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Poor Will's Almanack: May 23 - 29, 2017

When lilies and thistles bloom, mulberries and strawberries ripen, box turtles lay eggs, and winter wheat turns pale gold green, then it is the first week of early summer, and the whole season spreads into June. Catalpas and privets and pink spirea bloom as the first cutting of hay gets underway. Nodding thistles, Canadian thistles, the first great mullein, the first Asiatic lily and the first orange trumpet creepers open.

In early summer’s second week, moth mullein, wild garlic and crown vetch bloom along the highways. Young grackles beg for food from their parents all day. The first monarch butterfly caterpillars feed on carrot tops and parsley.  Black and red raspberries start their season, and blackberries set their fruit.

The third week of early summer brings the first wheat harvest in the warmest years. When the wheat comes in, Japanese beetles enjoy the field and garden. Pie cherries are ready to pick.

The end of the wheat harvest marks the final week of early summer, the time when shining orange butterfly weed opens and acorns become fully formed.  Sycamore bark starts to shed. Thistle flowers change to down as hemlock season closes. In wetlands and ditches, the soft heads of cattails are full of pollen. Then the Strawberry and Raspberry Moon turns into the Sweet Corn Moon and brings on middle summer.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first full week of early summer. In the meantime, find your private markers for the season, then watch them change as the moon waxes and wanes.

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