|By Bill Felker
July 24-30, 2006
Love all Creation. Love every leaf, and every ray of light. Love the plants. Love the animals. If you love everything, you will perceive the Divine Mystery in all things. Once you perceive it, you will comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all embracing love.
-Fydor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
The astronomical calendar for the fifth week of middle summer:
The Love Vine Moon, new on July 24, waxes throughout the period, entering its second quarter at 3:46 a.m. on August 2.
Nights grow more than an hour longer in August. The first week of the month loses about two minutes in a day; by the last week, the loss is up to three minutes every 24 hours.
The Southern Delta Aquarid meteors and the Perseid meteors brighten the east after midnight during the first half of the month. The first week of August provides the darkest sky for shooting star observation.
August 4: After the July 24th cool front moves east, the Dog Days usually return for August, weakened only a little by the arrival of the August 4th high-pressure system. Although the daily possibility of highs in the 80s and 90s remains near July levels, cool days do occur 15 to 25 percent of the years, and afternoons only in the 60s are recorded in the northern tier of states.
When wild grapes ripen and geese become restless, then look for the first Judas maple to turn orange and for late-summer fogs to appear at dawn.
When fireflies disappear from the summer evenings, then blackberries are ready to pick for wine and pie.
When honeysuckle berries ripen, and hickory nuts and black walnuts drop into the undergrowth, then dig your potatoes.
When you hear robins make their clucking migration calls, then make corrective lime and fertilizer applications for August and September seeding.
When green acorns fall to the sweet rocket growing back for next year’s flowers, then black walnut trees will have lost about a third of their leaves and hummingbirds, wood ducks, Baltimore orioles and purple martins start to disappear south.
When the violet Joe Pye weed flowers become gray like the thistledown, then peaches, processing tomatoes and peppers are almost all picked, and the fruit of the bittersweet ripens orange.
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, remains in the mild 20s this week, producing few problems even for the most sensitive people. On the other hand, be careful not to stay indoors too much even if the weather is hot. Natural sunlight and outdoor activity are the best defenses against summer S.A.D.
The dark moon overhead in the middle of the day favors lunchtime fishing throughout the week. As August approaches, stay out until suppertime. Cool fronts of July 28 and August 4 are expected to push the barometric pressure down before they pass over your boat; fish should bite a little more as that pressure dips.
“A little bird told me…”
Another True Story by Susan Perkins, Hardtimes Farm, Ky.
While I was hanging clothes on the line, a black-capped chickadee flew down and landed just a few feet from where I was working. It jumped up and down, twittered and carried on like I was doing something wrong. I had never had a wild bird come this close before, so I knew a baby bird must be close to where I was working.
I started looking for the baby. Sure enough, a baby had fledged from the nest and ended up on the ground. But the baby was nowhere near where I was working. Something else was wrong.
I looked around and noticed a piece of tin lying up under some scrub brush. I knew there had to be a snake hiding there and it was after the baby chickadee. It may have already got some of the fledging babies, as I only saw one.
I picked up the tin and jumped back. Just as I suspected, there was a four-foot black snake under the tin. One of my dogs jumped in and made quick work of him.
I put the baby bird up in a tree and mom and dad continued feeding it until it finally flew away. This has never happened again.
Guess there’s something to the saying, “A little bird told me so.”
oor 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 July 19, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.