Moderate yet seasonal temperatures were what the scurs got out of the Weather Eye this past week. Is this the September preview week or will summer temps continue? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a good chance of evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of daytime showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny on Friday with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with a moderate chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance for forenoon showers. Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Monday, sunny with highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly cloudy and warmer on Tuesday with increasing chances of developing evening thundershowers. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. On August 4th we will have lost over an hour worth of daylight since the summer solstice. The Full Moon will occur on the 7th. The normal high for August 7th is 81 and the normal low is 61. The scurs will have eaten their welcome at the Freeborn Co. Fair and set their sights on Steele Co. next.
The Full Moon as mentioned is on the 7th and generally goes by The Full Sturgeon Moon as many of the tribes in the Great Lakes region were harvesting them at this time of year. It also goes by The Green Corn Moon or The Grain Moon. The Ojibwe were fond of calling it the Berry Moon, likely for all the blueberries ripening and the Sioux knew it as The Moon when Cherries turn Black. At the ranch we typically are on the run between fairs and Pro Farmer Crop Tour. Due to that we know it at the ranch as the Moon When Bread Molds Easily.
Corn and soybeans continued making steady progress towards the finish line. Last week’s rains put us that much closer to having enough to get us to maturity. The rainfall was variable however with some receiving as little as .4” and some garnering over 2”. At the ranch we had .51” and in town the total was higher at .96”. That rainfall did put us over 5” for the month at both locations so with over 5” in June as well, we are very fortunate. Corn is somewhat of a mixed bag in terms of development with some already in milk stage and others just pollinating. Soybeans are similar with some 2.5 maturity soybeans being R3 last week while earlier maturing varieties were R4. A few weeds are beginning to pop up above the canopy in soybeans fields, primarily waterhemp and giant ragweed. Small grains were swathed and harvest should be underway this week in some of it.
At the ranch we continue to plant. The window of opportunity was there over the weekend so a long row of sugar snap peas was planted as were some salad greens as well as winter and fall type radishes. There was some ground left fallow so why not? It doesn’t always work but when it does, it’s well worth it. Fall peas in particular seem extra sweet as are the fall seeded greens. Even the radishes seem to have some extra sugar to them and they are a nice addition to the lunchbox on a fall day. The main garden is coming along although it will need most of September to reach its potential. The earlier planted sweet corn looks good as do the string beans and tomatoes. In fact the tomatoes in the small garden are actually taller than the cannas and approaching 6’. Luckily they have some Binford tomato cages.
The cannas are opening up as their red spikelet flowers should be favored by hummingbirds as they pass through. The tiger lilies that I transplanted around the LP tank apparently liked the spot and were in full bloom this past week. In addition, a beautiful yellow female tiger swallowtail was attracted to them. The tiger lilies were here when we moved in so we kept them and are part of many old farmsteads across southern MN. Morning glories continue to climb on the light pole and the “rat rod” trellis made from some old gates, some pieces of busted up hog panels, an electric fencepost and a section of corn crib tunnel. Once it’s covered with vines it will make an interesting conversation piece. Or not.
Last but not least we managed to get our second-cutting hay put up thanks to the efforts of the Dubya’s. Like most people I was dreading baling small square bales. My back had been sore the past two weeks just thinking about it. Luckily for me my old fart status is becoming further established. Not that there’s a lot fun in baling hay but I got to do the fun parts like mowing and raking as well as driving the baler tractor. The Little Dubya ran behind me with the New Holland bale wagon picking up the bales as the baler spit them out. He then transported them back to the ranch and dumped them in front of the overhead door to the barn. The sidewalls on the shed aren’t high enough to accommodate the bale wagon being tipped up, leaving the hay stacked in place. Instead having to unload it outside leaves a tangled mess of bales after the stack falls that need to be dealt with and hauled inside.
Baling went well save for the obligatory missed bale when the baler switched balls of twine. There were three of the stack wagons at roughly 65 bales per wagon that had left the field for our place when the last bale came out of the chute. The sun was getting low in the sky when I shifted the tongue on the baler for road travel. I was not looking forward to dealing with the mess of bales in front of the shed. When I called to ask the Big Dubya where to park the baler, I heard sheep in the background. What the? Unbeknownst to me he was at my place and had been putting the bales away as his brother dumped them off. I was almost in shock when I pulled in the yard expecting to see a Mt. Everest of bales to deal with. Instead, most of them were already inside, stacked or otherwise under a roof. The three of us finished off one more stack wagon along with 30 or so odd bales well after dark. Mrs. Cheviot had brought pizza home so we celebrated along with a few adult beverages. What can I say? The hay was baled, it was put away and it was beautiful thanks to the world’s best neighbors.
See you next week…real good then.