The scurs continued to dredge up dry weather until the surprise thunder showers rolled through on Monday, bringing some welcome relief to thirsty crops. Will they remember which wire to cross on the Weather Eye this week? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a modest chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs near 75 and lows in the upper 50’s. Thursday, partly sunny with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs again near 75 and lows in the low 60’s. Partly sunny Friday with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Saturday, partly sunny with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Partly sunny again for Sunday with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs near 80 and lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny Monday with a chance for an afternoon or evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs around 80 and lows in the mid-50’s. Tuesday, mostly sunny and cooler. Highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. The Full Moon for the month occurs on the 10th. The normal high for August 10th is 81 and the normal low is 60. The scurs are hoping the predicted moderate temperatures will allow continued good sleeping with the windows open.
The Full Moon for the month goes by several names, most commonly the Full Sturgeon Moon as this was the month in which the Indian tribes found the sturgeon easiest to catch. It also goes by the Full Green Corn Moon and the Full Grain Moon. The Ojibwe knew this as the Berry Moon, no doubt for the bountiful crop of blueberries they competed with the bears for. The Sioux were keeping an eye on the chokecherries denoting this as the Moon When the Cherries Turn Black. At the ranch, the Moon When Vegetables Overwhelm. The Perseid Meteor Shower should be underway next week, although the brightness of the moon on August 12th and on the 13th during their peak may wash some of the lesser meteors out, making them difficult to see. Fear not, many of them are bright enough to see anyway, points out Deane Morrison from the U of M’s MN Institute for Astrophysics. Look off to the northeast in the evening and pre-dawn hours for the best chances of catching a falling star and putting it in your pocket.
Crops continue to make substantial progress and those who were lucky enough to receive rain on Monday had to breathe a little sigh of relief. Rainfall amounts were extremely variable with .61” recorded at the ranch, .75” in Bugtussle proper and reports of up to 1.5” both north and south of town. Just what we needed. Not all that far to the north nothing was recorded, so the pattern of hit and miss precip in August established over the past four years continues. Corn is primarily in the blister stage and by most rules of thumb will need about 60 days to make it to maturity. Soybeans continue to be in the R4 stage primarily with some of the replants showing a third and fourth trifoliate. Some later seeded wheat continues to plod towards the finish line and the late planted peas are largely harvested. All in all, a terrible year for pea yields locally. Twelve inches of rain will do that.
Many signs that it is indeed August. The first cicada of the summer was heard at the ranch on August 1st although several days prior, one had been spotted being carried by a cicada killer wasp back to their lair. The tiger lilies are in bloom and the big bluestem has headed out in the pasture at over 6’ tall. Field crickets are more vocal as grasshoppers add their background music to the evenings.
The orioles at the ranch are backing off on their jelly consumption although the gray catbirds seem to be picking up the slack. This has apparently been a banner year for them as I tend to draw “cat calls” whenever I’m inspecting the garden. The catbirds are seldom seen however. The red osier dogwood makes an excellent place for them to nest and hang out in addition to supplying them with an abundant supply of gawd awful bitter tasting white berries. Yes, I’ll try anything once.
Little by little the garden continues to come online. Picked a half gallon of string beans on Sunday as well as another dozen or so cukes. The nice thing about cukes is once you figure out who likes them, it becomes relatively easy to keep up with them. Now zucchinis on the other hand I have yet to figure out. No one will admit they really like them although they do wind up in things such as zucchini bread and on things such as shish kabobs at the ranch. And when they get excessively large the sheep become the beneficiaries. Planted some of the fall veggie crop on Sunday. The snap peas that arrived last week made it into the ground as did some of the red meat winter radishes. Last year’s crop kept phenomenally well and there are a few yet in the fridge from last fall that are still edible. Probably some carrots too. If not see aforementioned comments about the sheep.
Road destruction in front of the Mall for Men has entered its third straight week now. It’s had its ups and downs, although since the rain has been scarce good progress has been made. The water being shut off one forenoon wasn’t a big deal especially since there are tall weeds out back. Luckily the brain trust that was responsible for the Lake Road construction is no longer a factor. That road has rapidly become a topic of disgust and derision for those travelling it on a daily basis. You know it’s a bad sign when people will take a gravel road to avoid driving on the roughest stretch. Driving in the pasture among the gopher mounds is smoother.
See you next week…real good then.