Chicken Coop Chatter©September 23, 2015
We look forward to the Autumn Equinox, a part of our homestead heritage, for a variety of reasons. For many it means the hard work of spring and summer draws to a close as gardens are harvested, by humans and chickens alike. The leaves of the deciduous trees slowly begin to change and plants begin the process of dormancy. Celebrations of harvest and bounty, cooler nights and moderately warm days tend to bring about a more relaxed and restful time, especially to farmers that rely on the seasons for growth and reflection. In the Northern Hemisphere it marks a time when days are shorter and many new backyard chicken owners wonder why have my chickens stopped laying. In fact this is a time when molting chickens begin to taper off laying as they re-feather in preparation for the long winter months ahead.
But in the Southern Hemisphere, the Autumn Equinox marks the time for egg gathering, and in fact, in the southern constellation an Emu is depicted in the Milky Way between the Southern Cross and Scorpius. The dust clouds and gasses in the atmosphere formulate the shape of that Emu.
In the Kuringai National Park, there is an exact replica of that emu engraved in the stone and at the time of the Equinox, the Emu in the evening sky is directly over that engraved stone, signaling that it is time to harvest those Emu eggs as believed by the indigenous peoples.
Ancient Aborigines built a large egg-shaped formation with about 100 stones of varying size and shape facing the western horizon, and as the sun rises and sets, those stones cast shadows depicting the seasons. Those shadows are within a mere couple of degrees of being accurate, even though it is believed that formation is as old as 25,000 years. Each stone may represent a measure of time, days, months and even years within the calendar, however the actual meaning has been lost since at least 1835 and now archeo-astronomicalists are studying the formation to gain clues to the meaning and antiquity. The structure itself has been untouched over the centuries. The egg-shaped formation is a very primitive structure compared to the Mayan Pyramids and Stonehenge, and only in recent years was it even re-discovered; yet it’s becoming clear that the Aborigines also had an interest in Astronomy and the changing seasons, as many stories were told of the meaning of the constellations.
So as we begin to see longer shadows with our Autumn approaching and celebrate our bounty, the chickens are enjoying those pumpkins and squash here in the Northern Hemisphere and gardeners are deciding what winter vegetables to grow. While the Southern Hemisphere begins awakening to the longer days, gardens are planted, the trees and spring flowers begin to bloom, as the chickens and other fowl begin laying, brooding and raising chicks once again in their spring cycle of life.
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EMU CONSTELLATION PHOTO SOURCE: Summary The Australian Aboriginal constellation of the “Emu in the Sky”, which stretches from the Coalsack at its head, to Scorpius to the left. More information is on Australian Aboriginal Astronomy The image is owned by Barnaby Norris and Ray Norris. “Emu public” by en:User:Rayd8 – en-wp. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emu_public.jpg#/media/File:Emu_public.jpg
SOURCE OF INFORMATION: http://www2.astronomicalheritage.net/index.php/show-entity?identity=15&idsubentity=1
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