Poor Will’s Clark County Almanack: Sycamores mark midsummer

I walk down the pond edge, under the glare of the sun, noting the changes since my last visit. The mallard ducklings, that I saw so short a time ago darting about like water bugs, are now half grown. The pebble patches where the bream eggs hatched are silting over gain. The yellow flowers of the water iris have come and gone. … There is never a pause, on summer days, in the changing kaleidoscope of nature. — Edwin Way Teale

The Corn Tassel Rains, which typically begin at the end of June, continue through the period, and temperatures, which cooled somewhat during the first days of July, begin to grow warmer. After the 8th, there is a full 90 percent chance that afternoon highs will reach 80 or above. July 8 and 9 are some of the worst Dog Days of the year, both bringing a 10 percent chance for heat above 100 degrees. The period between July 13 and 15 brings cooler conditions in the 70s 25 percent of the years, with the 13th being known to see a high just in the 60s.

Lunar phase and lore

The Coneflower Moon, new on July 4, waxes throughout the period, entering its second quarter on the 11th at 9:52 a.m. It reaches apogee, its position farthest from Earth on the 13th.

Lunar conditions for planting a middle summer garden are favorable through the week, especially in Scorpio on the 12th through the 15th.

The moon will be overhead (the best lunar position for fishing) in the afternoon. Take advantage of evening temperatures to stay out late and watch moonset over the water. The days prior to the cool front due on the 14th should land the most walleyes, bass, and catfish.

Natural calendar

July 8: From New York west to Clark County, parsnips, knapweed, daisies, crown vetch, and yellow sweet clover are prominent along the roadsides.

July 9: Morning birdsong continues to diminish, making way for the increase of insect volume. Blackberries are August size this week, but still green. Milkweed pods emerge almost everywhere.

July 10: Throughout the whole country, more wildflowers blossom now than at any other time of year.

July 11: Sycamore trees shed their bark, marking the center of summer.

July 12: Long, fresh, red seedpods hang from locust branches.

July 13: Leaf-turn is beginning now in the undergrowth. Depending on the year, buckeyes can be badly rusted, and leaf miners can be turning the locust leaves brown.

July 14: In Ontario, timothy is still sweet to chew. Strawberries are just starting to come in. Peonies and lilacs and wild lilies are in bloom.

Average blooming dates

July 8: Pickerel Plant

July 9: Germander, Small-Flowered Agrimony

July 10: Showy Coneflower

July 11: Skullcap

July 12: Fogfruit, Great Indian Plantain

July 14: Wingstem, Blue Vervain

Field and garden

July 11: Sycamore trees shed their bark, marking the center of summer.

July 12: Long, fresh, red seedpods hang from locust branches.

July 13: Leaf-turn is beginning now in the undergrowth. Depending on the year, buckeyes can be badly rusted, and leaf miners can be turning the locust leaves brown.

July 14: In Ontario, timothy is still sweet to chew. Strawberries are just starting to come in. Peonies and lilacs and wild lilies are in bloom.

Average blooming dates

July 8: Pickerel Plant

July 9: Germander, Small-Flowered Agrimony

July 10: Showy Coneflower

July 11: Skullcap

July 12: Fogfruit, Great Indian Plantain

July 14: Wingstem, Blue Vervain

Field and garden

July 8: The peak period of heat stress begins for summer crops. High temperatures start to turn some grasses dormant. San Jose scale and flathead borers are active on flowering fruit trees.

July 9: Double-crop beans are being planted after wheat harvest and lunar position is superb for that activity.

July 10: Fresh tomato, green bean, and squash harvests begin on commercial acreage.

July 11: Greenhouse tomatoes seeded today should be producing by October.

July 12: Forty percent of the second crop of alfalfa has usually been cut by now — along with almost half the wheat. A fifth of the oats is typically ripe. One in 10 or 20 soybeans could be in bloom.

July 13: Commercial cucumber and summer potato harvests have started Velvetleaf grows tall in the corn.

July 14: Lilies reach their peak bloom time throughout Clark County.

Journal

Before eight o’clock this morning, crows and grackles were screeching in the mulberry. Sparrows were feeding heavily, black-capped chickadee weaving in and out of their flocking.

Cicadas began to whine, hummingbirds came to the feeders, spicebush swallowtails, skippers, cabbage butterflies, hummingbird moths, and tiger swallowtails all explored the garden.

In the middle of all the heat, the yard has passed some kind of high-timber line of summer. The astilbes are about gone; the ditch lilies are done; the Indomitable Spirit hydrangea’s large, pink blossoms are browning; the spiderwort still blooms, but its foliage is discolored and aging; the mid-season hosta flowers are more than halfway up their stalks.

Even though the earliest morning birdsong has been reduced to doves and cardinals, robins have been loud all day. At dusk, a mother robin flew with her baby to the top of the pussy willow. Then she flew back and forth from the south garden with morsels for him, clucking her reassurance.

Almanack news

Send your observations to Poor Will’s Almanack at P.O. Box 431, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 or to wlfelker@gmail.com.

X