July 22-28, 2013
Through the clear streams the fishes rise,
And nimbly catch the incautious flies.
The glow-worms, numerous and light,
Illumed the dewy dell last night;
At dusk the squalid toad was seen,
Hopping and crawling o’er the green.
-“Signs of Rain,” Dr. Edward Jenner
Lunar phase and lore
The Sweet Corn Moon becomes full on July 22 at 1:15 p.m. and wanes until it enters its final phase at 12:43 p.m. July 29. Rising after dark and setting in the middle of the day, this moon is overhead before dawn.
Lunar position suggests morning fishing could be most productive, and the falling barometer that precedes the cool front of July 28 should enhance feeding. The moon’s movement into Taurus on July 29-31 could help late summer plantings of shrubs and trees set their roots, as long as you water them well.
On July 27-28, the Delta Aquarids are the major shooting stars of the month. Watch for them after midnight, near Aquarius (below the Northern Cross). You might see up to 20 meteors per hour.
The coolest days of the week are typically July 22-23, when mild 70s are recorded in about a fourth of all the years. July 23 brings pleasant sleeping weather more often than anytime in July: a full 35 percent of the nights drop below 60 degrees.
The most consistent day of the period, and of the whole month, is July 24, when highs in the 80s come 95 percent of the time. Sunshine remains the rule for this week of the month, with three out of four days bringing at least a partial break in the clouds.
Chances for rain typically decline as July comes to a close, dropping from 40-45 percent July 24 down to just 20 percent on July 30-31. A cool front passes through the lower Midwest between July 27-29. Five years in 10, at least one afternoon in the 70s follows that late-July cool wave.
Evening lows in the 50s, unusual only two weeks ago, often return. Average high temperatures drop 1 degree on July 28, their first decline since late January.
July 22: Today is full moon day, a time to be extra gentle with spouses, children, clients and animals.
July 23: Harvest fruits and vegetables as the moon wanes. Blackberries begin to come in along the Ohio River. Cattails are heavy with fresh, loose pollen. White sweet clover, so prominent a few weeks ago, is fading along the highways. Swamp milkweed is just opening in the wetlands.
July 24: When the foliage of multiflora roses is yellowing, then white snakeroot (poisonous to livestock) is budding in and around the woodlots.
July 25: Throughout the country, birds have begun to come together, flocking in anticipation of autumn. On the East Coast, shorebirds are beginning to move south, often stopping to rest on North Carolina’s outer banks. In the honeysuckles of the Ohio Valley, adult robins teach their young migration calls.
July 26: In the woodlots, June’s clustered snakeroot is overgrown by August’s nettle and white snakeroot. The first blue tall bell flower is blooming and the first few touch-me-not pods are ready to burst. Hosta is past its prime now and most lilies are gone.
July 27: In July forage pastures, clip alfalfa plants when blooms have just started; its energy will be directed back to making foliage instead of producing seeds. Even though the Dog Days are still with us, and normal averages are still within a degree or two of their middle July peak, they now start dropping at the rate of approximately half a degree every four days.
July 28: This is the last week of middle summer, and you should begin your vigil for the katydids – listening after dark for their first rasping call. A new generation of crickets has been born, too, and you will hear them soon even if you live deep in the suburbs.
Across the land, wingstem, burdock, ironweed, tall and showy coneflowers, pigweed, thin-leafed mountain mint, blue vervain, tick trefoil, downy false foxglove, monkey flower, three-seeded mercury and Joe Pye weed are blooming.