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Dog days of summer often begin around July 3
Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker

June 26-July 2, 2006
Each beautiful thing, a flower, the song of a bird, awakens in our soul the memory of our origin. We listen to the voice of beautiful things in order to understand the voice of our soul.
-The Mevlevi Dervishes

The astronomical calendar for the first week of middle summer:
The crescent Phlox Moon waxes throughout the week, entering its second quarter on July 3 at 11:37 a.m.

Aphelion, the point at which the earth is farthest from the sun, occurs at 6:00 p.m. on July 3.

Venus moves into Taurus this month, visible in the east after 3 a.m. Mars is in Leo, barely visible in the west after sundown. Jupiter keeps its position in Libra, low in the southwest throughout July evenings. Saturn stays in Cancer, disappearing with Mars into the sunset.

Weather patterns
July 6: The Dog Days and the Corn Tassel Rains often begin on July 3 as the chances for highs in the 90s rise and thunderstorms multiply. Although the July 6th cool front brings some relief from the heat, chances for mild 70s on July 8 and 9 are relatively low in most of the nation.

Natural year
When the first apple and cherry tree leaves become yellow and drift to the ground, alewives head back to sea from their estuaries along the Atlantic.

When midsummer roadkills increase, expect thunderstorms and intense Dog Day heat.

When mimosa webworms appear on locust trees, potato leafhoppers reach serious levels in some alfalfa.

When teasel flowers along the roadsides and wood nettle blooms in the woods, then bagworms attack arborvitae, euonymus, juniper, linden, maple, and fir. Root diseases stalk the soybeans, and the wheat still standing in the fields may suffer from rust, powdery mildew, head scab, and glume blotch.

When elderberry flowers turn to fruit, then giant green June beetles appear in the garden and poisonous white snakeroot is budding in the woods. That’s the time to dig your garlic before the heads break apart. Plant your autumn turnips right afterwards.

When timothy is bearded with seeds, then the first rough-winged swallows migrate south.

When the rose of Sharon flowers, the summer apple harvest will soon be in full swing.

When the roadside grasses turn like the winter wheat, look for local sweet corn in the market.

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, falls from the high 20s to a low of 19 on July 3.

Nevertheless, the very low readings of June are gone for a while as the Dog Days of summer drive many people indoors - where S.A.D. often lurks!

Best fishing
The waxing moon will be overhead in the afternoon and evening this week, and fishing should, therefore, be more productive at those times. The falling barometer before the cool fronts of June 29 and July 6 is expected to make late June and the days around our nation’s birthday excellent days for angling.

The lucky tantrum
A Memory Story by Eunice Hicks of Willard, Ohio
When I was six years old, my family and I lived in Floyd County, Ky. One morning I saw my dad take his gun from the rack on the wall, and heard him tell my mother, Rose, “I know where there’s a hollow tree that has a den of squirrels in it. Maybe I can kill a few this morning and make a big pot of squirrels and gravy.”

When I heard my dad talking about squirrels, I hurried out of my bedroom into the kitchen. I said to Dad, “Can I go hunting with you?”

Dad then said I could maybe some other time so I began to cry and jump up and down, and finally Dad let me go with him.

We walked up the hill and around the hill to where Dad said he saw the squirrels in the big hickory tree where they had a den.

Dad said to me, “I’ll go up the hill above the tree. You go down below the tree and get a bunch of brush. When I hold up my hand, it means I saw a squirrel, and you drag the brush back and forth to scare them out.”

When I saw Dad’s signal, I dragged the brush back and forth, and Dad shot.

But then I saw him fall back on the ground. I ran up the hill as fast as I could. Dad said, “I fell on a rock and I think I broke my collarbone.”

He was in a lot of pain. He told me, “Go tell your mother to go down to our neighbor Joe. Tell him I’m hurt and can’t get up.”

So I ran to the house and Mom and I ran as fast as we could go to Joe’s. Joe got a small sled, and we all three went up the hill. Joe put Dad on the sled, took him home and put him in bed.

“If your daughter hadn’t been with you when you fell and got help for you,” he said, “no telling what would have happened.”

“Yes,” Dad said, “I’m so proud of my daughter!”

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.


Here is this week’s rhyming Scrambler:


This farm news was published in the June 21, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.