The scurs prevailed in only allowing rain in the overnight hours during the Waseca Co. Fair. The Weather Eye worked its magic once again. Will the magic continue or will the Weather Eye spring a leak? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny and warmer on Thursday. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Friday, mostly sunny becoming cloudy with increasing chances of showers and thunderstorms into the overnight hours. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Mostly sunny Saturday and warmer with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the mid- 60’s. Sunday, sunny with highs in the mid-80’s and lows in the mid-60’s. Partly cloudy Monday becoming mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms into the overnight hours. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Tuesday, partly sunny with a good chance for showers and thunderstorms in the daylight hours. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. The normal high for July 25th is 82 and the normal low is 62. The scurs are on hiatus from local celebrations, increasing time available for napping in the sun by the ceement pond.
Crops continue to progress at a rapid pace with our recent sunny summer skies. Corn is for the most part tasseled out and in the middle of pollen shed. Some plants have pollinated with silks already falling off the blistered kernels. The weather has been cooperative with the Friday night rainfall being a bonus. In spite of all the June rain, corn color remains a healthy dark green color with the exception of localized areas in some fields. Soybeans have reached R3 with some sizeable pods already appearing at some of the lower nodes on the plants. Some of the earliest planted beans are actually R4. Second and in some cases third cutting alfalfa is being knocked down for those fortunate enough to have caught the weather right on the first cutting. Pea harvest is coming to a close with sweet corn harvest right on its heels, to start next week. A lot of buzz about fungicide application on both corn and soybeans. Fungal disease pressure continues to be light at this point lowering the odds of an economic response fungicides. A good primer on some of the diseases of potential concern: http://blog-crop-news.extension.umn.edu/2015/07/midsummer-corn-and-soybean-disease.html#more.
At the ranch, the sheep are readying themselves for the onslaught of garden refuse. To expedite that process, I had the good fortune to run across a sweet corn stand Friday at the SROC in Waseca. To be sure, I’m usually gun shy about buying sweet corn at stands unless I know the source and how fresh it is. Who should know more about growing sweet corn though than the horticulture folks there? I took a leap of faith and purchased a dozen and was not disappointed. For early corn, it wasn’t half bad. Sweet corn, like fruit, is a gamble.
Around the ranch and surrounds, the wildlife continues to make its presence known. At the birdfeeders the chipping sparrows have taken a shine to the new finch mix. It’s the first time we’ve had them actually feeding out of the feeder rather than just cleaning up underneath. Orioles continue to go through jelly like it’s water. The robins are becoming quieter in the morning with their parenting duties apparently interfering with their early hour singing. The best news on the bird front was the group of 8 – 10 young pheasants that flew up out of the pasture whilst I was spraying some pesky thistles with “deadly agro-toxins” from a hand sprayer. The young pheasants were about the size of Hungarian partridge and while not skilled at flying, they did their best to elude my zig-zag pattern. Seeing many deer with young fawns out in the open including one with a pair of twins we see occasionally. Lots of bucks in the velvet as well. They must not appreciate the abundant mosquito crop either.
Ruby and Fudgie have enjoyed their summer thus far. The AC in the house during the hot weather makes their time indoors pretty easy to take, especially when the bugs have been bad outside. They still like to do the chores and follow the lawnmowers for hours on end though. Pretty hard to do that in the house. Reminds me of the days when Mom would boot us out of the house on a nice summer day. Rightfully so. As long as we didn’t kill or maim each other getting us outside and out of her hair was the best policy.
The name of the People’s Republic of Steele Co. Highway Department was taken in vain at the ranch once again. About the time it looked like I would participate in another car show in Owatonna they decided it would be a good idea to spread tar and pea rock on our road, making what is known as a seal coat. After our experience a couple years ago when highway department contractors tore out our phone line and it took the phone company over a year to finally bury it, what could possibly go wrong? I was forced to choose whether I would drive on the half-mile of fresh tar or just stay home. Since I had already committed to help park cars I went anyway. I will admit, they did their best to minimize the amount of tar that actually sticks to your vehicle. However, when you have a pristine vintage automobile and it happens to be light beige in color, it’s not going to be pretty. It took lots of elbow grease and cleaner to get all that sticky black goo off. What’s really annoying is now the vehicle should be re-waxed. Putting tar and pea rock on the road may extend its life but I suspect it isn’t because of the seal coat itself: It’s because people avoid driving on those roads after they dump that crud on there!
See you next week…real good then.