By Roger Chambers

April is a month of increasing greenery, smells of fresh earth, and the colors of many perennial bulb flowers. The purple and white of crocuses and snowdrops are soon followed by the yellow and white of daffodils and fragrant hyacinth blooms in red, yellow, blue and white. As daffodils fade toward the end of the month, tulips start blooming with varying shades of red, pink, yellow, orange and white. These colorful flowers are hardy and will survive the snowy and cold days that April occasionally brings.

For the gardener, April is the month for spring cleanup and preparation for planting vegetables. This includes raking detritus, tilling, and adding compost. April is ideal for planting carrots, radishes, beets, and root crops, as well also lettuce, chard, spinach, other greens, and peas. These will survive and do better in cooler spring weather, providing fresh salads by early June.

For the gardener, April is the month for spring cleanup and preparation for planting vegetables. This includes raking detritus, tilling, and adding compost. April is ideal for planting carrots, radishes, beets, and root crops, as well also lettuce, chard, spinach, other greens, and peas. These will survive and do better in cooler spring weather, providing fresh salads by early June.
Sometimes, a late winter snow of a few inches comes, but not every year. Generally, a light jacket is sufficient, but occasionally a raincoat and umbrella for the April showers that “bring May flowers” might be needed.

April 1 is the opening of trout season, which sometimes ends up as an April fool’s errand. This is certainly a marker day for those who enjoy fishing. Many people start training for road races coming up, especially for the Boilermaker in July. People start riding bicycles and using their tennis rackets. In general, most people are outdoors much more as the weather warms up and days are generally pleasant.
Palm Sunday, Easter, and Passover occur in April this year. On the first of the month, jokesters can have their say on April Fool’s Day. Most states celebrate Arbor Day in April with tree planting ceremonies, mostly on a local level. Pan American Day is also in April, celebrating the importance of cooperation across the Americas on many different levels. This is one of the proclamation days that generally gets little attention.
April Holidays and Observances
April 1 April Fools’ Day
April 3 Pascua Florida Day – Observed
April 9 Palm Sunday
April 10 Passover begins at sundown
April 12 Halifax Day, North Carolina
April 14 Good Friday
April 15 Pan American Day
April 17 Patriots Day, Massachusetts and Maine
April 16 Easter Sunday / Orthodox Easter
April 21 San Jacinto Day, Texas
April 22 Earth Day
April 26 Administrative Professional’s Day (Secretary’s Day, 4th Wednesday)
April 28 National Arbor Day

April, the Environment, and Nature
April, as spring really takes hold, is a month of spring clean ups with many events that focus on environmental issues and the natural world. National Arbor Day, with a variable date, began in the late nineteenth century in Nebraska with promotion by J. Morton Sterling. Today it is celebrated in most states, though on variable days. Many organizations give away trees to be planted by individuals, civic groups, or student organizations.

Earth Day began in the early 1970s as a day focusing on clean air and water and other environmental issues. There are usually a wide variety of concerts, seminars, programs, cleanups and public forums during the last half of April. Shredding of sensitive documents and collections of hazardous household cleaners, paints, solvents and medications are often organized.
This year, April 29 will likely be a big day of environmental action, focusing on Mr. Trump’s first hundred days in office. There will be a large demonstration in Washington and likely smaller ones in other cities around the country. The focus is expected to be on drastic cuts proposed in Environmental Protection Agency and the likely reluctance of the Trump administration to pursue reducing CO2 and other emissions related to global warming and agreed to at the international conference in Paris.

One event celebrating the natural world is the likely opening of trails in the area of Trenton Falls for a weekend of open hiking. This is a great scenic wonder north of Utica near Prospect with 19th-century visits by many notable people. Private property with a long history of dams and power production, this was closed off for most of the 20th century. It is now typically open for public hiking, ideal for families, on a weekend in April (date not yet known) and again in September or October.
In the Night Sky
Moon Phases for April
First Quarter Moon March 3
Full Pink Moon March 11
Last Quarter Moon March 19
New Moon March 26
Mercury appears low in the western sky shortly after sunset, with Mars, not too bright, close by. Jupiter is at its closest to the earth and is very bright at magnitude -2.3. The gas giant appears near the star Spica on the 7th, and near the Moon on the 10th, Jupiter rises at sunset and is visible all month.
Saturn is visible below the waning gibbous Moon on the 16th, rising about midnight. Venus is again a morning star late in the month. it is near the moon on the 23rd and appears at it brightest on the 30th of the month.
Rising and Setting Times of Celestial Bodies
Sunrise 6:07 a.m. Sunset 7:51 p.m.
Moonrise 3:35 a.m. Moonset -2:22 p.m.
Mercury Not visible
Venus Rises 4:38 a.m. Morning star
Mars Rises 10:19 p.m.
Jupiter Rises 6:19 p.m. Sets-5:50 p.m.
Saturn Rises 12:18 p.m.
Astrology
Taurus March 21 – April 20
Aries April 21 – May 20

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here