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Author Topic: Fencelines  (Read 247979 times)

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Offline Dotch

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Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today

The scurs had the Weather Eye tone down the rainfall amounts, but they need to work on the frequency. Can they dial that back or are we still stuck on the wash and wear cycle? Starting Thursday, mostly sunny with a fair chance of evening rain. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Partly sunny on Friday with a good chance of p.m. rain. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny on Saturday with a fair chance of rain. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Sunday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of evening rain. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny on Monday with a fair chance of rain. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Tuesday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Partly sunny on Wednesday with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday is June 1st already and we’ll only gain about another 13 minutes of daylight before the summer solstice. The normal high for June 1st is 74 and the normal low is 55. The scurs will be ordering another transport of mosquito repellent. They’re gonna need it.

Tough week to get much done in the fields with some surprise rainfall and amounts this past week. The rainfall frequency continues to leave its mark, with measurable precip being recorded on 15 out of 28 days in May at the ranch. Even though the amounts tailed off after the surprise overnight rain on the 22nd- 23rd, it continues to hamper any notions of getting corn herbicides applied. Aside from the potential for wash off, it’s difficult to see where it’s wet when the soil surface is constantly damp. Some may have areas to replant after water ponded again but with the muddy field conditions, it’s difficult to determine that just yet. Corn looks good all things considered though, despite the cooler temps last week. Soybeans continue to emerge and are looking good as well. Here again, there were intentions to apply pre-emergent herbicides that just didn’t pan out due to wet soil conditions. Sunshine and warmer temps are in order.

Same thing at the ranch in the garden department. Too early to start mudding the garden in although if it keeps it up, it may shift some of the intended planting. There are always things that will make it though and once planting it starts, the garden goes in fairly quickly. When growing a lot of vine crops, it covers a lot of real estate. Tomatoes also take up a fair amount of space too as it’s nice to have room between plants allowing them to dry off and limit disease potential. If we decide to plant sweet corn, that too is planted in an expeditious fashion. A planter makes the whole process smoother, with rows being planted in a matter of minutes.  The garden being located on a south facing slope doesn’t hurt as it seems to get going fast once it’s planted.

There are plenty of positives around the yard from a vegetation/floral perspective. Mrs. Cheviot’s pots and planters are in early summer form. They’re already on the hummingbirds’ radar. The peonies are just starting to open, and the rhubarb is huge after all the rain. All the bushes and smaller plants such as the astilbe and coral belles wintered well. Likewise with the hydrangea and burning bushes. Once the bunny guards were removed, they took off. Watering them frequently last year probably didn’t hurt. The LP tank is completely enveloped by the tiger lilies with only the lid showing. Probably the most pleasant surprise though has been the lupines. Planted three springs ago from seed, the plants were so spindly when they emerged, making me wonder if they’d ever amount to anything. After making slow progress last year, more of them are looking like they’ll be players. The clump that bloomed last year has a half dozen nice long blue flower spikes.

Looks like we may see the last ewe finally lamb after one more showed up on Sunday. There were indications that the last two suddenly bagged up. Thinking it could be a few weeks yet, it was a surprise to see a newbie during chores. Everyone is doing fine so we’re awaiting the one we’ve been looking for, for quite some time. It’s time to get weaning done as soon as pastures and fences are ready. No sense burning up any more hay than absolutely necessary for starters. Additionally, fat, greedy brood ewes competing with lambs irritate me greatly. When they beller after weaning, it makes up for some of the times they’ve nearly taken my feet out from under me when trying to feed them. Reason 2334 why we eat them.

Poppy was the lucky recipient of a tennis ball to play with, this time courtesy of Kristy from Krause’s. After 25 years of having Border Collies, we’d gotten away from tennis balls as they didn’t last long. Give dogs like Lucy or Ruby a tennis ball and within about 15 minutes, they’d peel the fuzzy covering off and swallow most of it. Luckily it passed through them, but you were constantly reminded when seeing yellow fuzz all over the lawn. With Ruby in particular the tennis balls didn’t last long. She had jaws of steel. Not long after she tore the covering off, she’d pop them! Not the case with Poppy. She brought the new tennis ball to me, ready to play when we first gave it to her. Within a few days, it was obvious she liked it just as much as the Chuckit balls, with only a minimal amount of chewing on the covering. She likes playing with it so much in fact, she loses it under the love seat just like all her other toys.

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

Offline Dotch

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No one ever spoke to Noah, they all laughed at him instead

The scurs took the Weather Eye back to the Nash Rambler dealer to get the wet weather out of its system. They opened it up and removed several mosquitoes. Will that make the difference, or will we continue wearing water wings? Starting Thursday, sunny with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Sunny on Friday with a slight chance of an overnight shower. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny on Saturday with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Sunday, sunny with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Sunny on Monday with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Tuesday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Partly sunny on Wednesday with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. On the 6th, our gaining daylight slows to one minute per day. We’ll only gain roughly three minutes of daylight from the 11th until the summer solstice on the 11th. The normal high for June 6th is 76 and the normal low is 56. Like Noah, the scurs may start construction on an ark soon. Don’t laugh.

Crops took it on the chin again this past week as more rainfall refilled the replant areas that had previously drowned out. Rain Friday afternoon and overnight ran from 2+” to 3+”. The lakes and ponds from May returned. Most worrisome to many was the lack of postemerge herbicide on their corn. There is still time, but that window is rapidly shrinking. Much of the corn was V4 – V5 with four or five collars showing this past week. Some herbicides are not labeled for aerial application and some, even if they are, applicators will refuse to apply them due to liability concerns. The soybeans that aren’t underwater are staying relatively clean, especially those where time allowed before or between rains for a pre-emerge application to be made. Many are sitting out here, however, without chemical weed control. While the weeds aren’t huge yet, it won’t take long before they’ll need to be addressed. Patience, grasshopper.

So how much rainfall have we been dealing with? At the ranch from April 1st through June 3rd, we’ve tallied 13.22”. In Bugtussle, we have accumulated 16.78”. Normal at the SROC in Waseca for April through June 30th is 13.15” and we only three days into June as of this writing. We have lots of June left to go. Incidentally, the growing season, May through September precipitation at the SROC is 23.72”. For May and the small sampling of June we’re at 12.05” in New Richland so halfway there already. So what does that bode for the nitrogen applied either last fall or this spring? Not well I’m afraid. Some were confident there was plenty of N leftover from last year’s crop, so upfront applications of N could be dialed back, then additional N applied if needed. This happened back in the early 90’s as well with disastrous results. We need a block of dry sunny weather to allow these root systems to work their way down in the profile and so supplemental N can be applied if/where necessary.

Little garden progress either. Watching a flush of crabgrass coming where the garden plot was burned down a month ago. Too wet too plant just yet and it may require another application of glyphosate in areas if it becomes too sodden. There are some things we may have to punt on soon if it doesn’t straighten out. Still, things like tomatoes, peppers, beans and sweet corn are fair game up until about July 4th. A second planting of string beans around that same time provides fresh beans until freeze up.. There are always options to plant for a fall garden as well. Winter radishes and their spring counterparts can be planted in late July or early August with good results. Snap peas while a little more hit and miss are always welcome when they hit. I’ve even been thinking of an option for the cannas if they don’t get put in soon. We have an old plastic water tank full of junk. The junk belongs in the dumpster. Fill the tank with potting soil and voila! Canna habitat. Gotta keep those hummingbirds happy.

We’ve been so blessed with birds heading into summer. There is nearly constant activity in the backyard or the side yard by the living room. The orioles, catbirds, and red-bellied woodpeckers frequent the jelly feeder throughout the day. The female orioles must be on the nest as they’re not appearing as often as they did a few weeks ago. There is some serious scolding coming from the silver maple in the pasture so suspect that may be where they’re incubating. The mosquitoes are so ferocious however that I don’t bother to find out. Hummingbirds are becoming more and more active. Everything is so lush and green they’re difficult to pick up against that background. Refill the nectar feeder in the crabapple and their familiar hum can be heard. There is also a male cardinal that sings his lungs out at any given time. I saw his sunflower feeder had run empty. Despite the bug population, it was refilled as soon as I could get to it. Regardless of the flying biting insects, have to reward anything that can sing that beautifully.
 
The fencing project at the kindly neighbors’ is nearing completion. It took some doing to essentially replace the fence that was there with one that would be reliable. To do that, electric fence is the cheapest, easiest and fastest route to go although some guidelines still need to be followed. For a decent fence that will keep sheep in, it takes three strands of charged wires or charged wires alternated with uncharged wires such as we had before. It helps if the sheep are wet when first exposed to it. Clean, dry wool is a nonconductor and in fact, early electrical wires were often insulated with it inside the outer wrap. It’s also a plus when the animals are trained on electric fence early on. Our lambs with the ewes get that experience at a young age. They learn quickly that yellow insulators are not your friend. It’s best to steer clear of them as well as the wire strung in between. It takes some time to do a fence right, especially if you dislike chasing animals after they get out. There are simply too many other things to do to budget time for that.
 
Had to make a quick run to the vet’s office on Saturday to replenish Poppy’s heartworm and tick medicine supply. When I got there I told them who I was and what I was there for. Immediately they wanted to know if Poppy was along! Apparently she must’ve made an impression in her previous visits. I laughed as people frequently ask about her and had to give them some good-natured ribbing about why no one is that glad to see me! It really doesn’t matter as protecting her from the six-legged and eight-legged pests is the main thing. That was the first errand I ran as I really didn’t want her to run out. Even though I didn’t take Poppy along to the vet’s office that day, there are always reminders wherever I am. There are usually Corgi hairs on my clothing or even on the keyboard. I can take a little bit of her wherever I go.

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

Offline Dotch

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Back where you belong

After the visit to the Nash Rambler dealer, the scurs got the Weather Eye back on track with some drier days. Will our improved conditions continue or are we set up for more disappointment? Starting Thursday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of forenoon rain. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Sunny on Friday with a modest chance of an overnight shower. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly cloudy on Saturday with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Sunday, partly sunny with a fair chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Can you say steam boys and girls? I knew you could. Mostly sunny on Monday with highs in the upper 80’s and lows in the mid-60’s. Tuesday, mostly cloudy with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the mid-60’s. Cloudy on Wednesday with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. On the 16th, sunrise is one minute later at 5:31 a.m. than it was a few days earlier. On the 17th, the sun sets at 8:59 p.m. We’ll only gain another 20 seconds of daylight prior to the summer solstice on the 20th. The normal high for June 17th is 79 and the normal low is 59. The scurs will count on more fan mail if these drier conditions continue.

Farmers wasted little time before getting back into spraying mode once again. Between nuisance rains that camouflaged the wet spots and windspeeds clocked at over 40 mph, it was tough to make much headway. On Monday though, sprayer operators had their ears pinned back and were giving it their all. It was a near perfect day for it and one could see progress being made with few interruptions or machines falling victim to the quagmire. Much of the corn was about at the limit in height but with weeds actively growing and rain in the forecast, applications were made. When wind was an issue some had their side dressing rigs rolling. Perfect timing for that.
 
Some replanting in both corn and soybeans still going on as well. Some are seeing reminders of the areas they left last year resulting in plenty of weeds this year. Corn has been going through the ugly duckling stage where it changes over from the initial seminal root system to the nodal root system. Many fields looked good out of the chute and within a few weeks after lots of precip and cloudy days, such was not the case. Many fields suddenly looked ratty and uneven. Every field is different and the variables in each one are different. Can’t necessarily use a one size fits all reason for their less than thrifty appearance. Some fields still look great although as several of us discussed, performance one year is no guarantee of that same performance the next. Mother Nature doesn’t play fair and always holds the trump card.

Gardening at the ranch remains on hold although it’s like many projects. Once there’s time, it can happen in a hurry. Making time is usually the issue and this time is no exception. Looking at and concerning myself with everyone else’s problems first and many things become a “doctor heal thyself” issues. I did make another burndown application Monday night ahead of what potentially could be another rainy spell. The crabgrass was like a carpet and trying to kill it all with the tiller would be unrewarding. There was plenty of purslane and redroot pigweed as well so once there’s a window to plant, at least we won’t be battling the entire Russian army.

In the meantime, we managed to finish the fencing project at the kindly neighbors’ with his help. It was a battle and in several instances, things just wanted to fight. Stringing three new strands of wire up and down the hills took some doing but we kept at it. There’s still one area down in the northeast corner of the pasture where some erosion has caused potential concern. An additional post or panel needs to be put in place although it’s far from being an emergency. It could be a month or two before the sheep get there given the amount of grass there is. Once satisfied the fence was sheep-worthy, I plugged it in to charge it. Something didn’t sound right. The “click” wasn’t sharp enough. I walked around the side of the building and sure enough, the hot wire was touching the steel building. Once remedied, it sounded and worked perfectly. It blew all five bars on the fence tester too. Everything was a “go”.

We were extremely fortunate to have friends who offered to help us wean the next day. Without them we couldn’t have pulled it off or at very least, it would’ve taken a lot longer. The sheep were ornery and stubborn as Cheviots always are, but they were outmatched. Thanks to our enlisted help, we managed to get 40 plus lambs weaned and put the brood ewes at home out to pasture. As part of the process, we also sorted the group to go to the kindly neighbors’ pasture into the trailer. It took just over an hour and a half. Even the sheep couldn’t believe how quickly it all happened. Afterwards there were some celebratory refreshments. Once our help left, we had to contend with a day of bellering. The next day, silence, our favorite sound.

There was one fly in the ointment: One of this spring’s ewe lambs developed a talent for jumping over the creep panel once she became too wide to squeeze between the rollers. Apparently she transferred that ability into jumping over a couple panels to get back in with her mother again. As they say, they may get loose, but they never get away. She’s also a show lamb candidate. Once back where she belongs, she’ll be a roomie with the 4-H market wether ewe residing there. She’ll have to contend with Avary who doesn’t take any guff from show animals. The panels in that pen are also 4’ tall. If the lamb clears that, she should try out for the Olympic high jumping team. We’ve only had one ram make it over the top of those. His stay at the ranch was cut short following that stunt. He received an all-expenses paid trip to Zumbrota shortly afterwards.

Poppy had another week of toy losing. While she’s an active little Corgi, those stubby little legs make it difficult to fish things out sometimes. Her favorite toy, the blue Chuck It ball with the squeaker in it went missing for days. We looked high and low in all the usual places but to no avail. Finally, during one noon hour trip home I spied it in behind some stuff stashed in a hallway. She seldom goes in there, but no happier dog could’ve been found after it was retrieved. A few days later, the ball went missing again. Thinking that she’d probably lost it in the normal spots we looked there first. No go. Went back to the hallway hiding spot. Nothing there either. Finally went to another place we hadn’t looked for a while. Under the microwave cart in the utility room. There it was. Everything was right with the world again as far as Poppy was concerned. We were just thankful to be done crawling on our hands and knees for another week.

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

Offline LPS

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Rambler American Motors was so far ahead of their time.  Gas was cheap back then so mileage makers weren't that big of a deal.  If they would have hung on for another few years they may have prospered.  I had a couple of them. 

Offline Dotch

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Ya, I had an appreciation for what AMC was. Lots of them in the family. After owning a Vega, my Gremlin was a breath of fresh air. Simple & easy to work on. Some of those click bait deals where they rate the all-time worst vehicles include the Gremlin. Obviously they never actually owned or drove one & paid for their own gas back in the 70's. They were cheap transportation and for the college student working their way thru school on a budget, it worked. Rode decent, got good mileage, had a large fuel tank (21 gal.) & cruising range. I drove a '79 AMC Jeep CJ-7 for a while when I was working in ND. Only bad thing was AMC bought a bunch of underpowered 4 cyl. Iron Puke GM engines & stuck in them, reputedly to meet EPA emissions standards. It developed a miss that no one could ever figure out. The vehicle itself was OK but it would've been better with either the 232 or 258 AMC sixes. My brother had a Rambler American when he lived in Venezuela. Very reliable little car. Same 232 6 in it AMC used in many of their vehicles. My folks had an Eagle for many years. Perfect car for them. Fulltime 4 wheel drive and easy for older folks to get in and out of. They were the predecessor to the SUV that everyone seems to be driving today. Friend of mine in the car club has one he takes on cruises sometimes. Has the 258 6 in it. It's still in its work clothes. Always has a lot of clothing, sleeping bags & assorted crap in it. The one guy asked him when he was on a cruise, "Do you live in there?"  :rotflmao:     
« Last Edit: June 06/12/24, 10:19:38 AM by Dotch »
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline LPS

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There were some diehard fans of them.  I was a Jeep guy for many years too

Offline Dotch

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It’s a heartache, nothing but a heartache

Another trip to the Nash Rambler dealer is in the offing for the scurs and the Weather Eye. Does the heartbreaking rainfall stop soon or continue for perpetuity? Starting Thursday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of rain. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Partly sunny on Friday with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Mostly cloudy on Saturday with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Sunday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny on Monday with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the low 60’s. Tuesday, cloudy with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Sunny on Wednesday with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. On June 20th we’ll see the summer solstice, marking the longest daylength of the year at 15 hours and 28 minutes. Our Full Moon for the month occurs the next day on the 21st. The normal high for June 20th is 80 and the normal low is 60. The scurs know that with the shorter days that lie ahead, rainfall will lessen. Then it will snow.

The Full Moon is on Friday and goes primarily by the Full Strawberry Moon. Most agree that this summer delicacy is among their favorites. Few things better than strawberry shortcake with fresh ripe strawberries and real whipped cream. On ice cream, cereal or in jams, it’s hard to beat this sweet, juicy red fruit. Depending on whose info one accesses, the alternate names for this full moon include The Flowering Moon, The Green Corn Moon, The Honey Moon or the Rose Moon. The Ojibwe and Sioux who agreed on little at least could agree that this was The Strawberry Moon. At the ranch it has been the Full Lawnmowing Moon. Without a good mowing every four of five days, the ranch starts to look like the place has been abandoned.

More rainfall adding insult to injury this past week. Our rainfall amounts are on a record pace thus far. With 8.4” falling in May in Bugtussle and over 7.6” so far in June, we’re only two months into the official growing season. At the SROC in Waseca, the May – Sept. precip for the past 30 years is 23.72”. With three months remaining, the odds are pretty fair that we’ll give that a run for its money. Crop conditions here in South Central MN have suffered as a result. Some of the replant areas are back underwater again. In the corn, odds are against them replanting anything that will make corn even though there are some early hybrids that would still make corn given an extended growing season and no more drown outs. On the soybeans, past experience indicates we can still expect adapted soybean varieties to make it, planted up through about July 10th. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long.

Looks like the corn rootworm hatch is underway. On the 11th, I spied the first fireflies of the season which roughly coincides with the emergence of corn rootworm larvae from overwintering eggs. Unlike corn rootworms however, the fireflies cause no economic crop injury and are pleasing to the eye when they make their appearance each year. Those I saw that first night had a very rapid flashing cadence. Looking at it from inside the house, I thought at first it was an airplane off in the distance. Closer observation brought a smile to my face. Looking forward to another season of viewing these unique insects through much of August. Unlike some reports of their demise, our fireflies continue to flourish. If anything, numbers have increased over the years with some nights approaching surreal when gazing across the dark backyard and pasture.
 
One insect that didn’t make us smile this last week were the earwigs. Mrs. Cheviot had mentioned something was eating the potted dahlia and salvia. She’d mentioned earwigs as a possibility although none were seen on the plants. After finding earwigs in a birdfeeder full of damp seed, I investigated further. I lifted up one of the flowerpots on the patio and voila! There were dozens of earwigs underneath, seeking shelter from the daylight where it’s nice and damp. Earwigs are wet weather insects and can appear almost anywhere. I’ve even found them occasionally in soybean fields, especially near building sites. Their erratic shaped leaf feeding looks like nothing else and staying under a moist canopy is to their liking. We improvised and dealt with the bunch at the ranch harshly. Looking again later in the day, there was no sign of them. Since the insecticides we used had little residual, repeat treatments are likely. I’m guessing others may also be seeing these pests, so a link is included below on earwigs.

 https://extension.umn.edu/nuisance-insects/earwigs

A slight window of opportunity opened early last week to till some garden after using another dose of burndown on the weeds last Monday. Early Wednesday morning I took advantage of it and planted much of the plot. Eight rows of sweet corn went in first, followed by eight hills of squash, 16 hills of pumpkins, and 18 hills of gourds. Since everyone was in spray mode with rain heading in, just before lunch, I snuck home to put the 16 hills of cucumbers, 4 hills of zucchini, and two rows of string beans in. I’d hoped to plant two more rows of beans, but it rained me out. A few days later I managed to squeeze those two rows in and plant six rows of four o’clocks for the sphinx moths and hummingbirds. On Saturday, with help from my friend, we planted the canna bulbs, placing the last of them in the trenches just as the rain began to fall. This Tuesday morning, several of the hills of vine crops were starting to emerge thanks to the warm wet weather. Timing is everything.

Poppy’s week was inhibited at times by all the rain but anytime there was an opportunity, we had her outside with us. The garden is still one of her favorite spots. She actually stays around fairly well when planting or picking vegetables. Her favorite veggies from last year were the string beans. The short stature of a Corgi worked perfectly as she’d nearly disappear between the dense foliage, while eating pods to her little heart’s content. The sunflowers were a favorite place to get cooled down. Their large leaves created a shady spot to hide and stay cool while doing it. Getting her to the garden has been more the issue this year. Poppy’s low undercarriage drags in the wet grass so keeping the lawn mowed has been a top priority. No one likes their tummy tickled by long wet grass or to be bothered by mosquitoes when they’re looking for place to relieve themselves.

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

Offline Dotch

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Run, rabbit run.

After hitting it with a ballpeen hammer, the scurs may have the Weather Eye back on the right track. Does our consecutive days without rain streak continue or do the scurs need a bigger hammer? Starting Thursday, partly sunny with a good chance of evening rain. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Partly sunny on Friday with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny on Saturday with highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Sunday, sunny with a modest chance of evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Partly sunny on Monday with a good chance of rain. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Tuesday, partly sunny with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Partly sunny on Wednesday with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. On June 28th, we’ve already lost over one-half minute of daylight. On July 1st, we’ll see our last 9 p.m. sunset of the summer. The normal high for June 28th is 81 and the normal low is 61. Bad news: The scurs sneak peek at the July 4th forecast. Mostly cloudy with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. High in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s.  The good news: No snow!

Another brutal week of rainfall just passed. We went for eight consecutive days starting June 16th with measurable precip. We recorded 7.18” of rain in that time frame and 7.35” in Bugtussle. More insult to injury Saturday when a nasty little storm left those in town without power until mid-evening and hailed on several area fields as well. Some operators would just as soon it had put the already ugly crop out of its misery although one needs be careful what you wish for. You just might get it along with some of the unexpected consequences. A lot of soybean fields remain to be sprayed as of this writing with virtually no progress made last week. Although not perfect, the forecast this week looks more promising. Some soybean herbicides cannot legally be aerial applied, and others will soon be off label in terms of soybean development. The clock is ticking.

The garden has some of the same water issues. One of our main reasons for moving it to its present site was the fact it’s on a south-facing slope. Theoretically, it should dry faster and be better for vegetables that don’t like wet feet. That is until you get more than a foot of rain in the month of June. A sidehill seep has developed and as a result, we have had water running through the sweet corn and string bean plantings. The sweet corn came up well as did about half the string beans. Looks like stabbing in more in that planting and another planting could be made sometime around July 4th when the soil conditions are fit. So far we’re off to a good start on pumpkins and squash as well as decorative gourds. Cucumbers are more hit and miss, with about half the hills having plants in them. Only one zucchini too so may have to stab in another few hills of that. Tomatoes and peppers are holding their own although they too could use some sunny, dry weather. Couldn’t we all?

So how have the sheep and the lamb crop done since weaning a few weeks back? The first day or two was a little noisy but since then, the only time you hear a peep out of the ewes is when some get separated from the main group. Otherwise they’ve been eating constantly with no shortage of tall, green grass. The ewe lamb that decided she needed to stay with the brood ewes was plucked out of that group the next day. When I placed her in the pen with a market ewe, she managed to climb over the top of the 4’ high panel. Even so, she remained in with the group of lambs rather than running loose in the pasture. The lambs too are focused on eating, getting some grain to go along with some good quality hay. They’ve really blossomed with the removal of competition from the brood ewes. We put some panels in the possible escape routes just in case there was another jailbreak. So far, no encore performances.
 
Another Back to the 50’s car show is in the books. The Silver Hawk was cleaned up within a reasonable level when we left for Falcon Heights Saturday morning. Traffic moved through the I-35 construction zone smoothly. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and after some rainy stretches Friday and Saturday, people were out in droves. It took a little longer to get in the gate than some years as a result. Saw all kinds of old cars of course. Lots of old people too although there were a lot more younger folks than in recent memory. Took in the swap meet for the first time. All my secretary and I could think of was loading up all the junk already in our garages and hauling it around from place to place. No thanks. There were some interesting items, not all of them necessarily automobile related. Luckily it all stayed on the fairgrounds and didn’t come home with us. We got on the road around 2:30 and sailed out of the Twin Cities in fine shape, the Silver Hawk able to go with the flow of traffic. South of Northfield, traffic on I-35 slowed to a snail’s pace and stopped on several occasions. We ditched the traffic snarl at Faribault and came home the scenic route on the backroads. Nothing better than a good old-fashioned crop tour to end the day’s festivities.

Poppy has had more people time with all the wet weather. She also gets more exercise following us around and playing indoors while waiting for the weather to change. The garden taking shape doesn’t hurt as she’s drawn to it like a magnet. She’s developed a little Corgi trail where she chases her squirrels and bunnies coming off the porch. It also extends on towards the garden. There, she’s discovered new prey to chase in the form of striped gophers. The slope is littered with their holes. Almost caught one the other night as the rodent didn’t know quite what to think. There was a lot of commotion by both parties involved. There has been little evidence of gopher activity ever since these encounters started. It’s nice to know that someone’s keeping the garden safe from varmints and Poppy is enjoying her job. As long as she doesn’t start digging holes, we’re good.

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