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Author Topic: Fencelines  (Read 160747 times)

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Online Dotch

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Oh, all I see turns to brown as the sun burns the ground

Another rash of heat from the Weather Eye has the scurs ready to dial up the AMC dealership, again. Are cooler conditions on the way or will our friendly electricity provider be our best friend? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 80ís and lows in the upper 60ís. Thursday, sunny with highs in the low 90ís and lows in the low 70ís. Ish. Sunny on Friday with a fair chance of rain in the evening. Highs in the low 90ís with lows in the mid- 70ís. Double ish. Saturday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the low 90ís with lows in the mid-60ís. Sunny on Sunday with highs in the low 90ís and lows in the mid-60ís. Monday, sunny with highs in the low 90ís and lows in the upper 60ís. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80ís with lows in the mid-60ís. The Full Moon occurs on July 23rd. We start losing daylight at over 2 minutes a day on the 25th. The normal high for July 25th is 81 and the normal low is 61. With Waseca Co. fair in their rearview mirror, the scurs can focus their attention on Freeborn Co. Fair & Auntie Mar Marís baked goods next.

The Full Moon for the month of July will be on Friday the 23rd and goes by several names. The primary name is the Full Buck Moon, so named for the antlers that are starting to adorn the buck deer. Indeed, several have been seen locally already in the velvet. It also goes by the Full Thunder Moon for the thunderstorms common this time of year and the Full Hay Moon as hay is harvested for the long winter ahead. The Ojibwe knew this as The Raspberry Moon for the wild delicacy common this time of year. The Sioux were also into fruit, calling this the Moon when Wild Cherries are Ripe. At the ranch, we call it The Full Weeding Moon. Odd how quickly those pesky little weeds suddenly become competition for garden space.

Crops are continuing to move at warp speed after the rain and return of warm temperatures. Most corn is tasseled completely with a large portion having already pollinated. One can tell when husking it if the silks fall off the ears easily, itís pollinated. Conditions locally for pollination couldnít have been much more favorable. Soybeans are also smoking right along. Most fields are R4 already with some planted early to early maturing varieties already exhibiting some plants at R5. A few soybean aphids have been found but finding them has been the exception and not the rule. At this point we may be in much the same position we were locally last year. These soybean plants are generally large, and the aphids will have their work cut out for them.
 
Likewise with the corn rootworm infestations. While beetles can be found in significant numbers in some fields, not all fields are infested. In fact, in many of the fields where we installed sticky traps, there were none to be found at that time. Keep in mind these fields were chosen because they had the potential for rootworm issues such as lengthy corn on corn and corn on corn in their histories. Crop health thus far looks excellent with little to no evidence of significant disease pressure. Fungicides have been applied to both corn and soybeans. Not surprising since almost no one bales hay or cultivates anymore.
The ďjust toss in the insecticideĒ discussion has moved from the soybean arena to the corn. If corn is less than 50% pollinated and silks are being clipped to less than Ĺ inch, rootworm beetle control may pay. That may take 10 or more beetles per plant. Again, spraying for an insect that isnít there is a waste of money, not to mention playing Russian roulette when it comes to rootworms developing resistance down the road. This has already happened in NE to at least three families of insecticides including the organochlorides, organophosphates and synthetic pyrethroids. Know your enemy. Panic, emotionalism and knee jerk reactions are seldom good methods of dealing with crises, real or imagined.

The garden has flourished after the rain and the ensuing heat. I was able to slip through the garden one last time with the tiller. It took some time and effort to move the vines out of the way and carefully put them back again. Luckily this ainít my first rodeo. The upcoming heat and sun meant a scorched earth policy for the weeds, almost literally. Crispy brown unidentifiable weeds are my favorite kind The vine crops are all blooming and the bees couldnít be happier about it. Iíve mentioned it before, and it still holds true that the bumblebee population is thriving at the ranch. Their favorites have included plants such as salvia, catnip, hostas, and Solomonís seal. Theyíve also been seen on the tomatoes. While tomatoes donít necessarily need their help, the bumblebees wiggle and shake the blooms around enough so they pollinate.
 
I may not be attending a lot of car shows the rest of the summer. For starters, the Silver Hawk has been on the temporarily disabled list limiting it to short runs. Earlier in the year Iíd noticed the oil was down a quart after one of our longer cruises. On one of the shorter expeditions after that, I could detect the faint smell of burning oil. When we attended the Back to the 50ís show back in June, I made sure the oil was full before leaving. Upon our return home I checked it again and it was down two quarts. There was a leak coming from somewhere as the rear bumper and rear of the trunk were speckled with microdroplets of oil. Got an appointment scheduled and the diagnosis was better than expected. It was leaking from a shaft on the fuel pump. Once installed, we should be back in business. At least I hope so. Nice to look at it but more fun to drive a piece of automotive history.

Speaking of that, the Ď60 Lark project has suddenly been resuscitated. The organ donor í59 Lark was hauled to Waseca where a kind gentleman removed the glass for me. Heíd warned me that sometimes windshields donít make it out intact, so I was braced for that possibility. As luck would have it, everything came out as planned and Iím sure wanted the coon condo off his property before any new tenants showed up. I enlisted the services of Vistaís noted Swedish astronomer to help me load the glass. I feared if it was wet which was a possibility, the odds of dropping a windshield or rear window might be increased. Besides, with help Iíd have someone else to blame! Such was not the case. All the glass was set on some dog pillows and securely wrapped with blankets. It all made it home in the original sized pieces rather than thousands of little ones. Wasnít taking any chances. A difficult to find windshield going for over 500 bucks a pop mightíve had something to do with it.

See you next weekÖreal good then.
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Online Dotch

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And I am amazed at how they stumble homeward through the haze

The scurs were dumbfounded after another trip to the AMC dealership only to find parts were backordered for the Weather Eye. Will the parts arrive soon or are we in for another week of blistering temperatures? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a fair chance of rain by evening. Highs in the mid-90ís with lows in the upper 60ís. Thursday, sunny with highs in the mid-80ís and lows in the low 60ís. More like it. Mostly sunny on Friday with a slight chance of evening rain. Highs in the mid-80ís with lows in the mid-60ís. Saturday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-80ís with lows in the mid-60ís. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid-80ís and lows in the low 60ís. Monday, partly sunny with highs in the mid-80ís and lows in the mid-60ís. Partly sunny for Tuesday with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80ís with lows in the low 60ís. On July 30th, the sun will rise at 6 a.m. CDT. Is it possible that Sunday is August 1st already? Yes indeed. The normal high for August 1st is 81 and the normal low is 61. After this heatwave, the scurs have decided that in some respects, January may not be such a bad thing.
 
More heat and little precipitation this past week has farmers starting to get more nervous about the potential damage this may do to a crop that has largely led a charmed life. From a crop health perspective, it should hang on about as well as one could expect. Both the corn and soybeans have shown little in terms of disease thus far and while those promoting fungicides will be quick to declare itís a preventative if something comes in later, Iím merely reporting whatís out there now. The odds of a response to fungicide are generally enhanced when certain diseases are present in the canopy.
 
Insect pressure while present, overall hasnít shown its hand just yet. More soybean fields with aphids detected this past week although they were most easily found in areas where weíd likely expect to see them first, near higher concentrations of buckthorn. The concern comes if this soybean crop is put under sever moisture stress to finish. Our best responses to insecticides locally came during drier seasons such as 2003. Spider mites are also a concern although they follow the same scenario the soybean aphids do: These are presently some big healthy beans. If we come under severe moisture and heat stress, that could change.
 
Corn rootworm beetle numbers have also followed in that they are typically highest in fields with continuous corn. Even those had little silk clipping and as of last week, little in the way of gravid female rootworm beetles as a proportion of the population. Those fields rotated and using rootworm traits properly have exhibited little adult pressure thus far. Beetle bombing as some have proposed and killing primarily male rootworm beetles probably isnít a prudent course of action. There will likely be plenty of adult males emerging later to keep the females satisfied.

Some on social media have been fretting about the haze from the forest fires cutting down on our solar radiation, possibly affecting the yields of soybeans in particular. While Iím unaware of any data relating to a precise number of Langleyís on crop yields, I do know that the haze this past week kept our temperatures from reaching the forecast highs on several occasions. In the situation weíre in with soil moisture becoming a more precious commodity, these more moderate high temperature days may have bought us some time. One thing for certain, it has slowed the speed of drying hay, as some of us can attest.

It has been interesting to watch this yearís group of lambs develop at the ranch. Itís been fascinating to note their selectivity in forages. Their lot in front of the barn became overgrown with roundleaf mallow. Itís a weed that has been on the increase in recent years, thriving in just about any waste area or other seldom disturbed areas around our yard. Along with it in their lot are several other weed species including Canada thistle, waterhemp, pigweed and a few velvetleaf. Starting a few weeks ago, the lambs tore into the roundleaf mallow and chewed off any waterhemp or pigweed that wasnít near the electric fence. They declined to eat the Canada thistle, likely for obvious reasons. They also passed on the velvetleaf plants. Oddly enough, roundleaf mallow and velvetleaf are both in the same (mallow) family. However, the velvetleafís fuzzy texture and odor, reminiscent of tomcat urine, probably donít help their palatability.
 
The Studebaker made it through last weekís surgery after a few bumps in the road. The oil leak was stopped, and the electric fuel pump was a nice addition. For some reason though the ammeter was charging at 35 + amps and after a little sleuthing, the ace mechanic determined the voltage regulator had expired. Fortunately, I had one that worked OK but was a little shaky at home. It solved the problem temporarily until a new one could be installed. The next step if it happens again is to switch the charging system over to an alternator. Up until 1960, all automobiles were using generators. The first US production car with an alternator was the 1960 Valiant. Mopar strikes again!
 
Was hoping that the Studebaker would be ready for the cruise to The Little Log House at Hastings last Saturday. With the charging system being a little iffy and the hot day forecast, I wasnít sure that was a good idea. Luckily someone was looking out for me. The cruise leader told me his wife wouldnít be going due to the heat and wondered if I wanted to ride along in his air-conditioned Corvette. Didnít have to ask me twice. Once we got there, we rented a golf cart and saw an incredible amount of tractors, old farm equipment, trucks, old cars, you name it. The worst part of going to these shows is the sudden realization that somewhere along the line, youíve actually used a lot of this stuff people are calling collectibles and antiques. You donít suppose someoneís trying to tell us something?

See you next weekÖreal good then.
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

 

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