Urban Almanac

The Urban Almanac: October 2017

By Diane Olson

A monthly compendium of random wisdom for the natural world and beyond.

October 1 Sunrise: 7:24am. Sunset: 7:09pm. Historic average: 72° high; 46° low.

October 2   International Day of Non-Violence and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. “There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.” (The Story of My Experiments With Truth, 1927)

October 3 Utah is home to 18 species of bats —the only mammal capable of true flight. Utah bats roost in caves, mines, hollow trees, leafy plants, rock cliffs and buildings and eat mostly insects.  [October is

Bat Appreciation Month] WildAwareUtah.org.

October 4 Blessing of The Animals Day. See CATALYST Calendar for ceremonies near you.

October 5 Full Hunter’s Moon: Rising just after sunset and setting around sunrise, this moon is in the sky all night long.

October 6 Want a local organic turkey for Thanksgiving? Order now. Last year we got ours from Old Home Place Heritage Farms. They have a pick-up location near the University of Utah.

October 7 Time to plant garlic, lilies, rhubarb, roses, shallots, spring bulbs, trees and shrubs. Don’t fertilize new plantings this time of year; the new shoots and leaves will freeze.

October 8 Big nourishment is in those Jack o’ Lantern seeds. Toss with butter and toast in a 350 oven for 30 min.

October 9 Drink Local Wine Week begins. Support your local wineries.

October 10 National Face Your Fears Day. Need help? Read The Art of Fear (HarperCollins, 2017) by Salt Lake City skiing superstar Kristen Ulmer.

October 11 Transplant perennials, shrubs, strawberries and trees, trim blackberry and raspberry canes and cut back vines.

October 12 Frost predicted? Here’s how to extend the garden season a few weeks: Cover tender plants with lightweight blankets, sheets, newspapers, buckets or floating row covers. Uncover them after the temperature rises above 32ºF.

October 13 Golden eagle migration is at its peak. Brine shrimp are laying their eggs (called cysts) in Great Salt Lake. Young spiders are ballooning on silken parachutes into new territory.

October 14 Trilobites lived on the sea floors and reefs for millions of years. The Antelope Springs area of Utah’s Millard County is one of the best places on Earth to find trilobite fossils.

October 15   Pull up spent annuals and cut back perennials. Keep digging up bindweed and other perennial weeds. If you have a serious bind weed problem, try choking it out with cover crops.

October 16 Mottephobia is a fear of moths. It was long believed that moths were the souls of the dead flinging themselves against the windows of the living.

October 17 Conifers, like deciduous trees, shed in the fall. Because the oldest needles are shed, the inner areas of the tree closer to trunk become less dense than the outer areas. Pine trees usually shed three-year-old needles; spruce and fir shed four- to five-year-old needles..

October 18 The best way to build a leaf compost pile is in one-foot-deep layers. Apply soil and nitrogen to each layer and spray it with water. Then mix all the layers with pitchfork. Turn every couple weeks until the ground is covered with snow. The larger the pile, the longer it will stay hot.

October 19 New Moon. Start something new!

October 20 Pot up geraniums and bring them inside. They will thank you with another season of gorgeous blooms when you crave color most.

October 21 Brown trout are spawning. Many Utah fish migrate in fall, swimming south, or moving into deeper, warmer water.

October 22 Alternative to raking: Simply shred falling leaves with a lawnmower and leave them in place as fertilizer.

October 23 Winter’s approaching and the air is getting thicker. / Keep smoking now and you’ll probably die quicker. — Unknown

October 24 Tiger swallows, unlike monarch butterflies, or nonmigratory. In the fall, the second-generation caterpillars construct a durable silk chamber on the underside of the leaf, where they will spend the winter slowly transforming into adult butterflies.

October 25 Cottonwood, scrub oak, maples, ash and variegated shrubs are reaching their peak color. Wild asters, gum weed, and rabbit brush are blooming in the foothills.

October 26   Time to hibernate. Rattlesnakes are knotting together, and bats cling in clumps, in communal “hibernaculums” in burrows and under cliffs.

October 27 Frogs, turtles and fish are heading into deeper water, sheltering under rocks and logs, or burying themselves in the mud. Coldwater holds more oxygen than warm water, which the frogs and turtles absorb through their skin.

October 28 Salt Lake City’s farmers markets are wrapping up for the season. Stock up on squash, apples, root crops and cool-weather greens.

October 29 Approximately 120,000 persons are buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery (Avenues).

October 30 “Warm October, cold February.” — Encyclopaedia of Superstitions

October 31 Temperature averages:  58° high; 36° low. Sunrise: 7:57am. Sunset: 6:24pm. Samhain is an ancient Gaelic festival marking the end of harvest. Of Celtic pagan origins, it is now commonly celebrated by the Irish, Scots, Wiccans and Unitarian Universalists.

This article was originally published on October 2, 2017.