The Daybook for the Year in Yellow Springs
The 161st Day of the Year
Now I may know the roughness of the tree trunks,
Rain on the willows, clover-sweet air.
Now I feel the life-burdened earth against my breast.
Now I may know the swift sweeping seasonal turn,
The four-quartered cycle of time.
Day’s Length: 14 hours 57 minutes
Average High/Low: 81/59
Average Temperature: 70
Record High: 100 – 1911
Record Low: 43 – 1977
This is typically one of the finest days in all of June, with rain and cloudy skies occurring just ten percent of the time. Highs are in the mild 70s forty percent of the time, in the 80s twenty-five percent, in the 90s twenty percent. Fifteen percent of the afternoons are in the cool 60s – the last time for that considerable percentage until August 28th.
Wild multiflora roses often start to fade now, and the first bindweed goes to seed. Chiggers bite near this date; their season lasts through August in the North, well into autumn in the South. Most deer have been born by now.
In the late evening, Arcturus in the constellation Bootes is the brightest light directly overhead. Scorpius is centered in the southern sky and dominates it until early July. Orion is high in the south at noon, promising the Dog Days
1982: Chicory blooming. End of the mock orange. Mulberries are starting to come in, a few cherries ready to eat.
1984: Catalpas begin. Yucca stems are tall now, budding. Squirrel-tail grass seen along the freeway.
1986: First yucca flowers noticed.
1987: A light earthquake this evening, around eight o’clock. Just a strange tremor, then it was over.
1988: Still no fireflies. Teasel and goldenrod knee high, wingstem to my waist. First black raspberry just turning. First moneywort seen, early blueweed. Red clover dying in the drought, flowers rusty, foliage withered. Blackberry fruit is set, last flowers falling. Angelica half to seed, stems red. Daisy fleabane and motherwort full bloom, meadow rue and dogbane budding. Bull thistles and yellow thistles, irsium horridulum, are ready to blossom. Fresh, heavy sweet scent in the air, despite the lack of rain.
1990: Catalpas full bloom, iris and peonies all gone, air fragrant with the full bloom of privets, which replaced the mock orange in perfect sequence. Smooth nettle and first daisy fleabane coming in, very first mulberries falling to the street. Elderberries heading up. Most iris are gone now, some peonies still sighted. Goslings at Ellis Pond seem to be a fourth grown.
1992: First coreopsis today in the south garden. Lychnis early bloom. Evening primrose suddenly full bloom. Daisies still full, pyrethrum faded. First tall yarrow buds. Most all mock orange gone. First tiger lily opens along the north garden. Very last Siberian iris disappears. The last two regular iris hold on.
1993: First tiger lily opens in the yard, first veronica. Japanese honeysuckle early full bloom in the village. Very early Canadian thistles. First firefly of the year seen at the top of the apple tree in the back yard.
1998: Three new fish brought home for the pond today, a white mottled one with shining scales, a tan and orange with white pectoral fins, a fan-tailed gold. A young blackbird found dying in the lawn. Peak yellow sweet clover and hemlock. Beans planted a week ago break ground. Early hostas with white and green leaves are now in bloom, and the great blue hosta has white buds.
1999: Utica, New York to Bar Harbor, Maine: Leaving June behind, climbing into May. Bleeding hearts seen in New Hampshire. Orange hawkweed common throughout the Northeast. Lupines widespread. Lower Maine full of locust flowers, full bloom by the time we reached Augusta. Poppies, iris, peonies and lilacs throughout, especially as we came closer to the northern coast. Tall buttercups from Erie east to Bar Harbor. Parsnips and hemlock and wild roses, blackberry flowers, wild pink roses, spring gathering momentum the farther north we went.
2000: A third orange Asiatic lily bloomed today to the west of the yellow daylily. The very first hollyhock, a deep violet red, opened halfway. The first mallow bud was pink. The first ripe black raspberry eaten from the north garden. Red mulberries and white mulberries ripest now, falling to the street. Garlic stalks with fully developed seed heads. Great blue hosta ready to open, and another smaller variety in the hosta-astilbe bed.
2001: Ranunculus gone. Full mulberry time. Full yellow primrose and yellow stella d’oro daylilies.
2003: At 4:45 a.m., the grackles had already joined the morning chorus, apparently up early for the mulberries.
2005: South Glen: Daddy longlegs everywhere in the shade, hunting on the ground and on top of the wood nettle. Gold-collared black flies mating, damselflies common near the river. Rockets mostly to seed, multiflora roses late, black walnut fruits about half an inch across, Osage flower stems covering the path. A pair of pileated woodpeckers seen working a branch in tandem, one on one side, one on the other. Red and white mulberries dropping to the ground. Pink smartweed blossoming in the garden. Final rhododendron and bleeding heart flowers wither.
2007: No privet flowers seen for a long time. No dark mulberries noticed in the village. Were they (and most of the privets) hurt by the April freeze? The birds are quieter in the yard this morning, and the pre-dawn chatter seems more subdued. Perhaps this is a molting time, a time after the turbulence of fledglings leaving the nest.
2008: The first pale yellow daylily bloomed overnight, and I saw the first gold-collared blackfly on the Jerusalem artichokes this morning. “Love bugs” mating on the lilies this afternoon. Birds continue loud, one robin vespers long at dusk. Red-bellied woodpecker continues to call off and on. Finches return to new white feeders.
2009: Evening walk much quieter, occasional doves, distant cardinals, robins, no grackles.
2010: I watched a father downy woodpecker feeding suet to his fledgling this morning at 10:30. Peter said that he had seen two adult hawks teaching their baby to hunt a few days ago. This afternoon on a ride to Dayton, Jeanie and I saw great mullein starting to bloom along the road. Russian sage is open at Peggy’s and at different locations around the area.
2011: Robins by 4:00, doves at 4:30 again, cardinals at 4:40. To Goshen, Indiana, driving through heavy storms: Many fields unplanted in southern Ohio, gradually filling with inch-tall corn and soybeans as we drove northwest. Yellow and white sweet clover, some chicory, some elderberry, a few patches of Canadian thistles, late hawthorns, full catalpas, fields of late hemlock and parsnips (hemlock all to seed south of town). Red-winged blackbirds still nesting, guarding their territories on the barbed wire fences all along the highay. At Goshen, the last of the peonies, full blooming primroses. In the alley at home, blooming panicled dogwood, black mulberries on the ground, and in the park, kousa dogwood. In front of the library, full oakleaf hydreangeas. The red weigela is flowering across the street.
2012: The green frog was croaking this morning at dawn, bullfrogs at Ellis Pond at sunset. In Wilberforce, one very late catalpa in full bloom, and the first orange trumpet creeper I’ve found so far this year, with many blossoms. Wheat is brown, appears ready to cut throughout the county. At home, the violet trellis clematis is down to just a handful of blossoms, two more Asiatic lilies opening, one yellow, one orange. Starling fledglings continue to beg for food.
2014: I couldn’t sleep and got up to listen to the birds in the dark. The robin chorus began down the street at 3:18, had reached my yard by 3:23. The early morning was soft, sky overcast, barometer starting to fall, temperature at 60 degrees. I stayed outside waiting, saw my first fireflies of the year at 3:40, and finally heard the first cardinal call nearby at 4:06. A wren chattered at 4:21. If there were doves, they were drowned out by the growing volume of the robins. On the front screen door, a thin-winged moth, belonging to the pterophoridae. The Japanese pond iris surprised me with seven deep purple blossoms today.
2015: It is the far side of daisy bloom now, and crab apples are the size of BBs, and serviceberries ripen and turn red as the cherries become perfect for pies, and mulberries grow soft and fall to the street. Catalpas have peaked and a few trees have lost their blossoms. Lily season has begun with stella d’oros full bloom, ditch lilies gaining momentum, the first everbloomers opening, so many other varieties budding. Robins continue to guide their young with intense peeping. Sparrow fledglings sit by the bird feeder, flap their wings to beg for food. Coreopsis and low yellow sedum in bloom downtown. One huge elderberry bush in lush full follower at the edge of a property on Elm Street.
2016: Thirteen lily plants blooming this morning, all but three of them stella d’oros. The heliopsis has one completely formed flower, two more coming. The Japanese pond iris continues with three blossoms.
2017: Measurements/inventory. Fourteen stella d’oro blossoms, three ditch lilies, one Asiatic, three heliopsis blossoms, and the last water iris holds. In the pond, the lizard’s tail stalks have collapsed, the bud clusters over two inches long, lying on the surface of the water. The great blue hosta is budding here by the northwest corner of the house and along Dayton Street. Throughout the village, the black mulberries are falling so quickly, and I see entire boughs collapsed into yards and streets with their sweet soft fruit. Leah reports more red-winged blackbirds at her property than she has ever seen. I think about repetition and repeating observations year after year, and I see how the more I see, the more each thing seen becomes.
I go and lie down where the wood drake
Rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
Who do not tax their lives with forethought
Of grief. I come into the presence of still water
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
Waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”