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During morning chores, look up and observe the Milky Way
Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker

May 22-28, 2006

Perchance the beginning of summer may be dated from the fully formed leaves, when dense shade begins. I will see.
-Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 20, 1852

The astronomical calendar for the first week of early summer:
The Rose Moon is new at 12:26 a.m. on May 27. Rising after dawn, setting around midnight, the new moon is overhead in the middle of the day.

At 10 p.m., Virgo will be due south, and bright Arcturus, the largest star in the central sky, will be almost overhead. When you do morning chores, you’ll see the Milky Way above you and the Great Square moving in from the East, fertile Pisces right behind it. To the far west, the spring planting star, Arcturus, is the brightest setting star.

Weather patterns
May 24: Mild temperatures often occur several days after this front moves toward the Atlantic Ocean.

May 29: Rain is often heavy as the final front of May approaches. When this high moves away, however, it usually leaves sunny, dry conditions. Summer warmth typically begins several days later. Heat stress can slow the rate of gain in livestock. Protection from the weather, plenty of water and adequate feed and supplements may help to reduce weight loss.

Natural year
When flea beetles are feeding in the vegetable garden, cedar waxwings will be migrating through your land, and fiddler crabs will be emerging from their tunnels in the estuaries of the South.

When you see the first brown “June” bug clinging to your screen door, look for young fireflies glowing in the night grass.

When you smell the locust flowers opening, the first mulberries will be ready for mulberry pie. In the wetlands, wild iris will be in bloom.

When you see cottonwood cotton floating in the wind, then deer will be giving birth and pollen from grasses will be reaching its peak. When blackberries are blooming along Ohio roadsides, then those flowers have set fruit across the South.

That is when sunflowers are in full bloom in California, and spring wheat and oats are just about all planted in the North.

When you see nettles waist high, then check the garden for cutworms.

When Canadian thistles start to bud, it’s safe to plant your peppers, cantaloupes and cucumbers. But check for armyworms and corn borers in the fields.

When you hear spring crickets sing, look for leafhoppers in the garden and snapping turtle eggs along the rivers.

When you see the first elderberries blooming, check for bean leaf beetles and alfalfa weevils in your field and garden.

When the first thistle blooms, the corn should be at least six inches tall.

Mind and body
The S.A.D. Index, which measures the forces that contribute to seasonal affective disorders on a scale of 1 to 100, slips above 30 for just two days this week (May 26 and 27), but then it returns to the 20s and heads steadily downward toward early June’s single digits.

Best fishing
Late mornings offer the best lunar conditions for fishing as the week begins. As the moon turns new, fish closer to noon. When the barometer drops in advance of the May 29th and June 2nd cool fronts, expect even more angling success in the mornings.

Taking turns
By Mary Zigler, West Unity, Ohio
One November our friends, Ellis and Hazel, were on their way to Florida when they met this other couple going the same way, so they decided to drive together, stay at the same motels, and enjoy meals and evenings together.

One of their first dinners was at the Corbin Hotel in Corbin, Ky. They were all seated by the hostess, but before the waiter came, the lady of the second couple excused herself and went to the restroom.

The waiter came for their orders and her husband ordered, but the wife would not order until he was served. After placing his order, he took a small object from his wife, excused himself, and went to the restroom. This getting up and down continued throughout the meal.

And when the man was ready for dessert, he “just had to go” to the restroom once again. His wife then decided she liked what she had seen on his plate, and she ordered the same. When her husband returned to the table, she went to the restroom...

Finally the man said to Ellis and Hazel: “You probably wonder why we go to the restroom so often. Well, it’s like this: we only have one set of false teeth between us, and we have to switch back and forth when we eat. That’s the way it is and has been for quite a few years.”

Ellis and Hazel almost turned green when they were told the reason for so many interruptions to the meal.

At the next city, they changed their route, and the other couple did not follow them.

Send your memory stories to Poor Will, P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. Three dollars will be paid to any author whose story appears in this column.

Poor Will’s Scrambler
In order to estimate your SCRAMBLER IQ, award yourself 15 points for each word unscrambled, adding a 50-point bonus for getting all of them correct. If you find a typo, add another 15 points to your IQ.


Here is this week’s rhyming Scrambler:

This farm news was published in the May 17, 2006 issue of Farm World.