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Poor Will's Almanack: February 7 - 13, 2012

Flickr Creative Commons user zoyachubby

Poor Will’s Almanack for the Third Week of Late Winter

It's almost Early Spring. Time to be paying attention, time to be getting ready. ​

When you hear mourning doves singing before dawn, then organize all your buckets for tapping maple syrup. ​

When you hear red-winged blackbirds, then the maple sap should already be running. ​

When aconites bloom, then spread fertilizer in the field and garden so that it can work its way into the ground before planting. ​

When the first daffodil foliage is two inches tall, then go to the wetlands to find skunk cabbage in bloom. ​

When you see sparrows courting, then cut branches of forsythia and silver maples for forcing indoors. ​

When pussy willows begin to emerge outside, then it is time to spray fruit trees with dormant oil. ​

When the first knuckles of rhubarb emerge from the ground, then it’s time to plant your onion sets and seed your cold frames with spinach, radishes and lettuce. ​ ​

When strawberry plants have new foliage, then wildflower season has begun in the Southwest and bald eagles are laying their eggs in Yellowstone.

When you see tulip foliage emerging from the ground, then horned owlets hatch in the woods ​When you see ducks looking for nesting sites, then you know that ambystoma salamanders will be mating at night in the slime.

Next week on Poor Will’s Almanack: notes for the First Week of Early Spring. In the meantime, start getting ready. Remember that if one thing is happening, something else is happening too.

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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.