Lunar phase and pore
The Coneflower Moon, becoming the new Katydid Moon on August, waxes throughout the first half of the month, coming into its second quarter at 1:21 p.m. on Aug. 10. Rising before dawn, setting at dusk, this moon is overhead in the afternoon, making that time of day the best lunar time for fishing. You should catch the most fish after lunch when the barometer falls at the approach of the August 10 cool front.
As the moon waxes away from its new-moon position, lunar stress should decline. Plan on scheduling livestock and pet care, surgery, dental work and personal encounters for the days around Aug. 10 when the moon will at its weakest point in the first half of August. Plant autumn crops in fields, pastures and gardens when the moon lies in Scorpio on Aug. 8-11.
Aug. 5: Nights grow longer in August, almost one hour and 15 minutes longer by the end of the month. The first week loses two minutes in a day; by the last week, the loss is up to three minutes every 24 hours. Even though the days shorten, the average percentage of possible sunshine per day increases to near 80 percent, the highest of the year.
Aug. 6: Robin calls increase, short clucking signals for flocking, fledgling guidance and migration. Starlings and warblers become more restless. Hummingbirds, wood ducks, Baltimore orioles and purple martins start to disappear south; their departure marks a quickening in the deepening of late summer.
Aug. 7: Green acorns fall to the sweet rocket growing back among the budding asters. Black walnut foliage is thinning.
Aug. 8: Violet Joe Pye weed becomes gray like the thistledown. Fruit of the bittersweet ripens. Spicebush berries redden. Rose pinks and great blue lobelias color the waysides.
Aug. 9: Average temperatures have fallen just one degree since July 28, the date after which the stability of middle summer begins to deteriorate. Beginning this week, averages drop a degree and a half per week until Sept. 10, when they decline one degree every three days into January.
Aug. 10: The end of fireflies, the occasional long and loud robin valediction song, the yellow jackets in the windfall apples and plums, the appearance of white snakeroot and boneset flowers, the fading of cottonwoods, and the occasional falling leaf combine now with all the other endings and beginnings to accelerate the passage of the summer, building momentum with an accumulation of more and more events.
Aug. 11: The Perseid meteor shower, bringing up to 50 shooting stars a minute out of the northeast, will be visible after midnight between the 11th and the 13th.
Average blooming dates
Aug. 5: Willow Herb
Aug. 7: Japanese Knotweed
Aug. 9: False boneset
Aug. 10: Three-Seeded Mercury
Field and garden
Aug. 5: Commercial growers are accelerating the harvest of processing tomatoes and peppers. In a few Springfield gardens, however, insects and disease have cut short the tomato season.
Aug. 6: Corn is usually all silked throughout the Midwest. The peach harvest peaks, but will continue until the end of the month in cool years.
Aug. 7: The harvest of winter wheat and oats is complete throughout the nation.
Aug. 8: The day's length, which shortened at the rate of only six minutes a week one month ago, now contracts more than a quarter of an hour in a week, providing more breeding stimulus to ewes and does.
Aug. 9: Watermelons are ripe; summer apples are half picked, and tobacco is topped on about two-thirds of Ohio Valley plots.
Aug. 10: Almost all the soybeans have flowered; a fourth to a third of the crop has ordinarily set pods.
Aug. 11: Farmers are bringing in corn for silage, digging potatoes, picking tomatoes and finishing the second or third cut of alfalfa hay.
Cardinals sang a little before dawn this morning, doves joined in about half an hour later. Both they and the cardinals are sleeping late now that late summer has arrived.
This afternoon I watched pairs of orange fold-wing skipper butterflies playing in tight randori in the morning sun. A cardinal suddenly came out from the bushes, hovered for an instant and then gobbled one of the skippers down.
In the alley, giant ragweed is getting pollen and the first burdock blooms have appeared. Wild blue chicory is lush, complementing the purple garden phlox in Mrs. Timberlake’s yard. In our yard, new black-eyed Susans create the dominant color.
I feel a deepening sense of late summer now: patches of red Virginia creeper, some buckeye trees almost completely bare, some wood nettle leaves turning white. Joe Pye weed going to seed. Apples are lying all about the yard. Leaves trickle to the undergrowth, one every few minutes.
Send your observations to Poor Will's Almanack at P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.