The Archers’ Moon

You can find online or in any of several almanacs the names of the moons.  There is nothing official about these, though many authors will make the bold statement, “Native Americans call this the ____ moon.”  As if all the various native American tribes got together at some pre-columbian astronomical conference to give names to the moons.  Other authors will at least give locality to the tribes, saying, “Tribes in the Northwest called this the ___ moon.”  Considering the plethora of languages and cultures of the tribes in the “Northwest” and lack of written history, I take all of this with a grain of salt, but I’m not an anthropologist.

The names of the moons tend to be seasonal – like the Harvest Moon, though many lack a certain coolness.  For instance, I don’t care at all for the Worm Moon.

My beloved and I have created our own set of names for the moons.  For instance, we call the moon in late June the “Strawberry Moon” and celebrate the full moon be coming up with creative ways to eat our favorite summer  fruit.  We borrowed from some of the more standard names, like the aforementioned Harvest Moon.  This year, we are combining it with a cheese making party.

While admiring the full moon in May 2010, which we currently call the Full Flower Moon (borrowed from the Farmers’ Almanac), it occurred to me that any full moon which happens in late May or early June takes place in the constellation Sagittarius.  The celestial archer.


I think this is a great idea for the name of a moon!  The Archers’ Moon!  Anybody who knows me, or has read one or two of my previous posts knows that this is a favorite topic of my blogs.  Specifically, traditional archery. How more traditional than the ancient zodiac?! Here it is, my favorite sport, immortalized in the heavens.  And it’s just as official as any of the other names of the moons.  That is, not at all.  But it’s personally relevant.

Hope everybody enjoys the Strawberry Moon on June 26th!


Rancho Neblina 2009 – Foam on the Range.

The weekend of September 26 and 27, 2009, gave us the 9th Annual Rancho Neblina Traditional Rendezvous.  Sixty-three 3D foam animal targets at unmarked distances on three separate courses set on a 600+ acre cattle ranch near Petaluma, California.  The cows were not pleased with having to share their fields with 200 bipeds. In spite of promises for cooler weather, the temperatures reached 100° F (38° C) on both days, and the heat took its human toll as some archers passed out or dropped from the competition.

You can find pictures of the event here.

I didn’t do well.  This is a major league disappointment after spending all year training for this event, and then to have it all fall apart.  A friend commented, “You can hit all the difficult targets!  What is it with the easy ones?”

Indeed, it seemed like I couldn’t miss the difficult targets, including one I call The Carousel of Doom.

But when it came to getting the easy ones, some madness possessed my arrows and sent them on strange and unexplainable trajectories, without regard to how much I tried to slow down and concentrate on aiming.

Ah well, it’s all practice, eh?

Next year.

Update September 30, 2009 –– I left the competition site before the awards ceremony because allergies were starting to flare, and I had already used my limit of anti-histamines.  I left thinking that I had placed poorly.  A friend sent me a message on Facebook, “You came in second!!” While this certainly made me feel better, my thoughts were, “Okay, other people performed worse than I did.  That doesn’t mean I performed well.”

We are always our own worst critic, aren’t we?

2009 Pacific Traditional Rendezvous

Pacific Traditional Rendezvous

Pacific Traditional Rendezvous

Regarding the pin displayed here:  yes, I know that Rendesvous is misspelled.  It doesn’t do any good to tell me.  I didn’t design the pin, and San Francisco Archers isn’t going to spend the money to redo the pins just to correct the spelling.  Any comment that’s left to tell me that the word is misspelled will simply be deleted.

On Sunday, April 19, 2009, the San Francisco Archers hosted the Pacific Traditional Rendezvous, a competition for  traditional archers to show their stuff.   I heard that there were 110 participants, which means that there were easily 200 people when you count supportive family members and those who crewed the kitchen and registration booth and other support services.

I arrived at about 7:30, still a half hour before the sun rose above the hills in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The archery range is generally the coldest place in Pacifica, a village which is renown for a cool and moist climate.  The weather people told us it would be “warm during the weekend” but we have learned to take their prognostications with a pound of salt.  The pre-dawn temperatures probably hovered about 10° C, and most of us were dressed in layers of clothes.  As soon as the sun poked over the peaks, people started shedding cloths as the thermometer started climbing.  And climbing.  And climbing.

I was too busy with the competition to note the high temperature, but we ended up wearing the minimum amount of clothing that’s prudent for walking around the forest shooting arrows at 3-D targets.Bea at 2009 Pacific Trad Rendezvous

We shot two arrows at each of 42 targets, including the Flying Pig and Running Rabbits and the mammoth.  I suspect that we walked about five kilometers over sharply inclined terrain while battling mosquitoes, hot weather, and severe Spring allergies.  We started at 9:00 in the morning, and finished the 42nd target at 3:45 in the afternoon.  I managed to lose only one arrow when I misjudged the distance to a moose who was standing at the banks of Broadhead Lake, and the arrow sailed into the brackish water.  The ducks laughed at me.  I learned that I really need to practice judging distances with larger animals.  Please note that the second arrow went through his foam heart.

I also sorely misjudged how long it would take to get through the course, so as soon as I shot my last arrow, I had to rush home to help get dinner started.  I had no idea what the results where until my friends, Bea (Pictured above) and Estel came for dinner, and informed us that I had taken Second Place for Adult Female Recurve.  And before you think to ask:  Yes, there were more than two of us in that division.  There were either five or six.  I don’t remember which.  The woman who took First Place beat me by 80 points.  That’s okay: she beat me by 100 points, while seven months pregnant, back in September, so I’m catching up to her.  She’s a very hot archer, and there’s certainly no shame in taking second place to her performance.  Congrats, Trish!!

Also, Congrats to Estel for taking First Place in Adult Female Longbow!  Woot!  I don’t know any of the other results yet.

Lost Pictures

They lost my pictures.

The people at Rite-Aid took my exposed film, sent them to a commercial processor, and they disappeared into the aether.

Those pictures that I spent so much effort to compose, waiting for the subject to do something photo-worthy.  The interplay of light and shadow, the candid pictures of my companions’ faces.  The archer proudly pointing out her best shot.  Pictures showing the unbelievable difficulty of some of the targets.  All gone.  Some minimum wage flunky who was probably thinking about his girlfriend sent my pictures to the wrong address, and now they are irretrievable lost.  Somebody is Pacoima is probably looking at my pictures and saying, “What the …?”

To all of those who were looking forward to seeing photographs of the 2008 Rancho Neblina Traditional Rendezvous, you’ll have to see if somebody else has any.