Falling Leaves

The full Moon for this month occurs tomorrow the 23rd.

The most common name for the October full moon is the Hunter’s Moon. It’s the first moon after the harvest moon. It was so named because it was the preferred month to hunt. Summer-fattened deer and other animals will find it harder to hide in now bare fields and trees and shrubs that have lost leaf cover. Like the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon is also particularly bright and long in the sky, giving hunters the opportunity to stalk prey at night.

I chose to title this post with a less common but more poetic name – the Moon of Falling Leaves. That’s one of a long list of names given to the this Moon by Native Americans who generally used names related to natural events in their part of the Earth.

Moon When Quilling and Beading Is Done was a name used by the Dakota Sioux. You can get a sense of where a tribe lived by the name they used: Moon When the Water Freezes, Moon of the Changing Seasons, Leaf Fall Moon, Basket Moon, Big Wind Moon, Travel Moon and the Dying Grass Moon.

Colonists called it (depending on when it occurred in the calendar) the Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, or sometimes the ancient Blood Moon. One word names were more popular with hem than the Native Americans.

October or Octem, was the eighth month in the oldest Roman calendar. Their Blood Moon takes its name not from the color of the moon or blood sacrifices, but from the old custom of killing and salting down livestock before the winter months made it difficult or impossible to feed them. Only the choicest stock was kept through the cold season.

I am an October baby, so I love this month and autumn is my favorite season.

Today we consciously or subconsciously begin to make preparations for the coming Winter during this time. Unless you live in the far south in the U.S., this is the time to check your car’s antifreeze and tire tread, get out the shovels and scrapers, clean out the dead plants in the garden, bring in the houseplants and garden hoses, and worry about drafts around doors and windows.

Many of us try to postpone the inevitable and avoid turning on the heat and putting on a heavy coat because it feels like we are admitting that cold weather is here.

Garden cleanup has always been a part of my October.  I actually enjoy putting the garden into shape for winter, doing fall cover planting and even putting in some bulbs and plants (from garlic to crocuses) that like fall planting.  I always attempt (and generally fail) to clean out the garage. I figure the basement cleaning can be done in the winter. Do you have any fall cleaning rituals?