The scurs got moderate temperatures to prevail but didn’t manage to scare up much rain. Perhaps they need to revisit the windshield washer on the Weather Eye. Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows near 60. Mostly sunny again for Friday with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly sunny for Saturday with highs in the upper 70’s and lows near 60. Sunday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs near 80 and lows in the upper 50’s. Partly cloudy Monday with a moderate chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Tuesday, mostly cloudy with showers and thunderstorms possible. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. The normal high for August 1st is 82 and the normal low is 61. On July 31st the sun will rise after 6 a.m. for the first time since May 4th. The scurs are rummaging through their candy wrappers to see if there are any May basket leftovers. It’s a long time yet until Halloween.
We may need until Halloween to get some of this crop ripe the rate it’s going. Based on a May 1st planting date we are not that far behind on GDU’s. However, much of this corn crop wasn’t planted until around mid-May which puts it in jeopardy of an early frost. Many of the soybeans weren’t planted until late May so they’re in the same boat. Even though they are photoperiod sensitive a late maturing soybean planted late is unlikely to make it under the wire for a mid-September frost. Crop development is however moving along and some timely rains with warmer temps would help advance that cause. Corn is pollinating this week and there should be plenty of stored soil moisture to get us through that. At the SROC as of July 15th they showed 7” available in the top 5’ of soil with 5.5” of that being below the 2’ depth. The good news is at least the corn is tall enough now to hide a lot of the bad spots from the road. Soybeans are reaching the R4 stage, meaning they have a pod ¾” or more long at one of the uppermost 4 nodes. Small grain yields are starting to come in and they have been decent. Our cooler-than-normal July has helped immensely.
Gardens are starting to roll as well. At the ranch we picked a couple dozen cukes after noticing a few were getting close. Then of course you always miss one that gets seeded out inside. Those tend to make it over the fence to the sheep who love ‘em almost as much as we humans do. Tomato vines are healthy as a horse and slowly starting to bear a few more yellow pear and cherries. The first planting of string beans has just started to come online with the thin stand flowering profusely. There have been a few for snacking and they have been tasty. The snap pea seed arrived recently so we should be ready to commence our fall vegetable gardening over the weekend. Something about late summer planted greens, radishes and snap peas that isn’t the same in the spring. Smiling!
Flowers have also been taking shape not only in the flower beds but in the CRP as well. Some of the notables include milkweed which provides the monarch butterfly with nectar as an adult and leaves that the larvae feed on. There has been a noticeable uptick in monarch activity locally and that’s a good sign. In the garden the volunteer 4 o’clocks have just started to flower so the hummingbirds and sphinx moths will have something more to occupy their time. As Preacher noted a few weeks ago in a text to me, the sweetclover has been phenomenal this year. The sweet aroma fills the ditches and waste areas where both the yellow and white type grow. Both are favorites for honeybees and many a beekeeper would set up near large patches of the biennial legume when it was used as a green manure crop back in the set aside days. When out driving one could always tell where those patches were as the bees would splat off the windshield as you got closer.
In the yard I can’t say I was happy to spot our most recent visitor, a red squirrel. My encounters with them over the years on excursions up north have been less than positive. As long as they stay outside they’re fine. Once they get inside a cabin however things get chewed up and wrecked in a hurry. Fortunately I only saw him the one time. Plus, the birds seemed to dislike him even more than the fox squirrels that they’ve come to semi-tolerate.
The orioles continue to frequent the jelly feeders although they may be showing signs of slowing down somewhat, unlike the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes consume a quart of blood every night while the orioles consume about a quart of grape jelly every 4-5 days as well as a cup of sugar from the nectar feeder. No wonder they don’t have any teeth!
Fair time has been upon us already for several weeks now. The Waseca Co. Fair is in the books and the Freeborn Co. Fair is getting rolling this week. That means I am the beneficiary of some of Auntie Mar Mar’s most excellent baked goods left over from her entries for competition. Uncle Gregory stopped up Saturday to give me pointers on breaking down my most recent weapon of mass destruction and to drop off a large box of assorted goodies. I was most impressed by the variety and in particular by the muffins. I’m just glad I got whole muffins, not just the stumps.
See you next week…real good then.