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Poor Will's Almanack: August 16 - 22, 2016

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The Katydid Moon is waxing bright and gibbous these evenings. It will be  full on the 18th dominating the sky sky and tides this week.

The full moon is always overhead in the middle of the night, and if you walk under its glow, you might see the high bloom of velvetleaf, jimsonweed, prickly mallow, wild lettuce, ironweed and wingstem. You might pick soft elderberries and blackberries.

You might see rows of tall great mulleins gone to seed, pokeweed the size of small trees, great, white puffball mushrooms growing among spring’s rotting stems and leaves, late silver umbels of Queen Anne’s lace all ghostly gray in the moonlight.

You could walk to the coarse growls of the katydids and the shrill chorus of crickets, perhaps the descending whinny of a screech owl, the gruff conversations of frogs.  If you walked until moonset, you might hear the first robins of the morning.

The stars complement the moon and the creatures around you. The house-shaped star group, Cepheus, lies right into the middle of the sky, announcing the center of late summer. To the east of Cepheus, the zigzag formation of Cassiopeia rises in the north east, followed by Perseus. The Big Dipper continues to hug the northern horizon throughout the night.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of late summer. In the meantime, walk beneath the stars and moon.

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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.