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Poor Will's Almanack: May 26 - June 1, 2015

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It is the time when the high foliage finally becomes complete, when tea roses bloom in gardens, when clustered snakeroot hangs with pollen in the shade, and parsnips, goat’s beard and sweet clovers take over the fields.  Grasses along the riverbank are waist high and seeding. Poison hemlock reaches chin high, angelica over your head in the wetlands.

Blue chicory flowers in the waysides. Catalpas and privets and pink spirea and wild multiflora roses bloom as the first cutting of hay gets underway. The first daisy fleabane, the first great mullein, the first Asiatic lily, the first orange trumpet creeper and the first tall meadow rue open.

Elderberry bushes flower along the highways. Cow vetch, wild parsnips, motherwort, blackberries, yarrow, and the rough Canadian thistles bloom. Black raspberries set their fruit. August’s ragweed and Jerusalem artichoke stalks are more than two feet tall.

Flea beetles attack beet greens in the garden. Damselflies and dragonflies hunt the ponds. Leafhoppers, corn borers and armyworms assault the crops. Flies are bothering the cattle, ticks roam the brambles, cricket song grows louder, and the earliest fireflies flicker in the lawn. Young squirrels, half grown, explore the maples, and almost every gosling and wood duck has hatched.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of early summer. In the meantime, look for the first firefly any warm and humid night.

 

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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.