The scurs got untracked again last week; when they said it was going to rain it did. What are they saying this time around? Starting Wednesday, partly cloudy with highs around 80 and lows near 70. The heat is on for Thursday and while the Twin Cities blow combs are calling for highs near 100 the scurs are hedging their bets, forecasting highs near 95 and lows of 70 – 75. Friday, partly cloudy and cooler. Highs near 85 and lows of 65. Cooler on Saturday starting out with clear skies then becoming partly cloudy with a slight chance of evening showers. Highs of 80 and lows of 65. Partly cloudy on Sunday with highs of 80 and lows of 65. Mostly sunny on Independence Day and slightly warmer. Highs around 85 and lows near 65. Clouding up overnight with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms for Tuesday. Highs of 85 and lows near 55. The normal high for July 4th is 83 and the normal low is 55. The scurs will be celebrating with Jim Morrison who most think died 40 years ago on July 3rd. Rock on Jim!
Lucky for us the rainfall that fell last week was as spread out as it was. At the ranch we recorded measurable precipitation 7 days in a row but only totaling about 1.6 inches. Sure there are some tough looking areas in some fields but when one looks at the big picture, things look pretty good. The corn has been getting into the nitrogen and the color in general remains a deep dark green. Given the heat and sunshine forecast for this week, the height of the corn should skyrocket. By the time the 4th rolls around most corn will be far past knee high and more like waist high. While soybean development has been less dramatic, there are subtle signs when looking closely that they too are progressing. Blossoms were noticed in some fields on Monday the 27th, right on schedule.
The garden at the ranch is playing catch up but is making progress. So are the weeds. This has been a good summer thus far for waterhemp, a prolific pigweed family species. It’s estimated that one large plant is capable of producing nearly a million tiny black seeds. That can keep yours truly busy for many hours and keep the repellent manufacturers in business. Some other noteworthy items include the first firefly of the season seen while mowing the windbreak in the dark on the evening of June 23rd. This also corresponds roughly with the hatch of corn rootworm larvae, a longtime nemesis of those growing corn. No cucumber beetles yet but they can’t be too far off. 4-legged “bugs” have been a far greater problem thus far. A hastily improvised fence however seemed to do the trick. One has to protect that high dollar zucchini crop from the long-eared rodents.
Some of the plants needing protection included the salvia that had been transplanted. The tag on the packets said the plants would attract hummingbirds. They weren’t kidding as 5 minutes later when gazing out the patio door, there was a little male working the red blooms over in a businesslike manner. Another bird discovery that made me happy was the sighting of the male orchard oriole once again. With all the stray cats and other predators around one always fears the worst.
The soccer mom van has been up to its old tricks again. Decided it was easier to drive that to get feed than unhook the trailer from the pickup. I grabbed Ruby to go along for a ride, popped the blonde soccer mom wig on my head, then put the van in reverse. As it came down the slant I heard the distinct sound of running water. Indeed it was as water cascaded under the dash and drenched my left foot. Obviously the van was expressing an opinion concerning my decision to use it as an implement of husbandry. Oddly enough, as it rained all the way to the store, it actually behaved in almost eerily normal fashion. We got to Hope, ditched the wig, tossed the feed in the back and headed for home. About the time we got to the intersection, the door locks began to pop up and down intermittently. At first I blamed Ruby, but she was as far from any of the doors and sleeping on the floor. Fortunately the van was running fine so turning the music up louder seemed to cover the annoyance of the door locks. Pulling into the driveway I made sure when I got out to get the mail that I left the door open. With no spare key there was no telling what might happen if I shut the door with the thing playing games like it was.
No problem there so we unloaded the feed and parked the van back in its favorite spot. Mowed some lawn and after Mrs. Cheviot returned home from a sheep junket, we went outside to do chores. We could hear music coming from what sounded like the neighbors to the north. Thought nothing of it as there are occasionally some gatherings in the area. Odd that there wasn’t more traffic I thought. On the way in from doing chores, I decided to investigate the source of the music more closely. Sure enough, it was coming from the van! The key was off yet the radio was blaring away. I turned the ignition off, then on then off again, pulled the key and shut the door. No difference so I turned the radio off and crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t run the battery down and would still start Sunday morning when I went to church. Next morning it popped right off and away I went. I made the turn towards church and sure enough the door locks started jumping up and down again. Good thing I was going to church I muttered to myself. This van doesn’t need a mechanic, it needs an exorcism!
See you next week…real good then.