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Poor Will's Almanack: May 21 - 27, 2024

butterfly with red stripes on black wings
U.S. Forest Service
Red admiral butterfly

Poor Will's Almanack in the time of the sun in Gemini and the honeybee swarming moon.

When locust trees flowers fall then snow-on-the-mountain blossoms and sweet Williams, clematis, and spiderwort open.

White spotted skippers and red admiral butterflies visit the garden. Gold-collared black flies swarm in the pastures.

Leafhoppers look for corn. Scorpion flies make their appearance in the barnyard.

Bright green six-spotted tiger beetles race along the deer paths of the woods. Grasshoppers hop in the fields. Northern spring field crickets — the first crickets of the year to sing — they're singing.

Baby robins are out of the nest. The antlers of white- tailed bucks are a third grown. Reckless adolescent groundhogs wander the roadsides.

Then multiflora roses, pink spirea, yellow sweet clover, Canadian thistles, privet, and yellow poplars are budding and blooming. Evergreens have four-to-six inches of new growth.

Sycamore and ginkgo leaves are almost full size, and the rest of the maples are filling in. Rhododendrons follow the azaleas, joined by the raspberries and blackberries.

Wild strawberries climb, bright yellow, through the purple ivy and the sticky catchweed. Blue-eyed grass is open.

Grasses along the riverbanks are waist-high. Poison hemlock reaches your chin, angelica over your head.

Fawn births peak as the wild roses fade. Elderberry bushes and panicled dogwoods reach full bloom. Bottle grass is fresh and sweet for chewing, and a few mulberries are ready to pick.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with more notes on the seasons. In the meantime, look for ducklings and goslings swimming in the rivers and lakes.

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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.