The September preview being short-lived, the scurs wondered what temperature thermostat the Gremlin Weather Eye had in it. Summer indeed made a return but will it last? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the low 50’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Sunny Friday with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday, mostly sunny becoming mostly cloudy with a moderate chance of evening thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly cloudy Sunday with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 60’s. For Labor Day Monday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday and warmer with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the low 60’s. We will experience less than 13 hours of daylight on the 5th, the first time since April 5th. The normal high for September 5th is 77 and the normal low is 55. The scurs will relax and take it all in from their perch in the hammock.
Crop maturity has continued to be ahead of schedule despite last week’s cooler temperatures. Much of the corn in the area is half milk line, meaning that for those wanting to chop it for silage, it’s getting close to go time. Soybeans are largely R6 meaning the soybeans in the pods are filling the pod cavity at one of the four uppermost nodes. They have been done flowering for 10 days – two weeks in many cases so there will be no new pods set. Some disease issues have arisen, namely SDS and pod and stem blight for starters. White mold can be found on individual plants although it apparently didn’t have the cooler temperatures it needed to become a full blown epidemic. SDS on the other hand has thrived in the wetter environment we’ve had, appearing in many fields where it hasn’t been noticed before. While it is common, it will likely only nickel and dime yields. Some will attempt to make hay this week as the forecast appears to be offering a rare opportunity that has been a long time coming.
Rainfall for the month of August has again been bountiful. At the ranch for the month of August we’ve recorded 8.73” of precip and at The Mall for Men it tallies 9.86”. At the SROC in Waseca the total is 11.70” as of the 30th, landing it in 2nd place to the all-time record of 11.89” set back in 1924. Any way you slice it, August has been a wet month. Let’s hope Mother Nature comes to her senses soon so harvest can progress without a lot of snarling and gnashing of teeth.
The frequent rainfall has meant lawn mowing has been a weekly ritual for most of us. Tough to recall a summer when there wasn’t at least one stretch where the lawns dried out and mowing was unnecessary. It almost reached that point back in late June at the ranch, then changed its mind once the rains started in July. 8.21” later in July plus the aforementioned August precip and it still needs mowing every 5-7 days. Doesn’t help matters we’ve been gone for some chunks of time recently and that our mowers, Howard and Whitey, are showing their age. Still, if we keep the blades sharp, the oil changed and grease them when recommended we may still be able to eke out this one last summer out of them before my little fat buddy attempts to sell me a replacement. He better have a sharp pencil. I’m a firm believer lawnmowers shouldn’t cost more than $300.
While the yard needs mowing, the transitioning birds don’t seem to care. There were still a few male Baltimore orioles visiting the jelly feeder Monday night as I was writing this literary masterpiece. No orchard orioles although they may have been there; I just didn’t see them. Some nuthatches are getting comfortable with our feeding setup with chickadees sounding their approval while the hummingbirds run rampant. They try to feed on as much nectar as they can between trips to the cannas and four o’clocks. Probably the most numerous birds right now and most vocal are the goldfinches. They’ve been hitting the thistle feeders hard since I arrived back from the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Luckily I’ve traded some vegetables for thistle seed so it doesn’t break the bank. The faint sound of a house wren can still be heard at the ranch occasionally. Summer is definitely fading fast.
Vegetables continue to pour from the garden despite the wet conditions. The tomatoes are on their last legs however, the damp weather having been favorable to the development of a lot of fungal disease. There are plenty of ‘maters to eat though and that’s the main thing. The mosquitoes while picking them are also plentiful. My first attempt at tomato harvest the other night resulted in a trip back to the house for repellent. It was like trying to deal with a swarm of bees. These mosquitoes waste no time either. They land and they bite. I defy them to attempt that here in January.
And finally, another Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour and State Fair sheep show are in the books. This year’s editions were relatively uneventful and it seems I can’t have one without the other. Not much changes really. I sleep in a strange bed every night, stay up until the wee hours of morning, then get up early and do it all over again. As an encore I go to the State Fair on Saturday morning and show sheep. And people wonder sometimes why I’m cranky! I was amused by the outcome of the sheep show though. We only had a couple yearling ewes this time so it wasn’t like showing the 20 head we used to haul around. One of this year’s contestants was rather ornery and unlikely to compete so that’s the animal I showed. I gave what we thought was actually the better ewe to the hired help as it’s dirty pool to stick them with a problem child. As it turned out, once I got the ewe dragged into the arena she showed pretty darn well. So well in fact she beat our other ewe and the judge used her for reserve champion. I’m still somewhat in disbelief about that one but hey, I’ll take it. The ewe was still ornery though, jumping, hopping and fighting me all the way from the show ring back to the pen. Me? I was tired but I was cranky.
See you next week…real good then.