A week without rain led to kudos for the scurs and their Weather Eye. Will it continue or will people start their Halloween pranks early? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of morning showers. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the upper 40’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of showers or a thunderstorm by evening. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the low 40’s. Mostly sunny Friday with a chance of patchy evening frost. Highs in the mid-50’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with a chance of patchy morning frost. Highs in the mid-50’s with lows in the uppers 30’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a chance of evening frost in low lying areas. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the upper 30’s. Monday, mostly sunny with highs in the low mid-60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Partly sunny becoming mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 60’s with lows in the upper 30’s. The normal high for October 10th is 63 and the normal low is 39. The scurs will be looking for non-existent mail in their mailbox on Columbus Day.
Harvest progress continued in earnest this past week after the floodwaters subsided. Still some fields displayed areas that were simply un-harvestable as water was either still standing or soils were too wet to support the weight of the combines with discretion being the better part of valor. Yield reports continue to impress as yields of 70 bushel per acre on soybeans are not uncommon, with corn yields well over 200 bushel per acre the norm. Moistures have also moved down into the mid- to lower 20% range making it ideal for harvest. Luckily with propane at a reasonable price, getting the crop out sooner than later is on most farmers’ agendas before the weather changes its mind.
I spent much of the last week in Canada without television and limited cell phone service, so keeping up on events at home was piecemeal at best. Sometimes that’s OK, especially if nothing really bad happens. Cell phone service once across the border has always been somewhat of a gamble. You’re never quite sure until you get there how much of it will work or if it will work at all. This time around the phone and the text messaging worked, although I couldn’t retrieve voice mail. It appeared there were calls to retrieve although as one Canadian said, it likely was the phone company trying to tempt you to buy up additional service. I didn’t bite and turns out the gentleman was probably right. Once back in the U.S. there were no actual voice mails I could detect.
That was just as well. The main purpose for being in Canada was a much needed break to relax a bit and get away from people. Essentially being on call for six months straight will do that to a person. The weather there was absolutely gorgeous. Bright sunshine during the day and absolutely crystal clear skies at night. The birds were showing some signs of becoming a little nervous about cooler weather approaching. What was likely one of the last loons for the season was splashing around shortly before sunset on the lake. There were juncos, white-throated sparrows and chickadees commonly seen in the underbrush. Not so coincidentally a junco was seen under our feeders at the ranch a few days before I headed north. Is it an omen? We shall see. The first night at the cabin after dark, two barred owls were heard doing their “Who cooks for you?” call making me giggle at their antics.
The leaves near Atikokan and around International Falls were nearing their peak in color. Aspen and birch were bright yellow with fiery orange and red maples contrasting against the dark green of the evergreens. In places even some tamarack were starting to show some yellow. Alas with a slight breeze, some of the leaves were lazily drifting to the ground. It won’t be long and winter will be back in the northland. It appears here we still have some leaf watching time left locally although winds could shorten the duration quickly.
My little fat buddy Billy of the North has always graciously invited me along on his autumn excursions in the Great White North and also introduced me to several of his friends while there. Saturday night we had a gathering with some of them. Everyone contributed excellent food including blueberry cake, zucchini bread, baked potatoes, salad and some lamb. There was much laughter as we discussed all manner of topics including politics with our election stateside looming ever closer on the horizon. Even Pink Floyd made the conversation, something about a wall. Not so surprisingly, there were differences of opinion among the Canadians concerning their politics which I found absolutely fascinating. It had a very familiar ring to it. As the evening came to a close it was almost as though it had taken on magical qualities. While it was rather impromptu, it appeared we’d all enjoyed it thoroughly and won’t surprise me if it happens again some sunny day. I sure hope so.
I always dread the drive back home though as it’s a hike. It amounts to about eight hours of riding in a car with about five of it spent driving. The Twin Cities traffic made it a stinkhole that next time I’ll avoid on the return trip. As I got closer to home I could see harvest activity so I knew I was back on call again. I pulled up to the garage and shut the pickup off to unload. As I grabbed the first armload, I spied Ruby trotting towards me, her tail tucked and wearing her happy face. She almost exploded as she jumped into my arms with all her whining and yipping. The neighbors might’ve thought she was being beaten the way she was carrying on. Before I left she’d given me the sad eyes, knowing that something was up. I got a similar look upon my return as if to say please don’t leave me again. Do dogs cry? I think so and in this case they were definitely tears of joy.
See you next week…real good then.