Poor Will's Miami Valley Almanack Bill Felker's almanack for the WYSO listening area, Southwest Ohio and beyond.
Poor Will's Miami Valley Almanack

Poor Will's Miami Valley Almanack


Bill Felker's almanack for the WYSO listening area, Southwest Ohio and beyond.More from Poor Will's Miami Valley Almanack »

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Poor Will's Almanack: October 17 - 23, 2017

I left for New York in the fog and mist, and then an hour later, I drove into low, dark stratus clouds, and the wind came in strong from the northeast against me. The colors of middle autumn that would have been so rich and bright against the blue sky seemed dull and ominous to me. I looked for murmurations of starlings spinning together over the brown fields, but there seemed to be no life at all in the landscape. Traffic was loud and heavy all the way across Ohio and Pennsylvania. When I

Poor Will's Almanack: October 10 - 16, 2017

Everything is telling time, revealing the arrival of middle autumn. The Pleiades, and the Hyades of Taurus, outrides of winter's Orion, lie on the eastern horizon after dark, promising December. Here on Earth, goldenrod is seeding, pods of the eastern burning bush are open, wild grapes are purple. Streaks of scarlet appear on the oaks, shades of pink on the dogwoods. The surviving ashes show red or gold; the catalpas and the cottonwoods blanch. Shagbark hickories, tulip trees, sassafras, elms,

Poor Will's Almanack: October 3 - 9, 2017

The Big Dipper at midnight tells the progress of the year. When its pointers, Merak and Dubhe, point north-south, and the Dipper lies tight against the northern horizon, the northern hemisphere has left summer behind. Leaves are turning, birds migrating, wildflower time closing, the farm and garden take their harvest. The seasons of early, middle and late autumn pass through your habitat. When, Merak and Dubhe, (over in the eastern half of the sky) point east-west at midnight, the corn and

Poor Will's Almanack: September 26 – October 2, 2017

Between full summer and the final leafdrop of early December, many separate micro seasons blend with one another, the flowers of August sometimes lasting into early fall, the flowers of September sometimes blooming out of turn before late summer, sometimes the trees keeping their green and leaves well toward middle autumn. Markers of this third week of early fall can sometimes be the same as those of the second or fourth week. If I calculate time by what occurs in the landscape, then progress

Poor Will's Almanack: September 19 - 25, 2017

When autumn leafturn starts near equinox in the Midwest, the deciduous trees are bare in northern Canada. In Oregon and Maine, foliage colors are approaching their best. In the Rocky Mountains, bull elks are mustering their harems, and snow is falling. Along the 40th parallel, the smoky tint of last week's canopy quickly becomes clear and bright. Now the soybean fields are yellow. Touch-me-nots are popping. Wood nettle seeds are black. Wingstem, clearweed and ironweed complete their cycle.

Poor Will's Almanack: September 12 - 18, 2017

Fall doesn't come all at once with equinox; it's been coming since the 26th of June when the days started to grow longer again, the Northern Hemisphere tilting away from its source of heat. The sun rose from the east northeast and set west northwest three months ago; now it rises almost due east, sets due west. Dawn and dusk continue to move south at the rate of about one degree every 72 hours until December solstice. The night sky is changing too, the stars predicting winter. By nine o'clock,

Poor Will's Almanack: September 5 - 11, 2017

In this fifth week of late summer, the final tier of wildflowers starts to open. White and violet asters, orange beggarticks, burr marigolds, tall goldenrod, zigzag goldenrod and Japanese knotweed come into bloom, blending with the brightest of the purple ironweed, yellow sundrops, blue chicory, golden touch-me-nots, showy coneflowers and great blue lobelia. Deep in the woods, the late wildflowers of this year coincide with the first growth of second spring, actually the first days of next

Poor Will's Almanack: August 29 - September 4, 2017

In matters of global economics, the concepts of millions and billions and trillions seem disconnected from day-to-day budgeting. Who knows, I wonder, what all those zeros at the end of whole numbers really mean As I watch the season progress, I realize that my sense of numbers in the world around me is equally as confused. In the middle of May, the hundred days of summer feel like a zillion days to me. My body senses a limitless promise in that span of time. When I have just emerged from winter,

Poor Will's Almanack: August 22 - 28, 2017

I settled in to watch like I used to do when I went fishing. I used to sit for hours then, focused on my bobber and fingering the tension on my line. The bites or strikes were signs that I had understood something of the river's mystery and its creatures. It had been a disappointing year for finding butterflies, and I had worried off and on about climate change and the disasterous Anthopocine. Throughout June and July, only cabbage whites and an occasional azure had visited the flowers. Now I

Poor Will's Almanack: August 8 - 14, 2017

The Perseid meteors bring starfall to the northeastern portion of the sky on the nights of August 12 and 13, and the arrival of those shooting stars marks high tide of the Dog Days. Rising out of winter's Taurus and Orion, they cut across Perseus and Andromeda, Cassiopeia and Pegasus, piercing the illusion of endless summer. Throughout the countryside, Queen Anne's lace, chicory, goldenrod, Joe Pye weed, sundrops, bull thistles, mustard, black-eyed Susans, wingstem, mullein and ironweed arein full bloom along the roads. Soybeans are deep green, corn lush. Now ragweed pollen fills the humid afternoons, wood nettle goes to seed in the bottomlands, wild cherries ripen, and hickory nuts and black walnuts drop into the undergrowth. Blackberries are ready to eat when the Perseid meteors fall. Golden and purple coneflowers, and red, pink and violet phlox rule the gardens. Orange-and-gold-flowered trumpet vines curl through trellises. Mums and stonecrop color the dooryards. In the mornings,

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