it is warm at this time of year, it is called “All Saints’ Rest”.

         If on All Saints’ Day the beechnut be found dry, we shall have a hard winter; but if the nut be wet and not light, we may expect a wet winter.

         As on November 1st, so is the winter.

11/4 – If it storms on the first Sunday of the month, it will storm every Sunday.

11/10 – The weather on Martinmas Eve is supposed to indicate the weather for the winter, and where the wind is, there it will be for the coming winter.

            If there is a frost before Martinmas, the winter will be mild.

11/11 – Around St. Martin’s day, we can expect some warm weather.  This is called St. Martin’s Summer.
            At St. Martin’s Day, winter is on his way.

            If ducks do slide at Martintide, at Christmas they will swim;
            If ducks do swim at Martintide, at Christmas they will slide.

            If the geese stand on ice, they will walk in mud at Christmas.

            If Martinmas is fair, dry, and cold, the cold in winter will not last long.

           If the wind is in the south-west at Martinmas, it remains there until after Christmas (Candlemas for the optimists), and we shall have a mild winter up to then and no snow to speak of.

           Wind north-west at Martinmas, severe winter to come.

           If the leaves of the trees and grape vines do not fall before Martin’s Day, a cold winter may be expected.

           If this day be fair, the next winter will bring but little rain and snow along with it; but if the first half of the day be clear and the other half cloudy, the beginning of winter will accordingly be fair, but its end and spring will turn out rigorous and disagreeable.

11/21 - As November 21st, so is the winter.

11/25 - As at Catherine foul or fair, so will be next February.
November take flail,
Let no more ships sail.


"The business of the garden this month is principally in preparing manure, making all clean and neat, and defending plants against the coming frosts."

Thunder in November, a fertile year to come.

A wet November, a plentiful year.

When in November the water rises, it will show itself the whole winter.

11/1 - Set trees at Allhallowtide, and command them to prosper; Set them after Candlemas, and entreat them to grow.

           If the weather holds clear on the first of November, sow the last of your wheat for the year.

           Begin making cider today

11/5 – Tulips should be planted today.  In fact, if the weather holds, and you have not already done so, now is a good time to dig up, separate, and replant any spring-flowering bulbs – tulips, daffodils, narcissus, hyacinths, etc.

11/9 – Plant raspberry canes today.

The 1817 Almanac advises the gardener: "If the season proves mild, you may continue to prune Apple Trees, be they Standards, Wall Fruit, or Espaliers; but you should not prune them later, lest Rains and Frosts should hurt the Trees, when the Wounds are fresh.”

“Trench your Ground, by laying it up in Ridges to mellow.  Set Crab-Tree Stocks to graft on; continue to plant Suckers and Cuttings of Gooseberries, Currants and Raspberries; make Hot-beds for Asparagus; fell Coppices, and lop Trees, plant Timber and Fruit-Trees, if the Weather be open."

Cassell’s Illustrated Almanac 1871 for November
Flowers —Plant hyacinths early in the month, and tulips should also be in the first week, if possible. Climbing plants and flowering shrubs may now be obtained and planted. Take up dahlias; watch any plants you may have in pits, giving them light and air freely on the few milder days of the month, and carefully covering them again as soon as the sun goes down.

Vegetables —A sowing of early beans may now be made, at a depth of about two inches, and when they rise they must be well protected with litter. Clear away all decayed leaves from your young crops, and keep the ground well cleaned between the plants. Cover over the crowns of rhubarb and seakale with dry dung, sand, or some similar material.

Fruit —The pruning and transplanting of fruit trees should now be completed. Newly-planted trees of a tender kind should be well protected against frost, and fruit trees on walls may now be freely pruned, and their training attended to.

… Mushrooms and the Fungus race,
That grow as Allhallowtide takes place.   (Nov 1)
Soon the evergreen Laurel alone is seen,
When Catherine crowns all learned men.    (Nov 25)


"The best Physic this Month is good Exercise, warm Clothes, and wholesome Diet.  But if any Distemper afflict you, finish your Physic this Month, and so rest till March."

November. Engraving by Samuel Williams. William Hone, The Everyday Book and Table Book, (1838), p. 1418

November – Group Around a Fire. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898), p. 755