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Poor Will's Almanack: July 19 - 25, 2016

The year is 200 days old this week. Between the one-hundredth day and the two-hundredth day of the year, the land completes middle spring, passes through late spring and early summer, then enters middle summer. By the two-hundredth day, the cardinals sleep late. Katydids and crickets call in the damp, warm nights. The field corn is tall, the sweet corn and tomatoes are coming in, and the wheat harvest is complete.

Only a few varieties of wildflowers bloom now under the dense canopy: leafcup, tall bellflower, wood nettle, touch-me-nots. The fields and fencerows show most of the color: bouncing bets, St. John's wort, teasel, milkweed, gray-headed coneflowers, white vervain, wild lettuce, heliopsis, germander, skullcap, great Indian plantain, blue vervain, wingstem, bull thistle, black-eyed Susans and small-flowered agrimony. In town, phlox and coneflowers have replaced the daffodils and tulips and lilies of the first one hundred days. Rose of Sharon is flowering instead of pear and apple trees.

In another one hundred days, at the end of October, most of the canopy will be gone. Middle and late summer, early fall and middle fall will have passed. The wildflower and garden seasons will be almost over. Witchhazel will be the only shrub in bloom. Farmers will have cut their soybeans and their corn for grain. The birds and cicadas and katydids will be silent; only the crickets will resist the chilly nights.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fifth week of middle summer. In the meantime,  listen for the crickets in the night, counting off the 100 days to come.


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