Recent

Check Out Our Forum Tab!

Click On The "Forum" Tab Under The Logo For More Content!
If you are using your phone, click on the menu, then select forum. Make sure you refresh the page!
The views of the poster, may not be the views of the website of "Minnesota Outdoorsman" therefore we are not liable for what our members post, they are solely responsible for what they post. They agreed to a user agreement when signing up to MNO.


Author Topic: Fencelines  (Read 164596 times)

0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Running over the same old ground. What have we found?

The scurs calling for late week rain came true once again although the dire predictions of a Monday rainout didn’t come to fruition. This week’s forecast period will likely see us start to turn the corner with more nice days than what we’re accustomed to. Wednesday starts us out with mostly cloudy and a slight chance of a shower in the morning. High of 65 and low of 40 – 45. Thursday, partly cloudy, high of 60 – 65 with a low of 40 – 45. Friday, partly cloudy, high near 60 and low of 40. Chance of rain Friday evening. Saturday, cloudy, chance of rain, high of 60 and low of 40. Cloudy Sunday with a chance of showers, high of 60 – 65, low of 40 – 45. Partly cloudy Monday, 60 – 65 for the high with lows of 45 – 50. Tuesday clouds return with a chance of rain, high of 60 and low of 50. Normal high for May 9 is 69 and normal low is 43. We gained 17 minutes of daylight in the past week, with the sun rising shortly before 6 a.m. and setting shortly before 8:30 p.m. The scurs are readying for their maiden voyage on the lawnmower for the season.

What a difference a few days makes. Coming out of the weekend before last, the ground was frozen solid a couple of mornings. On April 29th was heading towards some farmers fields near Madison Lake and encountered snow banks in the road ditches. Cool days at the beginning of the week made us begin to wonder if it was ever going to warm up and dry out. By Wednesday, things had changed and planters began to roll in places. Thursday’s clouds threatened rain and kept ground conditions sticky after working but the rain fell to the west that evening. That gave us hope that maybe it would hold off Friday morning but it was not to be. The spring’s weather has been trying our patience to be sure. Let’s hope the forecasters are right and this week gets us back into the fields once again.

The flora has been slow coming too. Usually by corn planting time we see the plum thickets spreading their sweet perfume across the landscape, followed close on their heels by the crabapples and apple trees. If the oak leaves are supposed to be the size of squirrels’ ears for corn planting, this year they must be midget squirrels. There are signs however we are making some progress. There are dandelions blooming on the south side of the house and the violas or Johnny Jump Ups are also flowering. My radishes grew almost ½” this past week. I figure by August at this rate we may actually have some ready. 

While the spring has been moving in slow motion, the birds are still coming through very close to what we generally see. This past week, saw bluebirds on Tuesday and was disappointed they hadn’t appeared yet at home. The next night they were here checking out the nesting boxes. May 1st brought the 1st rose-breasted grosbeak, actually a little ahead of when I’ve seen them here in years past.  After talking to my Mom she had also seen a grosbeak and an oriole as well. Put the oriole feeder out here and sure enough on Saturday after the rain, there he was. Sometimes wish I had some photographic talents as by the brush pile, along with the male oriole there was a white-crowned sparrow and a brown thrasher all within 3 feet of each other.

Not a big fan of brush piles because of the bunnies and woodchucks they seem to attract but the birds seem to like them for shelter during certain times of the year. Was going to burn the small pile this spring but seeing the bird activity in and around it over the weekend, decided it could wait. Besides, there will no doubt be another small one out here someplace for them next spring. If you have trees like silver maple, boxelder and ash trees on your property seems like brush piles are perpetual.

Pastures continue to grow and after a winter of inactivity and getting chubby, the yearling ewes have been relegated to pasture as their main source of roughage. Gus and Lucy keep an eye on them from their side of the fence when they’re in sight. All critters were happy to get leftovers from the most recent Lions Pancake breakfast. Leftover bread crusts are fought over by the sheep. Cold, soggy French toast keeps both of the border collies happy although their favorites were the sausages fished out of the garbage with coffee grounds on them. Just what a Border collie needs I thought; caffeine. Was hoping to find a chocolate éclair with a bite out of it myself.

At the Mall for Men, the cold weather led to several early week decompression (sometimes decomposing) sessions. The little fat buddies had a wonderful start with a large pan of leftover bars. Once we got busy in the field, there was little demand for bars and therapy sessions. However, Friday we were blessed with more rain and lo and behold, an angel from the east showed up with a freshly from the oven, still warm pan of bars. At lunchtime, out of the blue 2 pizzas showed up and were devoured immediately. The slightly dampish but undaunted little fat buddies could not believe their sudden good fortune. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

See you next week…real good then.

 

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
That's how it goes 'cause part of me knows what you're thinkin'...

If being close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, the scurs were definitely in the ballpark last week. They’re going out on a limb here and predicting this forecast period should give us close to normal temps and keeps us slightly drier than the recent past. Little sunshine however. Wednesday partly cloudy, highs of 60 – 65 and lows of 40 – 45. Thursday starts off cloudy with a small chance of rain by afternoon. High of 60 – 65 and low near 40. Cloudy Friday, highs of 65 and low of 45, a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Saturday, cloudy, slight chance of rain, highs near 65 and lows of 45. Cloudy Sunday, slight chance of showers, high of 60 – 65 and low of 45. Monday and Tuesday, partly cloudy, highs of 60 – 65 and lows 45. Normal high for May 16 is 71 and normal low is 46. We will have gained 16 more minutes of daylight in the past week and that trend is slowing slightly as we near the summer solstice. The scurs are readying their hammock for future reference.

Monday the 19th ushers in the Full Moon for the month, known by many appropriate names. Most call it the Full Flower Moon for obvious reasons, others call it the Full Corn Planting Moon for equally obvious reasons. The Ojibwe called this the Full Blossom Moon and the Sioux called it The Moon When Ponies Shed. At the ranch, we call it the Moon When Gus and Lucy Need Much Brushing.

Corn planting has been on everyone’s mind, what with the showers we seem to receive every 3 – 4 days. Conditions approach fair to marginal allowing for a day or two of planting at best, only to be followed by more rainfall. Fortunately, the amounts have generally been on the lighter side, avoiding the 3” – 4” gushers. Corn planted on April 30th had a ½” radicle on it as of May 7th. Mrs. Cheviot recently returned from Ohio and saw very few fields where corn was up. Similar tales of woe have been heard from other parts of the Midwest as well. Misery loves company.

The weather has been cool but has been warm enough to get area lawnmowers cranked up including yours truly. Has been the wettest start since 1993 when I registered my riding mower as a watercraft. Mowed up nice where the ground was dry but there were areas where the grass was still pretty short. With the cool weather, the amount of nitrogen mineralized has been slowed as evidenced by the nice green doggie spots. There have been some plum and cherries in bloom, especially in area burgs and other sheltered areas. This week should make for an explosion of flowering trees across the greater Bugtussle viewing area.

Despite the cool conditions, the birds continue their migration north. This past week saw many newcomers. The first house wren of the season at the ranch arrived on May 7th along with a black and white warbler and some barn swallows. As if on cue, when Mrs. Cheviot took off for a sheep show in Ohio on May 8th, Harris’ Sparrows showed up again this year along with their buddies the white-throated sparrow and white-crowned sparrows. They must read the show and sale catalog. After reports of hummingbirds several days earlier at Mom’s, one lone male made his way to one of the oriole feeders on the 10th. While not in the yard, a yellow-headed blackbird flew across the road by a slough a few miles up the road to the north. These striking birds are not as common as they once were but have been seeing more the past few years. Some goslings are already showing up on area ponds. Wetland restorations are having a positive impact on wildlife.

Male goldfinches are now the color of dandelions and it still amuses me when what appear to be dandelions from a distance suddenly take flight and perch in the trees. 2 male orioles were tangling over the nectar feeder so decided to put out another spare one we had lying around on the other side of the house. All went well until we discovered there were 3 orioles not just the 2. Not planning on putting out any more feeders though. Enough chores the way it is. Little Jerry, the rooster pheasant continues to court the ladies in the wild plum thicket in our yard. Picked the corn in the food plot a few weeks back and placed it where it was easily accessible for him in case he needed some extra energy.

The night before Mrs. Cheviot took off for Ohio, saw her writing down chore instructions so it came as news to me that she was going. Apparently my mind reading capabilities have been compromised or the scurs must have failed to apprise me of this event. Another surprise the morning she left was the high pitched squeal being emitted by the elderly living room TV. After spending copious amounts of time looking for resets, punching buttons and turning small knobs on the back, I pronounced it dead. Luckily the TV in the bedroom still sort of works when you pound on it several times until the picture comes on. Unfortunately it’s not hooked up to the satellite so no Twinkies games for me while she was gone.

After Mrs. Cheviot arrived home and we came in from chores the other morning, couldn’t figure out where she’d disappeared to. Needed to get to work so I ran through a shower quickly. Upon heading into the bedroom to grab some clothes, found her napping in a big wad of covers on the end of the bed with the TV blaring away. No doubt about it, we need to get a new TV to once again receive 100 channels with absolutely nothing worth watching and so Mrs. Cheviot can get her beauty sleep.

See you next week…real good then.

« Last Edit: May 05/12/08, 03:26:45 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)

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Summer breeze makes me feel fine...

The scurs were right about the rain but we got far more sunshine and warmer temperatures than what they expected. This week, more of the same seasonal weather. Wednesday, partly cloudy, high of 70 and low of 45 – 50. Thursday, partly cloudy and slightly cooler, slight chance of showers in the afternoon and evening. High of 65 – 70 and low of 50. Friday and Saturday, partly cloudy, highs of 70 – 75 and lows near 50. Sunday, partly cloudy, slight chance of afternoon and evening showers. Monday and Tuesday, partly cloudy, highs of 70 – 75 and lows of 50 – 55. Normal high for May 23rd is 74 and normal low is 48 and as of the 23rd, we experience over 15 hours of daylight. We will only gain about 26 more minutes before the summer solstice. The scurs will be staying up well past their bedtime and enjoying every minute of it.

Warm temperatures and breezes this past week made for some fantastic planting progress in area fields. Corn planting is nearing completion and a large portion of the soybeans are in the ground. Early planted corn has emerged despite coming up through some crusted conditions. Many fields were dragged and rotary hoed as a result. Small grains are progressing nicely and most should be tillering as of this week. Weed pressure in all fields has been generally light due to the cool early season weather. However, with warmer temps, they will be making up for lost time. That’s why they’re weeds!

Bird watching this past week added more newcomers to the already long list of travelers. Saw the first indigo bunting of the season on the 14th and had our first catbird hanging out in the brush pile. There has been a red-headed woodpecker hanging out between the ranch and the neighbors. Can hear him but haven’t made eye contact yet. On the 16th, caught up with my little pals the cliff swallows under a Freeborn Co. bridge where they return every year. Spied a bobolink near Pemberton that day and over the weekend, they were in our CRP as well. At the pond, no wood ducks thus far but there are several mallards and blue-winged teal nesting there. There is also a pair of Canada geese that seem to be regulars so wouldn’t be surprised if some goslings suddenly appeared.

In the bluebird houses, we seem to be collecting lots of tree swallows this season but no bluebirds. That’s okay, can always use more bug eaters. There is still time and in the past, we seem to get a pair of bluebirds showing up relatively late at home. At the kindly neighbors pasture, there seems to be a waiting list so more houses properly placed there would probably be the ticket. The wrens at home have set up shop in their usual places and provide the background soundtrack for summer. Hummingbirds are more numerous but quickly hustle out of the way when the orioles show up. Speaking of orioles, Sunday morning caught a brief glimpse of an orchard oriole at the feeder. He didn’t stay long but the almost chestnut coloration was definitely not that of the northern oriole. Common yellowthroats are common in the fenceline between us and neighbor David. Not so common was the scarlet tanager my keen eyed sheepshearing friend and neighbor spotted on 5/19 in the lot at the Mall for Men. This is only the second one I've ever seen.

A lot of lawns being mowed for the 2nd and 3rd times. With the warmer temps, the dandelions have made several lawns and pastures a blaze of yellow. Flowering crabs have been beautiful but one wonders if the lilacs are going to make it by Memorial Day. Starting to notice a few toads down by the barn again although they’re apparently coming off a long winter. Pretty skinny just yet but given a few weeks of warm weather and catching insects, they’ll fatten up.

Speaking of fattening up, at the Mall for Men, activity has begun to wind down somewhat from the hectic spring and with the rains tailing off, not as many baked goods being consumed at one sitting. However, whenever someone does leave something edible on the table, its days are numbered, or usually hours are numbered. Sometimes we have to go out looking for goodies such as at the recent meatball dinner in the Geneva Lutheran church. Found several little fat buddies there feasting on real mashed potatoes, gravy and of course meatballs. Conspicuously absent from the table fare though were the Jell-O salads but there were lots of other salads to make up for it. Best not complain as experience taught me long ago, not unlike poking at a beehive with a stick, messing with church basement ladies is asking for trouble.

See you next week…real good then.

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Don't think me unkind, words are hard to find...

A cooler than expected beginning to last week for the scurs but they bounced back on the weekend with some warmer temps. This week promises some warmer weather and believe me we need it. Starting with Wednesday, partly cloudy, high of 65 – 70, low of 50. Warmer Thursday, partly cloudy, high of 75 and low of 55 with a chance of thundershowers Thursday evening. Friday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of rain. High of 75 – 80 and low of 55. Saturday, partly cloudy, 75 – 80 for the high with a low of 55. Sunday, partly cloudy, 65 – 70 degree high and low near 50. Partly cloudy Monday, becoming cloudy in the afternoon with a chance of showers developing. High of 70 and low of 50. Rain Tuesday with a high of 70 and low of 55. Normal high for May 30 is 76 and normal low is 51. The scurs have their flip-flops out and parrothead T-shirts on in anticipation of the first 80 degree high of the season.

Dry conditions have made many area farmers nervous, partially about some of the corn struggling to emerge through a crusty, cloddy seedbed and partially due to soybeans lying in dry dirt. As one sage observer pointed out, rain is one of those things you curse when you need and also when you don’t. Overall, crops are coming but the season has been drawn out and progress has sometimes seemed to be in slow motion. And with good reason. U of M Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley points out in his Minnesota Weather Talk that this has been the coldest May thus far since 1997 and the coldest March through May period since 1996. Even the mosquitoes are slow coming. Big disappointment there, huh?

Some have asked about the purpose of the big drum-type rollers that some farmers are pulling around their fields. These rollers are used primarily in this area on fields planted to soybeans. They shmush the stalks, rocks and corn root balls back into the soil surface so it makes for a cleaner grain sample in the fall. That’s particularly important for those raising seed beans and growing food grade beans for things such as tofu or soy milk. With the drier soil conditions we’ve suddenly experienced, it makes for better seed to soil contact allowing the soybeans to emerge more quickly. In addition, mashing the residue back into the soil helps keep it from blowing, something we can all appreciate when the wind blows. By the way, when doesn’t the wind blow around here?

It was a banner week for bird watching. . Near Mankato in the fenceline, saw an Eastern kingbird first hovering and finally landing. Watching the maple tree outside the reading room in the morning, it has been crawling with several different warblers, including yellow and yellow-rumped warblers. A phoebe has been hanging around the bur oak tree near the small pasture. Finally figured out why the robins kept flying in and out of the barn; a nest on top of the window frame made a nice spot. Even Border collie Gus does his part to help the birds. Cleaned some big wads of his fur out of the garage the other day and moments later, a chipping sparrow in nest building mode began picking it up. Wonder if the hatchlings will tear around incessantly, panting, with their tongues hanging out?

Maybe it’s just the cold weather but the bird migration also seems to be more spread out than some years. Looking back in the Fenceline archives however, one sees some of the same birds mentioned on close to the same calendar dates. Of course, most of your hardcopy columns have long since been used as bird cage liners but what the heck. Have you noticed your birds getting any smarter while talking to their little fat buddies?

At the Mall for Men, soybean planting must be winding down as the training table was back in use again. At first, there were a handful of participants having morning coffee but when a fresh pan of CS’s caramel rolls showed up, there were little fat buddies coming out of the woodwork. Was almost like someone had blown one of those silent dog whistles. We were messy of course, invoking the “5 second rule” when necessary. Probably could’ve used some of Grandma Memma’s napkins.

If I seem a little out of sorts, it’s been one of those weeks and Friday started out to be “one of those days” after I got out of bed. Got down to the barn to find rams in every pen except where they were supposed to be. Few things tick me off more than critters out of their enclosures. Made a trek to Mankato and points beyond which was an improvement. Even though people were driving like idiots with the holiday weekend, got to see some country I rarely see. After riding the range until 2 p.m., stopped at Mac and Don’s Steakhouse for a little sustenance. While I was there, my phone rang and it was one of the crack management staff wondering with the Memorial Day holiday, if I could get my column in yet that day. Managed to beg off until Saturday but felt a little like a pitcher on a baseball team being asked to pitch on 3 days rest! Not exactly a rubber-armed writer, especially when there are chores to do once I get home from work. Oh well, sometimes you gotta take one for the team I guess.

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

Offline Mayfly

  • Master Outdoorsman
  • Posts: 5689
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • MNO
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Good read as usual Dotch,

Thanks.

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down...

Some very timely and indeed welcome rain as the scurs predicted last week with an additional bonus shower or two over the weekend. Was also time it warmed up. This forecast period, expect very typical June weather, including good chances of rain. Starting with Wednesday, cloudy, high of 75 and low of 60. Good chance of rain starting Wednesday night. Thursday, cloudy, rain continuing, high of 80 and low of 60. Cloudy Friday with a chance of showers. High of 75 and low near 55. Partly cloudy Saturday, high of 80 and low of 60 with a slight chance of an isolated shower or thunderstorm. Clouding up on Sunday with a better chance of showers and thunderstorms, high of 80 and low of 60. Monday, partly cloudy, high of 80 and low around 60. Cooler Tuesday, partly cloudy, high of 85 and low of 60. Normal high for June 6th is 78 and normal low is 53. Our sunrise on June 6th occurs at 5:31 a.m. and will continue to rise at that time until the 21st. The sun will continue to set later until the summer solstice on the 20th. In the meantime, the scurs have invested heavily into umbrella and raincoat stocks.

After last Tuesday’s high of 55, who would’ve thunk it would straighten out and fly right? Was one of those days when one wished they had left their ice fishing clothes in the pickup because if you were out in the wind that day, it was downright piercing. With rainfall amounts generally totaling 1.5” – 2” for the week, we could consider ourselves extremely lucky. Areas to the south are suffering from excess moisture and are running out of time to replant corn. For now, we’re sitting just about where we’d like to be. Warmer temperatures really made the crop jump over the weekend but also really made the weeds pop too. If ground conditions allow, expect to see weed control operations take center stage in area fields. If not, expect to hear some snarling and gnashing of teeth.

Area bird watching had its privileges this past week. On the 23rd, saw the first of the new hatch of baby robins scattered around the yard with the parents frantically trying to locate everyone. While checking the fence at the kindly neighbors, noticed something had been working on a nest in the nesting box on the east side of the pasture. Returning over the weekend to control the weeds in the fence, spotted Mr. Bluebird there. There were more bluebirds looking at the ranch this week but a pair of tree swallows staked a claim to the house they were gravitating to. Moved another unoccupied house into the area and doubled up on the one they were looking at but to no avail thus far. Something has hollowed out a bowl in the wood duck house cedar chips but as of press time haven’t been able to discern exactly who it is. No question about who the 6 mallard ducklings are swimming with their mom though. The hen sees me and it’s everyone out of the pool.

On the 29th, the orchard oriole was seen at the nectar feeder. They’ve been here awhile but this was the first one seen at our feeder. Apparently the Baltimore orioles were napping or busy building a nest somewhere. With the warmer temps, the hummingbirds have become much more numerous. Most of what I’m seeing right now appear to be females. There are still a few goldfinches here but nothing like the horde that stuck around for about a month, blowing through thistle seed like it was water. Robins continue to sing about 4:30 a.m. at the ranch making me pull a pillow over my head to deaden the racket. I don’t care if it is supposed to be the best part of the day, there’s no reason to start singing about it that early.

This week should find us seeing a lot of the fruit and berry trees and bushes the birds love flowering including species such as chokecherry, dogwood, honeysuckle and nannyberry. Even though they don’t have much in the way of food value, the lilacs lent their sweet aroma to the warm Sunday air as lawnmowers did their best to make yards presentable for those going to and from graduations. The lilacs do serve as a home to the wrens and catbirds who scold when getting too near their turf.

Ah, but there is always a fly or bug of some kind in the ointment so it seems. Found a couple wood ticks this past week while doing battle with the weeds on the electric fence. Why is it once you find one, there’s this phantom feeling that there are several crawling on you somewhere? After last weeks rain, the mosquitoes are beginning to be more numerous out here in the country. It has been so windy up until now that if they were around, they had little chance to catch up with you and auger that nasty beak into your skin. You’ve probably noticed the June bugs too, especially if you’ve opened a window in the evening and had the pleasure of hearing them go sprong! as they bumble into the screen. Annoying, yes, but much less painful than one bumbling into your face while riding motorcycle.

And finally, it’s that time of year the little fat buddies always fantasize about: Graduation time. As long as you’re not real busy and you’re not actually hosting one while trying to avoid getting into hot water with the spousal unit, it’s a great excuse to go from place to place and sample the local cuisine. Of course, timing is everything. If you work it right, you can have a main course at one stop, lean more heavily on fruits and vegetables at the next one and then focus your attention on desserts at the last one. If you have more than 3 stops, by then it’s mealtime anyway so the cycle just repeats itself.

See you next week…real good then.

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Yore daddy runs sheep and mah uncle runs cattle…

After dumping the rainwater out of the laptop and changing the font to 10 point, the scurs are ready for another action packed week of weather forecasting. This one promises to be a repeat of the last one with somewhat warmer temperatures. Starting with Wednesday, cloudy becoming cloudier by afternoon with an increasing chance for showers and thunderstorms. High of 80 and low of 65. Mostly cloudy Thursday with a good chance for rain. High of 80, low of 60. Friday, partly cloudy with a good chance of morning and afternoon thundershowers. High of 80 and low of 60. Saturday and Sunday, cloudy with a moderate chance of showers and thunderstorms, with highs near 80 and lows near 60. Monday and Tuesday, just in time for the work week, partly cloudy with highs of 80 and lows of 60. Normal high for June 13th is 80 and normal low is 55. Essentially from the 15th until the Summer Solstice, we gain little more daylight, with our day length topping out at 15 hours and 28 minutes. Meanwhile, the scurs will be consulting Sorenson’s in Geneva to see if they know how to fix the weather machine suddenly stuck on the rinse cycle.

Since the paper comes out on Wednesday in town and arrives in rural mailboxes generally on Thursday, we’ll discuss the Full Moon on the 18th almost a week early. As well we should. It’s the Full Strawberry Moon, unanimously among the Indian tribes of the northeast as well as the Ojibwe and Sioux, not to mention little fat buddies. The Sioux also knew this is as the Moon of Making Fat and the Moon When the Grass is Green. That certainly is the case. Now if the little fat buddies could just get their lawns mowed between snacks, naps and showers.

Speaking of green grass, the grass seeding experiment prior to one of the spring snowfall events has been a mixed success. Think in my case, roughing the surface up slightly, then seeding and packing the ground with the lawnmower tires or 4 wheeler might’ve improved my success. When in a hurry however, one does what one has time for. It has come better than initially thought with all the recent rains. The radishes planted April 10th weren’t exactly a homerun either. In a new garden bed, am still getting used to the position of the sun. When the radishes were planted, they were in the sun. As the days became longer however, the sun rose farther to the north, the trees leafed out and the area was shaded too much. My bad. The radishes we did get were hotter than a pistol though.

This past week saw the seeds of soft maple and boxelder trees helicoptering their way to the ground. Apparently was a good year for seed production. Areas of some fields near groves and fencelines were nearly covered with their winged seeds, making one wonder what kind of residue had suddenly showed up there. American high bush cranberries (viburnum) are blooming this week and will bring much of the flowering tree season to a close. The red osier dogwood do seem to bloom awhile yet which partially explains their high berry output and the resulting volunteer dogwood bushes due to the birds’ high output of their seeds.

Weeds are on many farmers’ minds right now. Fields have become saturated and while the crop looks pretty good all things considered, weed control operations have been catch as catch can. It’ll get done; it always does. Even pasture spraying has been challenging. Finally got the 4 wheeler sprayer on but needed some Teflon tape to keep the pressure gauge from leaking. I bet I have 3 or 4 rolls of the stuff somewhere but do you think I could find one of them when needed? Why does one need that many rolls of Teflon tape? Well, duh!. Did locate some in a pail of junk we had moved out of the old garage. Of course, by the time I fixed the pressure gauge and read the rain-fastness on the chemical label, stating it needed 6 hours before a rain, the thunder began to roll. This June, getting that much time thus far without rain and conditions fit to spray has been like pulling teeth.

Last week saw the first of the new hatch of pheasants, little fuzz balls zipping across the road after Momma hen had crossed. Little Jerry must’ve done his job. Always a good idea to take it a little easy when seeing a hen this time of year to avoid hitting the chicks that are frequently behind her. No bluebirds here at home although I did see a pair who were looking at the sites. At the kindly neighbors pasture, the bluebirds remain in the same house they occupied last year. Tree swallows took over the one the wrens had last year and the two new houses there were claimed by the wrens. More early morning music for the neighbors.

Music isn’t exactly what I’d call the racket being made by the recently weaned ewes. Took a load to the same kindly neighbors and luckily, the ewes’ bellering lasted about 5 minutes until they were stuffing themselves so full of lush green grass they could barely move. At home, it’s a little different story. The ewes can still see the weaned lambs who don’t seem to care when there’s food to eat. The yearlings sharing the pasture with the brood ewes want no part of it either and head to the far end to escape the noise. In a few days, the din will subside and the sheep go back to their primary function: Eating grass and keeping the weeds down.

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

Offline Randy Kaar

  • Master Outdoorsman
  • Posts: 3112
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • Randy aka bh
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
another good read! thanks dotch!

randy aka bh
Voted #1 Outdoors Website in MN ( www.mnoutdoorsman.com )!
bonehead149@yahoo.com
bonehead@mnoutdoorsman.com

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Myrtle's got a turtle in her girdle...

After a nice weekend, the scurs are ready to dish up another helping of nice June weather. Goodness knows we can all use it. Starting Wednesday, partly cloudy, high of 80 and low of 60. Essentially, through Tuesday, skies will be partly cloudy; highs will be near 80 and lows around 60, with a slight chance of rain on Thursday, a slightly higher chance on Friday with slight chances again Saturday night into Sunday. Normal high for June 20th, the summer solstice, is 81 and normal low is 57. The scurs have their sights set on lounging on the beach at Beaver Lake for the day, and risking one eye.

The summer solstice occurs at 20:59 UTC or 6:59 p.m. CDT on June 20th as the sun reaches its northernmost extreme. With the sun rising at 5:31 a.m. and setting at 9 p.m., it is the longest day of the year. That’s the good news. The bad news is on the 21st, we already lose one minute of daylight. Of course this depends on your viewpoint. If you can’t wait for ice fishing season, it’s right up your alley.

This past week saw limited progress made across the area for those trying to get corn sprayed for weed control. However, with the weekend turning out as nice as it did, a lot of the hay that has been standing got knocked down. Sure, the quality probably won’t be what we’d like to see for dairy hay but there are a lot of small patches scattered around the countryside primarily designed to feed a few beef cows, horses and other assorted 4-legged hay burners. Even some dumb sheep guys aren’t real fussy when it comes to hay quality. Beggars can’t be choosers. At least it will still give one cause for allowing the aroma of that curing hay to waft inside an open window or two.

In Bugtussle itself, managed to get the planters in front of the Mall for Men planted with an assist from one red-haired small engine mechanic. Noticed the top had been removed from the 5-man dryer at the elevator across the road. As one astute observer pointed out, it suddenly became more like about a 3 ½ man dryer.

Out and about this past week, saw and smelled all kinds of noteworthy items. Wild grapes were in full bloom over the weekend, making me wonder at first what kind of tree the sweet odor was coming from as I was mowing lawn. Appears the birds have been doing a splendid job of spreading wild grape seeds all over the countryside. On still evenings mosquitoes have been out in force when checking on the garden before sunset. Breezy conditions do have their perks. In the garden itself this past week, striped cucumber beetles were voraciously feeding on cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and other vine crops. Timely treatment is necessary when this happens or there will be no vine crops. Rabbits developed at taste for the sugar snap pea vines so the chicken wire fence was resurrected once again. A lot of cottontails all over the countryside in my travels.

Were lots of snapping turtles and painted turtles crossing roads to get to their egg laying grounds. Spied a painted turtle on Friday night just east of St. Olaf Lake trying to lay her eggs in a frost boil in the middle of the road as I made my way to the kindly neighbors pasture. Hmmm…I thought to myself as I drove by trying to avoid hitting her. Eggs won’t survive the road grader and she’s in grave danger of being squashed if two cars meet. What to do...decided if she was still there after checking the ewes, I would put on my leather gloves and release her somewhere else but where?

Where else? At the pond at home. Should be plenty of food and there are sand and gravel pockets on the hillside where she should be able to lay her eggs in peace. She was still there when I came back, unscathed, and I was sure as I picked her up, someone would ask the “turtle soup” question if I told them about what I was doing. Immediately I thought, ‘No soup for you!” and put her in the back of the pickup where she poked her head and legs out of her armor. Walked her down the hill and placed her on the ground beside the water. Instantly she was off and in the water as I smiled as I watched the bubbles that traced her path under the water’s murky surface.

Mrs. Cheviot was less-than-amused at my nap-taking prowess the other night right before the thunderstorm hit. After eating and upon hearing thunder in the distance, it was lights out for this cowboy, er, sheepboy. When I woke up, I could smell something burning. Had lightning struck the house I thought? False alarm. Apparently the power had gone off and Mrs. Cheviot had lit a candle. Of course, when I asked what was going on I got “the look” and she muttered something under her breath. Since there’s nothing you can do about it anyway, thunderstorms, as long as they don’t involve high winds, are not only wonderful opportunities for doing your Rip Van Winkle impression, but also to get out and play with some of those rarely used around the house toys such as wind up flashlights as well as LED headlamps and lanterns. Bonus! A shame to see their use confined only to hunting and fishing seasons. Of course, after being rested up, that’s exactly what I did, amusing Mrs. Cheviot even less. In the case of thunderstorms, to quote Homer Simpson, “You snooze, you win!”

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
They give me cat scratch fever...

As anticipated, the scurs were on the money, delivering some of the nicest weather we’ve seen for this growing season. Warm days and cool nights have made it easy to open the windows at night. On tap for this forecasting period: More of the same with slightly above average trend in temperatures. Starting Wednesday, partly cloudy, high of 85 and low of 65. Slight chance of showers Wednesday evening. Thursday into Friday, partly cloudy becoming cloudy. Moderate chance of showers and thunderstorms with highs of 80 – 85 and lows near 65. Saturday, partly cloudy, warmer with a high near 85 and low of 60. Cooler Sunday, with partly cloudy skies. High of 80 and low of 60. Partly cloudy Monday and warmer, high of 85 and low of 65. The heat is on Tuesday. High near 90 and low of 70. Normal high for June 27 is 82 and normal low is 59. The scurs will be working on their suntans when they’re not napping in the hammock.

The past week was a godsend for all those who were trying to get caught up on their weed control and harvesting hay, sometimes at the same time. Forage yields have been impressive but they should be due to the later than normal harvest. Forage quality as a result may not be what the high octane dairy producer would like. However any hay at this point is better than no hay at all. Corn really took off over the weekend and from those traveling other parts of the corn belt, there aren’t too many places that look better than south central MN at this point. It’s not perfect and has some warts but we have to count our blessings and be thankful we don’t live a few hundred miles to the south this year.

Lots of deer seen out consuming corn and soybeans this past week. Several does with fawns as well. The deer look extremely well nourished and wondered a couple times whose Jersey cows were out. As mentioned last week, there are few things more pleasant than the small of curing hay. Can think of one thing that smells even better though: The smell of freshly baled hay with no rain on it stacked in your barn!

In area gardens am hearing some of the same complaints: Bunnies and lots of them. Had to fence off the string beans this past week as one of them had decided since he couldn’t eat the sugar snap peas anymore he’d adjust his diet. See he’s also been gnawing on the sweet corn and the neighbor’s soybeans. Ever notice how they never seem to eat the weeds off?

Lots of bird activity at the ranch over the prior week. The goldfinches are back with a vengeance and have their little house finch buddies with them. On Saturday, every perch on every feeder was covered with one of the aforementioned birds. The first of the new batch of tree swallows has taken wing and the robins are on brood two. There have been 3 robin nests built inside of our sheds this year, almost like they’ve become domesticated. With all the rain, they were no dummies. Hummingbird activity continues to increase and the orchard oriole was back again. Wonder if JW from the SROC is still seeing theirs?

Out and about on the ranch, the common yellowthroats have taken a shine to the dogwood which apparently has become thick enough to get their stamp of approval. On the pond there were 6 egrets on Saturday morning, parading along the west side in stark contrast to the green background. At the kindly neighbors, Ma and Pa bluebird are rearing brood one yet so will be keeping a close eye on that nesting box. Once the young leave the nest, will clean it out in hopes that they will start on brood number two as they did last year. Apparently the Gus fur used in chipping sparrow nest construction was a success too. The numerous baby chippers floating around the yard are proof of that.

Gus and Lucy are in full shed. Brushed them out on Sunday during the breezy afternoon and the wind was taking big hunks of fur and scattering them all over the lawn, making it look like there had been a gigantic catfight. (Yey eye ca-catfight!) It also lofted some it up over the house, some of it was stuck in the trees and some landed on the road. Passersby probably wondered what in the devil was going on. That’s okay. The neighbors all know we’re nuts anyway, so nothing surprises them anymore.

And finally, once again CS took pity on the poor starving little fat buddies and had their choice of rhubarb and apple dessert delivered to the Mall for Men. We are conferring little fat buddy auxiliary status upon her for baking over and above the call of duty. Even though it was a short crowd, the goodies didn’t see noon. We’ve learned to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities such as this. There are almost always paper plates and plastic silverware on the training table. One can never plan too far in advance for these occasions. Have to strike while the baked goods are warm.

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

Offline Randy Kaar

  • Master Outdoorsman
  • Posts: 3112
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • Randy aka bh
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
hey Dotch, hows that horseradish crop doing?

randy aka bh
Voted #1 Outdoors Website in MN ( www.mnoutdoorsman.com )!
bonehead149@yahoo.com
bonehead@mnoutdoorsman.com

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Looks awesome, bone, er, I mean Randy. The new patch caught very well, should be ready late fall or early spring, and the original patch is about waist high. Of course, with my short stature, that may not mean much but hey, at least I have big feet. And you know what that means: I have big shoes!  :dancinred:
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline Randy Kaar

  • Master Outdoorsman
  • Posts: 3112
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • Randy aka bh
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
was at cub last week, they wanted 5 something a pound...  geez!
the silver springs red just doesnt do it for me anymore! i need raw.

randy aka bonehead
Voted #1 Outdoors Website in MN ( www.mnoutdoorsman.com )!
bonehead149@yahoo.com
bonehead@mnoutdoorsman.com

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
We'll have to link up this fall. Can get you a "fix" then. Some of the old patch should still be good after tearing it up around the edges this spring. Just need to be a little selective about the roots used. The nice thin white ones I dug out of there this spring weren't tough and really packed a whallop. Can give you some tops to start your own patch too and will start another new one here.
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline Randy Kaar

  • Master Outdoorsman
  • Posts: 3112
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • Randy aka bh
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
that sounds like a plan for sure! i want to make the young guns
at deer camp something they wont forget! like the first taste of
raw horseradish :rotflmao: light my fire!!!

randy aka bh
Voted #1 Outdoors Website in MN ( www.mnoutdoorsman.com )!
bonehead149@yahoo.com
bonehead@mnoutdoorsman.com

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Wooden ships on the water...

Aside from the showers on Saturday, the scurs were near perfect once again. They promise to dish up another seasonal forecast for the Independence Day weekend. Starting Wednesday, partly cloudy, high of 80 and low of 55. Moderate chance of showers for Wednesday. Thursday and Friday the 4th should be carbon copies. Mostly sunny with highs of 75 and lows of 55 – 60 both days. Slightly warmer Saturday under sunny skies, high of 80 and low of 60. Sunday, partly cloudy, slight chance of rain, warming to 80 – 85 with a low near 65. Monday and Tuesday get a little sticky. Partly cloudy, highs 85 – 90 and lows of 65 – 70 with a slight chance of rain for Tuesday. Normal high for July 4th is 83 and normal low is 60. The scurs will be trying to elude the Fireworks Police while setting off their super secret fireworks display.

Doesn’t seem possible we’re already out to the 4th of July and many folks haven’t run their air conditioning yet. Has been wonderful to open the windows at night, close them during the day and come home to a still cool house. While it has been comfortable sleeping weather, it hasn’t necessarily been great for corn and soybeans. Corn is over knee high but we continue to lag about 10% behind normal in GDU’s at the SROC and there is becoming a common muttering among farmers that we will likely need a warm September to finish this crop out. No doubt, crops have improved dramatically. However, regarding some of the sins committed both last fall and this spring due to wet field conditions, the chickens have come home to roost.

The rainfall this past Friday and Saturday was indeed welcome, with most reporting somewhere in the neighborhood of .7” – 1”+ total for the two days across most of greater Bugtussle. It was especially beneficial to those with late sweet corn plantings and should start the small grain on its way to grain fill after pollinating this past week. Should help the peas too, those that haven’t contracted root rot yet anyway.

Gardens absolutely loved the rain too. Vine crops such as pumpkins, cukes, squash and melons have begun to blossom and “run”. Once they get started, especially the squash and pumpkins, the ground coverage provides effective weed control. In addition, the ground the next year is generally very mellow as those big leaves deflect the large droplets in the pounding rains we seem to receive on an increasingly frequent basis. Even the “learning impaired” clematis we have on the east side of the house seems to be coming around. In years past, it has ignored the trellis and sprawled on the ground. Using a little determination and composted sheep manure, have managed to get the plant erect without the use of Viagra. Nothing a little bale twine and electric fence wire couldn’t cure.

The birds sure seemed to think the rain was a good deal. The little yellow goldfinches were busy bathing in the puddles at the end of the driveway. The robins were happy to see the earthworms close to the soil surface, making for easy pickin’s. As well they should be. Heading down to the barn Sunday, spied several heads, mouths wide open, above the nest on the west wall. Judging by their size, it won’t be long and the 2nd brood will be on the wing. Still doesn’t seem to stop the wrens and robins from starting to sing at 4:30 a.m. and stopping at 9:30 p.m. That’s a full days work in anybody’s book.

The sheep continue to harvest their own forage in the pastures. Generally, sheep are not considered the sharpest tools in the shed but they do have their moments. Was watching them one day placing their front legs on another’s back in order to get at the low hanging tree limbs. All trees in the pasture are trimmed to a height of about 4’ underneath, great if you’re a little person. Decided they also must have a sense of humor. Saw a ewe crowd another one into the electric fence and it zapped her as they all ran off at the snap! the spark made. Thought I might have even heard them snicker a little at the expense of the fence tester.

Once again, Mrs. Cheviot is off on another junket this week leaving Mr. Cheviot to his own devices along with all the chores and other responsibilities. One of these days, it will be Mr. Cheviot’s turn although those days seem to be becoming fewer and farther between. Maybe if I plug the culvert and run the garden hose in the road ditch overnight, I can get my boat back in the water 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)

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Rescue me...

The scurs hedged their bets and sure enough, we missed the Wednesday rain. Will we have nice weather for Farm and City Days? Ask and ye shall receive. Starting Wednesday, sunny with a high of 80 and low of 60. Sunny Thursday with a high in the low 80’s and low near 65. Friday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of rain that evening. High of 85 and low around 65. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers during the day and a better chance of showers Saturday night. High of 85 – 90 and low of 65 – 70. Ish! Cloudy Sunday with a slight chance of lingering showers in the morning. High of 85 and low in the mid – 60’s. Monday and Tuesday, partly cloudy, highs in the low to mid 80’s and lows in the low to mid 60’s. Normal high for July 11th is 83 and normal low is 61. Just for Ona, sunrise on the 11th occurs at 5:42 a.m. and sunset is at 8:56 p.m. We have lost 14 minutes of daylight since the summer solstice. However, the scurs are going out on a limb here and forecasting no snow for the Farm and City Days parade.

No question about the corn and soybean progress this past week: Super! While Sunday’s muggy weather wasn’t comfortable for people or livestock but it was ideal for our row crops. While considered vertically challenged, was in corn that was head high in places last week. Soybeans are blooming profusely and the yellowing from iron deficiency chlorosis has been limited in most places to small areas of fields. Soybean aphids were found last week but they’re certainly not widespread or by any means a problem just yet.

The 4th brought a welcome respite from too many days of work but as too often occurs, all it seems to wind up being time spent working on projects at home that got back-burnered. As mentioned last week, had the chores all to myself besides so was fortunate to be invited to one of my little fat buddy’s for supper and to watch evening fireworks. Way too much food but what was one to do? That’s right, relax and savor it along with realizing how lucky we are to live and enjoy the freedoms we have in this country.

Would be hard to top that evening so wasn’t about to try. After getting some food around for that gathering, discovered I was out of a lot of stuff and needed to repair some other things. So, made one of those awful trips to FF. Had charcoal but no lighter fluid so had to use the propane torch to ignite the coals. The torch ran out of LP about the time the coals decided to commence. The grate that holds the charcoal in the bottom of the Weber had just about worn through to the point of collapsing so found a replacement grate on sale even. Could’ve replaced the Weber (same size also on sale) but since I’d had it longer than Mrs. Cheviot, decided to keep it. Charcoal was just about gone so also found that on sale. And the goldfinches had run out of thistle seed so got that rectified. Just watch, they’ll go on hiatus for awhile now.

Made a trip to Mom’s on Sunday and continued feasting. Had a couple sinks to unclog so it wasn’t totally sitting around time. The experience of fishing army men out of plugged toilets in rental property came in handy. Got some gas for her lawnmowers and visited my mother-in-law at the care center in Ostrander. When we got back I washed her car and within 15 minutes, it rained. If only one had that kind of power.

All of the robins made it out of the nest in the barn by Sunday morning, save one. He was still in the nest when I left for Mom’s so didn’t think much of it. When I got home for chores could hear a baby robin but couldn’t see him. Finishing up watering, determined he was stuck behind the inside wall on the barn. Took some doing but finally managed to grab him, much to his vocal displeasure and that of nearly every robin in the yard. Let the little twerp go and within seconds, there was a parent with a hunk of night crawler feeding him.

Just like everyone else, have had to make some adjustments due to the fuel prices. Was discussing this with a guy in a little bar and grill where I’d stopped to take on some nourishment. We’d both made changes in vehicles lately and I mentioned after the crop got too large to ride 4 wheeler, I’d park the dually and start driving the mini van. I already was driving it for the short, non-hauling trips. Only problem with that was I’d started to feel like a soccer mom. His solution was priceless. “Sounds like you should buy a wig”.

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

Offline HD

  • Administrator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 14070
  • Karma: +56/-23
  • #1 Judge (Retired)
    • Minnesota Outdoorsman
  • Liked: 3072
  • Likes Given: 245
Dotch,
  Sounds like your corn is doing well! Mine is not quite that high yet, but should be soon, had a real good down pour last night. Good for the crops, sucks to work in.......got a tractor out in the field with a bad carb, was working on it when she let loose. (drowning rat syndrome)

As for the wig.....I think.....I would pass!


Another good read!

Hunter
Mama always said, If you ain't got noth'in nice to say, don't say noth'in at all!

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
He knows I'm gonna stay...

After scraping the last of the road-kill Farm and City Days parade Tootsie Rolls off their shoes, the scurs are ready to predict the week’s weather with continued deadly accuracy. Looks like a shift in weather patterns, towards a wetter cycle again. Chance of showers and thunderstorms every day, with the best chances Thursday night, with moderate chances through Sunday. Starting with Wednesday, partly cloudy high of 85 and low of 65. Partly cloudy Thursday, high of 80, low of 65. Mostly cloudy Friday, high near 80, low between 60 and 65. Saturday and Sunday, partly cloudy skies, highs near 80 and lows of 60 – 65. Mostly cloudy Monday and Tuesday. Highs both days of 75 with lows near 55. Normal high for July 18th is 84 and normal low is 61. We shall see if the rain dancing lessons the scurs have been taking are paying off.

The Full Moon for the month falls on Friday the 18th. It is known as the Full Buck Moon as the buck deer are beginning to show antlers in the velvet. It is known as the Full Thunder Moon by some because of the thunderstorms common during the month. Many farmers know this as the Full Hay Moon. Hopefully there are some thunderstorms to make a decent hay crop. The Ojibwe knew this as the Full Raspberry Moon and the Sioux as The Moon of the Red Cherries, both of which should be showing up in grocery stores any day now.

Was a nice rain back on Friday the 11th and hopefully it’s the start of more to come. Most were reported .5” or less across the greater Bugtussle viewing area. Area crops continue to progress, with tassels due to arrive on much of the corn during Waseca Co. Fair. Soybeans in 20” rows should be closing the rows this week. Early planted spring wheat is starting to show some signs of turning. The pea crop has been disappointing but not to be unexpected given the cold, damp start to the spring we had, followed by a general dry pattern. Some early sweet corn started to show tassels last week so hopefully in about 3 weeks we’ll have some to eat.

Was thrilled to become an official weather observer for Berlin Twp. in Steele Co. as part of the Minnesota Climatological Network. One of the employees of the SWCD was nice enough to come out after hours and help get me started with the project. After some head scratching about how to mount the gauge, we seemed to have put together a respectable looking mount. Checked it with a level to make sure it was as close to accurate [PoorWordUsage] it could be. Best of all, within a day of putting it in service, actually recorded some precipitation, all .41” of it.

Thank you to GD for leaving a female cecropia moth in egg laying mode on my desk last week. These large moths are members of the giant silk moth family. Not often seen as they fly at night, they are attracted to bright lights. While not totally uncommon, it takes some luck to see one. They live only about 2 weeks as adult moths. They lack a mouth or proboscis with which to feed. Eggs are laid following mating and they are univoltine, meaning they produce only one generation per year. The eggs will hatch in about 1 – 2 weeks and the larvae will feed on several species of trees including apple, pear, cherry, plum, boxelder and maple. After molting 4 times and feeding voraciously, the now 4 inch green larvae with a spiky appearance spins a cocoon in a late summer and overwinters, hatching the next spring or summer, repeating the cycle.

Out and about this past week there were lots of sights to see and smell. While mowing some thistles in ES from Brooklyn’s CRP (the only person who writes to me with any frequency whatsoever), had a hard time not watching a little male kestrel hovering then dropping like a rock to the ground, apparently after some of the voles I was chasing around. Why do I still hear my Dad yelling “Pay attention!” when I do that? There were two male rose-breasted grosbeaks, whistling loudly when their favorite sunflower feeder was not stocked. Hope they stay. A brown thrasher continues to bounce around the back yard, cocking his head and looking at me, then flying off to the thicket where he feels safer I imagine. Milkweed is blooming and it’s no wonder the butterflies like it. It smells heavenly! In the fencelines and road ditches, elderberries are flowering and on a still day, the honey like smell makes your mouth water. Speaking of mouth watering, the Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes continue to ripen in the garden, making for a tasty snack while pulling weeds.

When growing up, we of course had a BB gun. It was an older Daisy single pump model that had been handed down to us and while it could kill sparrows and blackbirds, it wasn’t particularly powerful. When we ran out of BB’s occasionally we’d try alternative shot in it. Green elderberries just happened to be about the right size so why not? Problem was brother Roger and I got a couple of them stuck in the barrel. About the only way to get them out was to pump it and fire it. Of course, I had convinced him that it wouldn’t hurt so I pulled the trigger and shot him in the back. “Ouch!” he yelped. Sure enough, they both came out alright, leaving two little green marks on his white T-shirt. When he lifted up his shirt, there were two little blood blister welts on his back. Just a flesh wound. File this one under “Kids don’t try this at home”.

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
For it surely looks like rain...

The scurs were on target again but every forecast period is different and this one is no exception. Looks like we’ll have no trouble staying warm. Starting Wednesday, they see partly cloudy skies becoming cloudy, high of 85 and low of 65 with a fair chance of overnight rain. Mostly cloudy Thursday becoming partly cloudy, high of 80 and low of 65 with a slight chance of lingering showers. Partly cloudy Friday, high of 85 and low of 60. Saturday, sunny. High of 80 – 85 and low of 65 with a slight chance of showers overnight. Partly cloudy Sunday with a chance of showers. High of 80 and low 65. The heat is on Monday and Tuesday. Partly cloudy with highs of 85 – 90 and lows of 65. Normal high for July 25th is 84 and normal low is 61. The last 2 weeks of July are traditionally the warmest of the year for us. The scurs will be consuming mass quantities of cotton candy and onion rings at the Waseca Co. Fair.

We were very fortunate around the greater Bugtussle area to receive the timely rains we did last week. Most gauges were reporting somewhere in the 1.2” – 1.8” range but there were reports of higher amounts as one went north or south. On the north side of Waseca, there was a report of over 6’! That’s a little over and above but one can’t send back what you don’t need. Overall, with corn tasseling and soybeans just beginning to set pods, the timing couldn’t have been better. Soybean aphid numbers continue to rise but still haven’t reached threshold levels in most area fields. Spring wheat continues to turn although harvest appears to be about 10 days away yet, given some decent harvest weather.

The bluebirds never nested here at the ranch but did manage to fledge 4 at the kindly neighbors pasture. Am still hoping to see them re-nest but haven’t seen any evidence of it yet. Of course, braving the mosquitoes and deer flies may be part of the problem. Saw the first male indigo bunting we’ve seen in awhile last Thursday and at lest one male oriole was giving me the business about putting some new nectar in the feeders. Wonder if they’ll start taking the bee guards off the hummingbird feeder as is their wont? The house finch crop apparently was a good one. There are lots of them coming to the feeders right now and most appear to be young brought along by their parents. Getting towards the time of year when the goldfinches will begin to nest, feeding their young with regurgitated seed.

In the area lawns and gardens, with the warmer, drier weather of the past few weeks the apple trees have sloughed some of their excess apples. This is the “off” year on the trees in our yard but am surprised to see as many apples on the trees as there are given the sparse amount of blooms there were on them. In the garden, the sugar snap peas should be coming to an end eventually and the string beans are coming on. The cherry tomatoes continue at snacking pace but am starting to think the zucchini plant is a homosexual. Why? Because of a current shortage of male flowers on it, a noticeable lack of bees to carry pollen from elsewhere and small zucchini being sloughed off. Vine crops such as squash and pumpkins produce both male and female flowers, with the male flower producing the pollen. The flowers last about one forenoon before closing. Am trying to trick it however. Taking a Q-tip, I’ve swabbed pollen from some of the male flowers on squash in the other garden and dabbed it on the pistils of the female zucchini plant. It appears to be working although I suddenly feel a little like David Crosby.

The weekend naps were marred by several pop-ins, dogs barking when cars went by too slowly or loudly and Mrs. Cheviot coming home just as I was nodding off when the rain began to pitter-patter on the roof. This is jeopardizing my position on the US Olympic napping team. It’s making me tired to be sure.

The little fat buddies have been in celebration mode as of late. First, one of our ranks was named New Richland Idol last week. To follow up, then we were treated to not one but two Whitman Sampler’s by ES from Brooklyn, the only person who writes to me with any frequency whatsoever. Oddly enough, it only took two days for us to saw through them. Life is definitely like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get even when you try and figure it out by the chart on the box. Gives us something to talk about when we’re critiquing the new “used but not abused” 10 man dryer across the street.

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Feeling hot, hot, hot!!!

After calling Sunday’s shower correctly, the scurs set their sights on this forecast period, hoping for continued success. Shouldn’t be too tough as it looks like partly cloudy with highs of 85 - 90 and lows of 65 Wednesday through Friday. Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday night into Thursday. The heat stays on Saturday under partly cloudy skies, a high of 90 and low around 65 with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening. Sunday, partly cloudy, high of 85 and low of 65. Monday and Tuesday, partly cloudy and warmish: Highs of 90 and lows of 65. Normal high for August 1 is 83 and normal low is 61. On the 4th, we will have lost over an hour of daylight since the summer solstice. The scurs know there are plenty of lights at the Freeborn Co. fair so they can see what they’re devouring.

Crop continue to progress and we’ve made up some ground on GDU’s. While this calculation isn’t necessarily a perfect predictor of crop development it does put matters into perspective. As of last week we were about 7% below normal at the SROC in Waseca. Something interesting to note however is that we’ve been getting our moneys worth; temps climb rapidly in the morning and maintain temperatures in the 80’s well into late afternoon and evening. Will be curious to see just where we are in terms of solar radiation at the end of the month. Seems like we’ve had a lot of sunshine which as Gyles Randall points out is very typical for July. We’ve also managed to make the most of our soil moisture as we’re cooling off well overnight, usually into the 60’s. Surprisingly with the .19” of rain at the ranch on Sunday, moisture did actually meet moisture in the garden. We are lucky too we haven’t seen much of the high dewpoints with lows in the mid to upper 70’s that make us uncomfortable and run our air conditioning bills through the roof.

The smell of corn pollen is in the air and that’s not all that unusual during the tail end of the Waseca Co. fair and into the Freeborn Co. fair. The cooler nights with some showers mixed in appear to have allowed pollination to be near perfect thus far. Soybeans are continuing to set pods with most 30” rows closing. Aphid numbers continue to build with a few area fields requiring treatment. Spring wheat remains unharvested, almost as if it’s decided to slow down and take a break. With little for disease pressure there’s lots of green in those fields yet and unless on is going to swath it, it’s still going to be another week. Should be some local fresh market sweet corn available this week so keep your ears open. (bad pun)

In the gardens at the ranch, zucchini woes continue although knowing one can go on the open market and get all the zucchini one wants, it really isn’t a problem. The rest of the garden including the weeds continue to flourish. Did manage to do battle with them however so they shouldn’t be the issue they might’ve been. String beans are coming on strong and just about when I think the sugar snap peas are done, they produce another flurry of blossoms. Bonus! While weeding the melon patch noticed there were some softball sized muskmelon on the vines. There are some cucumbers too just can’t always see them in the mass of vines that are overtaking the east side of the plot. The flowers are kicking it in gear too. The cosmos, 4 o’clocks, petunias, impatiens, bachelor’s buttons, sunflowers and nasturtiums are all dressing up the yard.

In addition to dressing up the yard, the flowers are attracting hummingbirds. There were several at the feeders and checking out the flower bed south of the house. Orioles have started coming back to the nectar feeder an these look and sound like youngsters. The baby barn swallows are no longer babies and fill the sky overhead all the while keeping an eye out for the kestrel that has been hanging around. Chipping sparrows are as numerous as ever and while weeding around an arborvitae in the garden, almost had one take my ear off as it flew off the nest partially manufactured from Gus fur. The last nest of wrens apparently has hatched as one can hear them peeping inside the birdhouse. Seems to be cutting down on the amount of early morning singing as the parents are constantly on the move feeding them from dawn till dusk. The blue jays and nuthatches are telling us that we’re not that fall is not that far off. The great blue herons wading the edges of the pond in the morning remain unfazed.

Field crickets are showing up and one can hear them chirping along with the grasshoppers in the evenings. Heard my first cicada near Mankato last week and noted the multi colored Asian lady beetles are showing up in soybean fields as are painted lady butterfly caterpillars. The lightning bugs are spectacular this year, almost scary some nights to see just how many of them there are. The toad population has shown up in force at the ranch. Every year we have a plethora of the little amphibians and about this time of year, seems like a lot of the tiny ones (~ ½” long) are in the lawn. There are several about the diameter of a golf ball too and just about as round. Their shape reminds one of the little fat buddies.

One of our little fat buddy ranks wound up in a hospital burn unit this past week as he tried to save a skid steer loader from a burning building. We’re all hoping that LC heals quickly and is back around the training table soon. We did manage to somehow get along at the fair without him however as it was determined that you should only eat things that are the same color as your shirt. An even better idea is to wear a multiple colored shirt, allowing one to consume more variety while camouflaging those spills even more discreetly.

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

Offline deadeye

  • MNO Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 5312
  • Karma: +19/-12
  • Liked: 1488
  • Likes Given: 0
Great read, thanks Dotch.
***I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.***

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
It looks like muskrat love...

After calling the rain correctly for Thursday and being a little shaky on the tail end of the forecast period, the scurs set their sights on this week’s to see if their Ouija board is still functioning properly. Wednesday, partly cloudy with a high of 80 – 85 and low around 60. Cooler Thursday and Friday under sunny skies, highs of 75 – 80 and lows of 60 Thursday night and 55 Friday night. Partly cloudy Saturday, high of 80 and low near 60. Slight chance of rain Sunday, partly cloudy, high of 75 – 80 and low of 60. Cloudy Monday with a better chance of rain. High 75 – 80 and low dropping to 55. Sunny again Tuesday and warmer; high of 80 and low near 60. Normal high for August 8th is 83 and normal low is 60. The scurs are certain that they have one more county fair left in them before heading to the State Fair. It’s just around the corner. So is the start of another school year. Where has the summer gone?

Last Thursday’s rain was a welcome surprise with most garnering somewhere in the .7” – 1.0+” range. Some strong winds gusting to 80 mph in areas downed trees and were involved in the deadly plane crash in Owatonna. We have been extremely lucky at this point to have been spoon-fed rains. In the past 3 week period at the ranch we’ve received just shy of 3” of rain in 5 rainfall events of over a tenth of an inch, with several other smaller amounts. We keep making strides GDU–wise also. As of last week at the SROC in Waseca we were only about 6% behind normal which translates to about only 4 days off the pace, not bad when one considers how far behind we were in June.

Corn continues to pollinate in some later maturing and later planted fields. Earlier planted, earlier maturing corn appears to have pollinated well, with many fields in the blister stage. Following the timely rains, soybeans have reached R4 in many area fields, meaning that the plants have one or more pods 3/4 of an inch long at 1 of the 4 uppermost nodes on the main stem of the plant with a fully developed leaf. Soybean aphid numbers vary on a field by field basis, with some requiring treatment while populations in other fields remaining nearly static. There was also evidence of some parasitic fungal activity on aphids in some fields. Still wise to look at the fields before jumping to any conclusions. Small grains are being swathed and combined across the area. Quality has been decent with yields somewhat variable.

The strong winds Thursday did manage to take down one tree. I use the term “tree” loosely as it was a boxelder and they generally fall under the heading of “large, woody, weed bound to fall on something”. As luck would have it of course it landed on the fence. The sheep had already discovered the tree but were more interested in eating the leaves off of it than they were in testing the fence to see if it was grounded. Got it cut up on Saturday and after they were through with the limbs, looked like it had been denuded by a plague of insects. Much easier to see what you’re doing while piling the brush for yet another bonfire.

Last week it was little toads and this week it’s been smallish salamanders. They’re common in the well pit but rarely see them otherwise. Was clearing the dirt from a mound in the lawn left by a pesky pocket gopher and encountered one as I reached my hand deeper down the hole. Examined the wriggling 4” amphibian then put him back down the hole, where he slipped away quickly down one of the side tunnels. Found another one under the downspout I was preparing to mow under so moved the little feller to an equally moist area the mower would not be traveling. Next week: Garter snakes?

The pond has been active as of late. Determined there was yet another batch of ducklings, this time a group of 8 or 9 blue-winged teal. There were actually a lot of mallards that took wing when venturing down to get a glimpse, leaving the hen teal and babies behind. There were also 3 muskrats swimming about, poking their heads above water to see what was happening then disappearing underwater. Decided to play some games with them, tossing some small stones their direction when they’d surface. They’d dive suddenly as the rock went sploosh! beside them then all three simultaneously poke their heads up to keep tabs on me. The wetland has also become a staging area for several family units of geese as they fly across the road to feed on the succulent re-growth in the neighbor’s alfalfa field.

Still a few birds singing early in the morning but they are limited to one wren nesting in the fenceline and some chipping sparrows (not chirping sparrows) with nests in the windbreak. There are usually some goldfinches nesting in the dogwood too as I find the evidence after the leaves come off in the fall. Always gratifying to see that the seemingly puny bare root trees planted several years ago have attained a size that wildlife, no matter how small, can use as habitat.

More treats appeared on the little fat buddies training table, this time some apple pie made by BR from apples harvested and frozen the year prior. Absolutely delicious! While the wind from last week knocked a lot of apples off the trees, there appear to be plenty to keep us running through autumn anyway when we see if the ten man dryer really works or not. Given the planting date, we’re guessing it’ll get a workout.

See you next week…real good then.
« Last Edit: August 08/05/08, 09:52:14 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)

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Great read, thanks Dotch.


Always nice to be appreciated deadeye.  :happy1:
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline Randy Kaar

  • Master Outdoorsman
  • Posts: 3112
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • Randy aka bh
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
we all appreciate ya dotch!  :toast:

randy
Voted #1 Outdoors Website in MN ( www.mnoutdoorsman.com )!
bonehead149@yahoo.com
bonehead@mnoutdoorsman.com

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
There I go, turn the page

Although surprised by the early Saturday a.m. shower, the scurs are nonetheless undaunted. Rain this time of year is welcome, expected or not. This week continues our gentle slide towards the inevitable. Wednesday, we see partly cloudy skies with a high of 80 and a low of 55 – 60. Thursday through Sunday brings us slight to moderate chances or rain, with the best chances coming Thursday night into Friday. Thursday skies will be partly cloudy with a high of 80 and a low near 60. Cloudy Friday, high of 75 and low in the mid – 50’s. Saturday, partly cloudy, high of 75 – 80 and low around 60. Sunday, mostly sunny becoming partly cloudy, low of 60 high around 80. Monday and Tuesday, partly cloudy, highs around 80 and lows near 60. Normal high for August 15th is 82 and normal low is 59 and we’ll experience just under 14 hours of daylight, the same as we did on April 26th. The scurs will be ironing their Speedos whilst cheering on US Olympic swimming phenom Michael Phelps.

As luck would have it, the Full Moon this month falls on Saturday the 16th. Known as the Full Sturgeon Moon as this is the month when these large fish were commonly caught by the tribes of the Great Lakes region. It is also known as the Full Green Corn Moon or the Full Grain Moon. The Ojibwe knew this as the Full Berry Moon and there are many berries to feast upon, including blueberries. The Sioux knew this as the Moon When Geese Shed Their Feathers, which the geese have already done judging by their flights over the ranch. There is also a partial lunar eclipse on the 16th. However, it will be nothing like the February 21st eclipse and one will have to make a quick trip to Eastern South America, Europe or Africa to get a view of it. It will not be seen here in the Greater Bugtussle viewing area, sorry to say.

While crops continue to progress at a relatively quick pace, they can’t progress quickly enough for some concerned about frost in early September. Corn ranges anywhere from the blister to the milk stage depending primarily on planting date and hybrid maturity. Most soybeans are R4 to R5, with the majority of area soybean fields having been treated for soybean aphids. In some fields treated early as an insurance policy, in some cases with encouragement from those who should know better, levels have once again reached threshold levels. This is unfortunate as placing tremendous selection pressure on a population of aphids in other crops such as potatoes has resulted in resistance to products that were once effective. We don’t learn very fast, do we?

Will be heading out this weekend on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour and heading to Columbus Ohio. This will mark my 5th year serving as Tour Consultant for the Eastern leg of the Tour. Must be getting long of tooth as it seems like it’s been longer than that! Catch our comments from the road next week at http://www.agweb.com/ as we survey the corn and soybean crop in America’s heartland.

Was told some were rather distraught to find our column buried deep within the Greater Bugtussle Gazette last week. Was a little concerned at first perhaps that my e-mail had faltered and the column had not reached its destination on time. That’s alright; it’s Jim’s paper and he can put us wherever he feels like just as long as he keeps forking out the big bucks.

Gus celebrated his 4th birthday in style by digging a big hole beside the steps. He also got brushed out, something he badly needed along with a new batch of dog treats that he willingly shares with Lucy. Now if the shoe’s on the other foot or paw, one can’t say the same. Border collies are simply small furry children in many respects and this is just one of them.

We continue to see signs that the fall bird visitors and residents are making their presence known. Was vegetable deliveryman this weekend to my Mom so was able to get a change in scenery. There were lots of hummingbirds there as well as some cardinals, birds I covet but can’t seem to attract. Also noted: Lots of cedar waxwings whistling their one-note song. Robins were present although their song has been missing, instead replaced by chirps here and there. Just as at the ranch though, wrens were continuing to sing on August 10th. Not as robustly as they were back in June and July, but still there, plain as day. Orioles are still coming to the nectar feeders and the hummers are increasingly interested in the 4 o’clocks nearby. Could also hear chickadees and blue jays in the background, likely celebrating the belief they’d located their winter food stash.

Speaking of winter food supplies, the little fat buddies have worked up an appetite after a summer of watching all the construction across the street. It isn’t nearly as much fun as watching the sweat line on the old water tower during sweet corn season, but hey, at least it’s something.

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Cops in cars...

After figuring out the hotel internet service, the scurs have their forecast for the upcoming weekend and early week ready to go. Starting Wednesday and Thursday, partly cloudy with a high of 85 and low of 60 – 65. Slight chance of rain Friday morning under partly cloudy skies, high of 85. Better chance of rain Friday night with a low of 65. Partly cloudy Saturday with a slight chance of rain, high of 80 – 85 and low of 60. Sunday, partly cloudy with a high around 80 and a low of 55. Cooling Monday into Tuesday under mostly sunny skies. Highs Monday of 75 - 80 with lows in the mid to lower 50’s. Cooler Tuesday with a high of 70 – 75 and a low near 50. Normal high for August 22nd is 80 and the normal low is 55. The scurs will be celebrating the Great Minnesota Get Together with a footling from the booth on the northeast corner of the Coliseum.

Crops are continuing to make steady progress but we remain a few days behind normal. Corn and soybeans will both need an extended frost free period in September to realize their full potential. While it is not as dire as it may sound, we have become somewhat spoiled after years like 2007 when we were about 10 days – 2 weeks ahead of this year’s pace. Only one thing is certain: We have very little control over it.

Writing from a remote location where we are sequestered from the public, it’s always interesting to see how the internet service is going to work. Every place is different and one almost needs to have a “Plan B” to maintain contact with the outside world via the internet. The service in the hotel in Ohio pulled the same stunt it did last year where it allowed me to receive e-mail but not send it. So, to the backup e-mail we go. Hopefully you receive the column and if not, blame Al Gore.

The trip from MN to Ohio was largely uneventful except for the aftermath of a load of bananas that had crash landed in the ditch somewhere in IA. If you notice a large number of fruit flies in MN following a southeast wind you’ll know why. Was going to stop to check out IA’s largest frying pan too but needed to keep moving. Probably didn’t miss anything. I’ll bet MN’s largest frying pan is bigger!

There were a fair number of minor traffic mishaps, none of which we were involved in thank goodness. Along with that there were cop cars out in force. There was a free picnic table along the side of the road someone had left for the taking in OH on the interstate. Only slightly damaged (just the one side was smashed where it crashed landed) we thought perhaps we could grab it on our way home.

While there were plenty of things to watch on the road, in the ditch the flora was much more eye-catching. All the way from MN to OH, the native prairie plants as well some not so native kept one occupied. Native grasses such as switchgrass and big bluestem were at full height and in many places in pure stands. Black-eyed Susans, compass plants and purple coneflowers added color as did the blue-flowered chicory as one wound our way closer to our destination.

Few birds to watch from the windshield however. Before leaving, there was still a wren singing in the fenceline at home and one at my brother’s place in Ackley IA before we hit the road. Afraid they’ll be gone or not vocal enough to know they’re around upon my return. That’s okay; the seasons change as do the cast of plants and animals influenced by them. By the time we get back home, the hummingbird migration from the north will be underway in earnest. September at the ranch usually means plenty of action at the nectar feeders across the greater Bugtussle area.

And finally, one has to enjoy being able to watch the Olympics on TV wherever you happen to be. It’s wonderful that the world can out aside its differences for a few weeks in the spirit if athletic competition. The abilities of these human beings is incredible and the sacrifices they have made to get to this level make it difficult to turn the television off until the events are history again for another 4 years.

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
Turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so...

After coming off another accurate forecast (easy when it never rains) the scurs will foretell the Labor Day weather picture. Looking like more of the same, complete with some warmer temps next week. Wednesday, partly cloudy, high of 80 and low of 60 with a slight chance of a shower. Ditto Thursday, with a high of 80 and low of 55 – 60. Cooler Friday, partly cloudy, with a high of 75 and low of 50. Warming up for the Labor Day weekend under mostly sunny skies, highs Saturday and Sunday of 80 and lows of 60 Warmer Labor Day clear skies, high near 85 and low of 55. Staying warm when you go back to work on Tuesday, partly cloudy, with a high of 85 and a low of 60 with a chance of rain. Normal high for August 29th 78 and the normal low is 55. The sun began setting before 8 p.m. on August 26th, a full hour earlier than it did back on the summer solstice. The scurs will be packing away their State Fair souvenirs and watching for school buses.

Crop progress has been rapid, perhaps a bit too rapid due to the continued dry spell we seem to be under. After coming off the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour on Friday, it felt like rain. And rain it did: A whopping .02”! Barely enough for a mosquito’s bath. The moisture deficit continues to take its toll in the form of tip back on the corn ears and pod abortion in the soybeans. Also noticeable are any areas in fields that have underlying sand and gravel pockets. The soybeans in particular are visibly taking a serious hit in these areas. We need a rain soon to maintain the potential we have. Not that the crop will be a disaster, it could be much better with a timely inch or two of rain in the not too distant future.

The Crop Tour wrapped up last Thursday and was honored once again to be asked to serve as Tour Consultant for the eastern leg of the tour. While it wasn’t a particularly banner year for insect and disease problems there are always things that pop up along the way. In addition, we still have to work with the scouts, sample fields and fill in data sheets complete with comments. Also of interest are the increasing numbers of foreigners who come along on the tour. The last day out we usually start to get a little squirrelly as we know the long week is about to come to a close.

Thursday we happened to have a Japanese guy nicknamed “Jim” riding with us. His English was pretty good however and we had a great time with him. While filling out the data sheets we asked him if he could write some comments in Japanese in that part of the form, which he did with much laughter. When we looked at the sheets, the laughter was even louder as we knew the girls tabulating the data and comments would looks at that and scratch their head. When we got into the hotel that afternoon they looked at it and wondered what it was. When questioned about it, we told them it obviously said “Corn is nitrogen deficient” and the other one said “Lunch was good”. Laughter is the universal language we all understand.

The State Fair will be starting on the downhill side by the time you read this. No different than most years, getting out of the place as a livestock exhibitor is a nightmare. Suspect they want to keep us there as long as they can to wring more money out of us and could really give a rip about whether we exhibit animals or not. Yes, we exhibited again this year and we brought home some hardware, again. That’s not what we’re proudest of however. When we have the opportunity we like to share our experience with the younger generation and watch them develop into spokespersons for animal agriculture.

Such is the case with Emily Meyer. The 4-H ewe she leased from us, Lola, did well at the State Fair but couldn’t overcome some of the high powered sheep she was competing against to win it all there. Didn’t matter. Emily got called back for showmanship and after the dust settled, was named Reserve Champion in the Advanced division. Later that day, Lola did win it all in Open Class where it really matters with Emily showing her. What an honor and proof that hard work and perseverance pay off. Can recall a few times seeing her show up at our place in the morning to work with Lola, sleep in her eyes perhaps, but still ready, willing and able to practice. Was rather interesting after her State Fair performance that suddenly, boys who had sheep to show next week were asking if she could come back and help them. Congratulations, Emmy!

And finally it’s good to be back home. After sleeping in a different bed every night for over a week, one almost forgets the routine of daily living. Lucy and Gus were like a couple springs uncoiling and happy to see we were home, for good. The sheep were glad to get their sweet corn and cucumber leftovers while the birds were celebrating to see their feeders filled to capacity once again. More hummingbirds now and the wrens have ceased their summer song. To put it in perspective, suddenly September looms large on the horizon as the acorns continue to fall.

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
You are like a hurricane, there's calm in your eye...

The scurs continue to be on target; last Wednesday’s rainfall event panned out and we received some desperately needed rain. Will hurricane Gustav usher in some fall-like weather? Let’s take a look, shall we? Wednesday, partly cloudy, high of 75 and low of 50. Partly cloudy Thursday with a slight chance of showers. High of 70 – 75 and low of 50 – 55. Friday, partly cloudy with an increasing chance of rain. High 70 – 75 and low of 50. Chance of rain Saturday under mostly cloudy skies. High of 70 and low of 50. Sunday, partly cloudy. High of 70 – 75 and low of 50. Warmer Monday, skies partly cloudy with increasing clouds and chance of rain Monday evening. High of 80 and low of 50. Big cool down Tuesday under partly cloudy skies, high of 65 and low of 45. Normal high for September 5th is 76 and normal low is 52, the same we see around the end of May. However, on the 5th we’re down to just under 13 hours of daylight, the same we experience on April 5th. The scurs counted their Crayola’s and used the built in sharpener while ciphering the highs and lows.

Hopefully hurricane Gustav will be history by the time this reaches print. Aptly named after Gus the Wonderdog, this storm whirled and twirled, managing to back up weather systems, typical of what we tend to see. By slowing down the passage of fronts, these storms to the south often allow systems to sit on top of us, giving us the slow fall recharge that we need after the long dry spells of late July and August. It’s not uncommon either that we see cooler weather following their movement through as cold air bottled up to the north will be seeking a place to go.

The cooler weather we have already experienced has brought more of the birds down from the north. The hummingbird numbers are reported high from just about everyone who feeds the little tykes. Some have also reported still seeing an occasional oriole. Looking out at the tree the other day, thought I saw what looked like a striped nuthatch. Was another black and white warbler passing through. Male goldfinches are starting to fade a little too, their sunshiny yellow soon to be replaced by their olive drab winter attire. The hummingbirds still mistake them sometimes as flowers however, spending some time checking them out. The Hungarian partridge have made a slight comeback. Almost every afternoon, one can see a covey not far from the ranch exploding out of the road ditch into a nearby corn and soybean field. We can certainly use more rainfall to help replenish seasonal wetlands for those migrating waterfowl. The pond here at the ranch is down to a couple puddles that reconnected after last week’s inch of rain. Former pygmy goat farmers crave this type of information.

Crop progress has been sufficient that unless we get caught with a frost sometime before the 15th, we should suffer a minimal amount of yield loss. Corn has reached full dent in most cases and in some of the early hybrids planted early, the milk line has already begun to make its way down the kernel. Soybeans should primarily be at R6 (one bean in a pod at one of the uppermost 4 nodes filling the seed cavity) so that should get most of them under the wire barring some weather anomaly. Normal first frost date for Waseca is September 30.

Field crickets seem to be everywhere, especially in our homes and businesses now that temperatures are cooling down outside. One was giving some of the crack management staff at the Star/Eagle fits the other day when I stopped and another made the fateful mistake of interfering with my nap last Sunday, suffering dire consequences. So what is it that makes crickets so vocal and what kind of life cycle causes them to be frequent houseguests this time of year?

As you might have guessed by their appearance, crickets are in the same family as grasshoppers. This time of year, adult male crickets produce a chirping sound to attract females as it is mating season. The female cricket has a long ovipositor protruding form her thorax which she uses to deposit her eggs after mating. Field crickets overwinter as eggs laid individually in the soil. Cricket nymphs hatch in the spring and go through 8 – 12 instars (molts) before reaching maturity. The adults begin appearing in July and August and continue to feed during mating and egg laying. Females can lay up to 300 eggs. The chirping sound emitted by the males is caused by their rubbing their rounded wings together. Lacking a thermometer or simply having too much free time on one’s hands, one can guesstimate the air temperature in degrees Fahrenheit by counting the number of chirps in 15 seconds and adding forty.

Normally crickets do little damage, feeding outdoors on plant growth at night. However, when temperatures begin to drop as they have, they begin to look for warmer shelter. At this time they may feed on things such as paper, wool, cotton, linen or fur items. This is generally only a problem if their numbers are extremely high. Crickets generally cannot reproduce indoors and die by late autumn or early winter. Cleaning up weeds and grass outdoors around the house gives them fewer places to hide. Exclusion by sealing up entry points and removal of clutter inside such as boxes, papers and other favorite hiding places are generally helpful methods of control. Some insecticides are cleared for cricket control indoors but read the labels and follow them accordingly. In the meantime, probably best not to mess with my Sunday afternoon naps by chirping under the TV stand.

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

Offline Dotch

  • Moderator
  • Master Outdoorsman
  • *
  • Posts: 7518
  • Karma: +52/-8
  • Liked: 5368
  • Likes Given: 3985
And gaze out at the auburn sky...

The cool down predicted for Tuesday arrived a day ahead but otherwise the scurs forecast went relatively unscathed. It rained (a vary little) and stayed somewhat seasonal. What’s up this time around? Starting Wednesday, starting out partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy with a modest chance of rain. High of 70 and low of 55. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a better chance of rain with a high around 70 and low near 50. Partly cloudy Friday with a high of 70 – 75 and a low of 55. Partly cloudy Saturday with another moderate chance of rain. High of 75 and low of 55. Slight chance of showers Sunday morning under mostly cloudy skies. High temp should top out around 75 with a low of 55. Carbon copy days on Monday and Tuesday with partly cloudy skies and highs of 65 and lows of 45. Normal high for September 12th is 74 and normal low is 49. The scurs are keeping a blanket handy to cover their tender vegetation just in case Jack Frost makes a surprise appearance on the night of the Full Moon.

The Full Moon will occur this month during the wee hours of the morning on September 15th. This is known as the Full Harvest Moon as it is the Full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox, which falls on the 22nd this year. The Full Harvest Moon is in September 2 out of 3 years. It is aptly named as the crops the Indians relied upon such as corn, squash, pumpkins, beans and wild rice. Indeed, the Ojibwe referred to this as the Full Rice Moon and the Sioux named it the Moon of the Drying Grass, undoubtedly for the warm season grasses that had reached maturity.

Those grasses have definitely reached maturity. Part of our pasture is primarily yellow Indiangrass which has taken on its auburn fall color. Farther below the hill in the CREP acres, the big bluestem is more tawny in color but still reminding one that autumn is here although the calendar may say not quite yet. Goldenrod has produced some beautiful golden colors not only in those acres but in area road ditches and along the remaining railroad tracks.

The cool weather and shortening days have definitely put thoughts of mating into the rams’ minds. The ewes, while not standing for them aren’t exactly running in the other direction. Still never a good idea to get between a ram and his harem, and then forget his position. All too often one winds up in a heap shortly after thinking to yourself, “Gee, I wonder where that…” Normally the “…ram went?” portion of the thought is completed upon hitting the ground and writhing in agony.

Pastures and hay fields like area lawns could use a drink. Hopefully this week we’ll start to see some recharge on the nearly moisture depleted soils. Rain at this point probably will do little to help most of the corn and soybeans as what you see is what you’ll get. For those with late plantings of sweet corn or soybeans planted after peas, there is definitely still a benefit. While some took issue with what we wrote last week, most corn and soybeans will get under the wire if we get by a frost on the 15th. Losses will be minimal. Looking at fields this past week, in the vast majority that is true. There are some fungal diseases that have hastened the ripening process in the soybeans, namely pod and stem blight and brown stem rot. There are some isolated cases of sudden death syndrome but the bulk of what’s being seen out there causing premature ripening is due to the aforementioned diseases.

Spent a special day on Saturday with my Mom celebrating her 83rd birthday. Had notions of taking her to Dairy Queen but upon seeing the home raised vegetables I’d tossed in the truck, she opted to thaw some steaks and prepare a feast. We repaired to the other room after cleaning up the table and treating Fudgie a few little pieces of steak fat to chew the fat ourselves. Nothing beats being able to actually sit and visit one on one. Oddly enough, even though our eyelids did flutter once or twice, we didn’t end up nodding off and taking our prospective obligatory naps. As always though, afterwards there was always room for apple pie made from late summer Oriole apples following a little lunch.

The little fat buddy nearly annual fishing trip is in the works. After spending the past several weeks building our stamina on morning training table fare such as pie and last Friday, not one but 2 boxes of donuts, we’re ready to live on the edge and brave the elements. We’ll be roughing it while risking life and limb in pursuit of wily panfish near that outpost on the frontier known as Alexandria. Well, for one weekend anyway. Usually we come back stiff and sore, not because we catch a lot of fish but primarily from laughing. We find it really helps tone our abs. Luckily, what happens in Alexandria stays in Alexandria.

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)