The scurs’ woes continue with the farther out forecasting while making good on the nearby once again. What kind of weather are they mustering up for the last week in May? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs around 60 and lows of 45. Partly cloudy Thursday and slightly warmer. Highs of 65 and lows near 45. Friday, partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening. Highs reaching 60 and lows of 45 - 50. Mostly cloudy on Saturday with a chance of s shower or thunderstorm. Highs of 70 and lows near 50. Sunday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs of 70 and lows around 50. Memorial Day and Tuesday, mostly sunny with highs near 75 and lows around 55. The normal high for May 30th is 76 and the normal low is 51. The scurs are on the record, predicting no snowmen such as we saw in 1992 for this year’s Memorial Day.
As predicted, progress was made in the fields both in the corn that was already planted and in the soybean fields that hadn’t been. Four days without precipitation from the 16th through the 19th allowed many who had soybeans left to plant to get the job done. Corn emerged rapidly last week and one could row many fields from the road last Friday. Herbicide applications were made possible during this same timeframe and the ensuing rainfall should be beneficial to the efficacy of those herbicides. Rainfall at the ranch pushed close to 2 inches from Friday through Sunday and fortunately it came in about four different rainfall events, so washing was minimized. We are behind on GDUs, however, so it’s going to take a warmer trend to get us close to average in that department. Some are comparing this year to 2009 and while it may just be, seldom are any two years exactly alike.
Gardening has been slow as well. More than one farmer has indicated that while the crop is in the ground, on farms where drainage is limited or snow sat for lengthy periods of time this spring, it still didn’t work up perfect. Ditto in the garden at the ranch. The garden here is situated in an area that catches a lot of snow. Drainage on most of the plot is decent in the area that is Clarion soil. The Webster soil lobe that extends along one side is a different animal and it’s been difficult to get it to dry out, let alone make a decent seedbed. Fortunately, many of the transplants will be headed into that area and once they spread out, the ground will get its tilth back. Amazing how vine crops will do that. In spite of all the wet weather, we did manage to get some Indian corn planted along with some later sweet corn. Trouble looming on the horizon, however, judging by the numerous little flies detected, otherwise known as seed corn maggots. The seed is treated with one of the neonicotinoid insecticides, but it will have a challenge. Tilling a lot of green material into the soil, in this case annual bluegrass, is a magnet for insects such as these. Will it work? We shall see.
Lawn mowing has taken center stage around the rain showers. It’s been a catch as catch can affair and one can work from 7 until 11 to get it done. It takes a couple hours to dry off sufficiently and when it does the roar of mowers can be heard across the landscape. At the ranch, one has to consider where on that landscape it is safe to mow. After Saturday forenoon’s downpour, I decide it had dried enough to attempt mowing the high ground. Looking down into the road cut, there was water running across the bottom of the ditch. Rather than risking winding up in St. Olaf Lake, I opted to avoid the rushing torrent for the time being. If matters got out of hand down there I figured one could always get out the boat and weedeater.
The birds slowed down a lot from last week and that’s a good thing. There was simply no way to keep up indefinitely with an oriole invasion such as we had. As it is, there appears to be at least one pair of Baltimore orioles in nest-building mode. It’s also encouraging to see there is a pair of orchard orioles that have both been faithfully enjoying grape jelly and nectar from the feeders. In years past there has been no positive ID of the female. One newcomer to the feeders this week was a lone pine siskin. Not sure exactly why he or she was here, but the familiar little striped body was hard to mistake after the irruption of two winters ago. One other new arrival that stays in is the common yellowthroat. They take up residence in the plum and sumac thicket and their song compliments that of the house wren this time of year splendidly.
See you next week…real good then.