The scurs are wondering if replacing the Weather Eye out of the ’74 Gremlin with one out of a Pacer will result in additional sunny weather. Will the August drying out continue or will the fall recharge start in earnest? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny and muggy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80’s with lows in the mid-70’s. Thursday, partly sunny and continued muggy with a good chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Partly sunny and cooler Friday with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with a slight chance for a.m. showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly sunny Sunday and pleasant. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. For Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of 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 mid-60’s. On the 15th we slide back below 14 hours of daylight, roughly the same as April 25th. The normal high for August 15th is 81 and the normal low is 60. The scurs are thinking the shorter days mean longer naps by the cement pond.
Crops continue to thunder along. GDU calculations at the SROC provide one of the reasons. As of August 3rd they had calculated 1741.5 GDU’s, something the records indicate is typically attained August 11th. Soil moisture was also slightly above normal, although some additional rains to take us to the finish line in August could prove beneficial. Some early planted, early maturing corn hybrids have started to show a few dented kernels. Soybeans are for the most part R5 yet, a stage of growth that lasts about two weeks. Some earlier planted early maturing soybeans will reach R6 next week. The height of some of the soybeans is impressive, with many fields running about 4’ tall. Some occasional white mold can be spotted, although it is not widespread throughout most fields. SDS can also be noticed and it too is not generally widespread. Small grains are being combined and the yields have been encouraging. It was the right kind of a year for them with plenty of rainfall and moderate temperatures.
Not sure how the barley yielded, but the field raised east of town prompted some questions about barley and what the criteria was for raising malting barley. Working in North Central North Dakota when I was first out of college, I got some firsthand experience with the crop. I came to understand why it was no fun to thrash back in the day as my dad had mentioned. The long fine beards (awns) got into everything and made you itch just looking at them. When raising malting barley, it had to be a variety approved by the American Malting Barley Association. There were varieties that were approved in Canada just across the border that were not in the U.S. at the time, part of what gave Canadian beer a stronger flavor. It also had to meet quality requirements for protein, plump kernels and starch. Low protein was desirable so nitrogen applications had to be controlled to keep protein low, yet provide an adequate yield to make it worthwhile. Luckily the two-foot nitrate nitrogen test worked in that drier, cooler climate making the task easier. Feed barley was raised by some for livestock feed and it compares favorably with corn. I raised chickens one year with leftover seed barley and they were every bit as good as the corn fed models I grew up eating.
The weather has agreed with much of the garden as well. With the drier weather the tomatoes have begun ripening again. String beans have really started firing on all cylinders while the cukes appear to have been beset with bacterial wilt, vectored by cucumber beetles. Pumpkins, gourds and squash are peering from under their canopy while the muskmelons are doing their best to remain concealed. There needs to be some time to get the fall garden in since there is some space for it. Peas, radishes and greens help prolong the fresh produce growing season.
The backyard bird sights and sounds continue to gradually change. There are still a few orchard orioles both juvenile and adults coming to the jelly feeder but the Baltimore types have been conspicuously absent lately. Couple that with changes in the bird calls and one can start to sense the end of summer is not that far down the road. The common yellowthroats are silent as are the dickcissels. There is still some wren music albeit more broken and substituted with scolding as they attempt to ride herd on the new batch of young that recently left the nest. The chickadees have continued to stay and make themselves heard as well as some young nuthatches appearing from time to time. Hummingbirds empty their nectar feeder about once a week when only filling it half full. They also have access to all the pots, cannas and now four o’clocks as they start to come online. Goldfinches and chipping sparrows have been faithful, the male goldfinches coming to the feeders while the females are likely nesting.
Fudgie celebrated her birthday in style. She got a good brushing and while the chipping sparrows didn’t gather the dog hair for their nests, she seemed relieved to be rid of it. She even sat still while the wads of hair came loose, something she rarely does. After that, it was time to follow the lawn mower around and sleep in the shade once it got warm. A dog’s life if ever there was one.
Had the good fortune to attend a couple concerts last week at the Freeborn Co. Fair. The Nuge was in town Friday night and not without controversy. As it should be. Charlie Daniels was at the venue the next evening and he did not disappoint either. I just hope when I’m 80 years old I can still sing at all, let alone able to sing, play guitar and the fiddle with the level of competency that he displayed Saturday night. I had to laugh at some of the complaints about the Ted Nugent concert though. My feelings have always been if you don’t like the music or the former Amboy Dukes’ guitarist’s message, don’t rain on others’ parades if they do. Or just appreciate the music for what it is. There are a lot of musicians whose political views don’t necessarily jibe with mine. Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy and appreciate their talent. Thanks to the Freeborn Co. Fair for continuing to bring that talent to the stage year in and year out. From one old rock and roll fan who still enjoys and appreciates it.
See you next week…real good then.