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Poor Will's Almanack: June 28 - July 4, 2022

The Ohio River.
The Ohio River

Poor Will’s Almanack for the first week of Deep Summer, the first week of the Fledgling Moon, the second week of the sun in Cancer.

Drifting along the Ohio River, years ago, Harlan Hubbard wrote the following in his journal: Heard today the first cicada, quite faint, as if its first attempt. Frogs every morning. Where are they? Not far. They are the voice of summer.

Working third shift in July of 2000, I listened to the voices of summer: At 11:00 p.m. when I went to work, the tree frogs were loud in back of the building, the half-moon setting in the west. One of the tiny frogs was hanging on a window screen when I walked by.

At 1:00 in the morning, the frogs were only half as loud as they had been at 11:00. Then at 3:00 a.m., silence. One cricket heard at 4:00. At 5:30, the cardinals began to call by the back door, and one green frog croaked. On the way home at 8:30, I heard the first cicadas screaming.

At 11:00 p.m., back at work, I found a shiny, brown stag beetle on the wall, a tree frog at the back door, and a smaller tree frog, maybe three-fourths of an inch, hopping behind it, and it was tame: it let me pet him.

At 11:40 p.m., I heard katydids singing. At 12:30 a.m., only crickets heard. At 1:40 p.m.: katydids, crickets, trilling toad calls. I saw another tree frog (about an inch long) on a bench. He was tame, too. A cardinal sang at 5:32, right on schedule. Cicadas were chanting when I got home for breakfast: pancakes.

I actually had to complete a number of tasks those nights, but I only remember pancakes and the songs of summer.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Deep Summer. In the meantime, work the night shift. There's lots to do.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.