The scurs had plenty of Halloween candy to blow through while enjoying a generally nice week of weather. Will their good fortune and candy last? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy becoming mostly sunny with a chance of morning snow showers. Highs in the mid 30’s and lows in the mid 20’s. Mostly sunny for Thursday with a slight chance of an evening snow shower. Highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the mid 20’s. Friday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain and/or snow showers. Highs near 45 and lows in the mid 30’s. Mostly cloudy on Saturday with a slight chance of rain and snow. Highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Sunday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly cloudy for both Monday and Tuesday with highs in the mid to upper 40’s and lows in the lower 30’s for both days. The normal high for November 11th, Veterans Day, is 42 and the normal low is 25. Now that the World Serious and Halloween are over the scurs can get rid of their fake beards.
Daylight Saving Time came and went without my usual rant. It’s never too late however. My feelings about DST are about the same as for many federal government sponsored brain flatulence. More government meddling to make someone feel like they’ve done something while we pay for it financially and sometimes physically. After a long day and setting about a dozen clocks Saturday night I was shot and ready for bed. At least when I awoke before 7 on Sunday, the good news was I could do chores in the daylight again. The bad news later in the day was the sun set shortly after 5 p.m. so evening chores were done in the dark. In fact it starts setting before 5 on the 5th and our hours of daylight slip below 10 hours on the 7th. Oh goody.
Harvest continues to wind down although there are still plenty of fields of corn scattered around the countryside as of this writing. The June planted corn has hit the drying systems and it’s taking some time to dry it sufficiently. Much of this corn ranges anywhere from the mid-20’s to the low 30’s in moisture. With temperatures cooling down that’s not a good combination. Test weights tend to be lighter than normal and it appears the kernels are breaking up more easily running through the combine and augers if the amount of screenings and white rooftops on bins are any indication. I was amazed the other day when a client brought in 4 ears of corn from a part of a field planted on July 2nd. Never would I have guessed that it would produce something even remotely resembling corn but it did. The ears are well developed and while they are likely light test weight the fact remains it wasn’t a zero.
The weird weather year put us in a bind to locate something to bed the sheep with for the upcoming winter. Small grain fields were few and far between and waiting around to see what might come off the prevented plant acres was not an option. Luckily for us one of our friends decided to bale up some small square bales of cornstalks. We’ve used them before and absolutely love the way they keep the barn dry. Not only that but the sheep spend a lot of time fishing through the stalks for ears and kernels as well as devouring many of the leaves so primarily the stalk is left behind. Given the chocolate covered raisin design of sheep feces, they tend to rattle through the stalks keeping them away from the woolies’ bodies when they snuggle down on those cold winter nights. We stacked the last of the bales in the barn Saturday afternoon so we were grateful for a kind friend’s act. Now we need to settle up. I wonder how many bred ewes he would like in payment?
The high winds on Sunday precluded me from picking up the screenings at the kindly neighbors so Plan B was set in motion: Mowing the long grass in the yard and grinding up the leaves. With Howard back on the unable to perform list and Whitey still on injured reserve, that left Whitey Jr. and I to tackle the project. Fortunately the leaves were crispy dry and there really was no time limit. When one can only take 38” at a time and move at a snail’s pace it’s just not conducive to being in a hurry. Even getting started takes a while. The asphalt chunks knocked into the ditch from the road construction needed to be picked up, ditto with the apples and the downspouts needed to be removed before we could commence. Whitey Jr. sputters, coughs and bangs when idling but once the blades are engaged it becomes a lean, mean mowing machine. It was so windy that the grass and leaves that weren’t in my eyes were dispersed to parts unknown instantly. At least when we were done it looked nice. The leaves were gone and the grass shortened so anything that falls from now on should blow off or collect in areas where it won’t matter. It was reputedly 50 degrees but with the wind howling you could’ve fooled me. I finished up wearing a pair of insulated coveralls. A harbinger of things to come I fear.
There is more bird activity once again at the feeders. One of the tiniest downies I’ve ever seen has made regular appearances recently and his larger cousin the hairy has been frequenting the suet as well. Saturday the large blue jays were back also and at first glance nearly leghorn sized. A chickadee was hitting the sunflower feeder like a kid with a new toy as well, ruffling the feathers of the goldfinches in their olive drab winter colors. The wind on Sunday kept all the birds away but I have a hunch once the snow begins to fly, they’ll be making a beeline for their favorite chow. About like the little fat buddies on Prime Rib Day at the Willows, Walleye Friday at the Lunchbox or Rib Tuesday at the Hartland Cafe. Once the weather turns cold and harvest is done, you can almost set your watch by it.
See you next week…real good then.