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 October 22, 2013

Poor Will's Almanack: October 22 - 28, 2013

Credit Flickr Creative Commons user AndyArthur

This past summer, Sylvia sent me an effusive note about finding a toad in the grass. She was “feeling lucky,” she said. And she went on: “Oh yes, lucky, so I got down on my hands and knees…I didn’t want to miss a single detail…such serious eyes for one so young regarding me with great solemnity.”

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Nature
8:15 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Poor Will's Almanack: October 15 - 21, 2013

Credit Flickr Creative Commons user ThiagoMartins

It is almost a month past equinox, and the sun shines deeper through my south windows. I cut back the summer bamboo to allow more heat and light for my greenhouse plants. I fit my schedule to the shortening days.

In September, I bought a new fica tree that reaches twelve feet, almost to the top of my sun room. I worry about it because it is so big and so vulnerable to the cold. I want it to be warm and safe in the winter to come, and so I have put caulking and glazing and the dulling of drafts on my list for autumn.

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Nature
8:15 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Poor Will's Almanack: October 8 - 14, 2013

Credit Flickr Creative Commons user M.Giffords

I was pushing away the locust and ash leaves that had fallen on a patch of my garden. The leaves were just the tip of the season, the latest in the layers of the year.

I moved a little deeper, staying just in one place, going past the stalks of the violet phlox that had bloomed here in August, and the old seed pods of the orange day lilies that had flowered in July, past the the ectoskeleton of a cicada from late June.

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Nature
7:59 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Poor Will's Almanack: October 1 - 7, 2013

Credit Flickr Creative Commons user K.Hurley

I am used to knowing where I am and even who I am by what I see and name around me. I tell my time that way, too.

But when I visited my daughter in Italy this past June, we walked the fields of Umbria, and we crossed over to Sicily and then to Sardinia, and I was surrounded by plants I could not name.

In the Mediterranean landscape, I saw shapes that would have been so simple for even an amateur botonizer to identify, but which were, to me, plants of a parallel universe.

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Nature
8:15 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Poor Will's Almanack: September 24 - 30, 2013

Credit Flickr Creative Commons user Rachel James

I walk the alleys some mornings and I have watched how gardens become bedraggled and overgrown with weeds at this point in the autumn, and all the intent of the gardener seems to be overgrown as well.

Gardens, like houses or yards or jobs or cars or families are certainly products of intent – either directly or indirectly. And the intrusion of natural decay or lack of care, in contrast, belies a breakdown of intent and application.

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