Another week of blecch weather and the scurs are tiring of cleaning the egg off the Weather Eye. Will our fortunes change or will the scurs continue making omelets? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs near 40 and lows in the low 20’s. Thursday, sunny and colder with highs in the mid-20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Partly sunny on Friday with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of rain and snow. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the mid-20’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Monday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-40’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Mostly cloudy Tuesday with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. On the 8th the sun is back to rising at 7 a.m. CST. It rose at 7 a.m. CDT September 21st. Veteran’s Day is on Saturday the 11th. The normal high for November 11th is 44 and the normal low is 27. The scurs will be flying Old Glory in honor of those who fought for our freedoms which we all too often take for granted.
The pace of corn harvest progress has cooled with the weather. As we’ve mentioned in previous columns, our temperatures and daylight continue heading the wrong direction this time of year. Corn has dried very little in the past week and with air temperatures cooler, dryers are running at lower efficiency than they were when temperatures were in the 60’s back in October. A Sunday trip to Rochester (for a birthday party not a medical emergency) revealed there are still some soybeans out in the fields. Some were noted in Owatonna, some by Claremont and another field spotted between Kasson and Byron. There was water standing between the rows in the latter two locations. That fit some information received about rainfall to the east back in October. Anhydrous ammonia as of the past weekend was reportedly not going on well, with trenches not sealing, a lot of gassing out and the telltale odor indicating that perhaps it would be wisest to wait until conditions were more fit. What started out as a harvest with promise is promising to be a challenge before it’s finished for all concerned.
Harvest continued at the ranch as well. All the screenings were picked up at the kindly neighbors Saturday ahead of the rain on Sunday. Nothing comes easy at the ranch. The hydraulic filter needed changing on the tractor and in order to get anything ready to go, four or five things have to be moved out of the way first. All that takes valuable time that could be spent on recreational activities rather than spinning my wheels. After the aforementioned birthday party there was still time to harvest the winter radishes late Sunday afternoon. It was time as with an ugly forecast on the horizon, there was no guarantee the radishes would escape unscathed. The rain made the soil conditions extra muddy so there was almost as much mud harvested as winter radishes. Fortunately once cleaned up properly, they keep well, often times until spring. That kohlrabi texture and taste with a little radish kick afterwards make it all worth it.
The hummingbird and oriole feeders now distant memories, we’re starting to see the winter birds slowly but surely take their place at the ranch. The chickadees are back, claiming the little red almost squirrel proof feeder as their favorite. It’s almost squirrel proof as I watched a contortionist fox squirrel hanging by his toes feed out of it one afternoon recently. Letting Ruby make a lap around the house quickly put a stop to it. She has absolutely no interest in the squirrels but they don’t have to know that. We welcomed back our first female cardinal Sunday and hope there is a male soon joining her. More occasional house finches and goldfinches have appeared along with the usual complement of nuthatches, hairies and downies. Blue jays vie for their chance at the ear corn when the squirrels aren’t feasting on it and the red-bellied woodpeckers are eyeing it as well. Another suet feeder was added without the monofilament line and fishing weights. Now we’ll have to see if the starlings and house sparrows monopolize that one. So far the other suet feeder has kept the undesirables away.
It appears the Studebaker will be mothballed for the season. I was hoping for one more nice long run but alas. After some snow, seeing salt spread in places and now mud, that’s enough. All in all I logged quite a few miles however, somewhere over 1400. When I got to thinking about it, it’s more miles than I drove Mrs. Cheviot’s car. I still have a heck of a time trying to figure out what all the cute little pictures are supposed to represent for the various functions on the family roadster. Not so on the Stude. It says in plain English what the functions are, you just have to guess if they work, then use your imagination when they don’t.
It appears that Ruby’s fleas have been dealt a death blow or at least their life cycle has been severely compromised. The cold temperatures should help see to that. Unfortunately she had scratched and chewed away patches of hair while I was in Canada so I wanted to make sure she hadn’t contracted mange as well. A trip to the vet upon my return determined that she was having an allergic reaction to the flea bites even though the medication she was on basically neutralized them when bitten. Dr. Dennis administered a steroid (or stereo as Cannon used to say) then advised me that in order to enhance the performance as well as lengthen the effectiveness, it would be beneficial to give her some of my anti-allergy meds. I’ve heard it’s not unusual for people to borrow a dog (Smuckers?) and take them to a vet so they can get meds for ailments such as a cough. I was a bit taken aback though when it suddenly took a turn the other direction. As if Ruby needs any more human characteristics.
Next week after I spend many hours preparing and moving stuff out of the way: barn cleaning and all the ensuing fun that’s fit to print.
See you next week...real good then.