Last week’s judicious use of PB Blaster on the Weather Eye heat control cable apparently paid big dividends for the scurs. Weather this past week was absolutely gorgeous. Will their new found remedy continue to yield results? Starting Wednesday, sunny becoming cloudy with a good chance of a shower developing after midnight. Highs in the upper 50’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly cloudy on Thursday with a good chance of morning showers. Highs in the upper 50’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Then the beautiful weather comes back. Mostly sunny on Friday with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Sunny on Saturday with highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Sunday, mostly sunny becoming mostly cloudy with a slight chance for an evening shower. Highs again in the upper 60’s with lows in the upper 40’s. Partly cloudy and cooler on Monday with a modest chance of a shower. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the low 40’s. Tuesday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the mid-30’s. The normal high for October 25th is 55 and the normal low is 34. In a month the normal high will be the same as the normal low for October 25th. With corn harvest upon us the scurs anxiously await the roar of Bugtussle’s very own ten-man dryer.
How our weather fortunes have improved! Progress in the fields picked up steam as the week wore on. Soybean harvest is now nearing completion in most of the area including the replants. Corn harvest has begun in earnest with moistures running in the low to mid- 20’s. Test weights have been a little on the light side with many reports of 52–53 lbs. Several potential reasons for this given the loss of nitrogen following the heavy June rains, an early frost in some areas and stalk rot, also catalyzed by the wet June weather. Standability has become an issue in some fields and as was mentioned in previous editions, one will want to stay on top of corn harvest and not be waiting for corn dry enough to put it in the bin. Travels over the weekend also revealed a potential major problem over much of Southern Minnesota. It appears we could be one 40–50 mph windstorm away from a lot more down corn.
On Saturday, with corn harvest commencing it meant getting the screening wagon back to its rightful owner for a refill. This is almost always more difficult than it should be. First the tractor wanted to be persnickety about starting. Seems the solenoid is going and it takes some finesse to get it started. Of course the skid steer that I had repaired the week before was dead as a stone. Again, after getting nothing from putting the battery charger on it and some head scratching, I remembered a 30-amp fuse on it had blown 10 years ago. It exhibited the same symptoms so after fishing around the odds and ends drawer I located a 10-year-old package of 30-amp fuses. Replaced the fuse and voila! Back in business and able to move the wagon out of the space it was cramped into. The trip to beautiful downtown Matawan was all that it could’ve been and more. The wagon trailed well and actually made it to the destination in one piece. Well almost. The piece of electric fence wire holding the chute up had broken. Luckily I always carry a spare. It’s an unwritten rule that if you borrow something and it breaks you’re obligated to fix it. The former mayor of Waldorf and his sidekick seemed pleased to see it was restored with factory original parts.
Bird migration continues to roll along. There are still lots of robins and now that it’s warmed up a little, they’ve focused their attention to the earthworms that have become more willing to some above ground. Oh sure they’re still feeding on chokeberries, but they do enjoy their earthworms. Bluebirds aren’t as plentiful of course, but their softly spoken call makes one aware of their presence. It also reminds me of the broods that were fledged both at the ranch and the kindly neighbors’. Hopefully next year will bring even more. The fox squirrels continue to give Ruby and Fudgie something to occupy their spare time. With a little help from the blue jays the little rodents have cleaned up all the acorns under our trees, eating some but probably distributing them to points unknown. Finding the flat cap from one of the red oak acorns on the patio, one can only imagine where the seedlings might turn up.
Gardening has slowed primarily due to lack of daylight hours after work. The snap peas have disappointed with only a couple rubbery pods resulting after the heavy frosts. There are still carrots to dig and they look promising. The longer they are left in the ground the sweeter they seem to be. Soil conditions are such that one of these weekend afternoons we’ll need to take advantage of that. And we’re still enjoying the last of the tomatoes while sampling more of the new spuds. One softball sized red Pontiac is enough for a whole pan of fried potatoes. Combined with onions and some fried eggs on the side, it’s a combination that always qualifies as comfort food when one runs out of ideas for a quick supper. There are still lots of apples remaining to pick too so there can be some pies and baked apples. Did manage a trade of some apples for some excellent pears. While small they were very sweet. Even after the trade it still didn’t look like we had picked any apples.
Sunday meant a whirlwind tour to SE MN, the land of rolling hills and limestone bluffs. Taking MN 30 to Stewartville, U.S. 63 to Spring Valley and the back road to Chatfield via Fillmore is about as good as it gets. The return route west out of Chatfield on MN 30 made for an encore performance as we wound our way along the Root River valley and climbed up the Cummingsville hill. The entire journey colors were at their peak and with every turn and bend in the road, a new panorama unfolded. The red oaks combined with the flame orange maples and yellow basswood were breathtaking with contrasting green pockets of white pines interspersed. Our return to the ranch coincided with the firing up of the corn dryer at neighbor David’s. Some say that it seems awfully loud but it’s just part of the furniture. Actually it qualifies as a sleeping aid. Upon my head hitting the pillow and hearing the hum of the dryer, it’s like singing a lullaby to a baby. The evidence: Sunday evening within a matter of minutes I was out like a light. The perfect end to a perfect day.
See you next week…real good then.