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Poor Will's Almanack: November 10 - 16, 2020

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Poor Will’s Almanack for the second week of late fall, the transition week to the Manger Moon – the moon under which pasture growth slows and livestock owners take up the slack with hay. It is the fourth week of the Sun in Scorpio.

Late Fall almost always arrives by the second week of November and lasts through early December.

It is a transition season during which frost and morning fogs become more frequent. The last leaves fall, skies become darker, wind speed increases, the cold puts an end to the year’s flower and vegetable cycles.

The longest nights of the year begin. Overwintering geese gather at inland waterways and the annual flyovers of sandhill cranes begins.

Across the fields and hillsides, grazing season draws to a close as pasture growth slows in the cold of the waxing Manger Moon.

The season of winter clouds arrives from the west as the average percentage of cloud cover doubles over summer and middle autumn’s averages.

Along the highways, ironweed seeds are soft and white when late fall comes. Goldenrod and thimbleweed are tufted like cotton, their foliage deep chocolate brown. Most of the milkweed pods have opened.

Scarlet rose hips and the buds of pussy willows stand out. Mock orange, honeysuckles and forsythias are thinning; their leaf-fall measures the progress of the last phase of autumn.

Beech, honeysuckles, boxwood, forsythia and the strongest of the maples, osage, pears, and sycamores keep scattered color in the landscape past Thanksgiving. When Early Winter arrives around December 8, however, it takes the almost all the holdouts.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of late fall. In the meantime, make a few notes about what you see. Compare those notes with what you see next year and the next.

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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.