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Chances of precipitation drop as July continues
Poor Will’s Almanack
By Bill Felker
 Now is the high tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay. – James Russell Lowell

The Third Week of Deep Summer The Week That Katydids Call

In the Sky
Remember that Venus and Jupiter are the huge Morning Stars of this July, with Mars nearby in Pisces, and Saturn leading all the major planets in Aquarius, rising before midnight.

Phases of the Sycamore Bark Falling Moon
July 13: The moon enters its second quarter
July 21: The moon is full.
July 27: The moon enters its final quarter.

Weather Trends
By this time in July, the Corn Tassel Rains have often ended, and chances for precipitation drop from last week’s 40 percent down to 20 percent. Temperatures are in the 80s and 90s most of the time, but the period from July 13 to 15 brings cooler conditions in the seventies 25 percent of the years, and in the 60s one year in 25. On the other hand, highs above 100 are more likely to occur on July 15 and 16 than any other days of the Lower Midwestern year. Night-time lows typically remain in the 60s, but chilly 50s occur an average of 15 percent of the time.

The Natural Calendar
The first buckeye, apple and cherry leaves become yellow and drift to the ground, marking the shift into Deep Summer. Water striders and new koi hatch in ponds just as alewives head back to the Atlantic from their estuaries.
Wood nettle and touch-me-nots dominate the darker woods. Ironweed has purple bud clusters. Robin calls become quiet clucking sounds as the robin fledglings grow up. Red and violet bergamots and the mallows pass their peak.
Among the many wildflowers, find golden showy coneflowers, pale blue campanula, purple coneflowers, monarda, germander, skullcap, fog fruit, great Indian plantain, fringed loosestrife, bouncing bets, daisy fleabane, moth mullein, leaf cup, lopseed, hobblebush, wood mint, tall bell flower, great mullein,  small-flowered agrimony, tick trefoil, velvet leaf, trumpet creeper, and jimson weed in bloom. Throughout the whole country, more wildflowers are open now than at any other time of year.
Petals of the hobblebush darken with age. Parsnip heads, honewort pods and sweet Cicely pods are dry enough to split and spill their seeds.
Deep Summer’s white snakeroot is budding in the woods, Joe Pye weed in the wetlands. Thistledown unravels more dramatically. Seed pods form on trumpet creepers.
New generations of crickets are born; they will start their chorus around the 25th of July in the Ohio Valley. New cabbage butterflies cluster on the lavender and purple loosestrife.
The reddening of blackberries, the darkening of elderberries, the first katydid voices, the slow rise of cricket song, the quieting of the early morning birds, and the first restless flights of geese are clear signs of late Deep Summer.

In the Field and Garden
 The peak period of heat stress has usually started for summer crops. High temperatures start to turn some grasses dormant.
Rose hips are forming on the wild roses that grow throughout much of the country. If you have those prolific shrubs on your property, ration out their fruits to your ewes and does. Traditional lore suggests that there is no better plant for keeping your animals’ reproductive system healthy.
Lots of fruit to buy and eat and sell this month: late black raspberries, the last mulberries, early elderberries, the first wave of summer apples.
Heat is the enemy of fertility in your livestock. Add a special feed mix for your males, which could improve their fertility in late summer and early fall.
Don’t cut the lawn too short (or graze the pasture too short) while the summer is at its peak; let it rest a little longer than you would in May or June.
Countdown for Summer
• One week to the season of singing crickets and katydids after dark
• Two weeks until ragweed pollen floats in the wind 
• Three weeks until blackberries are ready for jam and brandy
• Four weeks until aster and goldenrod time
• Five weeks until the season of fall apples begins
• Six weeks until hickory nutting time gets underway

Almanack Literature
The Red Nail Polish
By Kathleen McCrillis
My mother-in-law, Charlotte Nethers McCrillis, is rightfully proud of her farm country roots in rural Licking County, Ohio.  She enjoys looking back on those simpler days when, as a young child, she fed the chickens, gathered eggs, and caught lightning bugs in the warm summer twilight.
One summer memory that she likes to share with her children and grandchildren was not quite so peaceful and idyllic.
The year was 1943, and her young family was living with Grandma and Grandpa Swick. Four-year-old Charlotte was playing with her 7-year-old sister, Norma, and their Aunt Patty, who was the ripe old age of 6 and a half.
Back in those days, little girls never wore pants – only dresses, and these little girls’ dresses were hand-made out of feed sacks.
Playing with bright red fingernail polish, a universal favorite of little girls, Norma accidentally spilled it on one of her few dresses. When her mother discovered the disaster, she was so upset that she threw the hateful bottle down the outside toilet, thinking that was the end of that! Well, those little girls had their own ideas on the matter, and they soon decided that they would get that fingernail polish back.
Now this outhouse was just a one-seater with a very deep pit. Undaunted, Aunt Patty leaned over through the hole, while skinny little Charlotte and Norma held on to her legs. Today, Charlotte says, “If we’d have dropped her, she probably would’ve drowned or smothered.” But the two girls successfully pulled Aunt Patty out of the wretched black hole with the prize in hand.
All three scurried to the pump behind the house to wash off their retrieved treasure.  How disappointed they were to discover that they couldn’t get rid of the powerful stench, so they tossed the once precious bottle back down the abyss.



In order to estimate your SCKRAMBLER IQ, award yourself 15 points for each word unscrambled, adding a 50-point bonus for getting all of them correct. If you find a typo, add another 15 points to your IQ. Yes, you are a genius.
Copyright 2024 – W. L. Felker