The scurs were cautious this last week when playing under the dash on the ’74 Gremlin X, finding the heat control while they were at it. Will they be so fortunate this week? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Thursday mostly sunny becoming mostly cloudy by evening with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms in the overnight. Highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-60’s. Mostly cloudy Friday with a good chance of forenoon showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the mid-60’s. Saturday mostly cloudy with a modest chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny for Sunday with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs near 80 with lows in the low 60’s. Monday, sunny skies and slightly cooler with highs near 75 and lows in the upper 50’s. Partly cloudy on Tuesday with another chance for showers and thunderstorms developing. Highs in the low 70’s and lows in the lower 50’s. The normal highs for July 12th is 83 and the normal low is 62. We will see 15 hours and 13 minutes of daylight in greater Bugtussle, having lost 15 minutes of daylight since the summer solstice. The scurs will be making up for lost time at Farm and City Days.
The crops were certainly trying this past week to make up for a June that frequently provided a soggy and hostile environment for growing corn and soybeans. Corn that had been pale in many places began to reach nitrogen and turn that dark green color we expect corn to have at this point. Soybeans were also on the move with most fields in full bloom. The silver lining to the wet June has been the regrowth on second cutting hay. Most of it has really stretched and should make some wonderful hay if the weather allows it to dry.
The Full Moon for the month occurs on Saturday the 12th and goes by several names including the Full Buck Moon, Full Thunder Moon and Full Hay Moon. The Ojibwe knew this as the Full Raspberry Moon for the wild raspberry crop that is ripening. The Sioux were also into fruit denoting this as the Moon When Wild Cherries are Ripe. At the ranch we like our fruit as well, although the pickings will be slim for a while yet. Probably best known as the Pick the Handful of Wild Raspberries Quick Moon.
The garden has made tremendous progress however and some additional string beans were planted on July 5th. Obviously the first bean planting didn’t appreciate the 11.25” of rain in June. Garden insect pests have been on the attack so for those who don’t routinely scout for them this could serve as a heads up. Striped cucumber beetles have been a menace to the cucurbit crop, consuming the blossoms before the bees and other pollinators have had a chance to do their work. Squash vine borers have been spotted as well, making a pesticide application necessary. To make matters worse, cabbage butterflies are locating the decorative kale and cabbage. When the pinholes from the larvae begin to appear, they will be afforded the same treatment.
Insect pests attacking humans and animals are also reaching intolerable levels. Poor Fudgie’s ears have been getting chewed by stable flies. While Ruby doesn’t sit still long enough for the flies to catch her, the mosquitoes still find her nose. Luckily we’ve had some breezy days which help to keep the bugs from getting totally out of control. Slathered with repellent and mowing the lawn Sunday night however it was still. I could see against the low sun the sheer number of flying and likely biting insects. It was as if one could see the air moving. Stable flies, deer flies, gnats and mosquitoes have all taken their toll and show no signs of abating soon. There is some positive insect news however: The fireflies appeared in force at the ranch for the first time on July 7th following the evening showers. It’s officially July.
Our yard continues to be host to numerous fledgling birds. The young orioles have found their way to the feeders. Their bumbling antics and mournful calls make one smile. They are consuming a lot of jelly too that makes the grocer smile. Young barn swallows are all over the dooryard right now. Look up and there’s one perched somewhere staring you in the face. I’m counting on them to grow up big and strong with as many bugs as they have to eat. When my brother visited last week, we also checked on the wetland to see what might’ve become of the wood ducks. One of the houses was abandoned yet full of eggs. How many? Try 17. Maybe the hen took one look at that clutch and flew the coop. The other house apparently was more productive. There were still four nonviable eggs in it but it appeared that at least eight or so had made it out. Hopefully the ducklings were swimming around in the pond. There are so many places for them to hide that they would’ve been nearly impossible to find. And that’s a good thing.
Attended a gathering over the 4th and happened to run into a reader who reminisced about some of his Studebaker experiences. Being a mechanic, he recalled that Studebakers were delivered to the dealerships with boxes of accessories. Items such as radios, antennas, hood ornaments and side view mirrors were all common add-ons not installed at the factory. The Studebaker dealership in Albert Lea contracted with the shop where he worked to install the equipment. After only reading about this phenomenon in books, I now have living proof. Thanks Bob!
See you next week…real good then.