The scurs’ confidence in the Weather Eye grew after last week’s warmer temperatures. Is summer here to stay now or will we see a worker slowdown? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Sunny and warmer Friday with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the low 60’s. Saturday, sunny with a modest chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid- 60’s. Partly sunny Sunday with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Sunny skies for Tuesday with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the low 60’s. We’ll see the longest day of the year on Monday the 20th as summer officially begins, with 15 hours and 28 minutes of glorious daylight. The sun will rise at 5:31 a.m. and will set at 9 p.m. The normal high for June 20th is 81 and the normal low is 59. The long day will mean more time spent afternoon napping and less time spent sleeping at night.
Coincidentally, the Full Moon for the month also arrives on the 20th and is known in most circles as the Full Strawberry Moon for obvious reasons. Strawberries are in season during June and this makes it a favorite for many. When growing up, a bowl of strawberries with fresh Jersey cream was to die for especially if you’d milked the cow and helped pick the berries. Almost made you feel entitled to it. Not so surprisingly the Ojibwe and Sioux both agreed this was the Strawberry Moon. At the ranch we know it as the Moon When Weeds Grow.
Warm temperatures last week moved the crop along at a brisk pace. With a full tank of moisture to draw from and drier conditions, corn gutted down and reached the nitrogen that had been applied earlier. Corn this past week was generally V7 – V9 and in many cases knee high or better. Soybeans also began to make some visible progress with the 30” rows beginning to puff out. They were generally V2 – V3 with two to three trifoliates fully expanded. Weed control measures are being applied to the soybeans with time beginning to be a factor not only in weed size but in crop stage as well. Evidence is that within a week or so they should start flowering meaning some weed control products will be off label when that happens. Second cutting hay is drawing near in some fields already and with the rainfall it looks to be some beautiful stuff. Peas look good as well and the few small grain fields in existence are heading out.
The biting fly population has benefitted from the warmth as well. Stable flies have been particularly nasty as they exploit any exposed flesh quickly or in some cases bite right through your clothing. Both male and female stable flies feed on warm blooded animals and inflict a painful bite that frequently leaves a welt. They reproduce on decaying organic material such as livestock bedding or decaying grass clippings. They’re capable of flying long distances for a meal too as anyone who has experienced them in the middle of a large field or body of water can attest. Deer flies have also been plentiful, although they tend to be more common around sources of water, which they need to reproduce. They too are capable of flying long distances and delivering a painful bite. Few things have brought me more satisfaction than swatting a deer fly and using it for sunfish bait when they’re biting.
It appears we have finally completed the last of the garden planting. It always happens after we have both helped everyone else with their planting decisions first. The sweet corn was a do-over with last year’s seed not performing up to snuff. Luckily there was room for an additional planting as well so hopefully after Labor Day we should have plenty if not before. String beans also went in with a couple rows about 30’ long. Nitrogen was applied to the corn and vine crops so that step was checked off the list. All in all things are coming along. The tomatoes especially seem to be enjoying their own little private heat island. Working out there one dehydrates quickly, but homegrown ripe tomatoes make it all worth it.
The kittens continue to expand their territory. Tuesday a.m. they were nowhere to be found in the barn, although Tincture the mother cat was stalking something south of the house. Having a cat has systematically removed the mess of house sparrows from the barn and the number around the yard is noticeably less as well. I discovered too as a result of having cats that striped gophers can swim. When emptying the water tub the other night something was swimming around in it. It looked like a small rat, but when I tossed the water, to my surprise it was a young striped gopher. One of the kittens pounced on it and after playing around with it, devoured it. I suspect that’s probably how it wound up in the water tub in the first place.
Mrs. Cheviot finished up some more pots and planted lots of dusty millers for an upcoming fall wedding decoration. I’d planted a couple rows of four o’clocks in the small garden and left the remainder. There are probably over 100 dusty millers so it will keep someone busy hoeing between the plants much of the summer. Ruby supervised the planting, waiting to pounce when Mrs. Cheviot dug the holes for the transplants. New canna shoots continue to appear. At last count I think there are 18 and seems like a few more show up every couple days. They don’t appear to have found the composted manure yet but once they do, expect they will take off like a rocket. Fudgie in the meantime likes breaking them off. In spite of nearly constant scolding she uses selective hearing to her advantage, not unlike a lot of humans I know.
See you next week…real good then.