Poor Will's Almanack: July 10 - 17, 2012

Jul 10, 2012

Poor Will’s Almanack for the third week of middle summer.

When the cicadas (or harvest flies) of the year sing at noon, then lanky ichneumons get into your house and sit on the walls like behemouth mosquitoes. Corn tassels and corn pollen are more plentiful when cicadas sing. Buckeyes and hickory nuts fall in thunderstorms. Goldenrod is four feet tall. Lupine pods break apart and spread their seeds.

White snakeroot, ironweed, boneset, wingstem, tall coneflowers and gray-headed coneflowers are budding in the fields and woods as the pink large-flowered mallow comes to the end of its season in the wetlands. Midsummer hostas, liatris and obedient plant open in the garden. Blueweed flowers are at the top of their spikes during the early time of cicada song, just as the first burdock blooms.

And fruit follows flowers. Maroon seedpods have formed on the locusts. Black walnuts are half-size. Green wild cherries hang in clusters. The shade-loving cohosh has its berries. Avens and thimble plants are forming seed heads under the canopy, and all the early honeysuckles have their berries, red and orange. Blackberries are August-size this week, the earliest are turning black . Elderberry bushes and everbearing strawberries are setting fruit.

The wheat is dark and almost half cut by the time cicadas sing. The oats crop ripens. Milkweed pods emerge; they will burst their shells at the approach of middle fall in late September.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of middle summer. In the meantime, watch for woolly bear caterpillars, prophets of autumn, crossing the roads.