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Author Topic: Fencelines  (Read 189634 times)

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Offline glenn57

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That wild parsnips kinda looks like dill???
2015 deer slayer!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Dotch

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The flower and head does, yes, but the plant looks like a parsnip.

https://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/weedcontrol/noxiouslist/wildparsnip

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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Was going to look it up to verify and that is what it is.  Thanks for posting Dotch.  These are only a foot tall and I think there are 6 of them. 

Offline Steve-o

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And the insidious thing about the toxin, once it gets into your skin, it can reactivate years later with exposure to sunlight.

Offline glenn57

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there seemsto be areas up north with lotz of it. i know we have some in the ditch where we turn in to the cabin road!!!!!!!!!1
2015 deer slayer!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Dotch

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Lately I'm learnin' that so many yearnings are never to be

The scurs rain dancing practice paid off and with the Weather Eye predicting rainfall, it was a slam dunk. Are we due for more precip or are we back to waiting our turn again? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 80ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Thursday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Partly sunny on Friday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the mid-70ís with lows in the low 60ís. Saturday, partly sunny with highs in the low 80ís and lows in the low 60ís. Partly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the low 60ís. Monday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the low 60ís. Mostly sunny Tuesday with highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. The Full Moon for the month is on the 11th. On the a5th, we dip below 14 hours of daylight for the first time since April 26th. The normal high for August 15th is 79 and the normal low is 59. The scurs are on hiatus from dancing and will spend evenings on their blankie, watching the Perseid Meteor showers from August 9th Ė 13th.
 
August 11th ushers in the Full Moon for the month and is generally known as the Full Sturgeon Moon. This was the month the fishing tribes were able to catch these large fish in the Great Lakes as well as other large bodies of water. This would exclude the Le Sueur River and Boot Creek. It is also sometimes called the Red Moon for the hazy conditions causing to the moon to be red when it rises. Other names include the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon. The Ojibwe called it the Full Berry Moon as blueberries and huckleberries were ripe during this month. The Sioux knew it as the Moon when Cherries turn Black or the Moon when Geese shed their Feathers. At the ranch, it's known as the Full String Bean Moon as the greed pods occupy much of the refrigerator and counter space.
 
This past week marked a major tipping point in our growing season as we received some of the most timely yet gentle rain of the growing season. After the rain back in July that was truly amazing, we were suddenly back in the market for more. Indeed, when the forecast was calling for rain over the weekend I was in the ďbelieve it when I see itĒ camp. Too many times weíve seen significant precipitation forecast several days in advance only to have our hopes dashed by a much-diminished amount the closer we get to it occurring. Not this time. 1Ē Ė 2+Ē was what was forecast by the NWS, they stuck with it and thatís about what most got. Is it enough to finish the crop? Possibly, with some timely, slight additional precip and of course depending on what the temperatures do. That has been one of the unique things about this growing season. Sure, itís been warm, but the warm stretches have been of relatively short duration, allowing us to make the most of what has sometimes been touch and go precipitation-wise.
 
As mentioned above, the string beans at the ranch have gone crazy. Every 3 Ė 4 days, one can count on a gallon bag of string beans per row and there are four rows. After the July rains they built a tremendous factory with which to produce pods. Theyíre planted in 30Ē rows and the rows have been closed for quite some time. It used to be that sweet corn provided a benchmark for field corn yields. Iím not so sure these beans wonít have some correlation to soybean yields as well. Both crops look tremendous. Tomatoes are coming and the first BLT of the season was consumed at the ranch this past week. It was delicious and tasted like another one. Anthracnose has slowed the cucumbers somewhat, but they seem to have shrugged it off somewhat, surprising me with another dozen large specimens Monday night.
 
Weed control was looking good in the garden up until this last rain. Suddenly the tiny pigweed and purslane sprang to life, creating an annoyance that will need to be dealt with harshly. The sheep will likely come into play. Some of the weeds can be hoed or pulled and tossed over the fence. Itís become routine when the ewes see me in the garden, they come over to investigate as there are likely to be weeds and/or vegetables heading their way. It is almost gross to watch them eat the juicy purslane. This weed seems to be on the increase not only in gardens but is becoming more common in farm fields. It apparently figured out the Round Up Ready system, being capable of germinating later in the season like waterhemp. It does well especially on headlands and in open areas of the soybean canopy. It also has very tiny seeds, capable of germinating from shallow soil depths with scant precipitation. Unlike waterhemp, itís not terribly competitive unless it becomes very thick. While I prided myself on my moisture conserving efforts by using only light hoeing in the garden, the purslane found a way around it. The garden was nearly weed free two weeks ago. Now it needs to dry up some so I can get after it again.
 
Another Freeborn Co. Fair is in the books. With Mrs. Cheviot gone to help man Floral Hall there, I was left to my own devices. My devices included things like hoes, sprayers, rakes, buckets and bags. In between and after my toils, there was always the issue of what to eat. Fortunately there is the Auntie Mar Mar factor. As luck would have it, there was a lot of overflow from her baking entries at the fair so they were there on the counter for the eating. Funny how when you know itís there, you tend to pick away at it more frequently. As of this writing there were only a few things rattling around in the bottom of the foil pan. Before I know it, itíll be gone. Maybe Mar Mar can be convinced to enter baked goods for the Steele Co. Fair. Guessing not.

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

Offline LPS

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Purslane.  Looked it up.  That is what I have a lot of in the garden this year.  I pull it up when watering. 

Offline Dotch

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Ya there were some a while back advocating eating purslane, touting its nutritional value & taste so I tried some one time. The sheep can keep eating it. Pretty sure it would make glenn's list... :puke:
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline mike89

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I read where it's poisonous and where it's edible!!    say what?????????????   no thanks!!!! 
a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work!!

Offline Dotch

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So get ready, so get ready

With Mother Nature putting her foot on the brakes suddenly, the scurs will need the Weather Eye to warm us up a tad. Will it work or will we continue on a slow descent into fall? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the low 60ís. Thursday, mostly sunny becoming cloudy with a good chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the low 60ís. Mostly cloudy on Friday with a good chance of rain. Highs in the low 70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Saturday, partly sunny with a good chance of a forenoon shower. Highs in the low 70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Monday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Partly sunny Tuesday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the mid-70ís with lows in the mid-50ís. The normal high for August 23rd is 78 and the normal low is 58. The scurs are liking this sleeping weather although they like sleeping in any weather as long as the AC and heat work.
 
While itís nice of Mother Nature to keep topping us off on rainfall, there are starting to be some concerns expressed about the mid-September temperatures weíve been experiencing. Comfortable for humans but not moving some of the later maturing corn along as rapidly as desired. Much of it has reached R4, the dough stage, but there has been no denting seen even in the earlier maturing corn planted early. We likely will need the entire month of September for corn to make it to relative maturity. It may also mean that more dryer gas will be required to dry it down. Soybeans are also slowing down although most have reached mid-R5 stage. It will take another 7 Ė 10 days until they reach R6. The plants having reached full size and the season becoming shortened, once they reach R6, yield responses to soybean aphid treatment are difficult to come by. R6 stage is defined as the soybean plant having a pod containing a green seed that fills the pod cavity at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf.

Soybean aphids have increased some over the past several weeks, but most fields remain well below the treatment threshold. There are plenty of beneficial insects on the prowl in and around the fields, helping to keep aphid populations in check. Most of these are not specific to soybean aphids but feed on aphids and other soft bodied insects or their eggs if they happen across them. While not evident from windshield scouting, they become noticeable from time to time especially when looking in multiple fields on a daily basis. Over the years, sometimes you have closer contact with these insects than youíd care for.

These insects include soldier beetles, a tan beetle about ĹĒ - ĺĒ long that presently can be found mating on sweetclover next to soybean fields. They are related to fireflies but lack their light producing organs. Syrphid flies, those pesky hover flies are actually the good guys whose larvae are voracious aphid feeders. Everyone is aware of ladybugs, especially those lovely multi-colored Asian lady beetles who after feeding on aphids in the summer, often enjoy the winter in peopleís homes. Lacewing larvae have been on the prowl after hatching from their eggs borne on little stalks attached to the plant. Theyíre capable of eating up to 200 aphids per week. Lacewings have a foul taste so would not advise eating them despite what some might think. There are also minute pirate bugs in some soybean fields although this past week, they seemed to be more common in the corn, pursuing bird-cherry oat aphids. Pirate bugs also taste bad from personal experience. Fortunately theyíre small.
 
Was pleasantly surprised to see bats flying over the ranch at dusk a few weeks back although Iím not sure where they came from. It has been a while since weíve seen any number of bats. Very possibly white-nose syndrome has taken its toll on them here as it has across much of the country. The caves near where I grew up were prime overwintering areas for them especially the little brown bats such as we had in our house. Reports of large die offs from this fungus were common, and the caves were closed to the public for a while until they were able to get protocol in place to prevent the spread of the disease. While not as abundant as they have been some summers, mosquitoes have shown up and itís comforting to see some of natureís best winged mosquito eaters back on patrol again.

For all of you allergy sufferers out there, I bring you sad tidings. Looking at giant ragweed recently, itís about to unleash a massive blast of pollen in the near future. In areas apparently it already has. Some of the common ragweed also appears to have already done so. While Iíve never been diagnosed with the allergy, I probably donít need to be. In heavy pollen production years when little rainfall occurs to knock the pollen out of the air, the symptoms are pretty much textbook. I generally canít wait until the pollen shed period is over or when the giant ragweed freezes. It has become one of my all-time least favorite weeds. Its aggressive nature and ability to reduce yields not to mention its allergy producing capabilities puts it on top of the list. Iíve come to enjoy making its life miserable while watching it wither and die.
 
Crop Tour is just around the corner again. As usual it means a lot of last-minute preparations at the ranch before I leave. Once I think Iíve accomplished that, I try to remember what I forgot and just hope it wasnít too critical in the overall scheme of things. I then switch gears and go into Crop Tour mode. The placement of easily accessible electrical outlets in hotel rooms on Crop Tour is puzzling sometimes. When thinking Iíd solved the problem last year by bringing a short two-pronged cord Iíd rescued from my Momís, I came to the sudden realization the power source for my confuser was three-pronged. Luckily the battery held up fairly well and I was able to stay close enough to an outlet, so it didnít matter. In anticipation of this yearís evening writing sessions, I purchased a short three-pronged cord so I can type in relative comfort after a long day in the field. This time by gum, Iím ready.

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

Offline Dotch

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From 8/21/22

It's just another town along the road

The scurs got the Weather Eye to warm us up and not a minute too soon. Will warmer days prevail, or do we see September closing fast? Starting Wednesday, sunny with a fair chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the low 80ís with lows in the low 60ís. Thursday, mostly sunny becoming cloudy with a modest chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Mostly sunny on Friday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the mid-70ís with lows in the mid-50ís. Saturday, partly sunny with highs in the low 70ís and lows in the upper 50ís. Partly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Monday, mostly sunny with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. Sunny Tuesday with highs in the low 70ís and lows in the mid-50ís. On August 26th the sun will rise at 6:30 a.m. CDT and will set just before 8 p.m. We will also record less than 13 hours and 30 minutes of daylight. The normal high for August 26th is 78 and the normal low is 58. The scurs are heading to the State Fair for their obligatory footlong hot dog with fried onions. The ones by The Coliseum are the best.

Crop progression continues on schedule. We arenít leaps and bounds ahead of normal nor should we be. Our GDU accumulation has been running slightly above normal, but we got started planting slightly later than what weíd like to. To the positive, we also saw several days this past week that topped out several degrees warmer than forecast. This past week saw some corn beginning to dent, which usually means about two weeks until corn is ready for silage chopping and about six weeks until itís physiologically mature. At that point corn is roughly 32% moisture. Most arenít anxious to pick corn at that moisture unless they have an early contract to fill or if they need the feed.
 
On the soybean side we started to see a few warts on what up until now looked to be a crop with much the same potential as last year. SDS (Sudden Death Syndrome) reared its ugly head in several local fields. Some varieties are less tolerant although use of seed treatments has become an effective tool for combatting the disease. The positive is that we received some timely rain this past week which should help lessen the visual symptoms and help minimize the yield impact. However, it should serve as a warning shot regardless that the next time the field is planted to soybeans, a variety with good tolerance to SDS should be selected and/or should be treated with seed treatments effective on SDS.

This edition is coming to you from the road, partially written in Champaign IL and partially in Dublin OH. This marks the 19th Pro Farmer Crop Tour for me as agronomist on the eastern leg of the tour. A preliminary look at the crop out the window of an automobile indicated that what my spies were telling me was true. Their windshield survey showed a crop looking very much like a tabletop, sans major areas of drown outs or moisture stress. I would concur. There were some minor areas of concern apparent, but the overall view would indicate a crop with enormous potential. Once we hit the fields surrounding the small towns off the beaten path, weíll have a better handle on whatís really out there rather than guessing at 70 mph. Guessing isnít knowing.

Before I left, I tried to tie up as many loose ends as I could. Many of the tasks such as spraying the pasture fences was done a few weeks ago so it would have time to work. Getting ahead of the garden was an impossibility so some of that was taken care of by folks who needed additional vegetable produce. The lawn also needed attention otherwise it would be a hay field by the time I arrived home. It still will be just not as many bales. Luckily, after the zero turn blew out the electric clutch for engaging the blades, it got repaired and home just ahead of Thursday nightís thunderstorm. In the meantime, Iíd resurrected Howard, the Agco Allis in its stead. Howard still mows respectably although slowly by comparison. With the zero turn back in the fold, I mowed the ditch and the smaller part of the yard in record time, finishing as the first raindrops began to fall. Sometimes timing is everything.
 
My passion for watching old television western continues. I didnít remember that Wagon Train had switched to an hour and a half format in its later years. I knew that The Virginian was an hour and a half long, hence my present dilemma with watching an entire show at bedtime without falling asleep. Amazing when watching these old programs how many of the guest stars went on to star in their own shows eventually, including James Drury. The thing that always puzzled me though was how Matt Dillon & Co. were always burying dead people on Gunsmoke. They mustíve always carried a shovel with them because the occasion arose with relative frequency, sometimes the direct result of Mattís gunplay. Everybody needs a hobby.

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

Offline Dotch

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Been away, haven't seen you in a while

The scurs got some rain out of the Weather Eye somewhat unexpectedly. Will we dry out or is this the beginning of a new pattern? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 80ís and lows in the upper 50ís. Sunny on Thursday with highs in the low 80ís and lows in the mid-60ís. Mostly sunny on Friday with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-80ís with lows in the mid-50ís. Saturday, sunny with highs in the mid-70ís and lows in the mid-50ís. Sunny on Sunday with highs in the upper 70ís and lows in the low 60ís. Labor Day Monday, sunny with highs in the low 80ís and lows in the low 60ís. Mostly cloudy Tuesday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. On September 5th weíll see 13 hours of daylight. The next time weíll see that much daylight will be April 7th, 2023. The normal high for September 5th is 76 and the normal low is 55. The scurs will be resting from all their toils. The hammock beckons.

Crops continue their push towards the finish line. The recent rains should finish out the crop nicely in most areas. Corn should be starting to show a milk line on some of the early planted, earlier maturing hybrids, given the GDU accumulation. Many of the soybeans have reached full blown R6, having beans in the pods that have completely filled the seed cavity at one of the uppermost nodes on the main stem. Some are wondering when combining will commence. If the weather continues on this track, harvest will be likely towards the end of the month. If September is well above normal temperature-wise we may see harvest begin before that. The SDS in the soybeans last week could hasten that process as well. On the corn side, especially considering the amount of later corn planted, it will likely be a month for most regardless.

Got back in MN last Friday after having been on the road for the Pro Farmer Crop Tour. As mentioned, we got a look at the corn and soybean crops up close and personal. How did it look? Not as good as it looked from the road in many instances, particularly in OH and IN. Too hot and too dry too long for the corn crop. Their soybean crop showed signs of promise yet, especially since much of those states received beneficial rainfall. IL was supposed to be the big gun and it was to an extent although it didnít look as good as the August 1 USDA survey numbers indicated. That said, there was a lot of time between that grower survey and when Pro Farmer hit the fields. The corn crop had lost some its mojo although here again, the soybean crop still appeared to have tremendous potential if the weather cooperates for a good finish.
 
The IA crop on the eastern leg of the tour was decent. The western side of the state had some of the same issues that NE and SD did, namely too much heat and too much dry for too long. The state as a whole was also off its USDA survey mark substantially on the corn side while more than holding its own on the soybean side. NE and SD were trainwrecks. Even the irrigated areas that usually make NE a top 3 producing state couldnít pick up the slack for the dryland acres. SD doesnít have much irrigation so one can only wonder what mightíve been. Again, soybeans are harder to gauge but they had some potential to be respectable given timely rains.
 
That brings us to the MN crop. While not without its own problems, the southern two tiers of counties in SC and SE MN will definitely carry the load. Before I left on Crop Tour, weíd pulled some preliminary corn yield estimates in the 230 bu./acre range in this area. Nice, I thought, but not wanting to get my hopes up, I thought it would be interesting to see what Crop Tour said when they rolled through the area. Guess what? Their numbers were in line with what weíd found. Soybean pod counts looked good too. Now, there are parts of MN that have had drought issues like SD. However, there is a decent crop up north. Some of it was planted later but if Mother Nature cooperates, thereís no reason MN shouldnít be better than the earlier USDA survey numbers as the Pro Farmer numbers bore out.

On to MN State Fair once I was able to get a little sleep Friday night. Very little sleep actually. Auntie Mar Mar and I had to be back on the road about 5:30 a.m. so we could get within walking distance and park for a reasonable amount. We got to see Olivia W. do extremely well with her natural-colored Cheviot ewe in the 4-H showmanship class, finishing 3rd overall. She had placed 5th overall the day before in the 4-H breeding ewe class, pretty amazing as she almost didnít get a State Fair trip even though she won everything she could win in the breeding ewe division at the county fair. COVID had kept her from showing the ewe at all as a lamb last year, so it was entirely fitting that she was able to show and do well at the highest level. Hard work and perseverance still pay off. Congrats Olivia!

Our Cheviot flock had a good day too on Saturday in the MN State Fair open class show, winning champion ram and ewe, a reserve champion ram and premier exhibitor. Itís been a while since we dominated a show as completely as that one but there again, weíve been working hard at it, trying to get back to where we once were. There have been plenty of bumps in the road, but it looks like weíve made some headway. Weíve never been known as a flock that produces decent rams. Now weíre getting inquiries from those who have seen what others have purchased, wanting similar animals. Shows like last Saturdayís certainly donít hurt. After all that though, I was just happy Auntie Mar Mar left me a blueberry coffee cake and a bag of cookies to eat. Nice to finally be home, exhale, view the gardens, watch the birds, and sit still long enough to enjoy the goodies.
 
See you next weekÖreal good then.       
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline Dotch

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You must change partners again

With little in the way of rain, the scurs were satisfied with the Weather Eyeís dry week and warm temperatures. Does this set the tone for the rest of the month or has Mother Nature become tone deaf? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the mid-80ís and lows in the mid-60ís. Sunny on Thursday with highs in the upper 80ís and lows in the mid-60ís. Partly sunny on Friday with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80ís with lows in the mid-50ís. Saturday, partly sunny with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the upper 60ís with lows in the upper 40ís. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the low 70ís with lows in the upper 40ís. Monday, sunny with highs in the low 70ís and lows in the low 50ís. Mostly cloudy Tuesday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the upper 50ís. The Full Moon for September falls on September 10th. The sun will set before 7:30 CDT on the 12th. The normal high for September 12th is 74 and the normal low is 52. Labor Day came and went. The hammock neatly tucked away, the weekendís forecast upper 40-degree lows might call for sweaters and símores.

The Full Moon on the 10th is known as the Full Harvest Moon or sometimes the Full Corn Moon as corn harvest frequently begins during the month. Itís known as the Harvest Moon as itís the Full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox. Two out of three years that is the case. It can land in October when the Full Moon happens to occur early in the month. The Ojibwe knew this as the Rice Moon and the Sioux called it The Moon when the Plums are Scarlet. At the ranch, it is the Full Tomato Moon as the main ingredient for BLTís is in bountiful supply. This year is no exception.

Crops continue to show signs that itís not August anymore. Even some of the later corn this past week was starting to show a faint milk line which is encouraging given the acreage of later maturing corn that was planted. Yield estimates taken this past week on corn seem to confirm what the Pro Farmer Crop Tour scouts indicated when they rolled through the area in late August. Sweet corn yields also would tend to confirm the potential for a large corn crop locally, with reports of 9 to 10 ton. Soybeans are a little harder to gauge and some of the area fields definitely have substantial areas of SDS. One of the easiest diagnostics on this disease from the road is the retention of the petiole on the main stem once the leaves drop. With the highly virulent type of brown stem rot, the plants die, and the leaves remain on the plant.
 
It was a weekend to get things done at the ranch. In order for that to happen, the cell phone remained in the house for most of it. This notion that one must be accessible 24/7/365 is utter nonsense. I was finally able to get the lawn mowed in its entirety for a change. The dew comes on so quickly most evenings after work and chores that being able to mow much more than an hour is nearly impossible. With long grass, that usually means wads and clumps if the grass is wet. Saturday afternoon being nice and dry made it easier to get the job done even though it was bumping up close to the witching hour when the dew was about to come on. Chores got done a little later than normal but so be it. Everyone got fed eventually including me.

Like the field crops, the garden at the ranch continues to move towards fall. The cucumbers are largely done after their bout with anthracnose. The first planting of string beans has been abandoned except when I decide to yank some out, tossing them over the fence to the sheep, overripe beans, and all. The 2nd planting has come online so not worry. We still have string beans coming out of our ears. The tomatoes have kicked it in high gear, typical for what we see in September. They have done remarkably well in the new garden spot as expected. There havenít been any tomatoes planted there and itís in full sun. Peppers too have had an excellent year, so weíll likely have stuffed peppers in our future. A lot of butter cup squash are set, along with pumpkins, gourds, and spaghetti squash. Now the powdery mildew has set in thinning the canopy, the vine crops look promising. Sweet corn is about finished for the year. Last weekís warm stretch pushed it over the edge quickly. Even the raccoons arenít messing with it much.

Watching the birds at the ranch making subtle moves this past week too. Large groups of swallows have been using the powerlines as staging areas so was no surprise that the barn swallows have likely flown the coop for the season. Will miss their insect eating capabilities in the barn especially. The oriole numbers have been slowly dwindling. The slowdown in grape jelly consumption seems to confirm that. On the flip side, there are more hummingbirds than ever. They have so much to feed on and most of it is in its prime right now. One canít walk around during the daytime or look out the window without seeing one or several. There was also a red-breasted nuthatch visiting over the weekend. They are infrequent guests, but with their quirky, herky-jerky actions, theyíre welcome just the same.

Labor Day was just that: A day full of labor. After picking string beans, wiping the Stude down, and several other putz projects, it was time to hook up to the trailer and swap a ram out at the kindly neighbors. We also had to bring the one that had been there this summer home to entertain the harem at the ranch. We also turned the three show yearlings out with that group, so heíll be getting acquainted with some showgirls. One good thing about having show animals, they tend to see the open door on a trailer and hop in. Even better, when the others see that they follow and hop in too. Itís supposed to work in reverse when itís time to jump out, theoretically.
 
Especially with Cheviot rams, itís to have them in close quarters if working or sorting them which we did. They become agitated easily. Dealing with them when they have room to build up a full head of steam is generally when people get hurt, even if youíre just trying to do them a favor. These sheep donít care. They just like being left alone. As one young lady put it after showing one of our nasty tempered Cheviot yearling ewes at the State Fair, ďThat sheep hated me!Ē Like we told her, ďTheyíre Cheviots. Donít let that small, cute appearance fool you. Theyíre like chihuahuas. They hate everybody.Ē

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

Offline Dotch

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Crazy, but that's how it goes

Finally on the board for September, the scurs were relieved to see the Weather Eye come through with some rain. Is the start of a cycle or a runaway freight train we canít stop? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 80ís and lows in the mid-60ís. Partly sunny on Thursday with a modest chance of evening rain. Highs in the mid-80ís with lows in the mid-60ís. Partly sunny on Friday with a good chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80ís with lows in the low 60ís. Saturday, partly sunny with a good chance of p.m. rain. Highs in the low 80ís with lows in the low 40ís. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a fair chance of p.m. rain. Highs in the upper 70ís with lows in the low 60ís. Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the low 80ís with lows in the low 60ís. Mostly cloudy Tuesday with a good chance of rain. Highs in the mid-70ís with lows in the mid-50ís. On September 16th, we fall below 12 hours and 30 minutes of daylength. On the 18th, we start losing daylength at two minutes and 59 seconds per day. The normal high for September 18th is 72 and the normal low is 50. The scurs have their eyes peeled for Halloween treats appearing in the candy aisle.

Crops are beginning to show that fall is indeed upon us. This past week, the milk line on the corn has moved down dramatically, with some of the early planted, early maturing hybrids under two weeks from being physiologically mature. Soybeans likewise as the leaves continue to turn. In the areas of fields where SDS was seen earlier, the soybeans are mature. Looking at those areas up close and personal, one notes that the soybean size is small, and, in some cases, pods were aborted as well. The rainfall we received late last week did help loosen knock a few leaves off the early maturing varieties although they still are a good two to three weeks away from any serious attempts at harvest. Likewise with most corn aside from those who might have an early contract to fill.

Rainfall at this point should start to refill the soil profile as crops have largely completed much of their uptake for the season. It has been a few years locally since weíve seen much fall recharge. Weíve had to rely on snow melt being absorbed into the soil and early spring rains for our crops to stay in the game until the cavalry has arrived in the form of summer rainfall. Just goes to show that like many other pursuits, there is more then one way to skin a cat. In many respects especially when it comes to corn developing a strong early root system, a little on the dry side early has been a plus. This year, it also meant the corn in many cases isnít as tall as it otherwise mightíve been. If it decides to get windy yet this fall, having a shorter plant could be another plus.

It's getting towards apple picking time at the ranch. The Haralson tree, typically our pie apple, is loaded once again. The Honeycrisp tree is also heavily laden, something I find rewarding after threatening to cut it down several years ago. It was a difficult tree to prune at first and the apples it produced were anything but the wonderful apples a Honeycrisp is meant to be. Other orchard-type people shared similar stories and recommended that I be patient. I listened and it appears their advice paid off. I ate a ground fall the other day and it was one of the best apples Iíd ever eaten. Now, the SnowSweet tree might have something to say about that once theyíre ripe a little later. While not as prolific, sliced and drizzled with caramel, theyíre tough to beat. Plus, the slices donít turn brown easily, making them aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

We continue supplementing the sheep with garden produce whether itís overgrown zucchini or vegetable peelings. The sweet corn appears to be done for the season so theyíre most likely source of nutrition comes from the first planting of string beans that make their way over the fence in small batches. Donít want to overdo it as they could wind up pooping through a screen door if I do. They do grow some of their own vegetables, however. How so? Over the course of a season when pumpkins, squash or gourds have run their course, they go over the fence as well. Invariably a few of the seeds miss their detection and become established vines in the pasture or the lot. The sheep are an impatient lot. About the time one thinks there might be a pumpkin out there worth harvesting, theyíll go through and gnaw a big hole in it before itís ripe. So much for that idea.
 
It was fun to finally have another chance to get the Studebaker out if only for a short run last week. Initially it was meant to be a show for the folks at the care center and afterwards a trip to Barneyís drive in in Waseca. The care center residents are always appreciative. You can see their eyes light up when the old cars roll slowly by them while seated outside. Making a couple passes is more than worth seeing the pleasure it gives them. The trip to Barneyís was equally enjoyable. They too were delighted to have all the old cars parked there on what was an absolutely fantastic September evening. We stayed and visited until dusk and were rewarded with several free gifts not the least of which was free ice cream. Bribery will get you everywhere when it comes to ice cream.

This is always a bittersweet time of year when it comes to watching the birds. The orioles, neither the Baltimore nor orchard types have been seen at the ranch since September 5th. We got to enjoy them for about 4 months so there was that. The resident barn swallows too are confirmed gone. Their presence was missed as the fly population has experienced a brief renaissance in the barn as of late. The barn spiders help although their control method is more passive and not as assertive as the swallows grabbing their prey on the wing. The hummingbirds have been just crazy, counting as many as four individual birds at a time when gawking out the window. There are probably more but it's hard to tell if the same ones flying laps around the house. I can relate. Somedays, seems like I do the same thing.

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

Offline Dotch

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Searchiní for my lost shaker of salt

A few dabs of precip this past week, the scurs saw the Weather Eye deliver some ideal September weather. Will this smooth sailing trend continue or are we in for a bumpy ride? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-60ís and lows in the mid-40ís. Mostly sunny on Thursday with a slight chance of evening rain. Highs in the low 60ís with lows in the mid-40ís. Mostly cloudy on Friday with a good chance of showers. Highs in the upper 50ís with lows in the upper 40ís. Saturday, sunny with highs in the low 70ís and lows in the upper 40ís. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid-60ís and lows in the mid-40ís. Monday, sunny with highs in the mid-60ís with lows in the mid-40ís. Mostly sunny Tuesday with highs in the mid-60ís with lows in the upper 40ís. On September 21st weíll see the sun rise at 7 a.m. CDT. On the 26th, we slide below 12 hours of daylight, something we wonít see again until March 19th. The normal high for September 26th is 69 and the normal low is 46. Cooler temps in the forecast but the scurs are thinking their firewood supply will be adequate for the occasional weenie roast.

Most crops are getting ever closer to the finish line while some early maturing corn has actually been harvested for early season contracts. The 10-man dryer has been operating at full capacity since last Friday, costing the pickups at the Mall for Men with beeswings. No exact word on yields but hearing no complaints. Sweet corn has yielded exceptionally well with reported yields of over 10 ton per acre in places. Soybeans have changed in dramatic fashion this past week although as most know, once the leaves are off, it still usually takes some time before harvest can commence. This may be the case this fall as well, especially if the cooler weather forecast comes to fruition. Not a problem, There is plenty of time and soil conditions remain relatively dry.
 
In the garden and around the yard at the ranch, fall is bringing with it a bountiful harvest. We still have string beans coming out of our ears. Tomatoes are ripening quickly and have been absolutely beautiful. Those who weíve shared them with would tend to agree. The Honeycrisp apples have been a hit too as theyíve been distributed among friends. The pears are finally coming along too although they must be picked and brought inside to ripen before eating. The ground falls Iíve eaten have been tremendous, very juicy, and sweet. Theyíre every bit as good as the store-bought pears although they ripen extremely quickly, making them more of a challenge to keep up with. Pumpkins are showing themselves, so it wonít be long before they adorn the yard at the ranch.

Birds continue their usual activities for this time of year. Thereís been a great-horned owl hanging around after dark recently at the ranch. Can hear it calling when the windows are open, and it adds a sense of calm upon hearing it. In the morning when the crows figure out where itís roosting, not so much. Hummingbirds have slowed down somewhat as we move into September. They went through more nectar at the feeders last week than any other time all summer. The cannas are fading somewhat too even though Iíve faithfully deadheaded them. The northern corn rootworm beetles arenít helping matters, feeding on the soft tissue that composes the flower petals. I have news for them: Once it freezes their days are numbered.

This September marks 40 years since I moved from the Marshfield trailer house in Cando ND to the Little House on the Prairie northwest of Rock Lake. The house was owned by one of my customers and it turned out that his brother who had been living there would be moving out by the end of the month. In the meantime, Iíd been tipped off that my roommate in Cando was about to lose his job. This opportunity presented me with an opportunity to move out in the country after six years of living in town. The house and building site were located on the northwest end of the Armourdale reservoir. It was in an area known as the Finnish reservation having been settled by Finnlanders. Like many of the older area farmsteads, it had a full compliment of small outbuildings, including an old granary, a tool shed, a few small grain bins, a chicken coop and best of all, a rustic wood burning sauna.

The 80 the building site was on was an absolute sportsmanís paradise. Iíd had a taste of waterfowl hunting over field decoys the previous fall and enjoyed it. I was anxious to experience more of it. There were several ponds surrounded by cattails with easy access once the crop was harvested. Best of all, I had permission to hunt all of them if I desired. As it turned out I seldom did. The mud bottoms in the potholes made them difficult to walk. Without a dog or a duck boat, they were fun to look at but that was about it. When the migration was on, they provided resting areas for the puddle ducks and the variety seen in the flyway was nothing short of amazing. It was hard to keep up sometimes with the variety that happened by them on a daily basis during that timeframe.

The water system on the building site was interesting, especially when it came to water quality. Like most of the area building sites that had private wells, the water was loaded with magnesium sulfate or Epsom salts. It was fine for doing laundry or bathing. Drinking the water took some getting used to although your system would adjust. My system never did adjust however to the flavor of the coffee one encountered when made with it. Of course when calling on farmers, you were obligated to have a cup of coffee with them. I remember the first cup and each subsequent cup after that tasted like someone had dumped a saltshaker in it. One thing about it, if you didnít need to use the bathroom beforehand, you would after you left their place. You were suddenly regular whether you wanted to be or not.

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

Offline Dotch

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Well I'm older now and still running against the wind

Another dribble of precip this past week, the scurs had the Weather Eye delivering some very seasonal fall weather Does it continue or does Jack Frost pay us a visit? Starting Wednesday, a frosty morning expected. Sunny skies with highs in the upper 50ís and lows in the upper 40ís. Sunny on Thursday with highs in the mid-60ís and lows in the upper 40ís. Sunny on Friday with highs in the upper 60ís and lows in the upper 40ís. Saturday, Oct. 1st, mostly sunny with highs in the low 70ís and lows in the upper 40ís. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the low 70ís and lows in the upper 40ís. Monday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 60ís and lows in the upper 40ís. Partly sunny Tuesday with a fair chance of showers. Highs in the mid-60ís with lows in the low 40ís. On September 28th, the sun will set a 7 p.m. CDT. The calendar flips over to October on Saturday. The normal high for October 1st is 67 and the normal low is 44. The scurs have located their long winter gatkes for future reference. It wonít be long.

Harvest is underway in some area fields. Earlier maturing soybeans are beginning to come off although there are instances where portions are being left to ripen. Those leaves hanging on serve as a yellow caution flag. Moistures have been reported in the 12% range on those harvested. Some early planted, early maturing corn was harvested to take advantage of the late September new crop contracts. Supply has been shown to be tight in some applications, offering some substantial premiums to those willing to take their corn on the wetter side and dry it. Much of this corn has been in the mid-20% range so drying it with 60 Ė 70-degree air makes it more palatable. Yields have been as advertised, making one wonder what will happen when we get into the fuller season hybrids. Frost could still have an impact on some of the later maturing corn although much of it should have the milk line past the halfway point. This should make the potential damage minimal especially if it isnít a particularly hard frost.

The garden at the ranch is winding down finally. This week should mercifully end the string bean picking especially if it freezes hard enough. Mrs. Cheviot harvested most of the peppers. Apparently, they like the new garden area. Some of the plants were over waist high producing unlike any year I remember. The tomatoes followed suit bearing far more than we could possibly eat. Aside from the cucumbers, the vine crops performed admirably although not on a par with last year. Thatís probably a good thing. Itís difficult for two people to eat over 100 buttercup squash or give them all away. The spaghetti squash might make up for that. A few go a long way and there are more than a few. Plenty of decorative gourds, pumpkins, and some Turkís turban squash. The Indian corn appears to be the weak link, having been later maturing than anticipated. Thatís OK. Itís extremely tall and will make a decent corn shock to give the yard that official fall appearance. At Thanksgiving time, along with the pumpkins, itíll make good sheep feed.

In the yard the end of the hummingbirdsí stay is drawing nigh. There have been more individual birds and fewer disputes at the nectar feeders. Tuesday morning they were no-shows. Itís always sad but thereís no stopping it. The flowers are starting to wane some although they hung in there longer than expected. The nectar feeders will remain in place for a week or two in case a straggler happens through. There are a fair number of robins moving through the yard at the ranch. While the drier conditions have made finding earthworms more difficult for them, there are copious amounts of nannyberries, chokeberries, and crabapples in the yard for them to eat. The American cranberries in the EQIP planting should also be ready for migrating birds. No one goes hungry at the ranch if we can help it.

Our annual car club fall cruise came and went last week. The group went to the Dubuque area where theyíd visited a few years earlier. We were a little concerned when it was learned that our fearless leader and his wife wouldnít be joining us when sheíd suddenly taken ill. This left the lead car duties to the Studebaker, and the navigational duties to my copilot, longtime friend JJ. Heíd dropped his motorcycle off at the ranch first and weíd carpooled it into town to meet the rest of the group. By some strange happenstance, he brought along an IA road map! Who carries a map in this day and age or knows how to read it for that matter? No worries. We were covered.

Thatís exactly what we did. While I knew weíd be covering hilly terrain, the Stude was up to the challenge. It was readied for a cruise a few weeks prior, but a last-minute cancellation made it prudent to carpool as opposed to flying solo. Adding some gas the night before, it was go time. JJís navigational skills were uncanny. We stair stepped flawlessly to Dubuque down one county blacktop after another, encountering very few rough stretches or construction. He also found the scenic routes too, the next one seemingly better than the last. I was concerned my gas mileage wasnít up to snuff after thinking Iíd burned a fair amount of fuel on an earlier outing. My fears were allayed when we stopped for gas outside Dubuque. Running right at 15 mpg wasnít bad for a 63-year-old car running against a strong southeast headwind.

We spent the next couple days seeing the sights. Saturday, we went to Maquoketa Caves State Park then crossed over the Mississippi to Savanna IL where we ate at Hawg Dogs. We went to the Iron Horse Social Club, a biker bar that contained numerous old motorcycles and had a wedding chapel upstairs. We then checked the local museum. Old river towns are rich in history. Sunday, we hit the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville then went down the street to the Antique Mall. There were as many old toys in unopened packages in this large building as I've ever seen. There were lots of dishes and antiques of all kinds. Then caught the Field of Dreams field. Nice place & they're making it into a whole complex of fields. Once completed it should be something to see and experience.
 
JJ also had a knack for locating great places to eat. On the way down we stopped at the Gunder Roadhouse. We got there before noon, and it was a good thing. After we sat down, people began descending like locusts on the place. Hawg Dogs in Savanna, where Frank Fritzís antique store is located, was excellent as well. Sunday, we ate at "The Family Restaurant" in downtown Dyersville. Absolutely fantastic food and service. Needless to say, no weight loss occurred on this cruise. That said, bucking the brutal headwind all the way back to Bugtussle, itís amazing we got the mileage we did. When we arrived home, weíd covered almost 700 miles. We were tuckered but had a great time, thanks in large part to JJís efforts. Way to step up to the plate to be a hero, there bud!

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

Offline LPS

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700 miles.  I wondered how far it was to Dubuque from your area.  That is quite a cruise.  Good for the Studebaker. 

Offline Dotch

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Dubuque is about 240 miles from here going the shortest route. Running two lane blacktops, it's farther than that. We like to travel those so we don't create traffic issues. We don't drive real fast on the highway either (55 - 60 mph) so everyone can keep up and still gawk at the scenery. We went all over the place once we got there. Jay did one helluva job of keeping us from getting lost while finding interesting places to go. There were several areas he had no signal on his phone so that paper road map was a godsend. All I did was drive & keep an eye on the group so we didn't lose people at lights and stop signs. Relatively easy with a small bunch like that.     
« Last Edit: September 09/27/22, 07:43:36 PM by Dotch »
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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