Poor Will’s Almanack for the first week of Middle Summer.
When sycamore trees begin to shed their bark, then bright orange butterfly weed opens, acorns become fully formed, and thistle flowers change to down. Hemlock season is complete along the roadsides, stalks collapsing into the tall grasses. Parsnip heads brown in the sun.
Leafhoppers and Japanese beetles are reaching the economic threshold on the farm. Daddy longlegs are mating. Katydids are roving, getting ready to call when the afternoons get even warmer. The first woolly-bear caterpillars, harbingers of winter, cross the road. Some baby snappers and mud turtles are hatching.
When sycamore trees shed their bark, then poison ivy has green berries. The first touch-me-nots and the first thimble plants are budding. Wild garlic is blooming. Middle Summer's pink rugosa roses are coming in, accompanied by black-eyed Susans, wild petunias, and hobblebush. Staghorns have pushed out on the sumacs. Cattails are almost fully developed.
Maroon seedpods have formed on the locust trees. Some green-hulled walnuts are already on the ground. This year's ducklings and goslings are nearly full grown. In the warmest summers, the earliest of the annual cicadas start to chant.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the Second Week of Middle Summer. In the meantime, look for corn to tassel, the true measure of the middle the season.