The Sun: Perihelion, the point at which the Earth and the Sun are closest to one another, occurs on January 5 at 3:24 a.m. The Sun enters the Late Winter sign of Aquarius on January 20, and its declination passes 17 degrees 31 minutes by the 31st, one quarter of the way to spring equinox.
Phases of the Pussy Willow Cracking Moon and the Lambing and Kidding Moon
December 26: The Pussy Willow Cracking Moon is new at 12:13 a.m.
January 1: The moon reaches apogee at 8:31 p. m
January 2: The moon enters its second quarter at 11:46 a.m.
January 10: The moon is full at 2:22 p.m. (Penumbral lunar eclipse not visible in North America)
January 13: The moon reaches perigee at 3:22 p.m.
January 16: The moon enters its final quarter at 8:15 p.m.
January 24: The Lambing and Kidding Moon is new at 1:45 a.m.
January 29: The moon reaches apogee at 4:29 p.m.
The Planets: Venus is the evening star in Aquarius this month. Mars is the red Morning Star in Ophiuchus. Jupiter and Saturn are in Sagittarius, visible just before first light this month.
The Stars: The bedding plant stars of fertile Pisces lie in the west at midnight, and the stars of late-gestation feeding for sheep and goats follow close behind in Aries. Orion lies in the center of the southern sky, his sword raised for pruning as well as hunting. To the east, Cancer favors the ordering of seeds, and Leo foretells the broody hens.
The Shooting Stars: The Quadrantid Meteor Shower occurs between January 1 and January 5, and reaches its best (up to 40 meteors in an hour) on January 3 and 4.
Meteorology: High-pressure systems are due to cross the country on or around the following dates: January 1, 5, 10, 15, 19, 25, 31. If strong storms occur this month, weather patterns suggest that they will happen during the following periods: January 1-2, 8-12 and 19-24. New moon on December 26 and January 24, and full moon on January 10 are likely to intensify the cold fronts due near those dates.
The Great Outhouse Story Collection
- An Outhouse Shellacking
By Bill Wiseman of Vevay, Indiana
Many years ago, my Uncle Cornelius was an outhouse specialist. He had built and repaired outhouses for years in the hills of Kentucky. He had the reputation of being the best in the area.
One day, he decided to do a little repair work on his own outhouse. Aunt Wilma was gone for the day, and Uncle put new screen in the vent to keep out the wasps and small critters and also put a new latch on the door. Then he decided to sand the seat nice and smooth and put on a coat of shellac, and then off he went to the field to work.
Aunt Wilma came home a little early and went out to set a spell in the outhouse and brought her quilting quarterly along. Well, that shellac didn’t dry, and poor Auntie got stuck on the seat.
Five hours later, Uncle Cornelius came in from the South 40 and heart Auntie hollering back in the outhouse, madder than a hornet.
Well, Uncle had a deuce of a job getting her free – I’ll not mention how. But he never shellacked an outhouse seat again!
- Funny But Lucky
By Sylvia Basinger, Bluffton Ohio
When I was twelve years old, my uncle and aunt invited me to go along with them to Pennsylvania. I asked my folks, and they said I could
This was a great treat for me. It was the first time I left the state of Ohio.
When we arrived at our destination, Aunt Stella had an old-fashioned, cook-stove meal waiting for us. We all ate together.
And then, of course, I looked the outdoors over. My aunt and uncle had a privy, and it was some distance from their house. I went into the outhouse and sat down on the hole.
Suddenly I heard some pigs grunting real loud underneath me! I jumped up off the toilet seat and saw, to my surprise, two half-grown hogs down below!
Luckily, I hadn’t been bitten, but I screamed anyway and ran to the house to tell my Aunt Stella what’d happened. She told her husband, but he just said: “Oh, I cleaned out the outhouse pit, and I forgot to put back the boards.”
Those days are gone forever, but the memory will always remain with me.
- The Cherry Bomb Kid
by Donna Schiver, Clyde, Ohio
I will try to tell you about my husband’s nickname (Cherry Bomb Kid)… as you will see, he earned the name honestly.
In the early 1960s, there were outhouses in the country that were still used, and my husband’s family had one of these. Now he and his brothers were mischievous boys, always doing something for a joke or pulling pranks and always in trouble with their mother.
This one day, the boys had a bunch of bird control firecrackers that farmers used to keep birds out of crops; some people called them cherry bombs. They were outside doing the usual things like blowing up tin cans or scaring house cats when they aw their sister go into the outhouse.
My husband thought it would be fun to scare her. He wasn’t sure what the cherry bomb would do, but he just had to try it. So he crept up to the back of the outhouse and dropped the cherry bomb into a rat hole behind it and waited.
What he didn’t know that his mother was in there too.
His sister heard a hissing and thought there was a snake in the outhouse and started yelling. Their mother was looking for the snake when the cherry bob exploded.
It was a sight never to forget, and still makes my husband laugh so hard that tears roll down his cheeks to this day: The door flew open and smoke rolled out, followed by two creatures that looked like something from horror movies. There were pieces of toilet paper hanging everywhere; they were coughing and wiping stuff from their eyes and yelling my husband’s name because they knew he did it.
My husband and his brothers fell to the ground and roared with laughter and tears for a good hour. But when their mother caught up with them, it was their turn to cry.
We always laugh about the incident, but what really takes the cake is that at one of his mother’s birthday parties, they decided to remind her of the cherry bomb kid, so my husband and his bothers made a little outhouse and put it on her birthday cake with a firecracker inside of it.
Then they lit the firecracker which promptly blew up. There was frosting everywhere, but it brought lots of laughter and memories that we will always treasure!