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Full worm moon refers to peckings of robins

March 17, Monday — St. Patrick. Singer Nat "King" Cole born, 1919. Stephen Perry received a patent for the rubber band, 1845.

March 18, Tuesday — Full worm moon. Blackthorn winds. Politician John C. Calhoun born, 1782. Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became first spacewalker, 1965.

March 19, Wednesday — Moon at perigee. Swallows return to San Juan, Capistrano. Do not tie dogs with sausages.

March 20, Thursday — Vernal equinox. The first farm bureau in the United States formed in Binghamton, N.Y., 1911.

March 21, Friday — Composer Johann Sebastian Bach born, 1685. Alcatraz prison closed, 1963. First U.S. Zoological Society became incorporated, Philadelphia, 1859.

March 22, Saturday — Pantomimist Marcel Marceau born, 1923. The laser was patented, 1960. British parliament passed the Stamp Act, 1765.

March 23, Sunday — American cooking expert Fanny Farmer born, 1857. First radio broadcast of "Truth or Consequences" on CBS, 1940.

Ask The Old Farmer's Almanac: Why is this month's full moon called the full worm moon? — K.B. Canastota, N.Y.

Answer: The full worm moon marks the time when the first tempting worm casts are hungrily sought out by the early robins of spring. It's a name given to the third moon of the year by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.

The Algonquins gave names to full moons to keep track of the seasons. Other American Indian tribes also used various names, and there were several variations even among the Algonquins, depending on when in the month the full moon occurred.

Another name for the March full moon is the full sap moon, to reflect the seasonal activity of tapping maple trees. Other names include the full crow moon, full crust moon and full sugar moon.

Ask The Old Farmer's Almanac: Public schools are renegotiating teacher contracts again. Tell me, is this a recent innovation? — H.Q., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Answer: Not at all! You can blame (or credit, as the case may be) Protagoras for this one. Along about 445 B.C. in Athens, teachers' contracts were instituted in order to add some stability to a profession that was seeing increased growth. Previously, teachers might have been dismissed for whatever rhyme or reason a school administrator might cook up. The new contracts meant an early dismissal would require some sort of clear infraction of the contract. The contracts, similar to those of today, might be for up to three years and could be renewed, upon termination, by mutual consent.

Public school education, itself, goes back to about 500 B.C., when the Athenians believed that good citizens were the product of proper education. Unfortunately, only male members of the family were eligible to become such good citizens — or maybe it was considered clear that women needed no formal education to complete their citizenry. Families could also expect to pay a nominal matriculation fee, so public education was not exactly free.

Ask The Old Farmer's Almanac: Was Daniel Boone buried in Kentucky or Missouri? — L.J., New Orleans, La.

Answer: Both, actually. The old frontiersman was living in Missouri with his wife, Rebecca, when he died on Sept. 26, 1820, and she had him buried there. Many years later, his body was taken back to Kentucky, where he had blazed the Wilderness Road and established Boonesborough (now Boonesboro) and Boone's Station (near what is now Athens, Ky.). But then, he always had the wanderlust . . .

Born the son of English Quakers, near Reading, Pa., Daniel Boone moved to North Carolina when he was about 16. Despite all his subsequent exploration and various land claims in North Carolina, Kentucky (which was made a county of Virginia in 1776) and the Louisiana Territory, Boone had trouble holding on to his claims. In Kentucky, he neglected to file papers or pay taxes on the hundreds of acres he'd claimed. Later, he acquired land in the Louisiana Territory from the Spanish governor, but when the United States bought the land from France in 1803, that tract became null.

Discouraged by all the red tape, Boone moved back to Kentucky, where he settled old debts through his fur trade. At various times, he also kept store, ran a tavern, sold horses and guided travelers over the mountains. As he got on in years, he moved to Missouri, near his grandchildren, and it was there, on a hilltop overlooking the Missouri River, that his wife Rebecca had him buried. Temporarily.


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