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Poor Will's Almanack: March 20 - 26, 2018

Poor Will’s Almanack for the fifth week of Early Spring, the second week of the Golding Goldfinch Moon, the first week of the Sun in Aries, the week of Spring Equinox.

So much is happening, it’s hard to even imagine it all. Equinox occurs  at 11:15 a.m. on March 20 and the Sun enters the Middle Spring sign of  Aries on March 21. The Golding Goldfinch Moon, slowly turning the feathers of goldfinches gold, enters its second phase on March 24 and reaches perigee, its powerful position closest to earth on the March 26.

When you get up before dawn to exercise, do chores or listen to birds, find giant Jupiter along the southern horizon in Libra. Walk with Venus in the far west after sundown.

In spite of March chill, the cornus mas shrubs come into full bloom, their spring-yellow flowers foreshadowing the forsythia that will blossom by the end of the month. Now begin your spring wildflower walks: snow trillium flowers and violet cress are budding. Comfrey leaves reach two inches long. Motherwort swells into clumps, and henbit is in full bloom. In gardens along the Ohio River, daffodils and blue squills blossom while the fattest crocuses fade. Pollen appears on pussy willow catkins. Chickweed and shepherd’s purse open in the alleys. The first white star magnolia blossoms unravel. Red-bellied woodpeckers, flickers and pileated woodpeckers call in the woods. Termites migrate, and green-bottle flies hatch. Garter snakes lie out sunning.

The first blue periwinkles open among last year's fallen leaves. Summer's lizard's tail is sprouting in the river mud. Daylily foliage is at least six inches high now. Ramps (native wild onions, famous throughout Appalachia for healing and seasoning) are three to four inches tall, their foliage unraveling in the bottomlands.

Every day, more bluebirds and yellow-bellied sapsuckers arrive from the South. Catfish feed in the warming shallows. Question mark, tortoise shell and cabbage butterflies look for nectar on sunny mornings, Bees are out looking for honey.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the transition week to Middle Spring. In the meantime, all the signs of the last days of Early Spring say that there is hardly any time at all to procrastinate. Hibernation for all creatures is coming to an end. It’s time to be out in the world.

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