|Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
June 12-18, 2006
The garden is fragrant everywhere;
In its lily-bugles the gold bee sups,
And butterflies flutter on winglets fair
Round the tremulous meadow buttercups.
The astronomical calendar for the fourth week of early summer:
The Rose Moon, full this past Sunday, wanes gibbous through the week, entering its final quarter on June 18. Rising after dark and setting after sunrise, this moon will brighten the post-midnight sky.
Summer solstice occurs at 7:26 a.m. on June 21. June 19 through June 25 are the longest days of the year. A similar period, December 19 through Dec. 25, brings this region its shortest days.
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 15: Between June 15 and 19, average temperatures climb their final degrees throughout the nation, reaching their summer peak near solstice.
June 23: The June 23rd high-pressure system is typically cool and dry, and it is often followed by some of the sunniest days of all the year. As the next June front approaches, the benign effects of the June 23rd system can be expected to give way to storms.
When you see the first black walnuts on the ground, then you know that this year’s ducklings and goslings are nearly full grown.
When great mullein blooms in the fields, then mock orange petals have all fallen and water willows are blossoming beside the streams.
When you see elderberry bushes in full flower and cottonwood cotton floating in the wind, then the first chiggers will be bite you in the woods and garden.
When you see young acorns forming, then almost all the winter wheat will be headed and about a third of the crop will be turning in the Ohio Valley.
When all of the soybeans are planted and the black raspberries are ripening in the lower Midwest, then walleye fishing is at its best in Lake Erie.
When you see damselflies out along the waterways, cherries will be ripe for pie, and the second cut of alfalfa will be underway.
When milkweed and pokeweed flower, then the first winter wheat will be ripe.
When the first Canadian thistles go to seed, quail will be mating along the fencerows.
When you see lizard’s tail in flower along the rivers and lakes, and when the black raspberry season ends along the roadsides, then go looking for corn borers in the corn.
When enchanter’s nightshade blooms in the woods, then the first soybeans are blossoming, 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 reading of the year, a measly 3 on June 19. No one will suffer from seasonal affective disorders near that date.
As the moon wanes through its third quarter, it will be overhead in the early hours of the morning. Get up as early as you can and stay on the water until the sun gets hot. Fishing should improve at the approach of the June 15th and June 23rd cool fronts; look for fish to avoid your bait a day after the fronts come through.
A smart ram
By Laurie Ball-Gish
Although Mjaldurson has no leader bloodlines, he sure acts like a leader sheep. During this past breeding season, he did two amazing things. From my upstairs window, I could see him in his pasture area where he is with his ewe group.
I happened to open the window shade one morning and he was running very fast to the back of his area (which is out of my sight from that viewpoint). Then he’d run back and start again.
Usually when I see a ram this agitated, I figure he can see a ram in another part of the farm that may be with a ewe in heat. I wasn’t too concerned.
I just went about my chores and when I got up to the barn where another ram group is, I noted that the Kunningison was standing behind one of the ewes that was in the corner. He was just standing behind her kind of talking to her, so I figured it was “wooing” time. Well, I watered everybody and headed back down the hill.
In the meantime, Mjaldurson was still acting weird, which I thought was because of the “courting” going on at the top of the hill. When I went to water his group, I glanced up the hill (from his view point) and that ewe that was being “wooed” was now “bucking and jerking.”
I realized that she wasn’t “standing in heat” for the ram, but rather she had put her head through the fence and was caught. So I ran back up and in, and got her untangled. She wasn’t even in heat that day. She was trapped in the fence. Mjaldurson knew something was wrong and was trying to tell me.
The very next morning, I opened my window shade again and there he was running back and forth again. Well, of course, now I knew to pay more attention to him. So I ran downstairs and looked out the backdoor, which faces the back where the barn is. Lo and behold, what do I see?
Two ram lambs running around outside (loose), trying to get into one of the pastures where there was another ram/ewe group. This was directly across from where Mjaldurson surveys the farm, but was out of sight from my upstairs window. So I ran out and found that the rams who had been locked in the “bachelor pad,” had broken the bolt on their gate and let themselves out. Luckily they were greedy for a treat so I just got the bucket and they followed me back into the barn. As soon as I corrected both “problems,” Mjaldurson immediately calmed down and went about his usual, normal day on the farm.
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 June 7, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.