The scurs, courtesy of their trusty Weather Eye, delivered a knockout weather punch this past week. Sure there were some warm days, but we needed that to make up for some of the cooler days earlier in July. Will we see another warm week or will we see fall creeping up on us? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a modest chance of an overnight shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, partly sunny with an increasing chance for showers and thunderstorms by evening. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows around 60. Partly sunny Friday with a modest chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows near 60. Saturday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with a moderate chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Monday, partly cloudy with an increasing chance for showers and thunderstorms by evening. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Partly cloudy for Tuesday with highs in the upper 70’s and lows around 60. The normal high for August 10th is 81 and the normal low is 60. The scurs will be watching for meteors from their chaise lounge.
The best viewing of the Perseid meteor shower will take place in August. The earth passes through the debris field from the Swift-Tuttle comet every year starting July 17th and runs through August 24th. The number of sightings increases until about mid-month and should decline from there. With the New Moon coming on August 14th, conditions should be about perfect the night of the 13th, with very little light interference. The peak time to look for them is after midnight when the meteors should be high in the sky, although there should be plenty to be seen prior to that. There is no reason to look in any one spot, just lay back in your lounger and enjoy the show, weather permitting of course.
Crops progress prospered under the warmer-than-normal temperatures last week with corn progressing to R3 or roasting ears as they are fondly known. Soybeans also made progress with many fields making R5. The soybeans are impressive to look at, although looking closely one can see the soybean aphids are increasing in many area fields. The temptation is to blindly spray when the neighbor does. This may or may not be the proper timing. The aphid infestations vary widely from field to field and the only way to know whether the insects are at treatable levels is to scout them.
Lots of insects to see this past week at the ranch. First, a yellow swallowtail made a bee line for the tiger lilies that were in full bloom, making for a colorful visual. Next, when attempting to fuel up the lawnmower, a paper wasp flew out of the cover surrounding the pump, causing me to spring into action. I dislike paper wasps immensely after having been stung numerous times by them over the years. I got out the dairy aerosol and sprayed up inside the housing and ran. Several more wasps flew out of the cover and did not return, I might add. Several have asked about earwigs. We’d never seen earwigs at the ranch until a few years ago after someone left a box that had contained wedding decorations. The box was loaded with earwigs and before we knew it, they escaped into the garage. Not too long ago one of the solar lights quit working. Upon dismantling the light, it was full of earwigs and worked fine after their eviction. Earwigs are rather ferocious looking insects with cerci or pinchers on their abdomen which are used to hold whatever it is they’re feeding on. Earwigs typically feed on decaying organic material as well as some smaller living organisms. What concerns people though is when they choose to vary their diet and go after flowers and vegetables. A good article from Jeff Hahn at the U concerning earwigs can be accessed at: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/earwigs/
It looks like the orioles have at least for the time being taken a hike. It may have something to do with another visitor, namely a Cooper’s hawk that has been terrorizing the bird feeder area from time to time. An unfortunate young mourning dove wound up in its grasp and as breakfast one morning last week. Since that time, orioles have been scarce. It hasn’t deterred the goldfinches that are becoming more numerous. There are very few females coming to the feeders now so one has to wonder if their nesting period has begun.
Fudgie has a birthday coming up on August 6th. She was one of a litter of three puppies born to our first Border Collie Lucy 13 years ago. Fudgie’s primary occupation for 10 years was to keep my mom company at the farm, which she generally did pretty well. Mom of course spoiled her rotten. I suspect there were many baked goods that found their way into Fudgie’s tummy over the years. To this day you can’t crack an egg but what it gets Fudgie’s attention, waking her from a deep slumber. When Mom became ill we promised to keep the dog until such time that she could get back to the farm. That of course didn’t happen so we suddenly had a second dog again. Now, Fudgie is not Miss Congeniality. She had things pretty much her way for a long time and is slow to warm up to strangers. She tolerates Ruby, although they do play some together yet, which is pretty remarkable considering their age and speed difference. The distance she travels some days following the lawnmower is truly amazing. She is also a natural when it comes to watching gates and chasing the sheep back in, for which we are grateful. Fudgie is welcome to live out the rest of her days here.
Mentioning baked goods above, Auntie Mar Mar came through with a plethora of goodies, the leftovers from all her fair baking projects. There were high fiber muffins, nut breads, lemon bars, and raisin bars. All tasty treats after a long dry spell of going without. She was obviously concerned about my health though. Mar Mar is a faithful reader of my rantings and apparently wanted to make sure I was still a regular columnist.
See you next week…real good then.