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Workers might suffer from spring lethargy this week
Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
May 1-7, 2006

Out of its little hill faithfully rise
the potatoes dark green leaves,
out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk,
the lilacs bloom in the dooryards.

-Walt Whitman

The astronomical calendar for the second week of late spring:
The Mock Orange Moon enters its second quarter at 12:13 a.m. on May 5.

The night continues to shorten quickly as summer nears. On May 9, the sun reaches three-fourths of the way to summer solstice.

If you check the stars at about 10 p.m. (EDT), they will tell you that the danger of frost is almost past. Arcturus still hangs a little to the east of the center of the sky, but as that star shifts into the west, it pulls the chances for a freeze with it. When you check the sky and see Arcturus well into the west at bedtime, you can seed any vegetable or flower that you want without fear of losing what you plant to the cold.

Weather patterns
May 7: With the arrival of the second major high pressure system of the month, there is a slight possibility of a return of Lilac Winter, and frost is frequent on May 8. The period of May 8-14 historically brings more storms to the nation than any other period except the days May 17-24.

May 12: This is one of the last frost-bearing fronts to move across the nation. Although gardens in the North are not immune to a freeze throughout the entire month of May, the greatest danger of loss from low temperatures recedes quickly as this high moves out over the Atlantic.

Natural year
When you see tea roses and privets blooming, then you can plant your tomatoes with hardly a thought for a damaging freeze (but keep protection handy).

When daisies flower by the wayside and white mulberries and mountain maples bloom, then find daddy longlegs in the undergrowth and darners by the water’s edge.

When the high tree line is alive with green and golden budburst, then plant your soybeans.

When lilac flowers fade, look for hawthorn lace bugs and hawthorn leafminers to emerge in the hawthorns. Look for pine needle scale eggs, cooley spruce gall adelgid and Eastern spruce gall adelgid eggs to 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, falls to a low of 24 on June 5. Even though the index climbs into the 30s next week, S.A.D. remains low for almost everyone. Spring lethargy, however, is the downside of low Index readings, so be prepared to deal with indifference toward school or work.

Best fishing
The moon moves overhead in the afternoon this week, improving your chances for catching fish during that time. When the barometer begins to fall in advance of the May 7th and 12th cold fronts, and the wind blows from the south, fishing should get even better.

By Eugenia Herrmann, Redkey, Ind.

I have indoor/outdoor cats. They prefer to be out during the summer months and if one wants in, it scratches at the back door.

One warm night, I was watching the late news and heard the usual scratching. I went to the door; looking down to see which cat it was, only there was no cat.

Instead, there was a deer standing on my back steps, and it acted like it was more than willing to come into my house.

Needless to say, I closed the screen door, saying, “Now what do I do?”

First I tried to call my neighbors who have exotic animals, but I had no success. Then I called the town marshal. Upon his arrival, I politely asked if I was hallucinating or was there really a deer in my yard. He laughingly said that if I was seeing things, then he was too because the deer was real.

I tried to keep the deer occupied while he went and got the neighbors out of bed. Upon their arrival, they told me that “Bucky” had been a bottle-fed deer, raised in the house and used to hearing and seeing the TV. It was probably the reason why he wanted to come into my house.

Bucky made several unexpected visits to my neighbors and me over the years. It was always fun to get to see him, and I surely wished I had taken a picture of the owner guiding him back home by banging on a feed bucket.

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 April 26, 2006 issue of Farm World.