The Weather Eye had the scurs wondering which Nash Rambler product was going to show up after a rollercoaster temperature ride last week along with hit-and-miss thunderstorms. Will our shorter days catch up to us or will we have more summer? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the mid-80’s and lows in the upper 60’s. Thursday, mostly sunny and muggy with a good chance for showers and thunderstorms.  Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Partly sunny and cooler Friday with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms.  Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly sunny Sunday with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 60’s. For Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance for showers or thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny for Tuesday with a chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. On the 7th, the sun will set before 8:30 CDT, the same as it did back on May 12th. The normal high for August 7th is 81 and the normal low is 61. The scurs will be rocking to Nuge at the Freeborn Co. Fair on the 5th.

Crop progress continues to thunder along. Some spotty rainfall with those receiving it not complaining as it does no good and those not receiving it equally as happy. Corn is moving along from blister to milk stage and soybeans still range generally from R4–R5. Weeds are starting to peer over the soybean canopy in places and although they are largely non-yield threatening, it takes the picture postcard aspect some farmers desperately strive for out of the picture. Soybean aphids took advantage of the week with less precipitation to increase in numbers. It will become a race to see whether or not they can mount a serious assault or if the beneficial insects and fungi can keep them at bay. Despite the heavy soybean canopy, without additional precip the advantage probably goes to the soybean aphids. They appear to be survivors and relatively speaking, our knowledge of them in this environment is still in its infancy. Small grains are being swathed and of particular interest is a field of barley just east of town. Not a lot of that being raised locally anymore so it threw many for a loop to see it.

Rainfall for the month of July was abundant. At the Mall for Men/Corn Palace, 5.59” was recorded for July with 8.21” at the ranch and 8.93” at the SROC in Waseca. Normal precip for July at the SROC is 4.42 so it was much more generous than some years have been. It also illustrates just how much precipitation can vary from location to location. As happened Monday, a lot of thunder was heard but the rain developed over the top of us and moved north. Some have asked about GDU accumulation and as of July 27th at the SROC, they had calculated 1574 GDU’s, which was 9% greater than normal for that date. 

Lawns have been going nuts recently with the warm temperatures and July rainfall. Particularly noticeable is the crabgrass. There are two main types, large or hairy and smooth or small. Both are common here. Both gum up mower decks and cause many to curse their existence. There really is nothing that will control crabgrass now except Jack Frost. Since crabgrass is an annual, it generally matures in late August to early September. It’s also prone to many leaf diseases that tend to shorten its lifespan even more. If you’re serious about controlling crabgrass next year, you’ll need to get some crabgrass control product from your favorite lawn and garden establishment and apply it about the time the lilacs bloom for best results. While it’s a poor source of forage for livestock, the positive is the seeds are popular with songbirds.

Around the yard at the ranch, the morning glory continues to encircle the power pole more completely. It’s a welcome sight on the way to the barn in the morning. Orange and yellow zinnias cover the rest of the bed completely, to the point that the weeds don’t stand much of a chance. The cannas have opened up, their bright red spikelets bringing back memories of the cannas Mom used to grow. They’re not flowering as uniformly as those used to, although I suspect that may be an advantage. The hummingbirds should enjoy them over an expanded period of time.

The orioles have officially begun slowing their grape jelly consumption. Not a moment too soon as some weeks they were blowing through a 32-oz. jar every three days. They’re not completely done yet though, as a male orchard oriole was nervously watching me Monday through the sliding glass door as he greedily helped himself. There are periodically some young orchard and Baltimore types as well. All are wary though and it’s difficult to catch much more than a fleeting glimpse of them before they bolt.

Fudgie will turn 13 on August 6th. I had thought she’d actually be turning 14 but the math indicates otherwise. That’s still not a young dog by anyone’s measure however. She enjoyed a good tire biting, growling and barking session when I started the mowers up Sunday, then followed them around most of the afternoon.  Seems like only yesterday she was a little wriggling red and white puppy. Sure, Fudgie’s slowed down some since we got her back from Mom when she became ill and was unable to take care of her. She loves to be outside, but if it’s hot out, Fudgie will find the shadiest spot in the yard available for a nap. Not just older, smarter. 

Auntie Mar Mar comes through in the clutch. While I’ve been scouring the house for cookies, bars, cake or any other desserts there have been none to be found. Until recently. As luck would have it, I was the beneficiary of Auntie Mar Mar’s leftover baking entries. I’ve long enjoyed staples she’s made such as raisin bars and bran muffins, but this year there were some coconut cherry bars that appeared the next day. It was almost as though I’d suddenly won the lottery.

See you next week…real good then.