June 4: Daybook for the Year in Yellow Springs

June 4th
The 155th Day of the Year

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky….

George Herbert

Sunrise/set: 5:07/7:59
Day’s Length: 14 hours 52 minutes
Average High/Low: 79/58
Average Temperature: 68
Record High: 97 – 1895
Record Low: 42 – 1945

The 4th is usually dry, with showers occurring just 25 percent of the days. Skies are clear to partly cloudy three days in four. Highs reach the 80s forty percent of the time and climb to the 70s a little more than half the time. Today is the second-last June day when a five percent chance for a cold afternoon temperatures in the 50s can be expected (the 12th is the very last day).

Natural Calendar
May apples have fruit the size of a cherry. Buckeyes have half-inch burrs. Honeysuckle flowers have fallen, bridal wreath and snowball viburnum rusted. Timothy is ripe for chewing. Asiatic lilies, poison ivy, meadow rue, Indian hemp, and catalpa trees bud and bloom. July’s wild petunia foliage is a foot tall. August’s boneset has grown knee high.

Mulberry season begins for both the red and white varieties, and it typically lasts until the end of early summer – good for birds and good for pies! Tea roses and achillea are open in the garden, and the first foxtail grass ripples by the side of the road. Canadian geese are molting, now that all of their goslings have hatched. Mother grackles and robins are cleaning their nests, often depositing the white droppings of their babies in birdbaths or ponds.

1982: Some mulberries ripe along King Street. Sweet rocket gone except for a few cutovers.

1983: More fragments of May: sweet Cicely old, foliage turning a creamy violet color, yellow flowers of the golden Alexander gone to seed. Another piece of early summer: swamp valerian found on the way to Caesar Creek. Blackberries in bloom everywhere, snowball viburnum still prominent, white and red peonies and iris common throughout. Yellow sweet clover in the roadsides.

1985: Covered Bridge: Cabbage butterflies mating. Black damsel flies with white wing tips by the river, and pale tan moths. Mint is waist high, catchweed burs catching in my pants legs. Wingstem five and six feet tall, honewort full bloom, golden Alexander gone to seed, boneset three feet, lizard’s tail with five leaves, corn salad and garlic mustard dying. At Middle Prairie maybe a dozen field crickets singing.

1986: Two small groundhogs, maybe six to eight weeks old, killed on the road this week.

1988: Iris seem to have disappeared everywhere. Japanese honeysuckle and privets bloomed overnight. All snowballs and bridal wreath are gone. Chicory seen yesterday in Fairborn. Tiger lilies are budding.

1989: Strawberries peak in the north garden, cabbage butterflies spiraling, mating by the stone wall, catchweed burs catching on my pants. First chicory seen along the highway today, yellow sweet clover, purple vetch, crown vetch, multiflora roses, blackberries full bloom. First Japanese honeysuckle in the yard. In the woods, sweet rockets are in late flower, as blue waterleaf and ragwort decline. Daylilies have been out a few days, swamp orchids in bloom a week or so. Gold-collared blackflies are common, daddy longlegs everywhere. Cottonwood cotton floating down onto the streets. Watercress still full. Under the canopy, wingstem, touch-me-not, white snakeroot, wood nettle are huge.  Avens is knee high, honewort is blossoming, apples an inch long.

1991: Campanulas opening.
1993: Parsnips full bloom.

1997: Into South Glen this coolest spring of the decade: Crickets loud. First multiflora rose in bloom, last wild geranium and white violet. Sweet rockets and maple leaf waterleaf on the down side of their bloom, garlic mustard almost gone. Corn salad full and white. Burs on the catchweed. Timothy emerging from its sheathes. Ragwort to seed. Wingstem, wild lettuce, wood nettle waist high. Scorpion flies are about, and gold collard blackflies. Teasel pants-pocket high. Lots of daddy longlegs. Orchard grass easy to pull, and sweet. Black damselflies. First white yarrow seen in south Dayton. Locusts full bloom along the freeway.

1998: Thimble plant heading up at the Mill. One blonde, one white domestic rabbit hopping around in the bushes. Several parsnips have gone to seed. Fire pink seen.

1999: Feverfew buds forming. Along the tree line as I drive, tall catalpa trees are white with flowers. The air is heavy with sweet privet and Japanese honeysuckle.

2000: At breakfast, I looked up at the tall locusts in the back yard. Their leaves were finally full, the last of the canopy. Later, feverfew seen in early bloom.

2001: The south garden fills with lamb’s ear, dwarf geranium, spiderwort, late poppies, very late Japanese iris, water lilies, stella d’oro lilies, primrose, daisies, rockets, buttercups.

2002: Another yellow swallowtail. Red mulberries falling in Dayton.

2003: Peonies, poppies, iris, blue flags, mock orange are  completely done  blooming today. Sweet Williams, cressleaf groundsel, daisies, peach-leaved bellflowers, and spiderwort keep the garden full of color. The very first water willow bloomed in the pond – beside five red water lilies and the last dark-purple Japanese water iris. Catalpas are in full bloom throughout the area.

2005: To the old catfish hole at Caesar Creek with John. The reservoir was a little low, and we had no bites during an hour of fishing. Only one small turtle was hooked near lunchtime. One good-sized crappie struck a walleye lure as we were trolling back to the landing. In the evening, John caught a goldfish, a catfish, two suckers and a chub at Sycamore Hole. First fireflies seen tonight.

2007: Loud, intense feeding of young grackles from before dawn until full daylight, then the activity lightened a little. Two young doves found in the garden this morning. They were maybe a third of full size, flew off rather agilely. In the alley, panicled dogwood in early bloom, pokeweed budding. In the yard, early orange and yellow Asiatic lilies anchor the garden now. Ranunculus season ends in the east garden except for a handful of blossoms. First buckeye butterfly seen in the yard this morning. Young sparrow being fed by its mother in the sweet Williams. Grackles continue to feed their fledglings – the whole woodlot is filled with their cackles. Jeanie reports fire pinks in full bloom at Clifton Gorge. Driving home from Beavercreek, we saw a roadside full of orange daylilies.

2008: Pink spirea seen in town today. Some peonies and iris still in bloom throughout the area – but no longer here in the yard. Cedar waxwings eating white mulberries in the back trees. Yesterday, a house finch was feeding a fledgling on the north trellis. Wisteria on the porch has just started to rust. Buds lengthen on the Japanese honeysuckle. Only three orange Asiatic lilies in bloom, ranunculus blossoms receding. Last night, a long line of thunderstorms moved through Yellow Springs, flooding the yard and the pond with at least three inches of rain.

2009: Most weigelas (Mateo’s and ours) are done except the bright red one across the street. The pond iris have been completely gone for about three days, and the lizard’s tails are getting fatter. Starlings have replaced grackles at the bird feeder. The blue jay feeds steadily.

2010: Don’s pie cherries are ready for pie. In the yard, our perennial salvia is done blooming, needs to be cut back to bloom again. The first heliopsis is just starting to unravel – not blooming yet. The Japanese iris in the pond (not the pale “pond iris”) are still in full bloom. Jeanie heard and saw a few cedar waxwings today. Pink smartweed noticed as I was mowing the lawn. Wet, hot weather continues, corn way past knee high.

2011: Italy: Brief walk along the Spoleto bikepath before a thunderstorm that lasted through the afternoon: Teasel tall and budded, great mullein starting to bud, dock (rumex acetosa) red seeds, the rosa canina are fading, huge blackberry bramble with pink flowers, long patches of white achillea (achillea millefolium), some white cardamine, wide and deep fields of wheat tall and golden, lots of wild mallow, some dandelions, red clover, scarlet pimpernel, large patches of hemlock and thistles (probably the cardo mariano instead of thistles) full bloom and some to seed. Hickory nuts full size on a pair of hickory trees near a small, family vineyard.

2012: Young robin accidentally swept from a honeysuckle bush while I was pruning, fully feathered, but unable to fly yet, hopped into the bushes, mother at its heels. One starling fledgling begging from its parent today. Competition picks up between hummingbirds at the feeder. A full portion of raspberries from the patch this morning. The year continues to bring plants into bloom well ahead of other years, but there is also plenty of overlap, too. One flower of the whirling butterfly gaura opened today. In the Phillips Street alley, a seven-foot sow thistle has been blooming since late May, leaves alternate, widely spaced, relatively thin. First chigger bite after working in the yard.

2013: Driving the countryside in northwestern Sicily: We stopped at the Crypta, a vast cement installation covering the remains of an entire village destroyed in an earthquake. Here there were butterflies, whites and sulfurs in abundance (perhaps spirits of the dead), whereas butterflies have been scarce throughout our visit.

2014: From Madison, Wisconsin to Yellow Springs (through heavy rain for miles and miles): Home to major changes: one deep purple pond iris has bloomed, and one bud is fat and ready. The bamboo has leafed out. Smartweed has pink flowers near the catmint. The first two orange Asiatic lilies, and three stella d’oro lilies have opened. The clump of “ditch lilies” have sent up bud stalks. Jeanie’s yellow tea rose and her pink tea rose have produced one large flower each, and the Knockout roses are starting to open on their new stems. The penstemon, the Japanese honeysuckles and the yellow primroses have all come into bloom. The weigela and the ranunculus are still flowering, but they are in decline. Almost all the peonies are gone, old and beaten down by the rain. The wisteria on the porch has rusted. The Anna Belle, the “Indomitable” and the hobblebush hydrangeas have produced large bud clusters. Three alliums are still in bloom. Winter wheat was turning green-gold on the way to Xenia. One cabbage white butterfly seen as I was taking inventory – the butterfly population so meager that one cabbage white is an occasion. Rob reports, however, that at Cedar Bog this year all the species he had tracked before returned at the previously noted times.

2015: First cabbage butterflies in over a week seen this morning at home. Bird activity intense around the yard, fledglings eating and being fed. Catalpas and privets in full bloom, the latter with a heavy fragrance as I biked through town. First bi-color hostas noticed in bloom, and more hawthorns. Astilbes showing color, opening. Pond iris at their finest. A patch of daisy fleabane in flower noticed near the college. Achillea has been coming in at Peggy’s for several days. Her gray-headed coneflower stalks are up to my chest.

2016: Honeysuckle flowers brown on the front walkway, black mulberries falling to the sidewalk along Davis Street, one privet all shed along High Street. Two stella d’oro lilies open in the east garden. More Osage flower stalks brought down by the wind. Cottonwood cotton lighter, it seems, more like dandelion or goat’s beard seeds. Oakleaf hydrangeas in early bloom around town Catalpas noticed flowering along Dayton-Yellow Springs Road, some petals blown down in this afternoon’s hard rain.

2017: Strawberry rains are over, and the outlook for the week ahead is for dry weather. Four stella d’oro lilies open this morning. Cottonwood cotton scattered along Greene Street. Black walnuts on Davis Street are the size of hazel nuts or large acorns, peaches the size of large walnuts. The first field cricket heard near Jill’s shed this morning.

I must follow up these continual lessons of the air, water, earth.
I perceive I have no time to lose.

Walt Whitman

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *