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Cicadas will begin chanting soon
 
Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
 
And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune, and over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen, we hear life murmur, or see it glisten. – James Russell Lowell

The Fifth Week of Early Summer, The Week of the Longest Days of the Year

In the Sky
Summer solstice occurs on June 20 at 4:50 p.m. EDT. The Sun enters the Deep Summer sign of Cancer at the same time. From June 19 to 23, the Sun holds steady at its solstice declination of 23 degrees 26 minutes, and the day’s length remains virtually unchanged.
Late in the evening, Arcturus is the brightest star overhead. A little below it, Jupiter consorts with Spica in Virgo. Libra moves into the far west, Regulus, the star of early spring daffodils, leading the way. In the northern sky, the Big Dipper lies almost directly above the northern hemisphere, while in the east, Hercules chases the Corona Borealis, and the constellations of the Summer Triangle are rising.
By chore time in the early morning, the sky has moved to the way it will appear on an October evening: Hercules is setting, the Summer Triangle shifting into the far west, Pegasus almost overhead, and the harbingers of winter, the Pleiades, appearing on the horizon.

Phases of the Fledgling Moon
June 21: The moon is full.
June 28: The moon enters its final quarter.

Weather Trends
The June 23 high-pressure system, the most significant front of the week, is typically cool and often puts an end to mid-June heat waves. It is often followed by some of the sunniest and driest days of all the year. Cooler conditions in the 70s or even the 60s are most likely to occur on the 23rd and 24th, as the front arrives, but then the afternoons usually warm to the 80s or 90s. As the next June front approaches, the benign effects of the June 23 system, riding on the full moon, can be expected to give way to storms.

The Natural Calendar 
In the gardens of town and country, lily season deepens as Asiatic and Oriental lilies join the day lilies in a crescendo of color that peaks in four to five weeks. Cattails are showing their pollen as they grow in ditches and wetlands throughout the area.
When long seedpods have formed on the locust trees, then annual cicadas start to chant. 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 the wheat harvest begins, then bright orange butterfly weed reaches full bloom and acorns become fully formed. Sycamore bark starts to shed, and thistle flowers change to down. Hemlock season is complete, stalks collapsing into the tall grasses.
Poison ivy has green berries. The first touch-me-nots and the first thimble plants are flowering. Wild garlic is blooming. Rugosa roses are in full flower, accompanied by black-eyed Susans, wild petunias and hobblebush.

In the Field and Garden
Flea beetles, damselflies and leafhoppers become active and crickets sing as locust trees flower and snapping turtles lay their eggs.
Nine out of 10 soybeans are typically in the ground this week as Japanese beetles begin to threaten all kinds of crops and flowers. Six to eight leaves have emerged on field corn.
Strawberry season ends as domestic red raspberries and wild black raspberries ripen. Commercial broccoli and squash harvests as well as cherry picking are underway as at least 10 percent of the winter wheat is ripe. Thistles go to seed as corn borers eat the corn and the very earliest soybeans bloom.
Watch for mold in the hay stall when humidity levels rise dramatically toward the end of the month. Be sure grain is kept in clean containers and secure from summer rodents and marauding goats.

Countdown to Late Summer 
• One week until cicadas chant in the hot and humid days
• Two weeks until thistles turn to down
• Three weeks until sycamore bark starts to fall, marking the center of Deep Summer
• Four weeks to the season of singing crickets and katydids after dark
• Five weeks until ragweed pollen floats in the wind 
• Six weeks until blackberries are ready for jam and brandy
• Seven weeks until aster and goldenrod time
• Eight weeks until the season of fall apples begins
• Nine weeks until the corn harvest gets underway

Almanack Literature
I Was Ready with the Tomato Juice
A True Skunk Story
By Eunice Hicks
One Saturday morning many years ago, I was on the way out the back door to throw some apple peelings in the garden, when I kind of glanced to the left and there I saw a big skunk looking up at me with its big eyes! I slammed the door as fast as I could, and screamed.
My son, Clayton, came running into the kitchen, saying, “Momma, Momma, what is it? Tell me.”
“There’s a big skunk out there by the door!” I said. But then he right away opened the door and ran outside to see the skunk, and he wouldn’t listen to me when I cried, “Come back here!”
By this time, my husband and our other children were out of bed and wanting to know what was going on, and when we looked out the back door we saw Clayton walking up the lane with something in his arms.
“Momma, Momma, I caught it!” called Clayton. But my husband and I knew it was it a skunk, and I ran down to the basement and went over to my canned vegetables and grabbed up two quarts of tomato juice to rub on my son if he happened to get sprayed by that skunk.
But my husband said to put the tomato juice back: “If that skunk had been going to spray the boy, it would have already sprayed him.”
Now three months back, my son Floyd Jr., brought a pet skunk home with him that had already been neutered. The children kept it and ran and played with it around the house. It made a good pet, then it ran away and we thought it got killed.
I said to my husband, maybe that skunk is the same one that Clayton caught. He said no, but when he took the skunk to the vet, the vet said that the skunk had already been neutered. And so, the children were happy when Dad said they could keep it, and the skunk ran and played with them until one night they put him in a cage, and the next morning they found him dead. Dad said he’d broken his neck trying to get out.
And then a couple of weeks later, Dad brought a little puppy dog home with him, and the children were so glad. It was a happy ending to this skunk story.

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK’S SCKRAMBLER
YERBU               BUYER
RREID DRIER
FLREI FLIER
RRFAI FRIAR
YERRF FRYER
REYSH SHYER
REIT           TIRE
IRORP PRIOR
RALI           LIAR
RHEGHI           HIGHER

THIS WEEK’S RHYMING SCKRAMBLER
FLCKRIE
EIURKCQ
RQLOUI
CARVI
KERCIW
EIKCNKR
ERECKI
REKLIC
RECKIS
KCILSRE
In order to estimate your SCKRAMBLER 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. Yes, you are a genius.
Copyright 2024 – W. L. Felker 
 
 
6/17/2024