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Poor Will's Almanack: October 29 - November 4, 2019

USFWS Midwest Region
Flickr Creative Commons

Throughout Middle and Late Fall, frogs and toads seek shelter from the coming cold, migrating to protective places underground, in water or in cracks and crevices that will keep them from the forces of Early, Deep and Late Winter

Under the Sleeping Frog Moon, Christmas cacti bud in sunny windows. People plant paperwhite and amaryllis bulbs for the holiday season ahead. As toads and frogs migrate, chickweed grows back all along the woodland paths, and cress revives in pools and streams. Cattails begin to break apart as the final giant jimsonweed opens in the cornfields.

The last crickets still sing in the warmer evenings of the Sleeping Frog Moon, and the last daddy longlegs huddle together in the woodpile. Mosquitoes still wait for prey near backwaters and puddles. Asian lady beetles look for openings in your siding in which to spend the winter. Late woolly bear caterpillars still emerge in the Sun. Cabbage butterflies still look for cabbage. Yellowjackets sometimes come out to look for fallen fruit. 

Under the Sleeping Frog Moon, vast flocks of crows gather to feed and talk.  Then with the advent of Early Winter’s Silent Cricket Moon, especially above the 40th Parallel, the final leaves come down, and average nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. Under great quilts of snow and fallen fruits and foliage, the frogs and toads fall fast asleep, and the last crickets grow silent.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Late Fall.  In the meantime, let sleeping frogs lie.

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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.