Poor Will’s Almanack for 2005



Poor Will’s Almanack

For 2005


Index of Seasonal Essays by Bill Felker

October 2004              A Fantasy of Global Warmth
November 2004          The Eye of the Storm
December 2004          Winter Tomatoes
January 2005             Hibernation Nostalgia
February 2005            Watching the Icemelt
March 2005                The Secret Code: Half is Whole
April 2005                  Lenten Notes
May 2005                   More is More
June 2005                  The Platonic Fallacy
July 2005                   Talking Mosquito
August 2005              Night Walk
September 2005        Diana and the Devil
October 2005             Time at Jacoby Swamp
November 2005         Counting Leaves
December 2005         Ordering Seeds


The Weeks of the Seasonal Calendar

The Week Deep Winter Arrives
The Week That Foxes Mate
The Week Crows Migrate
The Week Cardinals Sing
The Week of the Groundhog Day Thaw
The Week That Opossums Mate
 The Week Early Spring Arrives
 Snowdrop Winter Week
The Week That Pussy Willows Open
The Week Virginia Bluebells Emerge
The Week the Buzzards Come Back for Summer
The Week of the First Butterflies
The Week Middle Spring Arrives
The Week Turkeys Start to Gobble
Apple Blossom Week
The Week Late Spring Arrives
Daddy Longlegs Season
The Season of Petalfall
Iris, Peony and Mock Orange Season
Honeysuckle Time
The Week the Canopy Closes
The Week of Golden Parsnips
Black Raspberry Week
The Week Sycamore Bark Falls
Thistledown Week
The Week Cicadas Sing
The Turn of Summertide
The Last Week of Middle Summer
Ragweed Week
Katydid Season
The Week of Judas Maples
Beggartick Week
The Week the Last Wildflowers Bloom
The Week of the Puffball Mushrooms
The Time of Leafturn
The Week the Milkweed Pods Open
The Week of the First Junco
The Week of the Final Monarchs
The Center of Middle Fall
The Week the Katydids Fall Silent
The Week That Ginkgo Leaves Fall
The Week Witch Hazels Bloom
The Week Skunk Cabbage Appears
The Week the Sandhill Cranes Depart
The Week the Pear Leaves Fall
The Season of Winter Clarity
A Week of Winter Color
The Week the Days Begin to Lengthen

Index of Almanack Literature

October 2004              “OOPS” by Rick Donahoe

“Fly or Get Eat Up!” by Fanny Lindsey,

November 2004             “Mama and the Farmer” by Naomi Bliss,

“The Headless Lady of Open Fork Hollow” by Eunice Hicks

December 2004              “Coal Stove Memories” by Sarah Beck

“A Christmas Story” by Susan Perkins

January 2005                   “Getting Adjusted” by Carol Conklin

“My Woodstove Adventure” by Glen Johnston

February 2005                  “I’ll Fix Them!” by S.W. Granger

“Bungee Jumping at the Red Dog” by Linda Warren

March 2005                       “Rambo’s Hangup” by Marge Mills

“Tow Lines” by Ross Parker

April 2005                          “Bees in the Classroom” by Sue Hallum

“Rich Kin Folk” by Kate Crutcher

May 2005                           “An Outhouse Shellacking” by Bill Wiseman

“An Exciting Birthday” by Ione Warner

June 2005                           “The Thirsty Snake” by Pliny Fulkner

“The Snake and the Storm” by Anna Bruce

July 2005                             “Aunt Kate’s Outhouse” by Naomi Bliss

“The Snake and the Eggs” by Sylvia P. Gibbons

August 2005               “        The Possum and the Pot” by Susan from Harditmes Farm

“At the Full Moon” by Fanny Lindsey

September 2005                 “The Troublesome Burl” by Elias Keim

“Part of My Life Story” by Edna Mae Hale

October 2005                      “The Dancing Stove” by Bill Bidlack

“The Jumpin’ Ghost of Sugar Camp Cemetery” by Helen Dillon

November 2005                   “The Precious Knife” by Lois Kilgore

“Have You Ever Eaten a Fly?” by Sylvia P. Gibbons

“An Indoor/Outdoor Two-Holer” by Jeff Crawford

December 2005                    “The Christmas Dinner” by Naomi Bliss

“The Most Romantic Thing That Ever Happened to Me” by Eunice Hicks

 More about Poor Will’s Almanack for 2005:

The Name

When I began almanacking in 1984, I wanted to choose a name that was different from the “farmer” associations of the current best-selling almanack. The logical choice seemed to be to reach back to America’s first and most famous almanack, Poor Richard’s Almanack, prepared throughout the latter part of the 18th century by Benjamin Franklin. Ben had many imitators back then, among them, a certain Poor Will. Although it has been almost 200 years since that Will tried to follow in Franklin’s footsteps, I thought it was not inappropriate for William (Bill) Felker to revive the name and the tradition, while making a clean break with the kinds of almanacks currently sold in this country today.


Monthly Features

Poor Will’s Almanack is divided into 15 chapters, one for each month between October 2004 and December 2005. Each month contains the sections listed below.

Seasonal quotation

Almanack essay

Phases of the moon

The sun’s progress



Shooting stars

Weather patterns (October 2004 – September 2005)

Frostwatch (April, May, September and October 2005)

The weekly seasonal calendar (October 2004 – September 2005)

A floating sequence for the blooming of shrubs and perennials

(February 2005 – September 2005)

Farming and gardening notes

The allergy index (April – September)

Sheep and goat markets

Best hunting and fishing times

The S.A.D. index

Almanack literature (reader stories)

The Almanack Essay

Traditional almanacks often contained commentary by the editor. Sometimes these notes were political; often, they were seasonal. I (Bill Felker) am the author of unsigned poems and essays that appear in Poor Will’s Almanack.

Time of Day

Eastern Standard Time is used for all times listed throughout Poor Will’s Almanack for 2005.

Weather Patterns

The weather estimates that appear with each month between October 2004 and September 2005 are based on my charts of fractal weather patterns made between 1978 and 2004. Readers of my weekly and monthly columns throughout the country have used these estimates successfully since 1984. For best results, readers in the East should add 1 to 2 days to specific days mentioned in the overviews. In the West, subtract 1-2 days. The monthly patterns in this almanack have been used successfully in every year since 2005.


The Frostwatch charts, which appear in April, May, June, September, October and November, show the chances that frost will have occurred at average locations along the 40th Parallel by the date indicated. The data can be adjusted by adding five percent for each 100 miles north of the 40th Parallel (or for each 500 feet above 1000 feet above sea level). Subtract five percent for each 100 miles south of the 40th Parallel. Although Frostwatch statistics are approximate, they can serve, with interpolation, as a general guide to the advent of spring or fall.

Best Hunting and Fishing Times

Some research and traditions suggest that fish and game tend to feed more when the moon is directly overhead—or directly below the earth about 12 hours later. The monthly keys to lunar position in Poor Will’s Almanack indicate when the moon is above or below the United States, and therefore the periods during which fish and game are typically most active. Since fish and game are also feed more prior to the arrival of high-pressure systems (listed in the Weather Patterns section), your expeditions should be most successful if scheduled one to three days prior to the arrival of each system.

The Seasonal Calendar

The seasonal calendar section of Poor Will’s Almanack is a collection of 52 summaries of events in nature, one summary for each week of the year. These brief essays describe seasonal changes during a typical year. Each description is a “floating” narrative that can be moved backwards or forwards in time, depending on the reader’s location. For example, the events of “Apple Blossom Week” typically occur in Ohio during April; however, many of those events will occur in March throughout the South, during May in Minnesota.

A Floating Sequence of Blooming Times for Perennials, Trees and Shrubs

The dates listed between March and September are average times for the first blossoming of each wildflower along much of the 40th Parallel (at 1,000 feet above sea level) in an average year. In a cold spring, blooming can be set back as such as two weeks. If April and May are exceptionally warm, flowers can be ten to fifteen days early. Drought and excessive precipitation change matters, too.Despite such fluctuations and the influence of habitat, the general sequence of flowering remains relatively predictable and can serve as a broad guide for floral sequence across the nation’s midsection. At other locations in North America, once the wildflower year begins, it remains close to the progression listed in this calendar, even though the specific dates may be considerably different.

Farming and Gardening Notes

Farming and gardening suggestions are based on likely weather conditions and accepted practices for different times of the year. They also make use of traditional lore about lunar phases. Although definitive proof about the efficacy of these phases has yet to be produced, many farmers and gardeners find that combining lunar conditions with their other routines is satisfying and contributes to their success.

The Sheep and Goat Markets

Holidays that are especially important to sheep and goat breeders are noted each month. Most of these feast days are observed by customers who often make use of lambs or kids for their celebrations. Buyers from this market can include Pakistanis, Hispanics, Indians, Bosnians, Chinese, Middle Easterners and people of Mediterranean descent. They may prefer to slaughter the animals they purchase before taking them from your property.

The Allergy Index

Average pollen and mold counts are based on average counts made in the central part of the United States and reflect general trends of weather patterns and floral cycles.

The S.A.D. Index

Current medical opinion suggests that the human brain may need a certain amount of sunlight for maximum wellbeing and that seasonal fluctuation of the body’s natural clock can often bring on shifts of outlook and mood. Sometimes seasonal imbalance can be debilitating; when it is, the problem is often called as S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Knowledge is perhaps the best defense against S.A.D. The S.A.D. Stress Index contributes to that knowledge by measuring the natural phenomena which are assumed to be related to S.A.D.—the day’s length, the percentage of probable sunlight, the weather, and the phase of the moon. In order to create the Index, each of those factors was given a value from zero to 25, and then the four values were combined onto a scale of one to 100. Interpretation is simple: the higher the number, the greater the stress.Index readings are most useful in combination with a record of your own moods. Reference to the Index when you feel out of sorts may be a way of getting a feel for how seasonal affective disorders influence your life.



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