The scurs and the Weather Eye had the heater on full bore after becoming confused on which direction the lever was supposed to go. Will we see more sticky weather, will we see a prelude to September, or both? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms by evening. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy and cooler with a moderate chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Partly sunny and slightly cooler Friday with a modest chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny Sunday with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the mid-60’s. For Monday, mostly sunny and steamy with a slight chance for showers or thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Mostly sunny for Tuesday and continued steamy with a chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. On the 30th the sun will rise after 6 a.m. for the first time since May 4th. The normal high for August 1st is 82 and the normal low is 61. Judging by the roadkill raccoons, the scurs have deduced that sweetcorn season is underway.
Another week of progress in crop development. It was uncomfortable for humans and livestock while the corn and soybeans took it very much in stride. Corn has for the most part pollinated with a few later planted and later maturing fields still at it at print deadline. Pollination looks very good thus far with ear girth appearing very positive. Leaf disease prevalence has been minimal while moisture with timely and generous rains couldn’t be much more to the crop’s liking. Soybeans are a strong R4 for the most part with some of the earliest planted fields already exhibiting some plants at early R5. Soybean aphids while present even after being here for a month have not exploded and in many fields remain concentrated on the field borders. Diseases have been minimal as well although there is some concern about white mold. One needs to keep in mind that in order for a disease outbreak to occur the disease organism must be present, the host must be susceptible and conditions must be favorable for its development. Trying to make dry hay in the past two weeks has been a challenge. Hay cut last week simply did not dry enough to allow it to be baled without preservative and bagging before rain fell on Saturday. More nice clean hay.
Rainfall for this July has been nothing short of amazing in much of greater Bugtussle. In town as of press time we had garnered 5.41”. At the ranch, 7.33” has fallen. Contrast this to the 8.74” that has fallen so far in July at the SROC in Waseca. So far, much of the rainfall locally has been in measured amounts so the soils have been able to absorb it without causing a great deal of ponding. Apparently the mosquitoes were not told about this as they seem to have found a way to reproduce. As it approaches dusk, one wants to be near the indoors as they come out in force.
The heat and rain also brought garden crops and flowers along very rapidly. Tomatoes suddenly ripened and immediately began to split. A zucchini that was too small to pick yet on Wednesday was over 18” long by Sunday. The weeds also were going nuts as the ground was too wet to till. Some of the cannas began to show their flower spike in the whorl as a result of the tropical conditions. The morning glory has attained a height of over 10’ and is still climbing up the yard light pole. This has to be among the earliest occurrences. The blue and magenta flowers are a beautiful contrast to their makeshift trellis.
Area lawns have followed suit. It’s unusual not to hear someone out grinding away at night until the dew comes on and it becomes too wet. Crabgrass has been especially prolific this year with the heat. In addition many farm yards like that at the ranch have seen brome and quackgrass come back to life after the abundant rains. One can mow one day, look at the lawn the next and wonder if you really mowed it or not in those places.
The lawn at the ranch is once more home for dozens of toads. The hatch this year appears to have been very good as there are numerous toads in the ¾” long category. I still get off the lawnmower and try to move them out of harm’s way when I see them. Tragically, I don’t see them all, but I try. The barn is also home to several toads which are as round as they are long. The flies are plentiful and they make sure they get their fair share. There are several toads inhabiting the many garden plots. The sudden movement when they decide it’s time to find another spot to hang out used to startle me briefly. Now they’re just part of the garden.
The birds are subtly changing as the summer rolls along. Sure, there are still more than a half dozen orioles descending as if out of nowhere after filling the jelly feeder after it runs out. However, their singing has ceased and it’s only a matter of a little more than a month before they say adios. In the meantime, we still have house wrens, dickcissels and common yellowthroats picking up the slack. And of course a male cardinal. One has taken up residence in the neighborhood and his singing overshadows all the others.
And while we’re on the subject of singing, the singing group I had the privilege to be part of in high school got together to practice for the upcoming 40th class reunion. Not sure when that happened the last time; it’s been a while. As a group, it might’ve been 40 years ago, but who’s counting? It took a little for us to get going again, although within a matter of a few minutes, it was almost like riding a bicycle. Carefully heeding volume and pitch while melding individual parts into one, the sound was still there. No question about it. Listening and blending so as to allow a unified harmony rather than allowing one voice to dominate was always our trademark. Best of all the fun was still there and that’s what really matters.
See you next week…real good then.