Full Flower Moon. Three Chilly Saints, May 11, 12, 13.

May 12, Tuesday - Conjunction of Mercury & Saturn. Conjunction of Mars & Sun.May 13, Wednesday - Joseph Pulitzer III born, 1913. Earthquake measured 4.2 in New Brunswick, 1983. Nature is the art of God.

May 14, Thursday - G.D. Fahrenheit born, 1686. Graft fruit trees now.

May 15, Friday - Gas rationing began, 1942. Sputnik III launched, 1958.

May 16, Saturday - First U.S. 5-cent coin authorized, 1866. Food stamp program introduced, 1939. First Oscars awarded, 1929.

May 17, Sunday - Rogation Sunday. Aristides won first Kentucky Derby, 1875.

Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: What's the story with those chilly saints?

- F.P., Tulsa, Okla.

Answer: Mammertus, Pancras and Gervais (also called Gervatius or Servatius) are the "Three Chilly Saints" who celebrate their feasts each year on May 11, 12 and 13. The three became known in weather lore for predicting what were traditionally the three coldest days of the month.

"St. Pancras Day never passes without frost," is one of the pieces of weather lore. Germans knew these days as "Icemanner," or the Iceman Days, and farmers knew better than to plant vulnerable seedlings before the Icemen had come and gone. The English and French saw the Three Chilly Saints as harbingers of a late spring frost.

The Three Chilly Saints have also been called the Ice Saints or Frost Saints and their three days are sometimes called "the blackthorn winter."

A fourth saint, St. Boniface, with his feast day on May 14th, is occasionally linked with the other three. In New England, our Memorial Day is sometimes used as the date after which it is safe to plant early crops. In the same way, the Three Chilly Saints days were used in slightly more temperate climates to guide planters in their work.

Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: I keep reading about the new "politically correct" words for things. Can you give me some examples?

- H.E. Atlanta, Ga.

Answer: There are politically correct (or "PC") words that exhibit no bias, superiority, or particular world view. Birth name is such an example, replacing maiden name to remove any value judgments on women who choose not to marry, or a woman who chooses to retain her birth name after marriage. Then there are the euphemisms that attempt to desensitize issues of appearance or physical disability. Thus, full-figured is often used to replace overweight, or aurally impaired instead of hard of hearing.

Visually impaired is a way to avoid mentioning eyeglasses. We've even heard of vertically challenged for short!

New words for various prejudices have appeared, including heightism, ageism, sexism, colorism or Afrocentrism. The business world has taken on new terms for failure (negative outcome) and success (positive outcome). No one speaks of the poor anymore; you'll hear economically challenged or underprivileged or, more rarely, marginalized. Impaired, challenged and "-ism" are nearly sure-fire tip-offs to a politically correct word or phrase, so watch for those, as well as "person" used to replace man, as in personhole for manhole (more commonly, utility entrance) or persons of color. Listen to any politician speaking and you'll gather a whole new crop.

Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: Does the Full Flower Moon refer to one flower in particular?

- G.N., Benicia, Calif.

Answer: No, it denotes spring flowers or May flowers, but those will vary from place to place in the month of May. This May Moon is otherwise known as the Full Milk Moon or the Full Corn Planting Moon. It is followed, in June, by the Full Strawberry Moon. The origins of these Moon names vary and are somewhat uncertain; some probably came to the New World with the Pilgrims, while others are believed to be from the Native Americans.

Almanacs have used the Moon names for centuries. Gardeners who believe in planting by the Full Moon (as many do) take special note of this month's Moon. The theory is that geotropism, the effect of gravity on plants, is greater at the Full Moon, helping those above-ground plants (beans, broccoli, cucumber, corn, lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.) to spring up. Conversely, when the Moon is on the wane and the gravitational forces decrease, root crops (potatoes, beets, leeks, onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc.) burrow deeper into the ground.


Additional Information

This Week with The Old Farmer's Almanac

May 11-17, 1998

Full Flower Moon, May 11.

G. D. Fahrenheit

Happy birthday, G. D. (that's Gabriel Daniel) Fahrenheit, born on May 14, 1686. This German physicist was born in Danzig and made great strides in improving the thermometer, first using ethyl alcohol and later, around 1714, mercury. The new temperature scale he devised is named for him, making his surname (if not his initials) a familiar one in virtually every household that's not using Celsius (named for anders Celsius, but that's another story). Few of us realize that Mr. Fahrenheit also improved the hydrometer and the hypsometer.

It was so cold I almost got married.

- Shelley Winters

Tip of the Week

Stop oven spills from smoking by sprinkling them with salt. Wipe clean after the oven cools.

Pumpkin Bread

1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup scalded milk

1/2 yeast cake

1/2 cup lukewarm water

5 cups flour

Combine pumpkin with sugar, salt, shortening, and milk. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water. When the pumpkin mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add dissolved yeast and flour. Knead well, cover, and let rise in a warm place overnight. In the morning, shape into a large loaf and bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake another 40 minutes.

Makes 1 loaf.

The Old Farmer's Weather Proverbs

Three Chilly Sainsd (May 11, 12, 13) may bring frost.

Who shears his sheep before St. Gervatius' Day (May 13) loves more his wool than his sheep.

A wet May makes a big load of hay.

Warm and nice, but the lake's still like ice.