The slight chance of showers for Monday exceeded what the scurs predicted. For the scurs, “slight” is a relative term. Will we see more rain or will Mother Nature back off? Starting Wednesday, partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs on the upper 80’s and lows in the upper 60’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a continued good chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs near 80 and lows in the mid-60’s. Mostly cloudy Friday with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. For the first day of summer, partly sunny with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs near 80 and lows in the low 60’s. Sunday, partly cloudy with a modest chance for a daytime shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows near 60. Monday, partly cloudy and pleasant. Highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-60’s. Tuesday, more of the same but slightly warmer. Mostly sunny with highs near 80 and lows near 60. The normal high for June 21st is 81 and the normal low is 60. The scurs will be wearing their Coast Guard approved floatation device while napping in the hammock just in case.
Monday’s thunderstorm was a nasty one. It’s never a good sign when the solar lights come on at 5:30 in the afternoon. It pulled no punches, snarling and growling as it moved across the prairie. While strong straight line winds did substantial property and crop damage, it could’ve been worse. Some large limbs were down as we gazed out the window while Ruby and Fudgie went to their Border Collie “safe places.” They do not like storms and waste no time hiding. We were just thankful nothing major was wrecked and all the beings in our care came through the storm alive. In fact, sometime during the storm, another lamb was born and a ewe lamb at that. Stormy would seem an apt name for her.
Area corn crops had that Jekyll and Hyde appearance to them this past week. Fields that were worked a little too wet began to show signs that their roots weren’t reaching the nitrogen that was in higher concentrations below. Wheel tracks in the direction of those tillage passes were evident and were likely impeding the progress of those roots. A few cool days thrown into the mix probably didn’t help matters. Headlands in particular look ugly and unfortunately no amount of additional nutrients applications will change that. Additional nitrogen will suddenly be the hot topic however for the rest of the field in most cases. Soybeans were beginning to show some signs of iron deficiency chlorosis although the recent heavy rains will likely make that a short-lived phenomenon this year. So far at the ranch and in town at the Mall for Men we are closing in on 8” of rainfall for the month. Given the forecasts, it appears likely we will surpass that.
It was a good week to pay attention to the birds though. At the kindly neighbors’ pasture, the bluebirds were getting close to leaving the nest. Not sure if the parents were looking at another nesting box or if another pair had moved into the area. At the ranch on Monday morning a house wren was singing in the windbreak, the first one heard since the earlier in May. It just isn’t summer without a wren now is it? Checking the wood duck houses there was still no sign of them leaving the nest. One of the nests may be abandoned with a full clutch of eggs in it while the other still has a hen faithfully setting on it. While looking in the nest, the toads were extremely loud. I was curious to see for sure if that’s who they were and was able to snap several shots of one puffing his vocal sac while trilling for all he was worth. It’s still breeding season for American toads apparently and given the abundance of water, it should be ample for the females to lay up to 20,000 eggs apiece. For those viewing the photo, I apologize for the quality of the picture but when trying to avoid dropping the cell phone in the drink, that’s what happens sometimes.
One good thing about all the rain is the pastures have been lush thus far and the ewes are fat as a result. Fertilizing the pasture at home was a paying proposition too with the grass lasting longer into the season and helping to keep the hay bill under control. The hay we seeded has looked a little better with each rain, the underseeded alfalfa filling in the gaps with orchardgrass beginning to appear as well. It should be a better year for forages in general if we can just find enough time between rains to allow hay to dry.
Mrs. Cheviot has outdone herself on the flower beds and pots around the house. The bees, butterflies and of course the hummingbirds have all been grateful for her diligence. Even though the storms beat the foliage up the plants have maintained their integrity fairly well and will come back. It’s Mr. Cheviots job to prevent unwanted pests from ruining her hard work. And no matter how bad Mr. Cheviot beats on them, they also keep coming back.
See you next week…real good then.