The scurs were convinced their cure to the Weather Eye’s ill was permanent. Surprise! The air conditioning came back on and with it condensation. Is this an omen or just a blip on the radar? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s.Thursday, mostly sunny and warmer with highs in the mid-80’s and lows in the upper 60’s. Sunny on Friday with a moderate chance of showers and thunderstorms developing by evening. Highs in the upper 80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Saturday, partly sunny with a moderate chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Partly sunny and cooler on Sunday with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms by evening. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Monday, cloudy with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the low 50’s. Cloudy Tuesday with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the low 50’s. On September 21st the sun will rise at 7 a.m. On the 25th, we’re back down to 12 hours of daylight. The normal high for September 25th is 69 and the normal low is 45. The normal high for September 16th is 73 and the normal low is 50. The scurs are pondering what to do with all this new-found darkness. Maybe organize their sock drawer.
Crops were pushed hard by last week’s sudden heat wave with several 80-degree highs making life uncomfortable for humans and livestock. The milk line on much of the corn moved it down to the point where frost damage would be minimal in most fields. Silage harvest has been in full swing. Soybeans were largely R7+ this past week meaning they have at least one pod on the main stem that has reached its mature color. Once they reach R8 when 95% of the plants have reached their mature color, it takes roughly 5–10 days of drying weather to bring the moisture content below 15%. Rains may temporarily delay combining ,although at this stage it tends to knock off leaves, helping to increase air movement in the field once the conditions warm up and dry out. There is a lot of unevenness in many area soybean fields so patience may be required. No one enjoys drying soybeans.
The Baltimore orioles officially left the feeders at the ranch back on the 4th but there was still one at the golf course feeder yet on the 7th. The goldfinches have temporarily moved away from the feeders at the ranch as well. On trips to fields bordering CRP last week, I spotted large numbers of goldfinches. Many of them were feeding on the seed of matured composite plants such as cup plants and compass plants. The hummingbirds will probably be the next to leave, although the abundant flowers and warm temperatures may tempt them to stay just a little longer.
The trees have also given some gradual indications that autumn is upon us. There was a scattering of leaves already when the lawn was mowed on Sunday. Some are also accumulating in the valleys of the roof, awaiting a stiff north wind to move them from their present resting place. The air definitely has that autumn smell to it. Senescing vegetation fills ones olfactory senses when making a morning walk through the windbreak. One morning in the not-too-distant future Jack Frost will likely expedite the process.
The fall garden has yielded some good results thus far. The radishes made some pretty decent bulbs yet they make you pay for that first impression that they are sweet with their afterburners. Tomatoes continue to produce and while the full sized tomatoes have died back to a large extent the little snack sized models have shown little sign of letting up just yet. The mixed salad greens have been a pleasant surprise as well, their spicy bite complementing a BLT nicely. Can’t get much fresher than picking, washing, and placing it on a sandwich. Add some of Betsy’s dad’s monster onions and you really have something. The jalapeños are as nice as we’ve ever raised. Putting them in a sheltered spot on a south facing slope agreed with their growth habit and being able to swipe a little of the sheep manure from the peonies probably didn’t hurt. Yet to come are the snap peas that just started blooming with the recent heat. The vines look great and being able to climb on their protective bunny fence should help keep them upright and easier to pick. Tough to be patient. Combine operators: You are not alone.
The show sheep came home on Sunday after being on the road since early July. This took place about the time the time the Vikings were reminding us they’re still the Vikings. After watching the first game, it sorta left you thinking they might be decent. Watching Sunday’s game brought a person back to reality. It suddenly made unloading livestock look a lot more appealing. Could be worse I guess. Could always be a Bears fan. They don’t even bother wasting time getting your hopes up.
Back to unloading the sheep. The yearling ewes were a little cantankerous about coming out of the trailer. Craig grabbed both of them and handed one out the sliding door to me. His ewe did the quick duck under maneuver once out of the trailer and was on the loose. While they may get loose they never get away. I had the bigger ewe semi-controlled (no such thing as totally controlling a Cheviot) so when I swung the pasture gate open and stuffed her through it, the other one was right on her heels.
Then came the ewe lambs. Craig backed into the barn and I had a panel already in place for just such an occasion. All we had to do was swing the trailer gate wide open and let ‘em fly. That’s about what they did too. The first ewe lamb out of the trailer was airborne, about 5’ off the ground and the other five followed suit. Ditto with the four buck lambs who came out of the trailer like someone had launched a bunch of woolly missiles. Craig shook his head and said this had been a wild bunch. Said they never really tamed down much the whole time he had them. Huh. Never would’ve guessed that.
See you next week…real good then.