The scurs had the Weather Eye tuned into rainfall this past week, bringing welcome rains to those who had been drawing the short straw previously. Are we stuck on the rinse cycle or are we destined for a dry spell again? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of a daytime thunderstorm. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, mostly sunny and cooler with a slight chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly sunny and slightly cooler Friday with a modest chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid to low 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Saturday, partly sunny with a modest chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny Sunday with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the mid-60’s. For Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance for showers or thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Mostly sunny and sticky again for Tuesday with a chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. The normal high for the July 15th is 83 and the normal low is 62. This week and part of last week are typically our warmest of the year. The scurs are living on Tums after a Farm and City Days parade candy overdose, hoping they survive until the Waseca Co. Fair.
The Full Moon rolls around on the 19th and is generally known as the Full Buck Moon as the male white-tail deer are developing their velvet-covered antlers. The Full Moon also goes by the Full Thunder Moon as well as the Full Hay Moon. The Ojibwe called this the Raspberry Moon and the Sioux knew it as the Moon When Red Cherries are Ripe. At the ranch, we fondly refer to it as The Moon When We Can’t Keep the Bird Feeders Full.
Crop progress after the rain was nothing short of spectacular. Corn as promised began showing tassels in the early planted fields and the soybeans were at full R3, meaning one pod at the 4 uppermost nodes 5/16th of an inch long. Rainfall was generous yet in most cases locally did not overdo it. In Bugtussle proper the July rainfall thus far has equaled the total precip amount for all of June at 3.19”. At the ranch, July rainfall has nearly doubled the June total with 4.07” recorded thus far. Only 2.07” was tallied in June. This should bode well as most corn has rooted well and rainfall continues to fall in relatively measured amounts. Small grains continue to turn across the landscape and third cutting hay is up next for those waiting for the rainy stretch to let up.
Just as the field crops have taken off, so have the garden crops at the ranch. Placement of the tomato cages couldn’t have been more timely as they have grown nearly a foot in the past week. Some tassels are already showing on the Indian corn, somewhat amazing since it was planted May 22nd and is rated 110-day maturity. It does get extra GDU’s back there however and it may be a variety that tassels and silks early so perhaps not so surprising. The vine crops are running well and seem to have caught up with some of the applied nitrogen as well as the large portion likely mineralized where the garden has remained relatively weed free. The string beans planted on July 4th were nearly all up as of the 11th so it should make for a fall crop, if I can keep the bunnies at bay that is.
Something else that has suddenly been rejuvenated is the lawn. Rainfall has kicked it into gear and now the crabgrass is coming on strong. Warm season grasses will tend to do that. Luckily the blades on the mowers were sharpened over the 4th so we’re ready. The only bad thing was picking up all the sticks in the back yard that had been accumulating since the last mowing. I threatened to bring a boatload of sticks to my little fat buddy at Beaver Lake. Seems he was struggling to get a fire started over the 4th and wound up burning most of the newspapers in the household. He claimed that old Fencelines columns seemed to work best. I extended an invite for him to pick up as many sticks at the ranch as he needs for fire starting purposes. After all, ash and soft maple trees shed sticks for the sheer joy of it. In the meantime they’ll make more papers and Fencelines columns.
Something that isn’t bringing much joy to area residents is the presence of a reddish to dark brown crawling insect about 5/8” long known as an earwig. They appear to be flourishing based on the number of questions received about them. First off, these are not native insects, they originated in Europe. Earwigs likely have been here several decades although the first we saw of them at the ranch was about four or five years ago, after they’d hitchhiked from Pipestone in a box that had contained wedding flowers. See? Yet another reason men don’t like weddings. Actually Pastor Espe had brought some specimens into my office before that so they’ve likely been around. These insects look rather fearsome with a pincher-like structure on their abdomen known as cerci. Cerci are used for protection as well as holding their prey or other food source. They’re not capable of generating enough leverage however to inflict wounds on humans. They feed on decaying organic material, other insects and occasionally plant material. They are typically harmless but are frequently a nuisance.
At the ranch, earwigs show up almost anywhere, usually outdoors but sometimes not. From this past week: Putting a crock pot back into its carrying case I offed one that resisted eviction from the case. They enjoyed getting inside the hummingbird nectar feeder. It’s necessary to dump the contents and clean the feeder, again. Probably the worst incident occurred Sunday when getting ready to fuel up the lawnmower. I discovered the earwigs had taken a shine to the nozzle on the gas hose. A dozen or so crawled out when I removed it from its holder. Fortunately, I’ve been using a funnel with a screen in it to prevent spiders, beetles, wasps, etc., from getting in the fuel tanks. How does one control these pests? The link below to a fact sheet from the U of M contains fun facts on their origins, life cycle and helpful advice on their control and prevention. Good luck. Sadly enough, about the only thing that seems to control them effectively for any length of time though is winter. Oh goody.
See you next week…real good then.