The heater in the Weather Eye may have been off the pace a tad, although sleeping in the cool evening temperatures has been a joy. Will we see the heater kick back in or are we in for September in August? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Sunny and slightly cooler on Friday with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday, sunny with highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a modest chance of daytime showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Monday, sunny with a slight chance of afternoon thundershower. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Partly sunny and warmer on Tuesday with increasing chances of developing evening thundershowers. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. The sun rises after 6 a.m. on July 30th. The normal high for the 30th is 82 and the normal low is 61.The normal high for July 20th is 82 and the normal low is 62. The scurs are heading to the Freeborn Co. after a weekend of R&R. County fairs and deciding what to eat once there can be so stressful.
Crops continued their steady progress and more rain this last week put us closer to the finish line in that department. Rainfall was again generous yet not excessive for the most part. At the ranch we tallied 2.41” for the week and in Bugtussle proper, 2.67”. It was delivered in three main parts so it didn’t cause major flooding and best of all, this time of year the crops can use it. Anything it doesn’t consume is stored for future use when needed. These prairie pothole soils are noted for their ability to store moisture. Much of the corn crop is pollinating or has pollinated. The results on the pollinated corn look excellent. Soybeans are also strutting their stuff, having reached R3 in most fields with some of the early planted early maturing varieties appearing very much like R4 stage of maturity. Soybean aphids are becoming easier to detect, although they are not a threat at this point. Add minute pirate bugs and multi-colored Asian ladybird beetles to last week’s list of beneficial insects being found in area soybean fields.
Early morning bird songs are beginning to wane. Robins are no longer singing at 4:30 a.m. although the cardinal, chipping sparrows and house wrens still start in around 5:30. There are apparently a few nesting boxes with wrens still in them as I discovered when one flew right under my nose when mowing. The brown thrashers have disappeared from the radar screen and the orioles for the most part really don’t sing much as they’re too busy stuffing themselves with grape jelly and chattering when the feeder needs refilling. The orchard orioles also seem to favor the American cranberry bushes that are bearing fruit. There are a lot of young birds coming to the feeders including the orioles. Small nuthatches appearing to be young are now frequenting the sunflower feeders as well. It also must be getting close to nesting time for the goldfinches as the females are less frequent visitors. The hummingbirds are noticed with greater frequency. The planters around the house offer a wonderful variety of flowers. Some of the volunteer 4 o’clocks are flowering as are the morning glories. The hummers await the blossoming of the cannas which were just starting to open as of this writing.
The vegetable garden continues to lag behind other years if some of last year’s photos were any indication. There is still some time and the vine crops are the only concern I have about producing something before a frost. The last planted string beans are up and making progress, although the bunnies tried their best to chew them off before I could get a fence erected. I stabbed some leftover seed into the gaps left from the rabbits’ feeding frenzy. Given the rain and warm temperatures, they emerged quickly to fill in the holes.
While at a car show on Saturday I suddenly received a text telling me we were having a supper guest and that I should thaw out some lamb to grill for the evening meal. We call it supper in these parts. We eat our dinner at noon while lunch is something you eat between dinner and supper when you’re baling hay just so we’re clear on that. Anyway, I came home and cleaned the disaster area known as our house up and managed to get the lamb thawing for the evening meal. The guest arrived and it still wasn’t quite thawed so the microwave was pressed into service so it was ready at the same time. The burgers were manufactured and seasoned along with the chops. In the meantime we had a few adult beverages and talked about anything and everything including livestock. When the coals were ready we proceeded to start grilling and within about 20 minutes, supper was served. Just another day in the life of a last minute chef.
Luckily the guest had also hauled some weather vane-type mineral feeders that we’d ordered for us. Before he left on Sunday morning to go judge we unloaded them so I could get them put together and placed in their intended locations. I took one to the kindly neighbor’s pasture and with a ½” ratchet wrench, had it in place within a few minutes. The ewes there had bolted for parts unknown in the pasture so I left the small part of a mineral block in their original feeder in case they didn’t catch on right away to the new apparatus in their space. I came back home and assembled the other mineral feeder in the feedlot area for the lambs. After I put it together they came out the door and totally freaked out, running back inside and piling up in a corner. Not surprised. Having been around these quirky sheep, one has to remember running to beat hell from threats in the Cheviot Hills between England and Scotland for centuries was how they survived. That behavior is still in the Border Cheviot genetic makeup today. And it still makes me laugh every time I see it except when we’re trying to get them corralled to load in a trailer. Then I fail to see the humor in it.
See you next week…real good then.