A Dunkard Springtime

In Genesis 8:22 we read, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease." The early Dunkards knew the land would provide for their needs if they respected it and used it according to God's plan. In the Bible it tells us that the moon and stars will mark our seasons. There were no written directions for how to plant or when to plant. The first farmers used what they did understand to help them and that was the moon's phases and stars as they went through their yearly cycles. Much of the first knowledge on plants was passed down through the generations. Sometimes it was the woman of the family and other times it was the man. The stars had patterns called constellations which circled around the north star everyday, but as the tilt of the earth changed so did the placement of each constellation. The constellations each had a name and each one was important in the planting, because some would cause weeds to grow and others flowers only. The early Dunkards learned to rely on the pattern of the stars, moon and its different phases, and the actions of the animals to know when to plant in the spring. They would wait to plant corn until the oak leaves were as big as a squirrel's ears. Often we forget about the strong pull the moon has on the earth, but without this pull on the earth we would not have our tides. For some reason this pull of the moon also affects the growth of plants. Those who did the planting learned over time that if you plant certain plants when the moon was full that they grew better and had a greater harvest ratio than those that were planted at times when the moon was new. If you wanted root plants like carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips, and such to produce large harvests, then you needed to plant them during the new moon when the pull of the moon was not as great. The moon also was said to cause the water to swell up in the earth which promoted greater plant growth. The sun was also an important part of this growth cycle because it pro-vided the warmth and energy the plants needed to grow. The early Dunkards didn't just rely on the moon's phases for planting, but they also used it to set a hen when hatching chicks, going fishing, hunting, and for even building new houses. These early people were a bit superstitious, and some were even known to practice a few spells when needed. Many of the early pioneers used sayings to help explain weather signs also. Like a red sky in morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight. Those who knew how to use the knowledge of predicting the weather were able to use the phases of the moon and the pattern of storms to put together a year's worth of information that often proved to be fairly accurate. Mr. Acker was one of those special people with a special gift. As the years went by, the Almanac was created which the Dunkards used as a guide for doing many things around the early homes. You may think much of this is just pure silliness, but some professors at Cornell University decided to try it for a year and found that it actually did work. What an amazing world we live in if we only take the time to sit still and listen to nature as our early Dunkards did in the springtime!