WYSO

Poor Will's Almanack: April 24 - 30, 2018

Apr 24, 2018

When the Sun comes into Taurus, then it is Late Spring almost everwhere along the 40th Parallel. Even though the chill of the full Swarming Termite Moon increases the likelihood of frost,  chances for a high above 70s degrees are now 50/50 or better for the first time this year all across the nation’s midsection.

The season of Late Spring usually has five gentle cool fronts that occur from the end of April until the end of May. Most spring woodland flowers complete their bloom during this time, and almost all the trees leaf out. Gardeners sow tender flowers and vegetables. Farmers put in all the corn and soybeans and prepare for the first cut of hay. The day's length grows until it surpasses fourteen hours

In Late Spring, the time of flowering fruit trees slowly comes to a close, and the great dandelion bloom of Middle Spring turns to gray and fragile seeds just as dogwoods open. Local bamboo stalks have reached at least three feet tall, and peony buds are as big around as pennies.

All the gold has disappeared from Middle Spring’s forsythia, and daisies bud and ferns unravel. The six-petaled white star of Bethlehem says it’s May in the city, and the four-petaled pink and purple sweet rockets tell the time of year throughout the pastures.

Baltimore Orioles start to appear when lilies of the valley have their bells, and the first bright yellow cressleaf groundsel is opening in wetlands. Rhubarb pies are growing everywhere as the first strawberry flowers, as Virginia creepers get their new shiny leaves, as azaleas brighten and as honeysuckle leaves turn the undergrowth deep May green. Scarlet tanagers arrive in the woods when meadow parsnip, wood betony, honeysuckle, buckeye and red horse-chestnut flower.

Late Spring arrives when the first indigo bunting reaches the Midwest and early season iris plants blossom, as admiral butterflies hatch and field grasses are long enough to ripple in the wind, when the antlers of white-tailed deer begin to grow and all major garden weeds are sprouting, when ducklings and goslings are born, and warblers swarm north.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first full week of Late Spring. In the meantime, now that the sun is in Taurus, look for rhubarb pies, and farmers planting corn and soybeans in the fields and grasses rippling in the roadsides.