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 May 13, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: May 13 - 19, 2014

Credit Charles Kaiser / Flickr Creative Commons

I have long been aware of the inconsistency of my memory in matters of the seasons and weather, as well as in my relationships with people.

Recent studies in neuroscience seem to support my personal hunch that my mind is spinning the past more than just a little.

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Nature
6:15 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: May 6 - 12, 2014

Credit jcc_seveq / Flickr Creative Commons

When Torricelli invented the mercury barometer in 1644, he gave a novel gauge to the world of meteorological medicine.

A decrease in atmospheric pressure, the calm before the storm, had been associated with pain since the Golden Age of Greece. Theophrastus, one of Plato's students, knew that "if the feet swell, there will be a change to the south wind."

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Nature
1:33 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: April 29 - May 5, 2014

Credit HUS0 / Flickr Creative Commons

I had been set to name the upcoming new moon the Tulip Moon, which would have presided over the flowering of mid-season and late tulips throughout my village.

However, on Easter Sunday, my neighbor Moya announced over her south fence that she had found a preying mantis ootheca (egg sack) in her spirea bush, the same place she had found one last year.

We talked about the timing of her discovery, and I realized I had forgotten all about oothecas and should have anticipated her suggestion that the May moon really be called the Preying Mantis Moon.

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Nature
6:15 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Poor Will's Almanack: April 22 - 28, 2014

Credit Olaf Gradin / Flickr Creative Commons

By the end of April, the season of middle spring starts to give way to late spring all along the 40th Parallel. Early spring’s crocus and henbit leaves yellow in the grass as the growing canopy turns the hillsides of emerald green. Now the woods are full of garlic mustard, golden seal, columbine, golden Alexander, sweet Cicely, Solomon’s seal, Jack in the pulpit, wood betony, wood hyacinth, spring cress, nodding trillium, larkspur and bellwort. Along the freeways daisies, yellow sweet clover, meadow goat’s beard and parsnips flower. Red and white clover blossom in the pasture.

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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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