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Poor Will's Almanack: July 10 - 16, 2018

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The Sun’s powerful position in Cancer throughout the month is enhanced by the position of Sirius, the Dog Star, located almost due south at noon and contributing (according to tradition) to the Dog Days of Middle Summer. With  all their heat, Cancer and Sirius ripen the landscape.

Field corn is ready to tassel all along the 40th Parallel. Sweet corn and beans and tomatoes fill the farmers’ markets. Winter wheat is ready to be cut. Carrots and beets are ready to be pulled for supper. Broccoli has headed. Deep Summer’s tomatoes and beans are coming in.

Elderberry flowers turn to green fruit, like the blossoms of pokeweed, the blue cohosh and the trilliums.

Black walnuts, Osage fruits and hickory nuts are more than half grown, and  sometimes fall in a thunderstorm.

Throughout the Midwest, the first peaches and summer apples have started coming in. July's wild cherries are ripening. Along the West Coast, salmon berries set fruit. Blackberries are sweet and black in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Under the high canopy of the woods, avens and thimbleweed are forming seed heads. In many years, a slight turning of the leaves has begun on some of the redbuds, Virginia creepers, box elders, and buckeyes. In fields waiting for Monarch butterflies, September’s milkweed pods emerge, pushing out past the mating milkweed beetles.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of Deep Summer. In the meantime, sit outdoors in the morning or the evening, watch the world get ripe.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.