The Sun climbs past a declination of 21 degrees 54 minutes by the end of May, a little more than 90 percent of the way to solstice. These are the longest days of the year – the highest solar tide on Earth
The Sun entered the Early Summer sign of Gemini on May 20, and when the Sun reaches that constellation, then blackberries are flowering, and the last of the leaves come out for summer.
Wild strawberries wander though the purple ground ivy and the sticky catchweed. Wild iris blooms in the wetlands. Middle Summer's wood nettle is past knee high. Wild lettuce, wingstem and dogbane have grown up to your knees. Grasses along the river banks are waist high. Poison hemlock reaches chin high, angelica up over your head.
When the Sun lies in benign Gemini, tadpoles become have become frogs and toads and they leave the shallows and move to land. The mating cries of the new field crickets grow louder. Mosquitoes become more pesky. Dragon flies appear along the river. Young squirrels, half grown, explore the maples, and almost every gosling and wood duck has hatched.
This is the time when the smell of cut hay fills the countryside, when mulberries, strawberries, cherries, and wild black raspberries ripen. Firefly larvae glow in the yard, safe beneath the blossoming of the new clovers.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first full week of Early Summer. In the meantime, find fresh strawberries in the farmers’ markets. Look for mulberries in the woods.