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Poor Will's Almanack: July 12 - 18, 2022

Powerlines stand in the setting sun.
Powerlines stand in the setting sun.

Poor Will’s Almanack for the third week of Deep Summer, the third week of the Fledgling Moon, the fourth week of the Sun in Cancer.

In the streets and on the sidewalks throughout much of the country, the clock of black walnut fruits is telling the noon of Deep Summer.

When bud clusters form on the milkweeds and about the same time as cherry pickers pick pie cherries, black walnut trees have set their fruit,

And throughout the first weeks of Early Summer, the nuts grow quickly. By the middle of June, walnuts can be half an inch in diameter.

And when milkweed bugs are mating and pokeweed berries form \ in final week of June, the walnuts are the size of peanuts in the shell.

Then in early July, adolescent walnuts surge toward maturity. By the last week of Deep Summer, the Nutter's clock has passed high noon, and black walnuts are fully developed, and bigger than golf balls.

By early September, many walnut trees have lost all their foliage, and by the middle of the month, the hard green nuts are tolling out the last days of the season, thumping and bouncing on rooftops and roadways.

Gathering time for most varieties of nuts parallels the collapse of the walnut crop. Acorns, pecans, buckeyes and hickory nuts provide complementary September and October harvests.

By the time the last deciduous trees are bare in December, squirrels and nutters have done their work, and the Nutter's Clock rewinds deliberately with the spin of the Earth until it is taut again and set for April.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of Deep Summer. In the meantime, the Nutter's Clock is still close high noon. The full ripening of summer is still to come.

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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.