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Poor Will's Almanack: April 3 - 9, 2018

morel mushroom
Ziggy Liloia
Flickr Creative Commons

The Golding Goldfinch Moon weakens and wanes throughout the week, reaching benign apogee (its position farthest from Earth) and entering its final phase on April 8. Rising at night and setting in the morning, this Moon is still round enough to light the predawn sky.

Walking below the moon these early mornings find the Summer Triangle deep in the center of the sky, and the Milky Way accompanies that starg roup, stretching from Sagittarius due south to Capella in the north. The Great Square is coming up over the eastern tree line. Boxy Libra is setting in the southwest, and Arcturus, the corn-planting star, having traveled across the heavens through the night, precedes the Corona Borealis into the west.

Now average air temperatures start to rise one degree every three days instead of Early Spring’s one degree every two days, and, encouraged by lunar apogee, chances for highs in the 70s or 80s increase dramatically across the country.

Trees are in full flower throughout the Central Plains, the Northeast, the Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. In the Southeast, all the grasses are coming into bloom. House wrens migrate as windflowers bloom. Bluegills and rock bass look for worms. Japanese beetle grubs move to the surface of the ground to feed.

All across the country, farmers plant oats and spring barley Field corn planting is underway throughout the South and the central states. Cotton planters plant cotton along the Gulf. In the Great Lakes region, commercial cabbage transplanting is underway.

Crab apple and cherry blossom time begins in the Lower Midwest and all across the East, and it usually lasts into the last week of the month. Buckeye leaves are coming out. Crocus, snowdrop and aconite seasons end except along the Canadian border. The seasons of wood hyacinths, scilla, daffodil, pushkinia, windflower and glory of the snow take their places. Early tulips are open.  May apples are up and spreading their wings.  Morels are waiting.

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, go looking for morel mushrooms in the woods; easier still: pretend to look for mushrooms and find everything 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.