|Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
May 29-June 4, 2006
The ordinary phenomena of everyday life are lessons in themselves, there is nothing beyond them. See the beauty and freedom in this.
The astronomical calendar for the second week of early summer:
The Rose Moon enters its second quarter at 6:06 p.m. on June 3. Rising near midday, setting early in the morning, the second quarter moon is overhead in the evening.
Venus enters Aries this month, continuing to rise from the east after midnight. In the early evening sky, Saturn and Mars both occupy Cancer, deep in the far west. Jupiter remains in the boxy constellation, Libra, easily seen along the southern horizon throughout the night.
Now Lira lies in the center of the southern horizon after dark, announcing the full bloom of day lilies. In the west, Leo follows Cancer into the sunset. Capella hugs the northern horizon below Camelopardalis and the Lynx. Arcturus and Bootes and the Corona Borealis are overhead, and the Milky Way sweeps up from the east, carrying with it all the stars of August.
June 2: The June 2nd front can bring a light freeze along the Canadian border and at higher elevations of the mountains, but the rest of the country is typically safe by this time in the year.
June 6: The low-pressure system that accompanies the June 6th front initiates a four-day period during which there is an increased chance for tornadoes and flash floods. Even after this front passes to the east, storms strike four years in 10.
Part of the reason for the rise in the risk for severe weather is the increase in the percentage of afternoons in the 80s and 90s almost everywhere in the continental United States.
When goslings leave the nest, mulberry season peaks. When you see the first monarch butterfly, watch for young coyotes to come after your chickens and new lambs.
When May apples have fruit the size of a cherry and honeysuckle flowers have all come down, look for cucumber beetles to reach the economic threshold on the farm and in the garden.
When fireflies fly at night, chinch bugs hatch in the lawn, and powdery mildew becomes a problem in the garden phlox.
When yucca plants send up their stalks, young blackbirds leave their nests, and nettles have grown up to your chest.
Then, Japanese beetles start to attack roses and ferns. Azalea bark scale eggs hatch, too.
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, reaches its lowest point so far in the year on June 3, a completely harmless 8. Expect a good week - at least in terms of seasonal affective disorders.
The moon will be overhead around dusk this week. Have supper and then go fishing, especially as the barometer is dropping before the arrival of the June 6th and 10th cold fronts.
The Persistent Possum
By Eugenia Herrmann, Redkey, Ind.
One morning I found a dead possum draped in the entrance of the “cat door” of my garage. I am not good when it comes to dead animals, but I managed to get the body on a shovel, and I carried it out near a corncrib, hoping a buzzard would find it. I told my tenant about it that evening.
Two mornings later, what do I find but the possum draped in the doorway again. I could not believe my eyes. As it happened, my tenant stopped by, so he picked up the body and took it out to a field. We both laughed, startled that a dead possum would show up for the second time.
However, the next morning, I almost went into total shock! The possum was back! Draped in the same position as the day before! This time, I called the tenant saying, “You are not going to believe this but …”
Here came my now exasperated tenant saying that this time he would bury it. I already had an open hole, so it became an ideal burial plot. His statement was, “Well, if it comes back this time, it really WILL be a miracle.”
Our only conclusion is that one of my cats dragged the body to the garage each time. Whether she actually killed it, we will never know. The final irony to the “burial” was that each of my other cats paid their respects by sitting on the grave for a few minutes.
Life on a farm!
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 24, 2006 issue of Farm World.