The scurs and the Weather Eye teamed up again for an absolutely glorious string of weather last week. Will this remarkable string of sunshine continue or will we start to see some of that fabled late summer rainfall? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the mid-60’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with an increasing chance for showers and thunderstorms by evening. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows around 65. Sunny and warmer Friday with highs in the upper 80’s and lows near 65. Saturday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with a moderate chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Monday, mostly sunny with an increasing chance for showers and thunderstorms by evening. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a good chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the mid-60’s. On August 16th, we slip below 14 hours of daylight, about the same as we had back on April 26th.The normal high for August 16th is 81 and the normal low is 60. The scurs have a hankering for shish kabobs at the Steele Co. Fair.
Another good week of crop progress is in the books, although rainfall only measured a paltry .07” at the ranch with even less in Bugtussle proper. Lots of sunny weather made some of the early planted, early maturing corn move towards the R4 (dough) stage. There were no dents noticed yet, but give it a week. Right now we are on pace for corn to mature sometime in mid to late September, in other words at a relatively normal time. Soybeans continue to be primarily R5 yet. That stage tends to last a while (on average about two weeks) although it won’t be long and some of the early planted, early maturing fields will be R6. In the meantime the dreaded soybean aphids also enjoyed the dry conditions with their populations rising quickly in many fields. After a relatively healthy local population became established, we were blessed with additional winged adults from the west delivering scads of live young. It wasn’t unusual to find a dozen or more winged adults per plant, so it was no wonder matters deteriorated as fast as they did in some fields.
In the garden at the ranch, things have been far from deteriorating. The string beans hit full stride yielding several grocery bags worth. Ditto with the cucumbers. At last check Auntie Mar Mar was feverishly working on a plan to make copious amounts of bread and butter pickles from a kenning of cukes. (A kenning = 2 pecks) Always wondered where that name came from. There’s really no bread or butter involved in their manufacture. The rest of the garden is poised to explode as we approach September. There are several muskmelons increasing their girth and the other vines allow an occasional glimpse of a pumpkin or squash under their thick canopy. The sheep are growing vine crops in the pasture this year as well. Apparently they didn’t eat all the seeds out of the leftovers we tossed over the fence. That or some of the chipmunks, squirrels or striped gophers gave them an assist at planting them.
Mornings are much quieter on the bird front than they were a couple months ago. The robins were up at dark thirty to start their chorus. Now all we hear primarily is the traffic from people on their way to work. Would rather hear the robins thank you very much. There are occasional young Baltimore orioles still using the jelly feeder although I suspect they are just passing through. We still hear a few wrens, chipping sparrows and a catbird singing but their days are too numbered as we edge closer to September. I was surprised to find one late nest of barn swallows in the lambing barn last week. In about a week, they will be on the wing, joining the large group we already have. And fall is edging ever closer. The sound of blue jays and chickadees serve as a harbinger of things to come I fear.
The Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour begins next week already, just in time to reinforce how fast this summer has blown by. After 11 previous outings, it’s become kind of a bittersweet experience. Sure it’s nice to see all the people you’ve met over the years but it’s also a grind. Someday it would sure be nice to have that week of my life back again. Or at least that blasted hour from the time change when we go on Eastern Time.
Gee what would I do with all my spare time? For starters, go cruising in my Silver Hawk. I finally got the collectors plates for it after waiting with bated breath since mid-June. They arrived with only five days left on the 60 day temporary license taped in the back window. Not sure why it should take that long. It’s not like there’s been a sudden rush on licensing vintage automobiles that I’m aware of. Heck I even got the new title in a matter of a week or so and it had to be transferred from out of state. The outside of the envelope the license plates came in is covered with print apparently trying to make you think they’re really busy at the DMV headquarters along with listing things they think you ought to be doing. Here’s a thought: Maybe rather than printing all that stuff on the envelope to try to convince me how on top of things they are, they could try getting things done in a more expeditious fashion. It might leave a little better taste in everyone’s mouth.
Something that’s become a popular practice among the car collector crowd is finding a set of expired plates from the same year as your collector automobile and getting them reinstated. One never knows where they might show up. Occasionally they’ve been used to patch holes in old granaries, barns, outhouses, etc., but sometimes they’re in cherry condition, especially when they’ve been used inside. After my experience getting new collectors plates though, I’m not so sure I want to see how long it takes the DMV to give their blessing on expired plates dating back to 1959. I might expire and be reinstated before the license plates are.
See you next week…real good then.