With the recent heat and sunshine, the scurs and their Weather Eye forecasting apparatus were hitting on all cylinders. Will they continue to perform at peak levels or will we see flashbacks to May? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly sunny on Friday with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday, mostly sunny and warmer with highs in the upper 80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a modest chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 80’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Monday, partly sunny with a moderate chance of thundershowers. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Partly sunny on Tuesday with increasing chances of developing thundershowers. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. The sun will rise at 5:31 a.m. on June 9th, which it will continue doing until after the summer solstice. The normal high for June 9th is 77 and the normal low is 56. The scurs will make sure their shades are drawn tightly, preventing the morning sun from disturbing their beauty sleep.
The Full Moon falls on June 9th for the month, and is known as the Full Strawberry Moon for good reason. June is the month where one of the favorite treats of summer is in season. Since it’s also Dairy Month, it only follows that they are best consumed with mass quantities of ice cream or whipped cream. Not so surprisingly, the Ojibwe and Sioux were in agreement that this was The Strawberry Moon. At the ranch it goes by many names, but the most common one (thanks to my little fat buddy) is the God I’m Shot Moon.
There is more in the evening sky to keep an eye on as well. Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer made a visit this past week and brought with him the evening sky highlights from the Steele Co. Astronomical Society. Jupiter and Saturn should be visible for the entire month, weather permitting of course. Jupiter is in the southwest sky and sets after midnight. Saturn rises in the east after sunset and is about as bright as it gets as its rings are open to their maximum. Venus is also back to being a morning star, low in the east as the month wears on for a half hour to an hour. On the 9th, Saturn will be to the right of the nearly Full Moon and on the 10th it is below it. It’s a good thing Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer stops in to share his wisdom and knowledge. I do appreciate it and always try to avoid making him late for his next appointment.
Continued crop progress was made after ridding ourselves of May and plunging headlong into June. May 30th I was glad I still had my winter jacket in the truck. Scouting in open fields, the wind blew the mid-50-degree air right through three layers of clothing. Two days later, I was performing the same task wearing shorts and a T-shirt, making sure my water bottle was full. Postemerge weed control measures are being applied and generally the fields have been pretty clean. Giant ragweed has made almost everyone’s list and major emphasis on controlling it appears to be yielding results. Corn is largely V4–V5 with some earlier corn stretching as far as V6. Soybeans are also coming around after some uneven emergence due to seed laying in dry soil. Soybeans are largely First- cutting hay has been harvested with quantity and quality typically being very good.
The sudden developing rains that covered portions of the area took many of us by surprise, including us at the ranch. Arriving home from work about 2 p.m. there were some indications that the weather was building to the west. Indeed, by about 2:30, thunder could be heard. Ruby, in typical Border Collie fashion, wanted no part of it, seeking out her “safe place” hiding behind the love seat. By 3 p.m. it was pouring and small cells continued to build, running along the county line to the south. Some hail was reported and I made two calls to the NWS to report small hail events that afternoon. When it was over, the rain gauge tallied 1.58” at the ranch and .92” in Bugtussle proper.
The rains put gardening on hold for the next day so “Plan B” was enacted, spraying the pasture for Canada thistle. It had gained a foothold and quickly spread to the point that the patches were occupying more than an acre. Continuing to mow them off only kicks the can down the road. Eventually they must be dealt with severely. Luckily, there are some excellent products for controlling thistles. Best of all they’re relatively safe for the grasses and grazing animals. Using the four-wheeler sprayer to target the patches, within a few hours the task was complete. The next morning it became evident my “seek and destroy” mission had been a success. The thistles were already contorted with their heads bowed earthwards.
The pasture has slowly but surely become a haven for birds desiring undisturbed cool season grasses as part of their habitat. The number of dickcissels is at an all-time high at the ranch. On recent warm afternoons, their song is a near constant reminder that it truly is summer. Bobolinks have also made a tremendous comeback. I haven’t seen numbers or heard that amount of burbling song since I was a kid trapping gophers. In the background, meadowlarks can be heard occasionally yet as well. Seeing more of them would be the icing on the cake. Last but not least, when I was spraying I spooked a hen pheasant off her nest. Placing it in the middle of a thistle patch was pure genius.
After Mom passed away, we transplanted several peony roots from my parents’ farm. Like some of the other plants we’ve transplanted, it’s taken a few years to become established. This appears to be their breakout season, however. Once it finally warmed up they took off like a rocket and never looked back. The sheer volume of buds was tremendous and they were tended by numerous ants as peony buds almost always are. With Mrs. Cheviot working in the floral business again, there was a call for white peonies in some funeral and wedding arrangements. The timing couldn’t have been better. The peonies started blooming heavily after the weekend rain and the flowers were absolutely gorgeous. Even the florist was impressed by their quality. Both of my parents would’ve been pleased something from their humble farm origins was worthy of being used in such a fashion. Of course as Dad would’ve been quick to point out, it had to be because of all the sheep manure under each one.
See you next week…real good then.