The Daybook for the Year in Yellow Springs
The 167th Day of the Year
The day, immeasurably long, sleeps over the broad hills and warm wide fields. To have lived through all its sunny hours seems longevity enough.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Day’s Length: 15 hours
Average Hi/Lo: 82/61
Average Temperature: 71
Record High: 96 – 1897
Record Low: 42 – 1908
Today is clear to partly sunny 90 percent of the time, with rain arriving only one day out of four. Today is also the first day of a three-day period on which relatively little precipitation occurs. Highs are typically in the middle 80s (65 percent chance), with hot 90s occurring 15 percent of the years, 70s fifteen percent, and cold 60s just five percent. After today, chances for a high below 70 drop to less than five percent (except for three scattered days in July and August) at average elevations along the 40th Parallel until the first week of September.
On the farm, today is an early date for starting the second cut of alfalfa in the Lower Midwest. Commercial broccoli and squash harvests are underway throughout Ohio and Indiana. Six to eight leaves have usually emerged on the field corn. Tobacco is almost all transplanted in Kentucky. Strawberries are about half harvested along the 40th Parallel, but that season is just beginning on the Canadian border. Cherry picking is taking place throughout the East. Wheat and oats are almost ready for harvest, and the Dog Days are just around the corner.
1980: Some cherries red enough for pie. Raspberries are turning now.
1982: Yucca stems tall, buds large. Chicory is finally ready to open.
1983: Catalpas full bloom along Fairfield Pike and the north highway. Japanese honeysuckle noticed in bloom.
1984: Mock orange completely gone. Yuccas open in Cincinnati, catalpas done there. No chicory blooming in Yellow Springs, gradually comes into bloom about 30 miles south of here.
1986: Some Canadian thistles going to seed, an occasional burdock ready to flower. First web worms noticed in a crab apple. First scarlet pimpernel found.
1987: Canadian and nodding thistles starting to seed.
1988: On the road east and then south, miles of blue chicory. Milkweed, only budding in Yellow Springs, was open on the other side of Indianapolis. Great mullein coming in south towards the Illinois border. Butterfly weed full bloom in southern Illinois. All thistles gone to seed below St. Louis. First blackberries were starting to turn in southern Illinois, red in northern Georgia. Elderberries, in flower all across the Midwest, were setting fruit near Atlanta. Wild lettuce was in bloom from there all the way to Florida. Horseweed open in Jacksonville, cattails completely developed.
1990: Red monarda seen in bloom throughout town.
1993: First pale-leafed hosta open on Stafford Street. Hawthorn blossoms deteriorate all at once. First carnation blooms. Yellow tiger swallowtails visiting the bright sweet Williams.
1995: From Salina, Kansas to Rawlins, Wyoming: The flat high prairie continues as we climb from 1,000 to 5,000 feet into Denver. The Midwestern flora gives way to sagebrush and yucca. Yucca is blooming in Salina as well as in Denver (like in Yellow Springs now). But we found a patch of dandelions at a rest stop near Denver: the first sign so far of seasonal regression (two months!) due to altitude.
1996: First bright orange lychnis opened in the south garden this afternoon. Cherries ripening on the dying cherry tree (its leaves yellowing and thinning now). Black raspberries still hard and green.
1998: The garden chard has fully developed as the last of the spring lettuce is used up. Twelve feet of it is giving us three times what we can use. Yucca is blooming now. Foxglove flowers end. First magenta fringed loosestrife opens. Asiatic lilies starting. Pink hollyhocks opening.
1999: Maine: Lupines getting old here and there. Privet budding in Bar Harbor.
2001: Blue Asiatic dayflowers open this morning at Susi’s. First black raspberry ripe in the garden. First heliopsis opened. Purple veronica coming in. Full bloom of tea roses, yucca, primrose, water willow, yellow daylily, pink achillea, late lamb’s ear, violet Asiatic lilies.
2003: First hollyhock, pale pink, opened today. Yucca stalks tall but not open yet. The dusky blue peach-leaved bellflowers have ended their season at the same time that the sweet Williams are quickly seeding.
2004: The month-long wet spell continues, showers almost every day or night. First Japanese beetles found on the ferns. First rust noticed on the ferns along the north wall. As I walked down High Street with Bella, a small, green Osage fruit, maybe two inches in diameter, fell from a tree onto the sidewalk and broke in half.
2005: Jeanie got the first chigger bites of the year today, about five days later than the earliest years.
2007: A few black raspberries seen in the far alleyway.
2008: From Yellow Springs to Santee-Cooper Reservoir, South Carolina: Thistles and hemlock seeding near Lexington, Kentucky. Mimosa trees flowering from middle Kentucky all the way to Santee, thick as redbuds in April along I-26 in some places. A few last large-flowered magnolias in Carolina, full white crepe myrtles in full bloom at a rest stop below Columbia, full rose of Sharon throughout. Wheat has all been cut at Santee, and roadside grasses have turned like the wheat south of the mountains, corn crop shriveled in the reservoir, mocking birds singing through the day.
2009: Santee, South Carolina: Osprey feeding young in the cypress. Black tadpoles in the shallows, violet star grass, pond lilies or floating heart (small-flowered water lilies). Narrow leafed willow herb on Ferguson Island. A four-petaled white houstonia/bluette, madder family, sprawling, opposite, entire, four long pistils. Geese with a flock of half-grown, fully marked goslings. All the catfish full of roe, the exuberance of the habitat, overbrimming with death and life. The night so loud I kept waking up, toads calling, shrieking. At the campground, five-petaled, yellow water primrose, alternate entire leaves, closes at dusk.
2010: The first blossoms opened on the butterfly bush in the circle garden overnight. The first purple coneflower is unraveling in the north garden. Black raspberries are dark and sweet in the alley.
2011: The first purple coneflower is unraveling in the north garden, and the first pink smartweed is in bloom by the lilies. At the park, the linden tree is in late full bloom, and catalpas still blooming throughout the area. The butterfly bush is budded but not close to opening. The first two hummingbirds visited the feeders this afternoon. Several yellow swallowtails and hackberry browns in the high trees. Rob said the browns have just come out. Across the countryside to Columbus: wheat is golden green. The few planted fields show corn two or three inches high. Hemlock is almost all to seed in the roadsides, yellow sweet clover full, parsnips still bright. Some privets in bloom along High Street.
2012: The yuccas are gone now, here and throughout the village. In the east garden, the stella d’oros are almost done. More purple coneflowers coming in, Queen Anne’s lace full, very tall. Alley knotweed eight feet and full bloom. A few raspberries still coming in, blackberry fruit set, mulberries still hold. Peas should have been picked last week. Astilbes are still providing color between the hostas. Red phlox, the earliest of the summer phloxes, are opening. Primroses holding. More dahlias coming in, huge splotches of color at random along the garden wall. Zinnias reaching early bloom, starting to provide a balance to the loss of the blue salvia. Wheat dark, still not being cut here. Some cardinal and sparrow fledglings during the day, cardinals singing, some starlings scrawing, but overall, the day was much quieter than yesterday. Cottonwood cotton season seems to be over at Lawson Place. On my evening walk, a field sparrow was singing, but the robins and cardinals weren’t calling. First earwig found in the house about a week ago.
2013: Spoleto, Italy: A walk with Neysa and Ivano in a river valley, lined with high cliffs, along a bike path made from the old Spoleto-Nurcia rail line right-of-way. A lush habitat of wildflowers, including the first time in Italy that I have seen yellow sweet clover, and catchweed all to seed (just like in Yellow Springs); clematis vines (without flowers or buds); many stinging nettles and a variety of wood nettle; one germander plant in full bloom; many blackberries budding and flowering; a variety of thistles, including Silybum Marianum Gaertu and many small-flowered cirisium vulgare ten or cirisium arvense scop; a delicate ombrellifere, very much like caraway, probably anthriscus cerefolium Hoffm; a type of vervain budded, just starting to open; an abundance of bluebell campanulacee; numerous pale violet hellanthemum/cistacaeae;linden trees with seeds, and exuding sap on top of Ivano’s car; walnut trees with half-inch to inch- size fruits, looking very much like the fruits of Yellow Springs black walnuts – and at the same stage of development. On the way home, I noticed a catalpa tree in full flower. And as I walked, I was surrounded by flowers I didn’t recognize, framed by the plants that I did know, everything fitting in, with or without a name, around the landmarks from home.
2014: The first ditch lily opened in the yard overnight. The first yucca flowers seen along Fairfield Pike, must have just opened today. Black walnuts are an inch in diameter, bittersweet berries the size of BBs in the alley. Eleven lily plants (stella d’oro, Asiatic and “Ditch”) flowering. Wild onions, three feet tall, seed bulbs unraveling. Serviceberries red and falling, pie cherries almost gone,.
2015: Yellow Springs to Santee-Cooper Reservoir, Santee, South Carolina: An almost immediate change as my nephew John and I drove southeast this morning. Near Chillicothe, dark wheat, pink spirea losing color, full bloom potentilla, elderberry bushes mostly gone to berries, cattails more prominent among their leaves, roadsides of chicory and daisy fleabane. Parsnips and hemlock mostly gone to seed, large round bales of golden hay in several fields.
Into West Virginia, the vegetation returned to Yellow Springs levels, then quickly moved into middle summer in North Carolina: Mimosa trees and crepe myrtles were in full bloom in central North Carolina. Teasel was tall, milkweed in full bloom, fields of ditch lilies and many stella d’oros, Queen Anne’s lace, horseweed, nodding and Canadian thistles, black-eyed Susans, trumpet creeper and bright butterfly weed as we drove farther toward Charlotte. When we reached Santee, I found the corn fully developed, peanuts maybe eight inches high. At the canal, I found my first greater coreopsis. Heat to 103 degrees late in the afternoon, water temperature 76. Mother mallard and two ducklings (about a fourth grown) swam by our fishing spot.
2016: To Xenia: Moth mullein, sow thistles and chicory were in full bloom along the roadsides. I must have missed them days ago. I saw the first Shasta daisies open south on Xenia Avenue, and the first one of mine has just stretched out a couple of petals. A milkweed plant along Dayton-Yellow Springs Road seen with pink flower heads. Twenty-four lily plants in bloom this morning, stella d’oros and ditch lilies with two everbloomers and one violet-pink standard day lily. One earwig floating in the birdbath.
2017: Stella d’oro lilies and ditch lilies at twenty-nine blossoms each, three bright yellow everbloomers, still nine Asiatics. Milkweed buds showing color. One monarda open here and at Jill’s.
I stood there watching the wind ripple and wave through the grain, a sea of green animated with constant, unceasing movement, swirling about my waist as if alive, following no pattern of movement but waving now this way, now that, filled with an eternal surging restlessness, a great stirring of life, rustling in its undulations, and I thought of it as a symbol of life itself: the heavy heads holding the staff of life, bending and swaying in the warm south wind.
August Derleth, Sac Prairie Journal