The scurs slipped up on the temperature control lever on the Weather Eye. Must’ve thought they’d slid it left and instead slid it right resulting in colder conditions over the weekend. Will the scurs’ memory be tested once again? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of an overnight shower. Highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Partly sunny on Thursday and Friday with highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the mid-30’s both days. Partly sunny and slightly warmer on Saturday with a slight chance of a shower by evening. Highs in the upper 50’s and lows in the low 40’s. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with an increasing chance for showers by evening. Highs in the upper 50’s and lows in the low 40’s. Mostly cloudy for Columbus Day and Tuesday with a good chance of showers Monday lingering into Tuesday a.m. Highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the mid-30’s. The normal high for October 13th is 61 and the normal low is 38. In their spare time, the scurs will be watching to see how many people grab the Post Office door Monday by mistake.
As mentioned last week, the total lunar eclipse will appear at 5:25 a.m., several hours ahead of the Star Eagle being in your mailbox, so if you’re reading this now, you missed it. The 8th also brings us the Full Moon for the month. It goes by several names including the Full Hunter’s Moon and the Full Blood Moon. It was at this time the settlers and Native Americans were busy packing their larders with wild game for the long winter ahead. The Ojibwe knew this as the Falling Leaves Moon and the Sioux called it the Moon of Falling Leaves. At the ranch it is known primarily as the “Burn Electricity to do Chores Moon.”
Harvest was at a standstill for much of last week with rainfall dampening the opportunity for soybean combining. Cool, cloudy early November-like conditions following the precipitation slowed drying with soybean harvest very hit and miss late week through the weekend. Soybeans were still in many cases uneven and while the weekend frost helped some, there are still a lot of fields with green soybeans and leaves on in places as of this writing. Corn remains wet and again while some picking has been done, most are waiting to get their beans out first before running the dryer on corn that tests in the upper 20 and low 30-percent moisture range. The good news is the rainfall last week wasn’t a real game changer. The bad news is stalk rot rearing its ugly head in many fields and several forecasters are predicting a wetter second half to the month. Oh goody.
Luckily at the ranch we were able to harvest much of the remaining garden produce ahead of the frost both Sunday and Monday morning. It has been a harvest likely to mirror what will be found in the fields. There is plenty and enough that we could share the abundant portions such as the tomatoes with lots of people. It was not without its disappointments however. For the number of hills of vine crops, one would’ve expected better production. In a cool summer though, it’s probably unrealistic to expect a bumper crop of squash and pumpkins. Ditto with the Indian corn. Planted late with standing water on it in June, it struggled to produce the number of big, showy ears we would’ve liked. That’s one of the reasons we maintain our diversity however. When something bombs, at least there are other vegetable crops that come through with flying colors. Sometimes that’s a lesson we tend to forget in this day and age.
Phenologically speaking this was a banner week. During the rainy weather this past week, salamanders were crossing the road. I found one by a water bucket in the barn and just for laughs decided to see how well they can swim. Very well I discovered. Monday after the frost there were still monarch butterflies floating past. Somehow it appears that word of their demise appears to be greatly exaggerated. Bluebirds are frequently passing through at the ranch as well as at the kindly neighbors’. The last hummingbird at the ranch was spotted on Saturday the 4th and that same day, there were still some barn swallows at Krause’s in Hope. On my way home from there, more were seen flying alongside the road. Robins are feasting on the nannyberries. I still enjoy snacking on the berries as well. The leathery black skins sometimes get stuck in your teeth so you can do a pretty good hockey player impression. Last but not least the juncos are back again. They’ve been seen under the four o’clocks and in several of the conifers in the yard. See? They did follow me back from Canada!
Alas, this past weekend found me battling an early season edition of the alien. The cool temps didn’t help matters as I decided it was time to find the flannel sheets and turn the floor heat on in order to stay warm. As mentioned, we had gathered most of the garden so Saturday was a good day to enjoy some of the college football upsets. I thought perhaps I was the only one who was ailing Sunday as we left for church having coughed and strained my vocal chords. When we started the first hymn, I realized my vocal range was suddenly more like Bill Medley’s rather than Bobby Hatfield’s. After we sat down, I couldn’t believe the amount of coughing from the rest of the congregation. I hadn’t witnessed that much barking since the last time Ruby and Fudgie heard the Schwan’s man pull into the driveway. After church it was quiet time. My voice was about shot and I’m sure that made Mrs. Cheviot’s day. Until I started a couple hours worth of snoring that is. Just my version of blue-eyed soul.
See you next week...real good then.