A monthly compendium of random wisdom for the natural world and beyond.
June 1 Sunrise: 5:58am. Sunset: 8:52pm. Mike, the Headless Chicken Day. Mike, a Wyandotte chicken from Fruita, Colorado, survived a botched butchering job and went on to became a well-traveled, highly paid celebrity before meeting an
accidental death in a Phoenix hotel room 18 months later.
June 2 In honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System today, take a hike!
June 3 At last month’s Red Butte Garden plant sale we bought two kinds of asclepius (milkweed); a fern bush; two sacred daturas and numerous beardtongues (penstemon) —all listed in Fritz Kollman’s May CATALYST story, “Grow Your Own Habitat.” Bring on the pollinators!
June 4 Though not native, these easy annuals are pollinator-friendly: alyssum, cosmos, calendula, zinnia, sunflower.
June 5 It’s not too early to start thinking about pets and fireworks. Are your critters’ tags and microchips current? Might they benefit from a calming flower remedy or cannabis-related product (available at local pet shops)?
June 6 Caterpillar comes from the Latin catta pilosa, meaning hairy cat. The Greek word for butterfly is psyche, which means soul.
June 7 Skip the double marigolds and overly ruffled petunias to attract pollinators. They have been so altered by plant breeders that they no longer produce nectar or pollen.
June 8 Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has many good qualities. It’s the favorite food of many butterfly larvae. It can remediate certain heavy metals from soil. It reduces swelling and
improves hay fever symptoms, according to folk medicine. And the leaves are up to 25% protein, too.
June 9 Free Fishing Day in Utah. Did you know Utah has delicious wild salmon? Kokanee salmon are, essentially, landlocked Pacific sockeye salmon, found in our deep water reservoirs.
June 10 Bumble bees vibrate their burley flight muscles to shake pollen loose from flowers. Flying bees build up an electrostatic charge, which discharges when they land on grounded flowers, and spreads the pollen they are carrying.
June 11 Ladybugs lay infertile eggs along with the fertile ones to give hatching larvae something to eat.
June 12 Consider naming your house. (This is not a practice exclusively for British novels.) For instance, CATALYST dwells in Big Pink. Friends live at Casa Vida, the Avant Garden and China Blue.
June 13 NEW MOON: 1:43 pm. Set an intention today! Keep it positive and aim for the
June 14 The collective environmental factors—the microclimate and the microbes in the soil and air—that give cheeses, wines, chile peppers and maybe even your own tomatoes their distinctive flavors is called terroir.
June 15 Occupy your front yard. Haul a few chairs to the porch or lawn, and a table upon which to set your book and beverage. Entertain a guest or chat with a family member. Say, “Hi”, to passersby.
June 16 Today is CATALYST’s Bee Fest: A Celebration of Pollination! 9am-2pm. See back cover.
June 17 Writing exercise: List three places and/or objects you associate with your father. Describe each, using at least three senses.
June 18 Start a jar of rumtopf (fruit preserved in alcohol) now for Christmas giving. Fresh fruit + sugar + rum or bourbon. Add to it throughout the season. Taste after three months. The longer it sits, the better. https://bit.ly/2IpcI6v
June 19 Plants with bitter flavors have a cooling effect. Add endive, escarole, watercress and dandelion to your salads this month.
June 20 There’s still time to plant a garden! Vegetables: beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes and turnips. Flowers: bachelor buttons, cosmos, dahlias, gladiola, marigolds, morning glory, sunflowers and zinnias. Plant successions of radishes, carrots and snap beans every two weeks, through July.
June 21 Summer
Solstice: at 4:07am in Salt Lake City.
Daylight is 5 hours, 51 minutes longer today than on the December Solstice.
June 22 The Tropic of Cancer is a circle marking the latitude where the sun is directly overhead at the moment of the summer solstice. The Tropic of Capricorn marks same for the winter solstice. When those latitudes were named 2,000 years ago, the sun was in the constellation of Cancer during the summer solstice and Capricorn during the winter solstice. Hence, the names. But over time, as Earth’s axis of rotation has shifted, the sun is now in Taurus during the summer solstice and Sagitarrius at the winter one.
June 23 Today’s maximum temperature was 101 °F in 2012; the minimum was 39 °F in 1907.
June 24: Midsummer Day. This is a good time to go outside, sit still, and hope to see a fairy (or, as they prefer, faerie). Or maybe just (re)read Peter Pan. You can also create a fairy garden; the things you can do with pebbles, marbles, sticks, stumps and moss!
June 25 What to do with eucalyptus oil: Put some on your socks (but not your favorite socks because it might stain) to ward off mosquitoes. For a cooling soak, add four drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint to a tub full of lukewarm water.
June 26 When using a fly swatter, aim an inch and a half from the fly’s back; flies jump up and back when they take off.
June 27 10:53am FULL MOON, called the Strawberry Moon. Buy strawberries at the Farmers Market this week.
June 28 Keep pinching the basil for bushy plants! Once white flowers appear, its leafy days are limited.
June 29 Have fun finding tessellations in the world around us — chain link fences, MC Escher art, houndstooth suits, sunflowers, honey combs, pine cones.
June 30 Sunrise 5:59 am. Sunset 9:02 pm. Commonly known as shooting stars, meteors (or meteoroids) are space particles that burn up with a flash of light when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Whatever might land on Earth is called a meteorite.