The Weather Eye dished up another batch of rainfall for the scurs to ponder over. Is this the week for us to feel September or will we see glimpses of July? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny and muggy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, mostly sunny and muggy with a modest chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Partly sunny Friday with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday, partly sunny and cooler with a slight chance for a.m. showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Mostly sunny Sunday and pleasant with a slight chance of an evening shower. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. For Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance for showers or thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny for Tuesday with a chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. The normal high for August 20th is 80 and the normal low is 59. The scurs are contemplating applying for one of those school bus driving jobs soon.
The Full Moon for the month occurs on August 18th. It goes by the Full Sturgeon Moon as it was during August that sturgeon were most easily harvested by the native tribes. Some also called it the Red Moon as the haze caused the rising moon to appear red. It also has been called The Green Corn Moon or the Full Grain Moon. The Ojibwe knew this as the Berry Moon and Sioux called it the Moon When Cherries Turn Black. At the ranch we know it as The Pick Stuff in the Garden Moon.
The crop continues to advance at a breakneck pace. We continue to be about 10% ahead of normal on GDU accumulation and although it appears we’ll cool some over the next week, the crop remains ahead of schedule. Much of the corn has dented and soybeans are well into the R5 stage with some of the earlier planted, early maturing varieties a full R6, meaning one pod with the seed completely filling the pod at one of the uppermost four nodes. Some SDS appearing with greater frequency in the soybeans along with some white mold. There is ample soil moisture at this point, enough so that we should make it to the finish line with very little more rainfall necessary.
Still seeing and hearing some subtle signs of the seasonal changes in the bird population. It continues to become quieter and quieter, with a few goldfinches twittering and an occasional wren adding what will likely soon be the end of their summer soundtrack. That said, there are lots of little wrens scattered all over the yard and one nesting box still containing baby wrens as of Monday morning. There was also one last batch of baby robins produced as their chirping and the scolding of the parents indicated when the cat appeared. There are even some orioles that slip in and out of the yard almost unnoticed. A brightly colored male Baltimore appeared on the 12th, the first one in several weeks. There are still some juveniles and an orchard male in full plumage consuming grape jelly. More hummingbirds are gracing the yard daily. When the orioles roost on the cannas, the hummers appear out of nowhere to shoo the orioles away from their “stash”.
Never let it be said that we don’t cater to the pollinators in our yard and gardens. There are bees of all kinds constantly working on salvia, white clover, vine crops, purslane, oxeye and even some milkweed. Probably the most noticeable feature is the morning glory that continues its ascent up the yard light pole. It also provides many blooms that open in the morning and close during the heat of the day. Likewise, the four o’clocks operate on a similar schedule, opening after 4 in the afternoon and providing evening and morning forage not only for hummingbirds but bees and sphinx moths as well. The four o’clocks have a wonderful combination of colors this year including red, yellow, white, pink and one that looks suspiciously like a Studebaker paint color known as “flamingo” on the 1960 model Hawks. Studebaker always was ahead of its time.
There are always some of the stinging insects that are not on everyone’s Christmas card list, notably the paper wasp. Many have asked what purpose do they serve? Other than stinging one at an inopportune moment, I‘ve sometimes had a difficult time answering that question. Turns out though that they do fill a niche. They feed things like flies, caterpillars, spiders and other arthropods to their young while preferring sweet foods such as decaying fruit and flower nectar themselves. This is why they’re occasionally seen on peony flower buds as the buds secrete a sweet substance that they along with ants like. A nice guide detailing life cycles for not only paper wasps but other common wasps and bees in the Upper Midwest can be found at:
Lastly, making another junket for the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour starting August 21st through the 25th. Taking them a year at a time at this point. There’s never a good time for this as it always seems something comes up to further complicate matters. Many loose ends to tie up before pulling the pin on a week of your life. It also takes some preparation time to get a handle on what one might expect to see in addition to those that are “givens”. This in addition to the late nights spent writing copy after a day of doing yield checks while travelling through OH, IN, IL, IA and parts of MN. While it’s great to see all the friends and acquaintances one has made over the years, it’s going to be equally as great to put another one in the books and turn the page.
See you next week…real good then.