Monday, March 28, 2011

Planting by the Signs of the Moon

The Moon Shines over Jackson County
Farmers and gardeners have relied on the signs or phases of the moon for thousands of years in deciding when to plant their crops. It is a tradition that was a part of the daily lives of our ancestors in Jackson County and is still used by some of the best gardeners and farmers today.

There are many misconceptions about this practice. First and foremost, it relies in no way on anything mystical. The practice actually brings a bit of ancient science into modern practice.

Early farmers observed that their plants seemed to grow better when planted on certain phases of the moon. Likewise, they did poorly when planted on other phases of the moon. Over time, they developed a consistent practice for planting on the different phases of the moon's rotation around the earth.

The science behind this is pretty simple. The moon rotates around the earth once each month. At certain phases or times in this rotation, it reflects more light on the earth than it does at others. The times when it gives more light were found to be better for planting crops that produce above ground, while the times when it gives off less light were found best for planting crops that produce below ground.

As a result of this early experimentation, which took place thousands of years ago, the practice became an accepted part of farming and agriculture and remains in use to this day. It is an important part of the history and culture of Jackson County and all of the South. To learn more and see the best days for planting in April, please follow this link:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Edition of The Battle of Marianna, Florida is now in print!

The new Expanded Edition of The Battle of Marianna, Florida is now available!

The new edition includes nearly 50 pages of new information as well as maps, additional photographs and expanded casualty lists. The book features a much more detailed account not only of the Battle of Marianna itself, but also of the events of the raid leading to and following the 1864 encounter. A great deal of new information about events in Walton, Holmes, Jackson and Washington Counties has been included.

The Battle of Marianna was fought on September 27, 1864, at the climax of the deepest penetration of Confederate Florida during the entire Civil War. A column of 700 Union soldiers from the 2nd Maine Cavalry, 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry, 82nd U.S. Colored Troops, 86th U.S. Colored Troops and 7th Vermont Veteran Volunteers began crossing Pensacola Bay to what is now Gulf Breeze on September 15, 1864. The crossing took three days to complete and on the 18th the force moved west to the site of Camp Walton at today's Fort Walton Beach where a base camp was established. From there the raid inflicted heavy damage on the settled areas of Walton, Holmes and western Jackson Counties before reaching Marianna.

The fight at Marianna was one of the most intense small battles of the Civil War. Many of the participants were veterans who had served in some of the largest engagements of the war and those who left accounts commented almost to a person on the severity of the battle. One called it the fiercest battle of its size he encountered during his four years of fighting.

The battle ended with the looting of the City of Marianna and the capture of an estimated 20% of its male population. Many of these men were carried away to Northern prisoner of war camps where nearly half died before the end of the war. In addition, an estimated 600 African American slaves were freed by the Union soldiers as they advanced. After the battle, the raid turned southwest through Washington County and back to Choctawhatchee Bay.

The new Expanded Edition is available by clicking the ad at the upper left. Signed copies are now in stock at Chipola River Book & Tea in Downtown Marianna (on Lafayette Street, across from the Battle of Marianna Monument). also has it available as a download in electronic format for Kindle reading devices or those who use their free Kindle software on their computers or smart phones.

You can learn more about the battle at