The scurs had the chilly temperatures pegged perfectly, but neglected to predict Mother Nature’s dandruff, otherwise known as snowflakes. Will we see some relief from the November temperatures once November is actually here? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a good chance of rain. Highs in the low 50s and lows in the mid 40s. Mostly cloudy Halloween Thursday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the upper 40s and lows in the upper 30s. Mostly cloudy again Friday with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the mid 30s. Saturday, partly cloudy with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the mid 30s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the low 20s. Mostly cloudy Monday with a chance of rain. Highs in the mid 40s and lows in the mid 20s. Mostly cloudy and slightly warmer with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the upper 40s and lows in the mid 20s. The normal high for October 31st is 51 and the normal low is 32. For Halloween the scurs will first be heading to Wagner’s. Why? For paper bags so they can trick or treat as Vikings fans.
The light at the end of the tunnel is finally beginning to appear for this harvest and not a moment too soon. If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a hundred times, many can’t wait for this stinker of a cropping season to be over. This seems evident by the speed at which fields are turning black. The corn harvest has taken the turn we were afraid it would with the ugly scars from this spring’s battle to get the crop in reappearing as the corn comes off. To make matters worse, LP gas has become tight, prolonging the time from the field to the bin in some cases. On the bright side, last week’s breezy conditions were just what the doctor ordered when it came to combining soybeans. The freezing morning temperatures were also beneficial, allowing the wet green stems to dry and go through the combine with ease. Anhydrous ammonia applications have been underway with soil temperatures and calendar date in agreement that it is time.
The fall has made for some wonderful garden produce at the ranch. The snap peas are done, but the lettuce and radish plantings continue to amaze. The lettuce is sweeter than any I can remember harvesting in the spring. The spring type radishes are by far the crispest we have ever raised. The winter radishes have been extra special. I harvested one of the red meat, or watermelon type, winter radishes and it was about the size of a softball. Scanning the row there are many more that size. Cutting it open revealed a deep red center, a sweet radish flavor and texture even crunchier than a kohlrabi. The beauty of these vegetables is that they will withstand the cold temps a while yet until they can be processed.
The fall colors have been fizzle for the most part. Blink and you missed them. Just about when it looked like they were coming on, the wind would come up and blow them off the trees before we had a chance to enjoy them. There are still a lot of green leaves and the freezing temps have knocked many of them out of the trees so while there are scattered pockets of color, the peak is well past. At least the warm Sunday temperatures brought the boxelder bugs and ladybugs out, reminding us that even if the trees aren’t cooperating, the bugs are still there to entertain us.
There are dog days of summer and sometimes there are dog days in the fall. One day last week I ran across all kinds of dogs at customers’ places. There was a big lab mix dog at my little fat buddy’s shop. It was dark when I opened the door and petted the dog. As I was about to leave I heard someone and it turned out my little fat buddy was taking a nap. After I made sure he was up for all day, I went on my way north and ran across a boxer. I also stumbled into a couple of Honeygold apples the owners gave me after soil sampling their strawberry bed. After that, I went soil sampling in earnest and a trio of dogs greeted me, a yellow and a black lab as well as the cutest little Aussie shepherd. I told her if I didn’t already have two dogs, she could come home with me. After sampling was done, I stopped at the kindly neighbor’s to check on the sheep and was greeted by Annie the collie. And of course when I got home there were red and white Border Collies to welcome me.
Both dogs got in one of their last “herd the lawnmower” days Sunday as they supervised the pesky leaves being ground into confetti. Their grass stained white socks served as a reminder of the dozens of trips they made back and forth keeping a watchful eye. When there’s no lawnmower to herd or gates to watch, Fudgie has claimed the porch as her domain now that autumn has come. In the summer she enjoyed the cool breeze from the south as she watched the sheep grazing below. Now that the leaves have fallen, the sunshine is warmest there, making it a favorite place to watch the sheep, sniff the breeze or better yet, nap. Ruby continues to voice her opinion about my television viewing habits. Watching Clint Eastwood westerns, as is my wont, I was convinced it was only the horses sending Ruby into a growling fit. Much to my dismay, when I tuned in Dirty Harry one night, Clint Eastwood showed up on the screen and Ruby commenced her growling. Even worse, she continued to growl until I chastised her. I mean, how can anyone not like Clint Eastwood? I suspect Mrs. Cheviot has been coaching Ruby. Her reaction is eerily similar when I insist on watching those “dumb movies.”
See you next week…real good then.