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Poor Will's Almanack: July 14 - 20, 2020

pear blossom
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By the 100th day of the year, April 10th, the landscape has entered its most benign period, even in the coldest years. When the fields are dry enough, farmers plant the first corn. Winter wheat is bright green. Robins sing at 6:00 a.m., cardinals at 6:25 (Eastern Daylight Time).

Pear trees and serviceberries blossom. Crab apples open. In the woods, Virginia bluebells, hepatica, periwinkle, toad trillium, cowslip, rue anemone and spring beauties are all in bloom.

By July 19th, the 200th day of the year, the robins no longer sing  before sunrise, and cardinals sleep late. Katydids and crickets fill the nights. Cicadas whine through the afternoons. The field corn is tall, the sweet corn and tomatoes are coming in, and the wheat harvest is complete.

Only a few varieties of wildflowers bloom now under the dense canopy. In town, lilies and phlox have replaced daffodils and tulips; rose of Sharon flowers instead of pears and apples.

In another 100 days, on October 27th, most of the canopy will be gone. Middle and late summer, early fall and middle fall will have passed. The wildflower and garden seasons will be almost over. Witchhazel will be the only shrub in bloom.  Farmers will have cut their soybeans and their corn for grain. The birds and the cicadas and katydids will be silent; only the crickets will remember July.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth  week of Deep Summer.  In the meantime, you still have a hundred days before the leaves all come down. A hundred days can seem like forever.

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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.