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
8:15 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: February 4 - 10, 2014

Credit arsheffield / Flickr Creative Commons

A friend of mine sent me the “Hermit Songs” of anonymous Irish monks and scholars who, over a thousand years ago, scribbled their verses in the margins of the manuscripts they were copying. One of those poems, translated by W.H. Auden, expresses the pleasure of sitting in front of the fire beside a white cat named Pangur.

Pangur, white Pangur,
How happy we are
alone together, scholar and cat,
Each has his own work to do daily….
Thus we live ever
Without tedium or envy.
Pangur, white Pangur,
How happy we are.

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Nature
8:15 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: January 28 - February 3, 2014

Credit krish49 / Flickr Creative Commons

On January 30, just a few days away, the Tufted Titmouse Moon, the first complete moon of 2014, will become the new Snowdrop Moon, continuing a lunar trajectory that travels inexorably across the span of the year.

With February’s Snowdrop Moon, the time of blooming plants gets underway. When white snowdrops and yellow aconites come into flower, they tell the maple sap to run, and they push back late winter to leave room for early spring.

March's moon is the Bumblebee Moon, the moon that encourages the emergence of spring insects, and the early morning robin chorus.

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Nature
8:15 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: January 21 - 27, 2014

Credit Tuchodi / Flickr Creative Commons

By the end of January, deep winter moves to its close, and late winter is carried into the nation by the lengthening days and the relentless south winds that always follow each cold spell. By the end of the month, normal averages break their stagnation, edging up a full degree almost everywhere above the Tropic of Cancer. Local thermometers not only see the progress within their own microclimate, but across the entire continent.

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Nature
8:10 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: January 14 - 20, 2014

Polygonia Comma
Credit abiodork / Flickr Creative Commons

The recent storm got me thinking about a fierce Christmas rain and wind storm just a few years ago. After the turbulence passed, I went outside on the back porch and hen I noticed a butterfly, a polygonia comma, perched on the head of the small stone crucifix one of my sisters had given the family some years ago.

Now I am a wavering and superstitious Christian, easily swayed by signs and sacraments, and so the appearance of the polygonia on a crucifix in the wake of a freak rainstorm on Christmas morning was bound to trigger some uneasiness of spirit.

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Nature
8:15 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: January 7 - 13, 2014

Credit Earthwatcher / Flickr Creative Commons

In his book, The Unforeseen Wilderness, Wendell Berry describes what happens when a person steps away from familiar ground, enters a wilderness or ventures “alone into a new place.

Negative emotions like “the ancient fear of the unknown” that come from a lack of familiarity are, he says, not the experience of the new place itself, “but of yourself in that place.”

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