Poor Will’s Almanack: Watch for Lyrid Meteors

From the moist meadow to the wither’d hill,

Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs,

And swells and deepens, to the cherish’d eye.

— James Thomson

After April 22, chances for snow drop below 5 percent, and chances for a cold day in the 30s or 40s fall to only 10 percent. Beginning on April 27, highs in the 90s become possible, and the chances for a high in the 80s pass the 20 percent mark. The chances for a high above 70s degrees are now 50/50 or better for the first time this year.

Lunar phase and lore

The Sandhill Crane Migration Moon becomes completely full on April 22 at 12:24 a.m. then wanes throughout the remainder of the month, coming into its final quarter on April 29 at 10:29 p.m. Rising in the evening and setting in the morning, this moon passes overhead (its most powerful position) in the middle of the night. As cold fronts of April 24 and 28 approach the region, the effects of the night moon become more pronounced. Farm and garden planting will be supported by the moon’s position in wet Scorpio (April 22-24) and Capricorn (April 26-29).

Natural calendar

Today: The Lyrid Meteors fall tonight into tomorrow morning in the east between Cygnus and Hercules. These shooting stars often appear at the rate of 15 to 25 per hour.

Saturday: Cliff swallows migrate, and buckeyes, lilacs and garlic mustard come into full bloom.

Sunday: The first cycle of cabbage moths is at its peak.

Monday: Scarlet tanagers appear in the woods.

Tuesday: Late spring arrives as admiral butterflies hatch. Field grasses are long enough to ripple in the wind.

Wednesday: The first indigo bunting arrives and early season iris plants blossom. Ducklings and goslings are born, and warblers swarm north. Spring peepers peep and loons mate.

Thursday: Early grasses go to seed as Baltimore Orioles arrive. Red horse chestnut and wild cherry trees come into bloom.

Average blooming dates

April 22: Wild Geranium, Bridal Wreath Spirea, Late-Season Tulips and Daffodils

April 23: Miterwort, Celandine, Garlic Mustard

April 24: Clematis, Wood Hyacinth, Golden Seal

April 25: Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Wild Ginger

April 26: Meadow Parsnip, Wood Betony, Honeysuckle, Buckeye,

April 27: Early-Season Iris, Thyme, Horseradish, Hairy Solomon’s Seal, False Solomon’s Seal, Spring Avens

April 28: Common Fleabane, Osage Orange, Lily-of-the-Valley

Field and garden

Today: Lunar apogee will not only reduce the effect of full moon but may also weaken the second major tornado period of April begins today, lasting in most years until the 27th.

Saturday: Weevils may be emerging in alfalfa. Watercress flowers are opening, excellent for salads and garnishing.

Sunday: The high leaf canopy is beginning to fill in, casting shade on the flower and vegetable garden.

Monday: Field corn planting is going on throughout the nation. Use silage and hay supplements to take up the feeding slack if pasture growth is slow because of cold.

Tuesday: Just one month until every single tender plant can be placed outside.

Wednesday: Haying is underway across the South. Some orchard grass and rye are ready to harvest. Thyme and horseradish are open in the herb garden.

Thursday: Winter wheat is typically four to eight inches high. Iris borers are hatching now; check your roots.

Journal

I remember reading something in Isaac Walton about a frog that leapt on the back of a giant pickerel and hung on until the fish was exhausted and finally expired. And several years ago, a friend of mine told me how she had witnessed a frog jump on the back of one of her pond carp and cling to it until they both disappeared beneath the water.

Since one of my koi is missing from my pond, I suspect her killer might be Jacques, the green frog which came to the pond last fall. I imagine him crouching under one of the flat stones of the waterfall at the east end of the pond. As a fish comes to feed in the algae by the running water, he leaps out in ambush, rides his prey to his lair under the falls where he holds it in the dark until it expires. But, really, the culprit was probably a heron!

The Almanack News

Did something unusual happen in nature in your yard or town? Send your observations to Poor Will’s Almanack at P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 or to wlfelker@gmail.com. As space permits, I will include your notes (with first names only) in The Almanack News section of this column.

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