After yet another rainy week wouldn’t you know the scurs discovered the Weather Eye is hooked up to the windshield washer! Will changing a few wires make a difference or are we destined for more dampness? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of evening showers. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny on Friday with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday, sunny with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Sunny on Sunday with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Monday, partly sunny with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Partly sunny Tuesday with increasing chances of developing thundershowers. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the upper 40’s. On September 5th we will be down to 13 hours of daylight, about the same as April 6th. We now have lost over 2 hours and 28 minutes of daylight since the summer solstice. The normal high for September 5th is 77 and the normal low is 55. After Labor Day, the scurs await the September 5th debut of the large yellow livestock haulers for another year. Back to school kids!
Another week of cool, cloudy, damp weather did little to buoy attitudes in the countryside. Corn is progressing at a snail’s pace. As Chip Flory so eloquently put it at the Farm Journal Crop Tour wrap up last Thursday, “Does the corn plant realize today even happened?” It has been cool, no question about it. Frost was reported as close as Itasca State Park last week and the low was 49 in greater Bugtussle on Wednesday a.m. When I got home on Friday, a couple windows were open in the house. It was 65 degrees inside. When I went down to the basement to load a bag of salt into the softener, I noticed the floor heat was running! Are you listening Al Gore? One astute observer mentioned usually by now we can start to see a change in color in both corn and soybeans as they start to get closer to maturity. Thus far, that color change has been very subtle if it has changed at all. White mold has continued to increase in area soybean fields. It is sad as they had some tremendous potential. It has been the perfect storm for white mold to develop with cool temperatures, frequent rainfall, heavy dews, cloudy skies, susceptible varieties and ample inoculum in some fields. It needs to warm up and dry out for a while. Soon.
The cool weather affecting crops continues to haunt the late planted garden at the ranch as well. A warm August was needed for the vine crops to stretch out and develop to their potential. It didn’t happen and we may have to rely on the volunteer gourds and such in the sheep feedlot to supply some of our needs, if they don’t eat them first of course. One bright spot has been the string bean crop. Planting two packages of seed seems to be a bit of overkill for two people especially when only one of us actually weeds and picks them. Ahem! Of course being the glutton for punishment I usually am, that didn’t stop me from planting two more packages! The first planting has about run its course and the second one is about to come online.
Another Crop Tour is in the books. This year’s edition came off without any major glitches. With Farm Journal putting their name on it I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Everything was about the same as it’s always been with the exception of the nightly meetings being emceed by such notables as Clinton Griffiths and Tyne Morgan. It provided an additional level of professionalism to the evening events. Some have asked if being on TV bothers me. It really doesn’t as I rarely see myself when I’ve been interviewed anyway. And I sure don’t go out of my way to figure out when I’m on. I simply don’t watch much TV anymore. If I do happen to bump into the interviews when I do channel surf I’m always grateful that some of the dumb things I probably said ended up on the editing room floor.
The Crop Tour involves some long hours for about a week and sleep is at a premium. Nights writing copy that end sometimes well after midnight and mornings that arrive at 5 a.m. if you can sleep not to mention a time change take their toll. Upon my return on Friday I had hoped to get a long overdue nap in. Not surprisingly that rarely seems to happen for any length of time anyway. When I arrived home I took inventory of the contents of the refrigerator and decided a trip to the grocery store was in order. I needed to get my mail anyway. After I’d returned to the ranch and munched on a few snacks I curled up in my easy chair. I definitely could feel a nap coming on.
About that time I received text message that I felt obligated to answer. After that I decided it was a good idea to shut the sound off on the cell phone. That accomplished, my thoughts returned to the nap I’d been craving. I was almost asleep when the landline rang! Arrrgggghhh! After the individual left a message I looked to see that they’d also called my cell phone so returned the call to handle the situation. OK, nap time again, right? Wrong. Ruby decided something at neighbor David’s needed my attention and proceeded to have a barking hissy fit. It looked like my napping opportunity was slipping away. After chastising Ruby to be quiet or words to that effect, I began to feel drowsy once again. As a professional napper I can navigate my way there relatively easily from that point. Again, just as I was about to nod off, a vehicle rolled up the driveway. Now what? It was the Schwan’s man! By this time I’d pretty much resigned myself to the fact that there was no nap forthcoming. Oh well, at least I got ice cream treats out of the deal.
After a pleasant evening at a customer appreciation Friday night and showing sheep at the MN State Fair Saturday (we did well considering it’s a rebuilding year for us) it was time to get back in the groove. The lawn had responded to the perfect grass growing conditions while I was gone so it was time to cut loose with the mowers. Got most of it done Sunday afternoon before the skies opened up and it poured. Since I was that close to being done I soldiered on after it quit and finished the backyard. After doing chores I could see Ruby had daubed some new perfume in her fur, namely eau de crotte de chat, otherwise known as cat poop. Seeing it is one thing, smelling it is another. Time to give her another bath. She wasn’t real receptive to the idea but I wasn’t taking no for an answer. We got through it and afterwards she pouted. Sorry, it wasn’t her first run in with the handheld shower. One would think the concept of cause and effect would start to sink in, Like humans, Border Collies can sometimes be slow learners.
See you next week…real good then.