Poor Will’s Almanack: Wild turkeys are gobbling

When daffodils begin to peer

With hey the doxy over the dale,

Why then comes in the sweet o’ the year

And the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale.

— William Shakespeare

Chances for highs below 50 degrees fall to less than 10 percent on the 11th where they remain until they drop to five percent on April 22nd. And milder highs above 60 occur better than half the time on all the days of this week except on the 10th, when cooler conditions typically prevail.

Lows in the cold 20s are rare (just a five percent chance on the 17th and 18th), but frost still strikes an average of one night in four. Beginning on the 20th, the chances for an afternoon high in the 70s or 80s jumps from an average of 25 percent to 45 percent.

Lunar phase and lore

The Robin Chorus Moon became the new Sandhill Crane Migration Moon (and reached perigee) on April 7. Rising in the morning and setting in the evening, this moon passes overhead (its best location for angling and its worst for dieters) in the middle of the day. It enters its second quarter on April 13 at 10:59 p.m. Midday lunar force should be enhanced by the sinking barometer at the approach of a cold front around April 11. The moon’s position in Taurus on April 8 through 10 offers the most favorable lunar conditions for planting flowers, as well as field and garden crops.

Natural calendar

Today: Virginia bluebells are in full bloom. Wild turkeys are gobbling.

Saturday: Columbines and bleeding hearts are bushy and nearly a foot tall. Rhubarb leaves are bigger than a big man’s hand. The grass is long enough to cut. Redbud branches turn violet as their buds stretch and crack.

Sunday: Privets are filling out. Branches of the multiflora roses are almost completely covered with foliage. Dogwoods start to open. Early tulips are at their peak.

Monday: Deer are born and bullheads begin their spawning run. Wood ticks have emerged as far north as Minnesota. Along the beaches of the Northeast, piping plovers are returning to establish their nests.

Tuesday: Trees are in full flower throughout the Central Plains, the Northeast, the Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. In the Southeast, all the grasses are coming into bloom.

Wednesday: Bleeding hearts have hearts. Redbuds are turning a deeper pink and purple. American toads are chanting, and hummingbird moths and bumblebees come out to sip the flowering of dandelions.

Thursday: Today usually starts full apple, redbud and dogwood blossom week along the 40th parallel.

Average blooming dates

April 8: Star Magnolias, Red-Flowered Quince, Toad Trillium

April 9: Early Season Tulips, Star of Holland, Fritillaria, Cowslip

April 10: Decorative Pears, Ashes, Sugar Maples

April 11: Crab Apples, Bleeding Heart, Blue Cohosh

April 12: Cherries, Peaches

April 13: Mid-Season Daffodil

April 14: Hawthorns, Wisteria, Jacob’s Ladder

Field and garden

Today: About a fifth of Ohio River tobacco beds are seeded now. Average highs reach 60 in Clark County.

Saturday: Mounds begin to rise in the lawn as moles wake up and hunt grubs and worms. Some sheep owners are putting their flocks to work cutting grass, controlling weeds and reducing the undergrowth in forests.

Sunday: Most weeds have sprouted by the middle of April. Walk new pastures looking for unfamiliar plants.

Monday: After the April 11th high-pressure system crosses the several dry days often follow in its wake. This is the period during which you should try to complete all your middle-spring planting.

Tuesday: Five more weeks to frost-free gardening in most of the nation.

Wednesday: Pastures fill with blooming cress. Tent caterpillars hatch. Aphids appear almost everywhere. Pheasants and woodcocks nest along the fencerows. Flies bother the cattle. In the Great Lakes region, commercial cabbage transplanting is underway.

Thursday: Throughout the country’s midsection, black and gray morel mushrooms come up at this time of the month, the same time that orchard grass is ready to harvest. When mosquitoes become troublesome, the morel season is about over.

Journal

Springfield to Knoxville, Tennessee, April 8, 2004: The undergrowth was pale green going south toward the Ohio River. Pears were in bloom throughout Cincinnati, and the first redbud was flowering just above Lexington, Kentucky, and redbuds increased in frequency from that point south.

Crabapples and dogwoods were blossoming in southern Kentucky, and coloration grew as we drove: golds, reds, oranges, violets. By the Tennessee border, dandelions were everywhere, winter cress was lanky, and there was a full green tint to the hillsides. In Knoxville: azaleas, dogwoods, creeping phlox were in bloom. Pears, box elders, birch and apples leafing, dandelions going to seed. In six hours, we had driven almost to the end of April.

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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