High temps outpaced the scurs and their finely tuned Weather Eye’s capabilities last week. The recent cool down appears related to a broken cable from the control panel to the heat control valve. Will the scurs get the new one in time for the weekend? Starting Wednesday, sunny skies with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Thursday, sunny again with highs near 50 and lows near 30. Mostly sunny on Friday with a slight chance of a morning snow shower. Highs in the low 50’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Mostly sunny Sunday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the upper 30’s. Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs near 60 with lows near 40. Partly cloudy on Tuesday and warmer with highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. On April 27th the normal high is 63 and the normal low is 41. On April 27th we will experience 14 hours of daylight, the same as what we saw back on August 15th. The scurs are certain they will be tiptoeing through the tulips by the time their May Baskets arrive.
Quite the week weather–wise as corn planting got underway in earnest. Some were able to finish, some made a dent in it while other chose not to start. There are also a few soybeans in the ground. Were these good or bad planting decisions? This is the beauty of planting season. One can speculate all you want but the results won’t be known until the combines hit the fields and loads are measured in the fall. At this point, it’s all good. Some of the alfalfa isn’t perhaps as good as hoped with some dead crowns being noticed in fields where it lack sufficient cover or potentially broke dormancy back in March. Some cuttings taken after September 1st may have also had something to do with it. Leaving alfalfa alone from September 1st through October 15th is a good idea even this far south. Getting by with cutting during that timeframe only serves as temptation to continue the practice until getting burned.
In the yard and garden the rhubarb has finally achieved the 12” mark Sunday. More peas and radishes emerging means the bunnies will have plenty to eat. The lilies of the valley are starting to unfurl and the tiger lilies are coming to life once again. The flower buds on the wild plums in the thicket are swollen so given a few warm days, it shouldn’t be too long before they burst into bloom. The warmer temperatures also made the apple and crabapple tree leaves start to pop so they should follow right on their heels. The pear trees are a bit of a puzzle. The Patten appears that it will likely bloom again while the Parker seems to be less decisive. Too bad because it takes a couple different varieties to pollinate. Garden seeds, primarily vine crops, arrived this past week so it will soon be time to start them in my little fat greenhouse buddy’s greenhouse.
More bird sightings and arrivals this past week include a catbird on the 17th and barn swallows on the 18th. Several hermit thrushes were seen briefly in the trees and shrubs. They are another of those that if you blink you miss them because they don’t stay or sit still long while they are here. Others have noted the same thing I have, that goldfinches seem to be scarce thus far. At the ranch we have one that comes to the feeder occasionally. At the ranch I blame it somewhat on the lack of light green leafy cover to camouflage them. They stick out like a sore thumb otherwise. A pair of wood ducks apparently found something to their liking in the garden area. Several mornings this past week when passing through there on my way to read the black cutworm pheromone trap, the pair would take off, their distinctive whining call leaving no doubt as to whom they were. That and the drake’s spectacular spring plumage made them a dead giveaway. Last but not least, rooster pheasants are heard crowing on the landscape. Two hens were zipping across the pasture to the plum and sumac thicket, only to be seen running back several hours later as if they’d missed curfew or something.
After watching Fudgie tramping around the long grass was wondering if the wood ticks were out. Hadn’t seen any until Sunday when working at the farm in Spring Valley. The daffodils were out and so were the ticks. One of the little parasites was crawling on the hooded sweatshirt that I’d removed due to the warm afternoon sun. I quickly dispatched it with my thumbnail and went on about the rest of the afternoon. Luckily there were no more found. It gave pause to think about something my friend the Boy Entomologist once told me, that a good parasite while sometimes annoying, doesn’t kill their host. Given those parameters, some human beings fall into that category. As he pointed out, just knowing they’re around is enough to make them aggravating.
One of the things I enjoy is trying to figure out where one can still find a TV show actually worth watching. Last week I ran across a channel that carries some of the old Lone Ranger shows. The show ran on ABC from 1949–1957. Now, it’s been a long time since I was sitting on the floor watching the reruns on the old black and white set in the small farmhouse by Pleasant Grove. For some reason something didn’t seem right when viewing the show recently. When the credits rolled the guy who played The Lone Ranger was listed as John Hart, not Clayton Moore.
I mentioned this to my brother on the phone and he was able to quickly trace it to 1952-1954 where a contract dispute meant John Hart was hired to replace Clayton Moore. Unfortunately, public acceptance of his replacement was not positive. When the rights to the show were sold in 1954, Clayton Moore was hired back to play The Lone Ranger until the show was cancelled in 1957. Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto, was in every episode. Some notables who guest starred on the show over the years included DeForest Kelley, James Arness, Hugh Beaumont, Lee Van Cleef, John Banner, and former Studebaker owner/driver Frances Bavier. There, aren’t you glad you know all that stuff? It might come in handy someday.
See you next week…real good then.