The scurs did not see the big chill coming, probably because they missed the boring movie of the same name! The Weather Eye does not have an air conditioning setting either, so that didn’t help. Will the scurs’ Acme aftermarket AC arrive before next week or will it be a moot point? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a high in the mid-50’s and a low in the low 40’s. Sunny on Thursday and warmer. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. More sun on Friday and continued pleasant. Highs near 70 with lows near 50. Saturday, mostly cloudy with an increasing chance for showers and thunderstorms in the evening. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Cloudy on Sunday with a good chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Memorial Day, mostly cloudy with a moderate chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly cloudy on Tuesday with highs in near 70 and lows in the mid-50’s. We will experience 15 hours of daylight on the 23rd, the same as we saw last July 20th. The normal high for May 24th is 72 and the normal low is 51. With the recent windy weather, the scurs are wondering when seed companies will start handing out chinstraps with their free hats.
The spring 2015 weather roller coaster ride continues. We go from temps in the upper 70’s to near freezing in a two-day span. We also received precipitation that varied from over 2” west of Bugtussle to .35” over the weekend. The rainfall pattern has somewhat flip-flopped in May as compared to April. The trend in April was for rainfall to be heavier as one went east and south. More recently the systems such as the past weekend have tracked more west and north. At the ranch for instance, as of May 18th, measurable precipitation was recorded on 11 days in May. However, the total accumulation has only been 1.53” with the greatest single rainfall event in that timeframe being .51” on the 15th. It rains frequently but not much at a time.
Cold temperatures have been limiting crop progress and fortunately weed growth as well while waiting for enough rainfall to activate some of the pre-emerge chemicals. Fields look good from the road although several have expressed their disappointment that stands are not perfect given the nearly ideal soil conditions at planting. Not surprising however when one looks at the temperature data and the length of time it took the corn to emerge. Too many days with single-digit or zero GDU accumulation shortly after planting for many fields doth not a perfect stand make. Not that one shouldn’t plant in mid-April, but there can be tradeoffs.
The weather has continued to move things along at the ranch, particularly the lawn. Cool season grasses such as bluegrass and brome have really thrived with the recent conditions. This means lots of mowing, or at least the intent anyway. Hit and miss showers over the weekend kept the lawn wet when mowing time was available. It also messed up any gardening plans in the near term although the seed in the flats at my little fat buddy’s greenhouse are still emerging as of last check. Still plenty of time especially given the potential for frost this past Tuesday morning. Thirty-four-degree low at the ranch for those keeping score at home.
Lots still to look at though. Checking the previously unoccupied wood duck house, it too is filling up with eggs. Common yellow-throated warblers were cranking up their little “ witchity-witchity-witchity” call on the 15th. I could hear a hummingbird in the trees that same night but couldn’t see the little bugger. The next morning he was at the nectar feeder though he didn’t hang around long. The catbirds and orioles however have set up camp for good with all of them frequenting the jelly feeder throughout the day. They’re starting to consume a little more each day. Pete seems to keep a good supply of jelly on hand and I suspect he knows why it goes out of the grocery store as fast as it does.
The red osier dogwood, nannyberries and other viburnum such as the American cranberries are in bloom as are the lilacs. Smells heavenly especially when it warms up a little. The apple trees are about done blooming with quite few blossoms still on the trees through the past weekend. The ground is littered with the petals not unlike the confetti left over from a parade. The Honeycrisp tree finally decided to bloom so it should be interesting to see if it sets any apples. The Fireside, Haralson and SnowSweet all flowered well and appear to have set a fair amount of fruit. Whether they maintain it especially after a heavy apple like last year remains questionable.
With both parents gone, Memorial Day gives one pause for reflection. Mentioned in a recent column were the plants we brought back from Mom’s place including Solomon’s Seal and a Jack in the Pulpit. In the past week or so, it became apparent that my work a couple fall’s ago transplanting Jack in the Pulpit seeds had suddenly paid. There are several dozen new seedlings appearing, far more than I ever expected. To some it may not be a big deal. However, when one considers these plants originated from Jack in the Pulpits my dad rescued in a soon to be nearby bulldozed woods back in 1967, it puts it in a different perspective. It also speaks to me of all the time my folks spent with us kids, taking us on trips to the area woods. and introducing us to plants such as bloodroot, Dutchman’s britches and bluebells. It certainly gave us an appreciation for the outdoors, one that we as a family continue to enjoy to this day.
See you next week…real good then.