The 156th Day of the Year
See, the sweet sun shines,
The shower is over,
Flowers preen their beauty,
The day how fair!
Walter de la Mare
Day’s Length: 14 hours 53 minutes
Average High/Low: 79/58
Average Temperature: 68
Record High: 98 – 1925
Record Low: 41 – 1954
Today’s chance for a high in the 90s is five percent, and 90s are at least that likely in Yellow Springs until September 19th. Fifty percent of the afternoons reach 80, and 30 percent are in the 70s. Chilly afternoons in the 60s come 15 percent of the time. A low close to 40 is more likely (five percent likely) to occur this morning than on any other June morning, and it is the last time that temperatures so cold can expected until September 6th.
When the canopy has closed above the woodland wildflowers, when winter wheat is a soft pale green, and the clovers and vetches are all coming in, then it’s the best time of year for golden parsnip blossoms throughout the countryside. Catalpas and privets and hawthorns and pink spirea bloom at parsnip time, and the number of fireflies grows in proportion to the flowers on the day lilies. The first raspberry reddens, and the first orange trumpet creeper blows. Bindweeds and sweet peas color the fences with pastels.
1982: Stella d’oro lilies seen in town.
1984: The multiflora rosebush in the yard opened overnight, late locust blossoms rained down in a thunderstorm. Out to Caesar Creek: dock with small flowers, daisies, clover, blackberries, first yarrow, wild roses, Miami mist, yellow sweet clover, first blue and black damsel flies, first timothy emerging from its sheaths, swamp valerian, blue-eyed grass, cinquefoil, carp feeding at the shore, mating, grasshoppers drumming, flies pesky, bobwhite calling. First cobweb in my face. Wild onions getting seed bulbs, poison ivy ready to bloom. Fire pink seen. Spiderwort past its prime. When I sat on a log, I was covered with wood ticks. First brown wood toad seen, maybe an inch and a half long. Thousands of black tadpoles in the pools. Juncus canadensis, carex vulpinoide, cares stipada, and phragmites communis collected.
1986: Catalpa flowers blew away today in the wind. Timothy was emerging from its sheaths at Middle Prairie, tender for chewing. The first black raspberries came in, one half a pint, covering the last of the strawberries in my colander. Several young raccoons killed on the back road, maybe six to eight weeks old.
1990: Tall meadow rue just starting to bloom at Clifton. Sundrops budding at the south wall, astilbe pink under the apple tree. Privet continues full bloom.
1991: To Jacoby from the Covered Bridge. The woods full of late honewort, some waterleaf still holding. July wildflower stalks chest high: touch-me-nots, wood nettles, wingstem. White cabbage butterflies, a dozen or so, clustered on a rock along the river. Maybe looking for salt in the urine of a dog or a deer that had passed by. Then more clusters of butterflies at mud patches higher up along the path. Large numbers of damselflies and monarchs. Lizard tail seed heads are out but not open. Daisy fleabane, Canadian and nodding thistles seen. Brome grasses, timothy, bottle grass peak. Flock of fourteen geese. No goslings. Panicled dogwood full. All multiflora roses long gone. Tall meadow rue, six feet, late full. Some angelica still full. A lot of moneywort. Yellow, red, white sweet clover full, all parsnips full. Men are working along the new bikepath at Jacoby, and I think how Thoreau mentioned the outside workers, admired them and despised them.
1992: Most peonies have not opened yet in Crookston, Minnesota. Yellow sweet clover in bloom from Ohio north through Minneapolis and St. Cloud.
1993: Dutch iris more than half gone, scent of asparagus fern in full bloom has filled the greenhouse for days, delphinium early now, started a couple days ago. Iris three-fourths decayed in the village. Chicago peace rose is the first to open this month, then the Queen Elizabeth, then the Blue Girl, then the old-fashioned Rugosa. First striped cucumber beetle seen attacking the mums. Cottonwood seed in the wind: flurries of down across the highway south of town. Buds on the Virginia creeper outside my window.
1994: First garden primrose today. In the south garden, sweet rocket seed heads cut back for drying, goldenrod pulled, already five feet tall. Buds noticed on the hollyhocks, on the gay feather too. Most honeysuckle gone in the yard, mock orange three-quarters fallen. Downtown: bridal wreath has rusted, the pink spirea is open, privet is still budding.
1998: Frost in the North yesterday and today as a fierce front moves down from Canada.
2000: Early summer grows more apparent: more roses, more achillea, late catalpas, the bright primroses, the soft gray and violet lamb’s ears, the snapdragons and their pastels, the tall yellow yarrow heading up, the full blooming spiderwort beside the blue flax, motherwort blossoming, hollyhock buds heavy and leaning. In the pond, the pickerel plant opened. In Xenia, the first yucca flowers, and purple spirea in full bloom.
2001: First chicory and moth mullein seen open along the freeway in the late afternoon. More Canadian thistles. Coreopsis suddenly in full bloom along the entry to the interstate at Fairborn. Mulberries ripening.
2002: First chicory, first moth mullein, and first orange Asiatic lilies. Wild cherry bloom ends. Cottonwood full bloom, along with catalpas, privets, yellow poplars, and Japanese honeysuckle. Lizard’s tails completely formed. Osage flowers falling now.
2003: Robins and cardinals loud at 4:30, dove joining in by 4:45. Song still loud at 5:00, quieting toward 5:30. At the pond near the shopping center, a huge flock of goslings –- maybe three dozen small birds – seen with eight adult geese.
2005: To the Ohio River with John: Cat fishing at the dam east of Cincinnati, full rigs with cut bait, no strikes, only one small drum was hooked. All along the road south, catalpas were in full bloom.
2006: Kelleys Island in Lake Erie: Cottonwood cotton flying everywhere, building up on the roads and sidewalks, hanging to the spent garlic mustard in the woods. Panicled dogwoods and poison ivy budded. “Canadian soldiers” everywhere; Casey says he hears them in the morning high in the trees. Here multiflora roses and blackberries are still in bloom, a few blue-eyed grass and wild onions flowering, daisies, a pale violet beardtongue-type plant, red-violet crane’s bill. The dominant shrub, in full bloom throughout the quarry is ninebark, physocarpus opulifolius. Stone habitats at the water’s edge of fleabane and small cottonwoods and willows (the willows past bloom). A locust-like shrub with long purple blooms, most likely a false indigo or amorpha, seen flowering at the water’s edge.
2007: The yard is quiet this morning – the grackle orientation of their young must have ended yesterday evening. Ninebark in the alley is completely done blooming. A black swallowtail seen before lunch.
2008: Mateo’s weigela is shedding, and Don’s multiflora rose. Peonies droop from the rain, bright orange Asiatic lilies gather momentum in Peggy’s garden and our north gardens. Honeysuckle completely gone, and most mock orange petals. Rocket here is disappearing. Jeanie continues to hear cedar waxwings. No grackles seen with fledglings yet today. The canopy seems complete, although the locusts have a little ways to go, as do the Osage. Cottonwood cotton continues to float on the wind.
2009: First red phlox opened this morning. Don’s pie cherries and serviceberries reddening. Oakleaf hydrangea buds are opening, flowers young and green.
2010: At 5:00 this morning, robins and grackles startled me with how loud and pervasive they were, clucks and singsongs without interruption throughout the back trees. A little later when I sat on the porch, a small, pale hummingbird, the first I’ve seen this year, came to sip the penstemon. At the feeders yesterday and today, no fledglings seen begging for food. When I checked the garden around noon, I saw that our deer had eaten a good portion of the lettuce and had taken the top off of one tomato plant, then in the middle of the afternoon, the deer – a huge female – walked right into the backyard. Heliopsis is opening now, and the last of the Japanese iris are blooming in the pond. Near the church, a red oak has small acorns just emerging from their brown cores, maybe three-fourths of an inch across.
2011: Italy: Chicory seen, tall and in full bloom on the way to the market near the Clitunno fountain. Peaches a third of their ripe size on Monte Luco.
2012: Linden trees fragrant, full bloom by the AME church. Avens and very early Japanese knotweed flowering in the Phillips Street alley, pokeweed with white buds there. Venus crossed the sun this evening, the last time for more than a century.
2013: Italy: The last two days spent riding through the Sicilian countryside, the sun hot, the sky without a cloud, the breeze cool. Yesterday we explored the north and south entrances to the national park, went swimming in the icy clear water of the Mediterranean. Today, we drove south to the extensive ruins of Selinunte. So many new plants seen: teasel about three feet high but not ready to bloom (the same as Yellow Springs); giant thistles, some with violet blossoms, some the more usual pink, many thistles with sizeable yellow flowers – could be a type of sow thistle; also a very common small violet thistle, possibly a kind of knapweed; field after field of a plant with bright yellow ombrellifere, reminiscent of Queen Anne’s lace and parsnips; an angelica type plant, another ombrellifere, tall and thick with its last year’s stalk often standing beside it; a delphinium-like flower, tall and beautiful with large purple inflorescence, the acanthus mollis, very common and seen two years ago near the Roman forum about the third week of May; English plantain (plantago laceolata); several tall wild malvacee varieties; the large-petaled cactus, opoatia ficus indice L. Miller, blooming throughout the area, as is the tall cactus with multiple long, straight branches; the pomegranate has red flowers; almond trees have set fruit.
2014: Snow-on-the-mountain still full bloom; few lily-of-the-valley bells still hold; waterleaf with white flowers, full – just like Tat’s purple flowered waterleaf in Wisconsin. First pale pink astilbe noticed in the shade garden by the shed, and buds on the milkweed plants in the north garden.
2015: Two white-spotted skippers, four cabbage whites in randori play, a male tiger swallowtail, one speeding red-admiral in the garden today. Two heliopsis buds starting to unravel. A quick stop at North Glen: leafcup shoulder high and almost budded, wood nettle almost waist high, touch-me-nots covering the woods floor. On a jog through the village: catalpas, privets, old daisies, new astilbes, six-foot yucca stalks, early oakleaf hydrangeas, full red roses and pink spirea. At night, the steady, ghostly call of the Eastern gray tree frog (hyla versicolor).
2016: Lizard’s tail flower tails have appeared. Two stella d’oro lilies. Yucca stalks seen about five to six feet. First gold-collared blackfly seen. The first ditch lily seen blooming on Dayton Street. Grackle babies continue to beg for food, fluttering their wings an scrawing (two seen chasing their parent). By the end of the day, I found the first blossom open on the pond iris.
2017: The only pond iris blossom withered over night. The first heliopsis bloomed. And there were thirteen stella d’oro lilies open in the east and north gardens. Bright primroses still full flower. Grackles making a racket in the south honeysuckles this morning. Bamboo husks continue to fall into the pond.
Therefore am I still a lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; (of all the mighty world)
well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.