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Online Dotch

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 :banghead: :banghead: :taz: :swords:

Glad you find it interesting. Coming from a furloughed union thug, I suppose I have to take it.  :rotflmao:

There are perhaps between 20 - 30 individuals like myself scattered across the state. We are independent consultants with varying backgrounds however. We're not tied to a seed, chemical or fertilizer supplier or supported by a govt. agency. Farmers or other individuals hire us to provide unbiased technical services and data for them. I haven't seen everything but I've seen a lot. I've been working in crop management for 39 seasons between MN & ND; 36 of it has been as an independent consultant and 3 years working retail fertilizer, feed, seed & chemical in MN as well. Not bad experience to have because it gives one an understanding of that side of the industry as well.

I've expanded my reach to a more national and international level too. In two weeks it'll make 17 years of participating on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. I've been able to see a lot of the eastern corn belt and become friends with a lot of folks not only in the US but from all over the world. It's been very interesting to see & hear about what goes on other than just in our own backyard.

As Extension budgets have been increasingly slashed, I also find myself answering a lot of questions over the course of a year from individuals about yard and garden weeds, insects and diseases. Tracking down someone in Extension to answer a question has become more and more difficult. It's much easier to dump it on my desk and leave a note. I have in a sense become Hank Kimball, sans the govt. funding.  :doah:       
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Online glenn57

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 :happy1: :happy1: :rotflmao: thanks dotch......... very interesting.
2015 deer slayer!!!!!!!!!!

Offline mike89

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:happy1: :happy1: :rotflmao: thanks dotch......... very interesting.

2nd that!!
a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work!!

Online LPS

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Good for you Dotch.  That sounds great and you have done well Pilgrim! 

Online glenn57

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Good for you Dotch.  That sounds great and you have done well Pilgrim!
:tut:. Now don't tell him stuff like that. :confused: it'll go to his head. :rotflmao:
2015 deer slayer!!!!!!!!!!

Online Dotch

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It's the politics of contraband
It's the smuggler's blues

After a moderately successful forecast, the scurs and their Weather Eye will hone in on this week. Will our September temps continue or does summer return? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a good chance of evening showers. Highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, partly sunny with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Partly sunny Friday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Saturday, partly sunny with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Monday, sunny becoming cloudy with a fair chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Partly cloudy for Tuesday with highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. On August 6th the sun sets at 8:30 p.m. CDT as we’re losing daylight at about 2 ˝ minutes per day. The normal high for August 10th is 81 and the normal low is 60. The scurs will be dialing their alarm clock back as a result of the lessening daylight. Got too much sleep said no one ever.
 
Mother Nature put the brakes on this past week with very mid-September like temperatures. That’s OK. There’s plenty of time and we’ve been playing with the lead. Much of the corn has reached the dough stage and would make those prime roasting ears as they used to say. Many of the soybeans have progressed into the early R5 stage. Flowering in many fields has ceased and this should make it more difficult for white mold to get going. The heat in July and lengthy periods of drier weather didn’t hurt the cause either. Soybean aphids are present and while they bear watching, making a blanket statement that they are on the increase in every field would be a scare tactic. It applies to some fields and not to others.
 
Some followed the old “toss it in with the fungicide” insecticide routine and rumblings from these fields are that aphid numbers are increasing. No surprise there. Knock out the beneficial insect populations and prevent beneficial fungi from developing. Soybean aphid populations respond accordingly. Also not surprisingly in areas where this wasn’t done, there is a subtle presence of beneficial insects on the increase including multi-colored Asian ladybeetles, lacewings, syrphid flies and minute pirate bugs. One of the latter was drilling its piercing-sucking mouthparts into my arm while I was driving the other day. Amazing how a tiny insect with a noticeable bite can get your attention in a hurry. Later that day I saw one in action, taking out aphids on a soybean leaf. My eyes weren’t deceiving me.

Just as it has for the crops, the cooler weather has slowed our later planted garden progress. The cucumber vines expanded during the warm weather although there aren’t many setting yet. The heirloom Tendergreen string beans from Betsy’s Dad did come through though. That first meal is always the best. The four o’clocks are starting to bloom just in time for what appears to be an increase in hummingbird activity. The cannas too are just about to flower, the red spike inflorescences ready to burst open with the next warm day. The morning glories continue skyward up the electric pole in the middle of the yard. Each year one wonders if they’ll ever make it the way they start out. The zucchinis? I’ve never heard anyone admit they had a zucchini crop failure, unless of course it was self-inflicted.

We may be starting our lambing season early again if indications are correct. With the cooler temps we’ve been noticing ewes sparring in the mornings. This is usually a good sign they’re coming in heat, something that happens about every 14 – 16 days. If what we saw comes to fruiting it would put lambs on the ground sometime around the end of December to early January. In the meantime the sheep come on a dead run the instant something is tossed over the fence, knowing it’s most likely edible. I know people like that.
 
Sunday saw the potential for another cruise for the car club as the weather looked extremely favorable. Clear Lake IA was our destination. Arrangements were made and invitations were sent out. The week prior I’d helped coordinate procurement of some parts through an Owatonna implement dealership for my brother in IA. As luck would have it the parts arrived in Owatonna Friday making a weekend hookup a possibility. A made only in MN delicacy of bovine origin also became part of the equation. My great uncle was a bootlegger so I felt up to the task.

The cruise was largely uneventful. Relaxing actually to escape the political climate of MN. No masks required or checkpoints and Mrs. Cheviot riding shotgun as we crossed the border I had a positive feeling. With the Silver Hawk gliding along the smooth two lane roads in third gear overdrive, it made for pleasant cruising. Likewise when we’d slow down for a town, running in second gear overdrive was about the right speed for those patented Iowa 25 mph speed zones. Once to Clear Lake and The Other Place we were well accommodated as they opened up their outdoor seating area for us. With 14 cars and 25 people wanting to be seated together, that’s not always an easy task. While there the drop went down undetected in the parking lot: A skidsteer muffler and three lbs. of Hope Creamery butter changed hands. Contraband safely making its destination across state lines in a Studebaker. Who’d a thunk it? Maybe I should buy a plane…
 
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)

Online Dotch

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Everybody knows this is nowhere

The scurs and the Weather Eye got the rain right again. Is summer back on for August or do we take another sneak peek at September? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a fair chance of evening showers. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Partly sunny Friday with a fair chance of evening rain. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Monday, sunny becoming cloudy with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny for Tuesday with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. On August 15th we’re back under 14 hours of daylight for the first time since April 26th. The normal high for August 15th is 81 and the normal low is 60. The scurs know all too well it’ll only get worse until after Christmas. Time to build up those reserves for winter.

Crops continue to make good progress although the cooler temperatures did slow it down a tad. That’s not all bad. With our rainfall tending to come in bunches with extended periods between rains, conserving the moisture doesn’t hurt. Some of the early planted, early maturing corn hybrids were starting to exhibit some dimpled kernels this past week. At full dent, it takes roughly a month for corn to reach physiological maturity. Likewise early planted 1.5 – 1.8 maturity soybeans were rounding the corner on R5 last week with perhaps a week to go until they reach R6 when the seed fills the pod cavity entirely. Soybean aphids, while becoming easier to find, are likely to pose the biggest threat to the later maturing, later planted soybeans and in particular those replanted after the June hailstorm event.

I’m leaving on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour on Saturday. The weather events of August 10th have flattened corn across much of IA, IL and IN. While we received some hail in the early hours on the 10th and more about mid-morning, the damage it caused pales by comparison to what was evident on social media across the border to our south. While it would’ve been better had we not experienced the windstorm event here that goose-necked a lot of our corn pre-tassel, at least it had some opportunity to stand back up. Much of the corn pictured on social media from IA is flat, much of it with a month to six weeks to go until maturity. Some of it is snapped off entirely which will decrease yields right off the bat. That which isn’t snapped is flat and will stay that way. Harvesting it will make what we have to deal with presently look like a cake walk.
 
Meanwhile, back at the ranch we continue to see our late planted garden slowly but surely come online. The first cucumbers we’ve produced in several years made their way into the house Monday. Many more are on their way. Recent rains and warmer temps will expedite the process. String beans have been producing well and the rain will suit them just fine as well. The cherry and grape tomatoes have been productive enough to satisfy our tomato fix for a while. That first BLT may not come until September however. Even the zucchinis have gotten into the act. Not sure how many we’ll actually eat but hey, the sheep love them! We’ve been fortunate to have plenty of sweet corn from local sources too. Between the cobs and husks the sheep are living the dream.
 
They’re also the beneficiaries of the numerous ground fall apples and now pears at the ranch. This is the first year they’ve been exposed to the pears so it’s interesting to see what they do with them. The ram in the pasture at home seemed to take a shine to them right away. However, once his harem moved off to the pasture he felt obligated to follow them. When I checked the offerings I’d tossed over the fence the next day, there were a few of both the apples and pears left. There aren’t nearly as many pears as apples but there’s no doubt there will be ground fall apples for them to eat for several months.

We continue to see orioles although we know full well that after the first week in September all bets are off at our feeders. Several I’ve talked to indicate they’ve seen no orioles for quite some time so they stopped feeding them. Not us. For a while we were seeing primarily young orioles. Whether they were locals or travelling through was anyone’s guess. Then on Sunday morning we saw the first fully colored Baltimore male we’ve seen in a long time. He apparently liked something enough to stick around on Monday. The jelly feeders had run dry so he helped himself to the nectar feeder with no complaints. He’s got lots of company. The hummingbirds had staked a claim to it earlier so they had to use the other nectar feeder. They also have the option to feed on petunias, salvia, morning glories, four o’clocks and the cannas that flower increasingly daily. No one goes hungry at the ranch.

Speaking of that, Auntie Mar Mar’s visit Saturday night was long overdue. We dined and laughed most of the evening. She blessed us with a large container of sugar cookies and a fresh baked pan of blueberry coffee cake. Paired with Hope Creamery butter it’s to die for. She also brought fireworks. Since we couldn’t get together over the 4th we shot them off out in the yard. We’re out in the middle of nowhere so it’s no big deal. As long as no one was killed or maimed in the process was the main thing. There might have even been a couple adult beverages consumed somewhere along the way. When the dust settled it was well past 1 a.m. and way past bedtime for old geezers. After cleaning up some of the aftermath the next day I took the best nap since Gov. Walz started doing those daily COVID briefings. I figured they must serve some useful purpose.

See you next week...real good then.

https://t.co/XGGubYYMf2        
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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Have some sympathy and some taste

The scurs and the Weather Eye set their sights on another week’s forecast disappointed in the temperature but dancing in the rain. Does September mean fall or does more August lie ahead? Starting Wednesday, sunny with a slight chance of evening rain. Highs in the low 90’s with lows in the upper 60’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with a good chance of thunderstorms in the overnight. Highs in the upper 80’s with lows in the mid-60’s. Partly sunny Friday with a modest chance of forenoon rain. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday, sunny with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with increasing rain chances into the evening hours. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Monday, partly sunny with a good chance of forenoon rain. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Cloudy for Tuesday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Tuesday is September 1st and the 2nd ushers in the Full Moon for the month. The normal high for both days is 77 and the normal low is 56. The scurs have no plans for the week other than to planning to make plans.

The Full Moon as mentioned occurs on September 2nd and this time around anyway goes by the Full Corn Moon. Typically two out of three years anyway, the September Full Moon is the Full Harvest Moon. Due to its early date in September, the Full Moon in October is close to the autumnal equinox. This September’s Full Moon is the Full Corn Moon as this is the month the Native American tribes began harvesting their corn. The Ojibwe knew this as The Rice Moon for the wild rice they would harvest over the next month. The Sioux called it the Moon when Plums are Scarlet. At the ranch, it will go by the Full Apple Moon as the trees like the field crops have been pushed along in rapid fashion. Can pie, apple crisp and ice cream be far behind?

With the weather turning on the afterburners we’re moving this crop along at warp speed. Corn has largely dented as of this week and most of the soybeans are now in the R6 stage. Some soybean aphid treatment was required on some replant fields which was only logical. Soybean aphids are looking for protein and that’s the best place to find it presently. Some fields are starting to turn. Some of this is normal depending on maturity. Along with that, SDS has reared its ugly head although its appearance is later than some years. Soybean breeding programs have made steady progress against it and seed treatments have also helped. The advanced maturity of this crop will likely mean minimal damage from the disease in most fields. Also present has been the diaporthe/phomopsis disease complex, noticeable particularly in areas of fields that have been under some moisture stress or on compacted headlands. There have even been some scattered plants of white mold identified along with a midge that feeds on it. It looks very much like the soybean gall midge but doesn’t cause the same issues at least not all by itself.

Something that became very evident while I was on Crop Tour last week was how fortunate we’ve been so far in South Central MN when it comes to rainfall and avoiding wind of the magnitude they had in IA. Crops in IA, IL, IN and OH were all in need of rain to help them finish out the season on a positive note. As of this writing, rainfall has been spotty across IA and the eastern corn belt. Temps are also very warm. Many of the small pods we counted as potential on the soybeans will likely abort in those states. Corn will likely be tipping back so the yields we measured will likely be reduced in many areas. Conversely, in this area of MN, we should be able to maintain what we saw and what we measured here was very impressive.
 
The rainfall has been good for lots of things. If you wished you could mow lawn more often you got your wish. Our garden at the ranch is rolling right now. The cucumbers we’ve missed out on the past few years now give us about 10 a day so we’re back into giving them away. Given the slow, rough start they had I wouldn’t have bet on them being anywhere near that productive. The zucchini has developed powdery mildew so at least there is that. The green beans are close to being done after several gallons worth of production. The full-sized tomatoes are coming online and they are vegetable exhibit quality so far.  The plants have also been very healthy with some of them being around six feet tall.
 
The flowering plants have also been outstanding, responding to the bountiful rainfall and warm summer temps. The morning glories, scourge of farmers including former IL ice cream store magnate Bob Willerton, have reached a record height this year on the power pole. They show no sign of stopping soon either much to the hummingbirds delight. Speaking of that, the hummers are extremely active right now, hitting petunias, cannas and the four o’clocks when they’re open. Betsy’s Dad and I concur: These four o’clocks don’t open until the sun is getting low. That or they’re on Hawaiian time. We’ve concluded they should probably be renamed eight o’clocks. The orioles I thought would be absent upon my return from Crop Tour reappeared shortly after filling the jelly feeders. There is still an assortment of both Baltimore and orchard orioles. There were four of them taking turns on the feeders Tuesday a.m. as I walked out the door and headed for Bugtussle.

As mentioned the apple trees are just loaded and others are saying the same thing. Not sure if my getting up in the wee hours of the morning and spraying the trees with the garden hose to keep the blossoms from freezing back in May had anything to do with it; it apparently didn’t hurt. Some of the branches are so heavy they’re touching the ground. The trees are sloughing off a few apples so there are some to pick up daily. While I sympathize with the Cheviots in their wool coats during this heat they’re tickled about their endless supply of ground fall apples. Again, doing some investigative work it’s been determined their favorite is the Honeycrisp. That pile disappeared more rapidly than the other pile did. The pears that made their way over the fence are also on the Cheviot’s approved list. I think there are humans who would agree they have good taste.

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)

Online Dotch

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There's something here that doesn't last too long

As if on cue the scurs and the Weather Eye predicted a cooldown and we got it. Will it be permanent or is this just a brief intro to autumn? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Sunny Friday with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the low 50’s. Saturday, sunny with a slight chance of evening showers. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with fair rain chances into the evening hours. Highs in the low 70’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Labor Day, partly sunny with a modest chance of  rain. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Mostly sunny for Tuesday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. On September 5th we drop below 13 hours of daylight for the first time since April 5th. The normal high for Labor Day September 7th is 76 and the normal low is 54.The scurs have Labor Day off. Actually they have every day off.

The crops didn’t take any days off this past week and were pushed hard by the heat. Fortunately the abundant August rainfall kept them from going backwards and moderating temps over the weekend didn’t hurt. Monday’s surprise rainfall started to refill the tank for next year as we had plenty of moisture to finish our crop already. The milk line on the corn has started to come down in most fields. Many of them were closing in on half milk line as of Monday. Likewise with soybeans with everything except replants being well into R6. Some earlier planted earlier maturing fields are starting to change fast especially with the rain. Leaves are turning and lower leaves in particular are dropping. It’s entirely possible with normal temperatures that we could see some soybeans combined as soon as 3 weeks from now. With warmer temps it could come even faster than that.
 
I made another journey into IA this past weekend and couldn’t believe how rapidly the heat has changed their crop. Corn that had still been green two weeks ago on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour was burning up. It added insult to injury in areas where the derecho had hit. Not only was the corn flat it was dying prematurely as well. Soybeans weren’t faring much better. It was easy to see in places in fields where they were out of gas and cashing it in. Some of those pods there was a chance of filling were history with the heat and no rain. It was easy to see small areas that were lucky enough to receive a timely rain. The crops looked very similar to what we’re seeing here.

It is a transitional time of year and one that I’ve always enjoyed even though it doesn’t last too long. The bird song that was constant well into July has become quiet. The orioles are still here though and while buying one last jar of jelly, TP at the grocery store confided that she had started feeding them again too. Seems one had shown up and it needed to be fed. Apparently it told its friends. At the ranch we still have a half dozen regular customers since my return from Crop Tour. All of them appear to be Baltimore type with a couple full colored males. Also increasing in numbers are the hummingbirds. The cannas are in full bloom now and along with everything else, they should have it made up until the time they decide to pull the pin.

The white-lined sphinx moths show up in late August to early September and this year has been no exception. The first one spotted was working over the petunias on the patio. No surprise there. When grilling a few nights ago I didn’t see any so decided to check out the four o’clocks about dusk to see if any of them were working them over. Sure enough, there was one taking its time helping itself to the recently opened flowers. It had cooled down some and the flowers had responded with another explosion of the lightly scented blooms. Monday night I checked and I heard the sudden whirring of wings not unlike that of a hummingbird. That too will be coming to a close. The shortening day length has the four o’clocks beginning to set seed. I’ll be thinking of the flowers, birds and moths fondly in January. Oh would that it could stay like this until then.

Ruby has had a relatively easy summer. Staying in air conditioned comfort for much of has caused her shedding to be delayed up until recently. I brushed a grocery bag full of hair off of her then turned around a week or so later and got another partial bag full. There have been plenty of storms to keep her occupied. The surprise thunderstorm early Monday morning was no exception. I’d heard something around 2 a.m. so rolled over and fell back asleep. I was until about 2:30 that.  All the sudden there was a scared red and white Border Collie on my head trying to burrow underneath me. I tend to like garden variety thunderstorms. Ruby not so much.
 
Labor Day has been one for some great memories. Last year I saw ZZ Top and Cheap Trick with my little fat buddy on Labor Day. I’m sure my Mom might’ve remembered Labor Day in 1968 fairly well. It was the year she got her first automatic washing machine after using an old wringer washer ever since she and Dad were married. The first one she had was even powered by a gasoline motor that had a kick starter on it. I was young enough so I never saw it in action but loved to crank the old motor over in hopes that it’d take off. A little gasoline might’ve helped. The rinse tubs also were a thing of the past. Dad also purchased a new clothes dryer for Mom that Labor Day. The old one had likely seen its better days. It was a gas dryer. At the other farm when sparrows got into it through the vent there was always the concern they’d get lit up and start the dryer on fire. We were just happy to have the appliance boxes to play in. They probably got lit up too after Dad got tired of us fighting in them. Good times.

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)

Online Dotch

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But we missed that shift on the long decline
Long may you run.

The rain befuddled the scurs and their Weather Eye last week. Otherwise it was generally some beautiful early fall weather. Are we edging closer to October or can we avoid Jack Frost one more week? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a good chance of rain. Highs in the upper 40’s with lows in the upper 30’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the mid- 40’s. Mostly cloudy Friday with a good chance of evening showers & thunderstorms.  Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the low 50’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of forenoon showers. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the low 50’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Monday, partly sunny with a modest chance of evening rain. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Partly sunny for Tuesday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 50’s. On September 11th the sun will set at 7:30 p.m. CDT. The normal high for September 11th is 75 and the normal low is 52. Fresh off a restful Labor Day the scurs are ready to tear into it. After a nap of course.

Crop progress was slowed somewhat due to the cooler conditions of this past week. Most corn was at or near half milk line with some earlier planted early maturity hybrids barely showing any milk line left. Preliminary estimates are this is a great corn crop but may have lost some of its potential when the winds blew pre-tassel the 2nd week in July. Soybeans are turning in some cases rapidly and in others where the maturities are later, some expression of a color other than green is starting to be noticeable. The soybeans may be the sleeper in all this. They’ve quietly filled their pods and more than one individual has expressed excitement once they’ve seen just how many pods the plants set. Conditions for them to finish have been ideal. Plenty of warmth and rainfall. Just like the doctor ordered.

It appears the fall bird migration is underway at the ranch. It appears the last of our local barn swallows may have flown the coop. On Saturday there was a large number of swallows on the electric lines across from the dooryard. Am guessing they convinced them to come along. The orioles are faltering although after seeing none Monday a.m. there was one on the jelly feeder just before sunset. Will probably keep a tablespoonful in the feeder dishes in case there are more stragglers this week. If nothing else the blue jays will eventually clean it up. The hummingbirds have been just nuts especially on the warmer days. I was convinced a couple of them were going to take my head clean off when I looked up and saw them flying right at me. I ducked but didn’t need to.  As adept as they are at maneuvering they would’ve missed me.

The recent rains have certainly kept the lawns green and lush including the crabgrass. The fall bluegrass regrowth after never really going dormant in the first place has made for more lawn mowing ad nauseum. It takes a five hour commitment to mow the lawn at the ranch. It only happens once a week therefore whether it needs it or not. I can honestly say it needed it all summer. Fortunately it looks like Howard and Whitey have made another mowing season. Maybe next year it’ll be time to see what’s available on the market to possibly speed up the process. I could see many more hours being spent on endeavors other than sitting on a mower seat trying to keep ahead of an out of control lawn.

Endeavors such as more road trips such as I took Monday with the Studebaker. With Mrs. Cheviot working I once again forced to fly solo on a longer cruise. Driving older automobiles one realizes very quickly how far the technology has advanced. The automatic transmission is something we take for granted. In the hills along the Mississippi the amount of shifting and listening to the overdrive takes some anticipation and effort. In overdrive descending steep downgrades the car will freewheel not unlike pulling the TA back on a Farmall. Brakes are a plus. The primary thing with any of these cruises is to make it home in one piece. Or as the former pygmy goat farmer used to put it when we’d make a safe landing in his small plane, cheated death once again.
 
The evening skies this September have been interesting to look at so far. Mars will become more evident as we move through September, rising in the east about two hours after sunset but less than an hour by early October. At that point it will be brighter than Jupiter. Look for Venus below the crescent moon on the 13th and to the right of it on the 14th. The Big Dipper is entrenched in its fall position, said to be holding water. It remains that way until spring when it is said to be “pouring it out”. I’m pretty sure some to our south are probably hoping that will be the case if they don’t see a good fall moisture recharge. Thanks to Dale Niefeldt past president of the Steele Co. Astronomical Society and Vista’s Noted Swedish Astronomer, without whom all this sage wisdom and knowledge would not be possible.
 
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of the 65th anniversary of Gunsmoke on TV. It first aired back on September 10th 1955 and ran until March 31st 1975.. Many a young lad probably first watched it as I did, listening to Dad’s pocket watch in the breast pocket of his bib overalls. When Gunsmoke started out, it was a half hour program. In 1961 it changed to an hour long format. The list of notable actors to guest star on the program was seemingly endless, many of whom including Buddy  Ebsen, Lee Van Cleef, James Whitmore, Deforest Kelly, Leonard Nimoy, Strother Martin, Ed Asner, Katherine Ross, Mariette Hartley and Melissa Gilbert to name a few. They all went on to major success on other television programs or the silver screen. Ruby and I still make an effort to watch Gunsmoke daily although the amount of “watching” is debatable. I think of it this way: Gunsmoke has been putting men and small boys to sleep for generations. Long may it run.

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)

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One foot on the brake and one on the gas, hey!

Cooler temperatures and rain showers prevailed last week making the scurs and the Weather Eye scramble. Otherwise it was generally some beautiful October weather. Will Mother Nature take her foot off the gas again or will it just shift us into overdrive? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Partly sunny Friday with highs in the low 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Saturday, partly sunny with highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the low 50’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of showers. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Monday, sunny with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 50’s. The sun will rise at 7 a.m. DST on September 21st . The normal high for the 21st is 71 and the normal low is 47. The scurs have big plans for a repeat performance of August. No need to drain the ceement pond just yet.

Corn and soybeans made slow progress towards the finish line although it was muted by last week’s cooler temperatures. Corn milk lines changed very little last week with many hybrids stuck on half milk line or nearly at maturity if they were early planted early maturing hybrids. Soybeans also continued to change color although the beans in the pods themselves moved at a snail’s pace. That should change this week with warmer temps and breezes to knock more of the leaves off. Here again some of the early planted early maturing fields will be close to maturity and the combining will commence quickly in those cases.

Looks like the orioles have finally left the ranch as of the 12th. None were spotted on the 13th or have been since. They had a good run though with our first sighting on May 7th, a tad over 4 months. A shame of sorts that we don’t have more time with them but one has to be fortunate we see them at all. North farther such is not the case. The last barn swallows snuck off over the weekend as well. At least the hummingbirds will keep us entertained for a few more weeks until the inevitable. They’ve been staying busy with the nectar feeders and all the flowers that too will soon will come to a close for winter. Some migrating warblers, the black and white warblers in particular have moved through recently making one believe that summer is indeed over and not coming back anytime soon.

Apple & pear harvest began at the ranch primarily in the form of ground fall harvest. The Honeycrisp apple tree is loaded and a fair number of apples, particularly the smaller models have fallen off. Some of them are bird pecked or are otherwise undesirable. Regardless, they still need to be picked up for sanitation reasons. Likewise with the pears although they were harvested over the weekend due to the heavy pressure from the squirrel and blue jay population. The variety Parker was designed to be picked green and ripened inside anyway. The pests still ruined a number of them as well. Their loss is the sheep’s gain. They last a matter of minutes when tossing the odd apple or pear over the fence to them. A five gallon pail full of ground fall fruit doesn’t last them a day.
 
With each passing day it appears more unlikely that a Canadian adventure will occur. Recent news articles seem to indicate the possibility of opening the border anytime soon is slim. While commerce has continued, nonessential travel from the US has been forbidden. Sad really. 90% of the Canadian population lives within 150 miles of the US border. Yet, the overall population is only about 11% of the US population. The Canadian population density is about 3 people per square mile whereas the US is closer to 93 people per square mile. There are areas of the US that are sparsely populated as well. It would seem that if someone living out in the sticks in the US testing negative for COVID wanted to visit someone living out in the sticks in Canada who also tested negative for COVID there ought to be a way for it to happen. Just sayin’.

Another cycle repeats itself. A regular customer, Gary, had told us last fall it was his last year raising sheep. He unexpectedly called a few weeks back and needed a ram. Come to find out he had kept some ewes and had decided to go one more year. Fortunately we had a few buck lambs we’d kept back for replacements and show purposes. We’d separated a couple off in a pen, unsure how many he might need to breed to the ewes. Turned out he had kept only a dozen ewes that were intended for lambing next spring so only one would be necessary. Had it been 20 – 30 it might’ve been a tall order for one buck lamb.
 
When Gary showed up Saturday morning with his topper converted to a trailer, it was business as usual. We got him backed in close enough so as two old geezers, we didn’t need to do a lot of chasing and catching. Using the panels we were able to quickly direct the candidate into the trailer without even having to touch him. I think the buck lamb was almost as surprised as we were when Gary shut the gate on him. When it came time to leave, Gary produced a bag containing a pair of wool slippers he’d made for both me and Mrs. Cheviot. Those will be mighty handy after coming in frozen from chores at night over the winter months. They’ll also provide fond memories whether it’s truly Gary’s last year raising sheep or not.

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)

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And you will see it come to its fruition

Mother Nature stepped on the gas again and the scurs made the Weather Eye work overtime to forecast more beautiful August weather. Will it come to its fruition or be wishful thinking? Starting Wednesday, sunny with a slight chance of evening showers. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Sunny Friday with a slight chance of an evening shower. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a fair chance of rain. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of showers. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Monday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the low 60’s with lows in the low 40’s. On September 25th we fall below 12 hours of daylight and on the 28th the sun will set at 6:59 p.m. CDT. The scurs are scouting the stores for the best buys on Halloween candy. Then they are telling their neighbors.

Harvest has officially started after making one wonder with cool overnight lows last week. The breezes began to blow last Friday with temperatures warming from the mid-60’s to the upper 70’s by Monday. Soybeans changed rapidly although there are many who checked them and decided they weren’t as ready as they appeared from the road. Some samples moisture tested out of the field at around 13% but when loads sat on the truck overnight, they were closer to 15%. Still plenty of green beans in those samples. Smoke from the wildfires has also been a factor. The sun hasn’t had the punch it otherwise might. Yields have been decent for early varieties with anticipation that the later varieties may have the upper hand, taking advantage of the longer growing season. Corn silage harvest is largely over with and there have been scattered reports of early maturing hybrids being in the mid-20’s in moisture. Yields are tough to pin down yet the anecdotal evidence is encouraging, well over 200 bu./acre.
 
At the ranch we got our final cutting of hay put away for the winter. Not that it wasn’t a challenge. The cool overnight temps and the smoke from the wildfires forced the hay cut Monday to lie until Friday before it was dry enough to be raked. Prior to that it was about like pipe tobacco in moisture. When it was raked, the orchardgrass made nice big fluffy windrows that flattened out and blew around in Saturday’s breeze. When the dew came off making it fit to bale later afternoon, running the baler was like driving a NASCAR race with a yellow caution flag. It meant zigging and zagging trying to fit the windrow in the baler pick up. In places the wind made them too wide so had to just take what I could get.
 
When the Big Dubya dumped the last load to the ranch, it made nearly 230 bales of 3rd cutting off of just under five acres. That meant about 500 small square bales total going into the winter. What a difference a year makes. Last year we had plenty of round bales but only 80 small squares of 2nd cutting. 3rd cutting never materialized as it rained most of September and October along with staying cold. 80 bales wasn’t going to last long feeding 35 ewes with lambs at their side. Much of last winter was spent procuring hay from various sources. Promised myself I wouldn’t allow that to happen again. Thanks to the Dubya’s, I’ve kept that promise.

Speaking of the Dubya’s, the cover crop seeded after the peas came off made me curious what they might do with it. I had my answer one late afternoon coming home from work. Their beef cows and calves were grazing inside the newly installed electric fence surrounding the forage mixture. They looked so pretty, nice and slick in the lush green growth. What made for an even more pastoral scene was our brood ewe flock on the hillside. They were busy staring across the road at the cows kitty corner to their pasture. Our ewes aren’t lacking for condition either after bountiful rains kept their pasture lush this summer. Fruit and vegetables probably haven’t hurt either.
 
I probably should’ve written something in last week’s column about Tuesday’s autumnal equinox although meteorological fall has been here since September 1st. I think most people can look out the window and figure that out. While it doesn’t last long enough, fall is one of most people’s favorite seasons. Why? For starters, lawn mowing finally slows down. At the ranch for instance, Howard the orange mower has taken an early break after five hour a week bomb sessions. After not charging the battery and relying on the battery charger most of the summer, neighbor Jon allowed me to bring the aging machine to his shop to repair the charging system. As I told him, it’s no rush. I’m in absolutely no hurry to do more lawn mowing. If Howard returns before winter to grind up leaves that’ll be plenty soon enough for me.
 
Pockets of fall colors are making themselves more evident each day. A patch or two of sumac has begun to turn red and there are some ash and soft maple turning in the yard. The autumn blaze maples are beginning to turn reddish and even the oaks are indicating it won’t be long until they reach peak color. Our expected peak should be in the next two weeks. The warm summer and early fall has definitely moved the trees along rapidly just as it has the crops. We typically do have some pretty color although it generally doesn’t last very long before the wind blows it all away until the next year. Then we get to clean it all up and start over again.

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)

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We do the Curly shuffle

With Mother Nature hitting the brakes unexpectedly, the scurs and Weather Eye almost hit the windshield. Will we see temperatures rebound to more seasonal levels or are we just heading off the cliff into the abyss? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 60’s and lows in the low 40’s. Thursday, partly sunny with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Frost likely. Partly sunny Friday with frost likely. Highs in the upper 40’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the low 50’s with lows in the upper 30’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Monday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Thursday is October 1st already. The normal high is 67 and the normal low is 43. The scurs will be getting those grabby brakes checked out on the ’74 Gremlin X. Don’t need to be spilling latte on those pristine Levi’s denim seats.

Crop progress continued to be made although it was spotty. Soybean harvest has been limited primarily to those early planted early maturing varieties. Yields while not necessarily record breaking have been a pleasant surprise. Rotational effects are also evident as those rotating out of soybeans for multiple years are seeing yields exceeding expectations. Amazing what can be done without major white mold and SDS to contend with. The biggest issue thus far has been getting dry conditions for enough hours to get the crop off the field. Corn harvest is also somewhat spotty but results here follow somewhat the same pattern. Corn rotated with soybeans has been excellent. Corn on corn lags behind with a yield penalty for most. Moistures on early maturing early planted hybrids were in the lower 20% range while the fuller season hybrids were still in the mid to upper 20% range. Plenty of time to let it dry a while yet.

It’s always tough to admit the hummingbirds have likely left the ranch. The last one we saw at the feeders was on September 24th. The first one’s were spotted on May 14th so it was a decent run once again even though they’ve stayed almost another week the past couple years. As usual, I keep expecting to see one descend from the leafy branches to perch on the nectar feeders. I’ll leave the feeders up a while yet as there may be a straggler or two we may or may not see. There are also plenty of flowers yet and unless it freezes awfully hard, there should be for a while. Cooler weather and lack of flowering plants are a couple factors that keep them moving south to their eventual overwintering areas in Central America.
 
In the meantime the fall birds have taken center stage. The blue jays and chickadees make it look and sound very much like fall and their consumption of sunflower seed makes it even more convincing. Eventually the nectar feeders are replaced with suet feeders, bringing the woodpeckers to the backyard in force. The red-bellied woodpeckers appreciate the ear corn as well, shuffling along the tree trunks adding their almost Curly Howard-like call to the mix. Missing recently have been the goldfinches. Some of the reference books deem goldfinches to be nomadic and that seems to fit them to a “T”. Occasionally one will venture through but they appear to be preoccupied with some of the native seed sources such as that found in the CRP wildflowers. The worst part is the yellow color on the males that have been seen is fading rapidly. Summer is definitely over.

This is definitely the perfect time of the year to be a sheep at the ranch or at the kindly neighbors’ pasture. Any number of goodies including apples, pears, cucumbers or cornstalks seem to make their way over the fence. Some of the yearling ewes haven’t had the opportunity to be exposed to much fruit before. They cue on the white plastic bucket pretty well as that’s where grain comes from at feeding time. The older ewes figure it out pretty quickly when a bucket of ground fall apples gets tossed over the fence. It doesn’t take the yearlings long to figure it out. Before you know it there are a dozen sheep crunching away on the apples. Since they chew with their mouths open, the noise becomes almost annoying.

The gardening year is coming to an end. It was largely a success even though it was done on a more limited basis than what it once was. Cucumbers seem to appear out of nowhere under some of the dwindling foliage. Like the tomatoes these late arrivals seem to have an extra level of sweetness to them. Whether it’s from the cool fall conditions or just what it doesn’t matter. We still continue to enjoy the tomatoes coming fresh off the vines as of this writing. I suspect the frost this week might have something to say about that. In the meantime we have plenty to keep those BLT’s coming for quite some time.

The pear season has come to a close. They were excellent although we need to stay on top of them better for the next time. They ripen very quickly and when they do, they get mushy inside. Refrigerating them and only taking out the amount one plans to ripen and eat over a short duration should solve that. The Honeycrisp apples have been the new star of the show. The tree hasn’t always been my favorite to deal with. It had a double leader initially so getting that whipped into shape was a top priority. After that, it would bear a few apples sporadically that the birds and four legged creatures would ruin before we got a chance. The tree almost received a death sentence as a result. It started to come around last year and this year bore impressively. Just goes to show that fruit is still a gamble.

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)

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Like Columbus in the olden days…

Mother Nature continued her erratic driving and allowed her copilot Jack Frost take a turn behind the wheel. Will the scurs and the vaunted Weather Eye straighten them out or are we destined to hang on for a ride? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the low 40’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the upper 50’s. Sunny Friday with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the low 50’s. Saturday, sunny with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of showers by evening. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Monday, partly sunny with a fair chance of rain. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the low 50’s. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a declining chance of rain. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Monday October 12th is Columbus Day. The normal high is 62 and the normal low is 38. The scurs will be locating their Trick or Treat pillow case, a step ladder and batteries soon. With Halloween, another Full Moon and an earlier time change in store for later in the month, best be prepared.

We forgot to write about the most important moon of the year last week, the Full Harvest Moon. It was on Thursday and while it was cloudy for much of the evening, the moon did peek through during the wee hours of the morning at the ranch. It was the Harvest Moon as it is the moon closest to the autumnal equinox. During that time the pioneers were able to work late into the night by the light of the moon. The Ojibwe and Sioux agreed in principle on the name, the Ojibwe calling it The Falling Leaves Moon and the Sioux knew it as the Moon of Falling Leaves. At the ranch it’s known as the God I’m Shot Moon in honor of one of the little fat buddies. This getting ready for winter stuff is a lot of work.

Harvest was a mixed bag last week. Some were diehards and waited for soybeans to dry. Other became impatient and switched over to corn in the name of getting something done. Neither approach is wrong. When conditions were suddenly fit again Sunday afternoon, the heathens were back at combining soybeans. Work on Sunday fix on Monday they as they say. The moisture on the soybeans wasn’t the same in every field either as some had to wait until Monday afternoon to get going full bore. All in all though if the forecast for this week holds we should see most of the beans harvested by weeks end. Corn harvest too has been spotty generally speaking. Moisture was hung up in the mid-to upper 20’s until recently, one more reason some were hesitant to switch over. The weekend frost should help even things up for both crops.

Indeed it did freeze both Saturday and Sunday morning with temps as low as 28 reported locally. At the ranch it did a number on any of the vine crops including the cucumbers and volunteer gourds the sheep were nursing along. However, given the location of the tomatoes, they managed to escape with only some of the upper leaves singed. It appears we may have tomatoes for a while yet. The fruit itself was untouched and continues to blush. The cannas and four o’clocks in the same area behaved much the same way. Not that there are a lot of pollinators left, it’s just nice to know that those remaining have an opportunity for some nourishment. I harvested some four o’clock seed Monday night, making sure that I got a good mix including some with white flowers. The red, yellow and pink were predominant and it would be nice to have a more balanced mix for next year. Fussy ain’t I?

Hoping that the breezes will keep a few leaves on the trees for a possible weekend cruise in the Studebaker. At last check we’d logged over 1000 miles for the season, nearly doubling last year’s dismal total. I’m positive that I drive Mrs. Cheviot’s car a lot fewer miles than that over the course of a year. It takes me a lot longer to settle in when driving the family roadster as opposed to the Silver Hawk. Perhaps it’s something about the vehicles one grew up with not having all the whistles and bells to figure out. I continually bump the windshield wiper switch in her car by putting the key in the ignition and usually get the hairy eyeball when it occurs. In the Studebaker you don’t dare turn the wipers on for fear they’ll stop halfway and not return to their original position. As a result, I’m guessing I must have a quarter inch of Rain X on the windshield by now. Problem solved.
 
As mentioned above, Monday is Columbus Day. I’ll always remember it as Columbus Day as that’s what it was called when I grew up. Means nothing other than it’s observed as a paid holiday for banks and Post Offices. It also holds some memories of my days as a lad. One damp freezing cold Columbus Day when I was in 5th grade, Ricky Hovden and I were on school patrol over the lunch hour. We were excused from class to do crossing guard duty. It was raining so we donned the large yellow slickers provided, grabbed the crossing guard flags and proceeded to take up our positions on either side of the street.

Once we reached our stations I looked across the street and saw Ricky leaning on the wooden flag pole with one leg pulled up under his rain slicker. It looked like he only had one leg! Way cool! Not to be outdone, I followed suit. We looked at each other and had a good laugh. Pretty soon people were driving by pointing, laughing and honking. We were loving it while making the best of a bad situation. I’m guessing Mrs. Young probably wasn’t laughing when she looked out the window based on the scolding we got. At least not on the outside anyway.
 
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)

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How years ago in days of old,
When magic filled the air.

Mother Nature ditched Jack Frost last week and Friday she had a July weather flashback. Will her flashbacks continue or will Jack Frost thumb another ride? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy a slight chance of rain. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the low 30’s. Mostly sunny Friday with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the low 30’s. Saturday, partly sunny with a slight chance of overnight snow/rain showers. Highs in the low 50’s and lows in the low 30’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of rain/snow showers. Highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Monday, partly sunny with a slight chance of rain/snow mix. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the low 30’s. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows in the mid-30’s. The sun will set before 6:30 p.m. on the 15th and on the 16th we slide below 11 hours of daylight for the first time since February 25th. The normal high for October 16th is 60 and the normal low is 37. Being the bearers of bad news, the scurs will likely receive more hate mail. That’s OK. It’ll cut down on the heating bill.

Farmers wasted little time taking advantage of good going last week. They got after the soybeans in short order and by week’s end, there were few fields left to be harvested. There were still some fields of later maturing beans not ready and ditto with beans replanted after the hail. As warm and windy as it was Friday it still didn’t quite get the job done. Last year at this time soybeans were wet and few as an added bonus it snowed on the 12th. Think we’re OK without that. Corn dried down immensely however. Reports of some early planted early maturing hybrids already in the mid-teens for moisture. Even the adapted maturity hybrids have been in the upper teens and low 20% range. Yields have been decent although perhaps not the homerun some were thinking or hoping for. As suspected when looking at the pollinating corn following the July 11th wind storm event, those goose necked stalks were later to pollinate and resulting ears smaller in size than their non-goose necked counterparts. This has shown up in the combine and in the grain dryer both. Got away from the area where the wind affected it and it’s a different ball game.

It is definitely corn picking time though although it’s been that way a while. The ten man dryer has been running almost nonstop for three weeks already. I was also pleasantly surprised upon coming home to hear neighbor Jon’s corn dryer running. There are few things that put me out like the hum of that dryer fan and best of all there are no side effects. I was surprised to learn there are others who are also mesmerized by the sound of dryer fans. I’m almost thinking maybe we should drying soybeans routinely just to help people sleep. Get some of those pillows from the My Pillow guy and insomnia should be a thing of the past.

Here at the ranch subtle preparations are underway to get ready for winter. Made a trip to the basement and changed the furnace filter so when that starts up it doesn’t smell quite so much like burning dirt. Also cleaned the filter on the dehumidifier. Said it needed it and for once, it appeared the little idiot light was being honest. Washed the dirt down the sink and after air drying it, stuck the filter back in. The machine roared to life and within a matter of a few minutes the dampness was out of the air. Also peeked at the softener salt just to make sure I hadn’t been checking it frequently enough. It was in great shape too so at least we’re through some of the checklist preliminaries.

The tomatoes in the garden benefited from last week’s warm temps. Having been only lightly touched by the frost, they had plenty of photosynthetic area left to move the remaining fruit along nicely. If we’re careful we should have some tomatoes yet into November. Ruby won’t mind. The BLT’s have been a good way to consume a fair number of tomatoes fresh. The bacon grease winds up being drizzled over her dog food, making her coat nice and shiny. After she shed off back in August and early September, we were wondering if she’d have time to develop a decent fur coat before winter. Not to worry. The fun part is sweeping it up for the next 12 months.

The apples still need to be harvested yet, something the sheep have to be looking forward to. There are plenty of damaged apples that will find their way over the fence. Certainly hoping the birds have left us some SnowSweet apples. They’re a little later apple but are wonderful when sliced and dipped in melted caramel. It helps that they don’t turn brown quickly too. They can be sliced and eaten later after staying in the fridge for a day or so. The Honeycrisp apples are reputed to keep in the fridge for up to 7 months and Haralson’s up to 4 months. We should be set in that department.

The recent windy conditions have put a quick end to much of our color. Ash trees that had good color Friday night were totally denuded by Monday morning. The thunderstorm didn’t help even though I slept right through most of it. Now with the weather cooling down, it’ll be time to don the long winter gatkes that we heard Steve Cannon speak of lo those many years. The possibility of snow will likely expedite the process I fear. Listening to Steve-O and the Little Cannons back in those halcyon days would warm the soul. Over 23 years ago the a.m. radio in the pickup was always tuned in to The Evil Neighbor for the chilly late fall afternoon ride home. The airwaves were full of magic. Best of all, he always got the money.

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)

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Dotch,curious to you have irrigation wells in you're fields?or depend on mother nature.

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Very little in the way of irrigation around here snow. Some down by Austin. My neighbors put in a pivot over by Hope 8-10 years ago when it looked like we were heading into a dry cycle. Kinda goofy light textured soil but the water table underneath it is pretty high. They've run the irrigation once.  :doah:
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Online snow1

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  Dotch,My younger days I drilled water wells for a company out of anoka,got roped in to irrigation wells on farms near little falls one late summer,I remember this because the farmers up there hired a local "witcher",pivet irrigation wells were12" casing,screened gravel set above the first layer of clay,soil up that way was crapty for everything but farmers wanted yield,well following that old timer "witcher" was a hoot.he would show-up at day break with a jug of apricot brandy for breakfast,had to follow him around the dang cornfields looking for a water vein as he called it,could've popped a well like this anywhere and get 3,000 gal/minute but this was a learning experience and the more the witcher drank the drunker he got and funny as hell,fun times,never had a dry well so maybe it was money well spent to hire this guy?I tried his hickory Y shaped water finder ,but no luck.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 09:01:35 AM by snow1 »