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Poor Will's Almanack: June 11 - 17, 2024

Poor Will's Almanack, for the time of early summer with the sun in Gemini and the moon now the fledgling moon when young birds leave the nest.

The orange flowers of the day lily are the signature of early summer across the nation's midsection. With them come waves of parallel seasons.

When day lilies bloom, other things are happening too: soft smartweed flowers in the alleys; prickly blueweed flowers in vacant lots; poison ivy flowers in the woods; Queen Anne's lace flowers along the backroads; shy avens flowers along the hedgerows; tall meadow rue flowers in fields; trumpet creeper flowers on the walls and trellises; great mullein flowers along the old railroad tracks; thistles have taken over the vacant lots; and purple coneflowers blossom in the garden.

Orange day lilies blooming by the side of the road means that fireflies are glowing in the night, that cucumber beetles are feasting on the cucumbers, that webworms are hatching in the trees, that that winter wheat is getting ripe.

Orange day lilies mean that grackle fledgelings have left the nest and that Japanese beetles have found the ferns and the soybeans and the roses. The blooming of lilies means it is time for birds and people to pick pie cherries and mulberries.

It means it is time to tuck your pants legs into your boots when you go to the woods: the fierce chiggers are on the prowl.

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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.