Saturday’s wind and warm temps made believers out of those doubting Thomases who thought that the scurs and their accompanying Weather Eye were a figment of someone’s imagination when it comes to forecasting. Are these new converts true believers or daydream believers? Starting Wednesday, sunny with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, sunny with an increasing chance of thunderstorms by evening. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly sunny on Friday with an increasing chance of thunderstorms by evening. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Saturday, partly sunny and with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm, Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny and cooler on Sunday with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of thundershowers. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Partly sunny on Tuesday with increasing chances of developing thundershowers. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. The sun will rise on the 20th at 5:31 a.m. and set at 9 p.m. on the summer solstice, making it the longest day of the year by seconds. The scurs will be inflating their beach ball and floating flamingo ring to celebrate.
Crops continued to make headway with warm temperatures in conjunction with widespread thundershowers on the 12th. Accumulations of .7” and up to 2” were welcome after the windy blast on Saturday. Corn has closed the rows tightly in 20” row corn now and corn in 30” rows is right on their heels. Corn stage of growth varies from V4 on some of the late planted corn to V8 and larger in some of the sheltered areas. Soybeans are now V2–V3 depending upon whose growth staging assessment you subscribe to. Still no soybean aphids found locally, although a bean leaf beetle was encountered in an area field. Not that they are expected to be any kind of an issue, it just seemed odd to see one given the amount of soybean seed being treated with neonicotinoid seed treatments. Rainfall was just what the doctor ordered for the second-cutting hay. Oats and wheat have headed out and considerations for fungicide treatments should be made.
Gardening finally happened at the ranch over the weekend. After wondering Saturday if it would come to fruition, Sunday offered the best opportunity to date. Some 54 hills of vine crops were planted along with 11 tomatoes and four jalapeño peppers. Most were direct seeded, although there were some transplants purchased as well. All the transplants were watered in well as the weather forecasts were hit and miss at best. String beans and sweet corn were also put in and given the timely rains it should be fun to watch their progress. The soils are warm, the ground was finally in fit condition and given adapted maturities given the later-than-desired planting dates, things should still make it. Monday’s .8” of rain couldn’t have come at a better time. Gazing at the transplants Tuesday a.m., there was virtually no evidence of transplant shock.
Mrs. Cheviot was also able to plant her contributions. Some of the pots she planted Sunday were already being squabbled over Monday by the hummingbirds just before the rain hit. The blue salvia apparently is one of their favorites as they tried to dive bomb and discourage others away from their recent discovery. They’ve also hit the nectar feeder hard so keeping it clean and free of ants has taken some time. The jelly feeder has been worked over daily by orioles and catbirds. I’m down to the last jar of bargain brand jelly I laid in before the orioles’ arrival. There is usually some on sale somewhere if one looks for it.
The wrens are the consummate vocalists though. While they’re not the first to start singing in the a.m., their endurance throughout the day is impressive. What’s equally impressive is how quickly they can pack a nesting box full of hundreds of little sticks. I put a new bluebird house at the kindly neighbor’s, hoping the bluebirds would find it, and also had an empty one at the ranch after forcibly evicting the house sparrows from it earlier. The fencer frequently being grounded keeps me checking the pasture fence. While I’m at it I usually peek in the nesting boxes to see who might be occupying them. Within a day of being totally empty, both unoccupied nesting boxes were stuffed from top to bottom with as many little twigs as the wrens could find. The one birdhouse is so full I’m amazed they’re able to get in and out of it.
Ruby continues her spring shed although she doesn’t hold a candle to what Fudgie used to produce for hair. Ruby’s coat is much finer and fluffier, causing it to appear almost like someone broke a feather pillow open when she’s brushed. The windy days in particular are good for that, allowing the hair to simply disappear or to be used by nesting birds such as chipping sparrows. Ruby continues to get her exercise, following the mower back and forth on its journey across the lawn. Her socks are usually some shade of green afterwards although she doesn’t seem to mind. As long as the job is complete she seems satisfied to come in the house and immediately start playing with her ball. There simply is no “off” switch on this Border Collie that we’ve been able to find.
See you next week…real good then.