Three guesses.  What do you think this is?

Three guesses. What do you think this is?

Before we start talking about full moons and such, here’s the game of the day.  What do you think that mysterious photo is?  What could it be?  Here is your only hint.  It was discovered between the house and the mailbox.  Please hazard a guess in the comment section.  Tomorrow will reveal the answer.

So today is August’s full moon.  And what a full moon it is!  Not only is it a dazzling full orb in the sky, it’s also participating in a lunar eclipse tonight.  According to the calendar, the auspicious event takes place at 8:39 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  It is called a penumbral eclipse.  Wikipedia defines it for us here.  The moon is passing through the earth’s penumbral.  The shadow of the earth has two distinctive parts (how many of you knew this?) Within the umbra, there is no direct solar radiation. However, as a result of the Sun’s large angular size, solar illumination is only partially blocked in the outer portion of the Earth’s shadow, which is given the name penumbra.  There will be a quiz.

Deep in the raspberry/thimbleberry patch

Deep in the raspberry/thimbleberry patch

Now that we have all the scientific discussion out of the way, let’s return to our full moon year-round theme of Ojibway names for the monthly moons.  August is the Berry Moon.  Go figure!  We’ve been on the theme of berries all summer. June was Strawberry Moon, followed by July’s Raspberry Moon.  I might suggest that August should be Blueberry Moon or Thimbleberry Moon, but perhaps the abundance of berries resulted in the generic name. 

However, and this is where it gets confusing, the guy on the radio this morning called it the Sturgeon Moon.  Which a cursory google search revealed is a name “some” Native Americans call this August moon.  My search didn’t reveal what tribe, but explained that many sturgeon are caught in the Great Lakes this month.  (Since we viewed the documentary all about the sturgeon at the Omni Theater in Duluth last month…I am inclined to believe that incredible ancient fish provided much sustenance to the tribes in earlier times before it nearly went extinct.)  P.S.  Even if you caught an elusive sturgeon these days, your instructions are to release.  Or suffer the wrath of the Department of Natural Resources and conservationists everywhere.  Let those sturgeon go.

I decided to pick berries this afternoon instead of go fishin’. 

Ripe and ripening thimbleberries

Ripe and ripening thimbleberries

And what a successful bowl of berries lies ready for tomorrow morning’s breakfast!  Once again, berries will herald the day.  The mingling flavors and textures of thimbleberries and raspberries make for a delightful treat.  As everyone knows, wild berries are much smaller than the cultivated berries you buy at the store or farmers market.  But wild berries taste jam-packed full of flavor.  Big is not always better.

Back to the full moon.  I hope you all glimpse it.  Last night it was a glowing orange-red ball in the southeastern sky around 9 p.m., attempting to crest above the trees in our woods.  Breathtaking beauty. 

Bowl of berries (look at the size of the thimbleberry leaf--bigger than a hand)

Bowl of berries (look at the size of the thimbleberry leaf--bigger than a hand)

Now for the quiz.

1.  What is the first photo?

2.  What is the penumbral?  (ha ha, I had to go back and read again!)

3.  Do you think it’s the Berry Moon or the Sturgeon Moon?

4.  Will you remember to go outside tonight and admire the moon?

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