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Poor Will's Almanack: January 1 - 7, 2019

Shawn Harquail
Flickr Creative Commons

The new Squashy Osage Moon watches over the earliest bedding plant sprouts of 2019, encouraging precocious coleus, pansies, geraniums and begonias with its waxing tide. And an inventory of outdoor flora for the New Year complements the lunar phase, so many plants now seeding or bowing as if to set their seeds.

In my alley, tall coneflower stalks have collapsed around the telephone pole. In my south garden, the white boneset has toppled over, and the small white asters, their seed heads empty, are leaning toward the aging Osage fruits. In the pond, the swamp rushes lie with the Lizard’s tail flat across the water.

The hydrangea heads are drooping in the north garden, and the Jerusalem artichokes have fallen over. Grasses are pale and bent. Hoary goldenrod and brittle great ragweed have broken. Chicory stalks are leaning. Pokeweed, hollow and empty, rattles in the wind. The snow and the overwintering robins pull off the honeysuckle berries. Winterberry branches are drooping to let down their fruit. Bittersweet pods continue to split away from their branches.

The evergreen foliage of the hardiest herbs and flowers collapses tight against the frozen but nurturing ground: Sweet rocket, garlic mustard, ragwort, celandine, poppies, thistles, chives and parsley crouch in wait like new seeds for the Skunk Courting Moon of February and the Cows Switching Their Tales Moon of March.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Deep Winter  and the first full week of the Squashy Osage Fruit Moon. In the meantime, take your own inventory of the space around you. We can’t save the Earth if we don’t see it.

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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.