Bill Felker

Host - Poor Will's Almanack

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.

Exploring everything from animal husbandry to phenology, Felker has become well known to farmers as well as urban readers throughout the country.  He is an occasional speaker on the environment at nature centers, churches and universities, and he has presented papers related to almanacking at academic conferences, as well. Felker has received three awards for his almanac writing from the Ohio Newspaper Association. "Better writing cannot be found in America's biggest papers," stated the judge on the occasion of Felker’s award in 2000.

Currently, Bill Felker lives with his wife in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He has two daughters, Jeni, who is a psychologist in Portland, Oregon, and Neysa, a photographer in Spoleto, Italy.

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Nature
6:15 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: April 15 - 21, 2014

Credit Julie Kertesz / Flickr Creative Commons

The first seasons of the year are already gone now, bloodroot season, violet cress season, twinleaf season, snowdrop season, snow trillium season, so many more seasons. I've only watched a few of them, and I am wondering about what I've missed. They are fragments of a story, the meaning of which has always set me wondering.

I wonder about the meaning of the seasons of the landscape because I am wondering about my own seasons and what they mean. I watch them, and I am in suspense because I don't know exactly how they will turn out.

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Nature
6:15 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: April 8 - 14, 2014

Credit ~windy~ / Flickr Creative Commons

The effects of the steady retreat of the night and the increasing temperatures of middle spring are always cumulative. By the year’s one- hundredth day (that’s just two days from now), the resurrection of the landscape has a reached a point of no return.

All across the nation’s midsection, the blooming of silver maples and red maples merges with the blooming of the sugar maples and box elders. Honeysuckles are greening the roadsides, breaking the gray and dun of the winter undergrowth.

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Nature
6:20 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: April 1 - 7, 2014

Credit Peter Roome / Flickr Creative Commons

Sometimes, my religious background gets the better of me. I went to a seminary many decades ago, and I was filled with all kinds of liturgical practices. One of those practices that has stayed with me and keeps appearing in my brain is the genre of the litany. Now the way I learned litanies, the priest would call out the names of saints or different names for the Virgin Mary or Jesus, and the congregation would respond with “Pray for us.”

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Nature
6:30 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: March 25 - 31, 2014

Credit Katerha / Flickr Creative Commons

March 5th was the first day of Lent, and on that date practicing Christians began a six and a half week vigil for Easter. The Lenten landscape always takes me back to my childhood and to the gray and cold days of waiting for the season to be over. It brings on reminiscence that not only crosses the boundaries of years and snow and the space between winter and spring but also the boundaries of my spiritual or religious upbringing and rebellion and reconciliation.

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Nature
6:15 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: March 18 - 24, 2014

Credit sussesimis / Flickr Creative Commons

All of natural history is in my favor today, March 18. If I compress my daybook notes from that day, going back to 1983, I can fabricate a quilt of events, webs of color and sound and warming winds to weave into the frame of a twenty-four hour span.

Then, a circadian shape appears, a four-dimensional psychic set, the radius of casual observation cutting through thirty years, cross-sectioning time – albeit with bias against winter – and I fill in the empty spaces of my imaginary structure of backyard natural history, requiring only this one day to make spring arrive.

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