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Poor Will's Almanack: April 2 - 8, 2013

Flickr Creative Commons user Per Jensen

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack for the First Week Of Middle Spring.

All kinds of things happen in the benign month-long time of middle spring. And one thing always leads to another.

When nettles are six inches tall, then middle spring wildflowers are opening all over the woods.

When the American toad gives its shrill mating call, that will be the time to plant corn.

Morel mushrooms appear when May apples push out from the ground, when cowslip buds in the swamp, and when leaves come out on skunk cabbage.

Parsnips in bloom announce that deer are growing their new antlers and all the rest of the garden weeds are coming in.

When the high canopy is budding and greening, wild turkeys are gobbling and tulips are in full bloom

When the grass is long enough to cut, then opossums and raccoons are giving birth in the woodlots and young goslings are hatching in the ponds and rivers.

When tent caterpillars emerge in the trees and the redbuds start to turn purple, tadpoles will be swimming in the ponds.

Then it won’t be long before dogwoods and the crab apples open, and winter grains are almost tall enough to ripple in the wind.

When the pussy willow bushes start to get their leaves, meadowlarks and scarlet tanagers will return for summer.

When the great annual dandelion flowering begins, then snakehead mushrooms appear.

When ticks and mosquitoes become pesky, the morel season is almost over, and the last frost is less than four weeks away. Clovers bloom, flea season begins for pets and livestock, and flies take over the barn.

When purple wisteria flowers, the most fragrant time of year is here with lilacs, mock orange and honeysuckle coming into bloom.

And when all that happens, then garlic mustard is flowering in the woods, cutworms and sod webworms start taking over the field and garden. Weevils are showing up in the alfalfa, too.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of middle spring. In the meantime, whatever you see will lead to something else.

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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.