With another bonus week the scurs are convinced that the well-lubed heat control cable continues to produce warm temps from the Weather Eye. Nash-Rambler had it right! Will our good weather fortunes continue another week or is the other shoe about to drop? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs near 50 and lows in the mid-30’s. Mostly sunny and warmer with a slight chance of an overnight shower on Thursday. Highs in the upper 50’s and lows in the upper 20’s. For Halloween’s ghosts and goblins, sunny and cooler with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Saturday, sunny and slightly warmer with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the upper 30’s. On Sunday, mostly cloudy and warmer with a slight chance of a shower. Highs in the low 50’s and lows in the low 40’s. Monday and Tuesday, partly sunny and continued mild. Highs in the low 50’s and lows in the upper 20’s. The normal high for October 31st is 51 and the normal low is 32. The scurs are tuning up the 3.8 liter six in the pumpkin orange ’74 Gremlin X, the perfect vehicle for collecting Halloween treats. Good thing there is no clock in it to set back at precisely 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Luckily Mother Nature gave us a treat in the way of a warmer-than-normal last half of October. Corn that everyone feared would never dry down was suddenly at very acceptable moisture levels. Even waxy corn, renowned for hanging onto its moisture and drying hard, has come down into the upper teens. Corn yields however have been fickle. Much of the corn on corn has been disappointing with yield in many cases in the mid-150 range when drown outs are factored in. Not surprisingly corn on prevent plant acres has yielded very respectably. The bias has also been towards corn yielding better as one goes east, partially because of the number of prevented plant acres but equally as important, rolling topography that allowed the heavy June rains to run off and not pond on those fields. Soybeans harvest is for all practical purposes complete but again, showed the same east-west bias as the corn yields.
The Indian summer had everyone feeling rather giddy in spite of the fact the breezes had largely taken our fall color and plopped it on the ground. Case in point being the bright yellow Norway maple leaves cascading down the road cut. The sheep are happy to see one more category of treat however in addition to the usual apple cores, peelings and misfit vegetables. There’s a distinct line where the fence divides the lawn and pasture. On the lawn: Leaves. In the pasture: No leaves. The mower will make short work of the leaves soon enough on our side of the fence, turning them to confetti for the earthworms and other soil dwelling invertebrates.
The last of the apples were harvested Sunday afternoon. After giving away a few bushels earlier, there were still 3–4 bushels of Haralsons, a couple bushel of Firesides and about a dozen remaining SnowSweets. All have their fit and while some like their tart taste for eating raw, the Haralson is still a tough-to-beat cooking apple. They don’t turn to mush while the complex flavor comes through. The variety has been around a long time, released by the U of M in 1922. Fireside was released in 1943 and is primarily an eating apple although it is not real crisp. It makes up for that with its sweetness and also works well for baked apples. SnowSweet is a 2006 release and is generally an eating apple that oxidizes slowly. It maintains the white flesh color as someone observed as I gnawed on one the other day. The apple can also be made into sauce but with caramel, some say they are better than (fill in the blank).
The fall birds are taking center stage more and more. More activity on the suet from downy and hairy woodpeckers as well as the red bellies. A nuthatch seems to always be on one of the sunflower feeders during daylight hours and the jays get their fair share not only of sunflowers but corn from the ear corn feeder. There are a few pine siskins hanging around too. Not sure why, but they pick at the thistle seed and leave, only to return again from parts unknown.
The time change is upon us and not a minute too soon. I mentioned a few weeks back that the alien had struck and turns out it never left. I’ve been through numerous cycles of starting to feel better for a few days only to be dragged back down into feeling like crud for a few more. The coughing, as Mrs. Cheviot mentioned, was coming from down around my toenails. If that weren’t bad enough, no matter how much I’d sleep, I was still tired. After about a month of this nonsense, Monday I’d had enough and consulted the local doctor. As luck would have it the diagnosis was about what I figured: Walking pneumonia. Now, it sounds worse than it really is. There’s no high temp as one would have with regular pneumonia but as the name suggests, you just sort of keep going through the paces and the stuff keeps nagging you. With some wicked antibiotics and other tincture, I’m taking the gloves off so I can get back in the game. This seems to have gone on forever but there is no alternative. There are dozens of tasks to be accomplished before the snow flies. In the meantime, we get our stolen hour back for some precious extra sleep. I was beginning to think that day would never come.
See you next week…real good then.