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As corn silks, winter wheat should be ready for harvest
Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
July 3-9, 2006

In Nature’s infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.

-William Shakespeare

The astronomical calendar for the second week of middle summer:
The Phlox Moon waxes gibbous through the period, becoming completely round and full at 10:02 p.m. on July 10.

The Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower begins on July 8 and continues through August 19. The meteors of this shower cross the sky at the rate of about 20 per hour. To find them, look south in the vicinity of Aquarius and Pisces. The moon will be most favorable for meteor sighting during July’s first and fourth week.

In the late evenings of middle summer, the teapot-like star formation of Libra lies in the south, followed by Scorpius and its red center, Antares. Sagittarius, the Archer, follows the Scorpion in the southeast. Above the Archer, the Milky Way sweeps up toward Cassiopeia in the north.

Weather patterns
July 6: This is the front that typically brings Independence Day thunderstorms. Temperatures remain hot after its passage, however, and the Dog Days officially begin as it moves east. July 14: By this time in July, the Corn Tassel Rains have just about ended, and chances for significant precipitation drop quickly.

Temperatures have been in the 80s and 90s throughout most of the country, but the period between July 13 and 15 can bring cooler highs in the 70s and sometimes even in the 60s.

Natural year
When geese start getting restless (you’ll see them flying back and forth and hear them honking), that’s the time the blueberry crop will be thinning and summer apples will be about half picked.

When the first ears of corn are silking, then it’s time to bring in the winter wheat and canola. That’s when salmonberry bushes are in full bloom along the Columbia River and the last lilac bush flowers in the mountains of Alberta, Canada.

When milkweed pods appear on the milkweed, check your calendar and start counting. Those pods should burst in about 80 days when ash trees are in full color.

When thimbleberry, blueweed, great Indian plantain, great mullein, milkweed, columbine, dock, daisy fleabane, large black medic bush clover, yellow and white sweet clover, cow parsnip, blue-eyed grass, and Hooker’s orchis flower in the Appalachians, then strawberry season is at its best in the Pacific Northwest.

When pokeweed has green berries, expect the Japanese beetles to be at their strongest in the soybeans, ferns and roses.

When parsnips, knapweed, daisies, crown vetch, and yellow sweet clover are prominent along the roadsides, then listen for morning birdsong to diminish and insect volume to increase. That’s the time to put out your collard, kale and cabbage sets for fall.

When sycamore trees shed their bark, they mark the center of summer, the time to top your tobacco and watch the peaches ripen.

When thistledown floats across the fields, then more wildflowers and weeds are blooming than at any other time of year. That’s when many people complete the carrot harvest.

When the red cones of the staghorn sumac become prominent, then look for woolly bear caterpillars to cross your road.

When young blue jays leave the nest, then purple coneflower season will soon be here.

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, rises to 47 on July 10, a sign that heat and humidity are causing seasonal affective disorders in many people.

Best fishing
The moon will be overhead in the night this week, making that time the most favorable lunar time for fishing.

The cool front of July 6 often brings more activity in the water, but then the Dog Days settle in with very little barometric activity until the July 14th cool front approaches.

Nanny and the lamb
A Story by Bob, Bonnie and Shirley Applegate, Washington, Iowa
Mother Ewe Number 9 had two boy lambs at the barn. They were white, and one was bigger than the other. The big one started to push off the little one.

Bob and Bonnie carried the little lamb to the goat shed so he could suck on a nanny goat. In a few days, the lamb just would follow them to the shed.

In a short time, the lamb found an extra-wide space in the fence, and he crawled through the holes to get to the nanny. He also found an open space under the loading chute at the barn, and he would go by himself to the goat shed and get breakfast, dinner and supper.

We watched him many times go across the yard by himself, “baaaing” all the way. The black nanny would come out of the shed and answer him. He crawled through the fences and would eat, crawl back out and go back to the barn 300 feet away. If it was hot out, he would stop in the shade of a piece of machinery and rest a while. As time went along, the lamb grew and the hole in the fences got so he could not squeeze through, so he just stayed with the goats and finished growing up, and the black nanny did a real good job of raising that lamb.

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 28, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.