Poor Will’s Miami Valley Almanack, fourth week of Early Summer

First week of Early Summer

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

The exuberance of June… It began at daybreak with the chirping and chattering of birds close at hand and in widening circles around us. And then, what greater wonder than the rising of the sun? Even the nights, as yet without insect choirs, were alive. Fireflies against the mass of trees were flashing galaxies which repeatedly made and unmade abstract patterns of light, voiceless as the stars overhead. - Harlan Hubbard

In the Sky

Early risers see the sky the way it will look in late September: the Milky Way overhead, the Great Square covering most of the southeast, huge Cygnus the swan shifting west, following bright Vega. June’s Corona Borealis will be setting now, and the first sign of winter, Aldebaran of the constellation Taurus, will have just emerged in the northeast.

Then come the planets. First comes Saturn out of the east in Aquarius. Then, Mars follows in Aries. Finally, Venus and Jupiter appear in Taurus as the brightest Morning Stars.

Phases of the Fledgling Moon

June 6: The Fledgling Moon is new.

June 14: The moon enters its second quarter.

June 21: The moon is full.

June 28: The moon enters its final quarter.

Weather Trends

Unsettled conditions often surround the approach of the June 15 cool front (between the 13th and 16th) as Late Spring and Early Summer hold their final skirmishes along the nation’s midsection. Thunderstorms are likely as Full Moon influences this weather system, and chances of hurricane formation increase. After summer is victorious, precipitation typically stays away for several days. Between the 15th and the 19th, average temperatures climb their final degrees, reaching their summer peak near solstice.

The Natural Calendar

Chances of highs in the 40s and 50s now recede from the probability until late August. The sunniest June days usually occur between now and the 26th, and the first major heat wave often develops across the Gulf states and the central states.

Virginia creeper, poison ivy, purple coneflower, carnation, blueweed, pokeweed and tiger lilies all bloom this week.

Pollen from grasses reaches its peak in the central portions of the United States, as bluegrass, orchard grass, timothy, red top and Bermuda grass all continue to flower. In the northern forests, pines, spruce, hemlock, arbor vitae, alders, and birch reach the height of their blossoming, and their pollen often arrives with cooler weather.

Elderberry bushes come into full flower and cottonwood cotton floats in the wind and the first chiggers bite in the garden.

Quail whistle and mate in the woods when tent caterpillars emerge in the trees and the first Canadian thistles go to seed.

Virginia creeper is flowering. Blackberries have set fruit. The very first trumpet vines sport bright red-orange trumpets, and the first Deptford pink and first great mullein come into bloom.

Along the roadsides, white sweet clover and yellow flowering sow thistles announce the center of Early Summer.

In the Field and Garden

In an average year, soybeans are often almost all planted, and over half the crop has emerged. Cucumber beetles reach the economic threshold. Cherries ripen as crown vetch flowers. Wheat is almost all headed and about three out of 10 fields are often turning. The first cut of alfalfa hay is typically three-fourths complete as sow thistles bloom.

The extra water that you put out for your livestock helps maintain wildlife on your land, especially birds which reduce the insect population

Check the nutrient content of your livestock’s forage. The more you know about what your animals eat, the more you will be able to improve their overall condition by adjusting their diet. That works for people, too.

Next week’s waning Moon and the dry days of late June are especially favorable for beginning the winter wheat harvest, for completing the first cut of alfalfa and beginning the second cut.

Countdown to Late Summer

  • One week until bee balm blooms and beckons all the bees
  • Two weeks until cicadas chant in the hot and humid days
  • Three weeks until thistles turn to down
  • Four weeks until sycamore bark starts to fall, marking the center of Deep Summer
  • Five weeks to the season of singing crickets and katydids after dark
  • Six weeks until ragweed pollen floats in the wind
  • Seven weeks until blackberries are ready for jam and brandy
  • Eight weeks until aster and goldenrod time
  • Nine weeks until the season of fall apples begins
  • Ten weeks until the corn harvest gets underway

Almanack Literature

I Help To Deliver My Sister’s Baby, A True Story

by Mrs. Eunice Hicks, Willard

My sister was expecting her first child, and she wanted me to stay with her. She lived in the hills in Open Fork Hollow, Kentucky.

All day, my sister worked hard cleaning house and washing clothes. That evening, I heard her say to her husband that her back had been hurting. He told her she’d better slow down for a while and rest.

That night around midnight, my sister began hurting real bad in her back, and she started crying. She told her husband that he had better get up and go across the hill and bring the midwife back with him.

So he got up out of bed, got his clothes and shoes on and told his wife that he would be back as soon as he could. He told me, “Watch her for me while I’m gone.”

I was only 13-years-old at the time, and didn’t know anything about new born babies. I was hoping my sister’s husband wouldn’t take long to get back with the midwife.

About an hour later, my sister was hurting so bad she told me to get the baby’s blanket from the closet and bring it to her. She told me that the baby was coming. She then asked me to help her. I told her, “Oh no,” that I didn’t know what to do, and that maybe she should wait for the midwife.

She said, “No, please help me.” I then grabbed the baby’s blanket and got ready to grab the newborn baby.

When the baby was finally born, I was shaking so bad, but I managed to wrap the baby in a blanket and hold it sideways so I could help the baby clear its throat when it cried. A few minutes later, my sister’s husband and the midwife walked in.

Bill Felker lives with his wife in Yellow Springs. His “Poor Will’s Almanack” airs on his weekly NPR radio segment on WYSO-FM (91.3).

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