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Poor Will's Almanack: July 30 - August 5, 2013

Flickr Creative Commons user rocketlass

The trajectory of August and the transition to late summer are made up of interlocking associations. Some of these connections are used by farmers and gardeners, others are tools for awareness of how the world fits together.

Throughout the month ahead, when spiders start to increase their building of webs in the woodlot, then yellow jacket season to begin in the windfall apples and plums, and morning fogs increase in the lowlands.

When the lilies are gone, summer stabilizes in the gold and purple coneflowers, the tall wingstem and ironweed, the rich opening of the ragweed, the green budding stalks of the goldenrod poised, their full season still ahead, reassuring, promising the long-lived asters.

When green acorns fall to the sweet rocket growing back for next year’s flowers, then black walnut trees will have lost about a third of their leaves and hummingbirds, wood ducks, Baltimore orioles and purple martins start to disappear south.

When cardinals stop singing before dawn, then the soybean leaves are yellowing in the fields and farmers start to cut corn for silage.

When long flocks of blackbirds move across the sky, then it’s time for plums to be the sweetest of the year.

When all the summer apples have been picked, then the first puffball mushroom of the year swells in cool, damp nights.

When there is more than one Judas maple tree in the woodlot, then hickory nutting season gets underway.

When the last of the garden phlox die back, then ragweed time winds down and the year’s final tier of wildflowers is budding: beggarticks, bur marigolds, asters, zigzag goldenrod.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the First week of late summer. In the meantime, watch to see how when one thing is happening, something else is happening, too. There’s always a connection and a fitting together.

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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.