St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Friday, November 4, 2016

November's Bright Warm Weather

Time to plant fall bulbs and keep some for forcing

I grind up leaves with the mower. 
November 2016 has started with exceptionally mild weather, continuing the September and October trend.  Here on the Farm, our flowerbeds are mostly still in bloom, some tomato plants are still growing, and the fall raspberry plants are bearing.  According to my calculations we have had 200 days growing season so far, with the first real killing frost here on top of the hill at least a week away. 

We did have a couple of frosts that hit the tops of the morning glories and a few tomato vines, but that just pruned them a little. 

Hauled a couple of loads of wood to the cabin from Grantsburg where friend Walt's trees are dying from Oak Wilt. Sad to see so many oaks dead or dying in this area. Have to cut a few more loads of dead elm (died from Dutch Elm disease) and will be ready for maple syrup season in March. With the Ash trees next in line to die, the butternuts mostly gone too, one wonders if there will be any left in the future.

Best chance is for scientists to genetically modify the trees to adapt them to the problems. Right now there is not enough profit to be made in doing that, but in a few years, the process will be even easier than it is today so we may see some of these trees come back again.

Elms are somewhat different in that they seem to be able to grow to about 20 years old before getting diseased--and that gives them time to reseed more elms. The huge spreading elms in the cow pasture of my youth all died in the 1960s and 70s so my son has never seen the elm lined streets of a city that we remember. However, the 20 year old elms are perfect for firewood. They die during the spring or summer, and a year later, still standing, they are dry and immediately ready to cut and burn. Don't know how I got along with out them in the old days, as now we have a ready supply of dried wood available at anytime -- there are many of them along the road ditches and farm fencelines and in the open patures.

The parts came in that should let me repair the starter on the Farmall Super C tractor. The starter solenoid (a mechanical one) and the battery cables are weak, and I think the starter may be wearing out too, but first the cheap parts go in. I haven't used the starter for years, as I just crank it, but it would be nice to have it start easier! The old 6-volt tractors never did turn over very well, and so most of my tractors are converted to 12 volts--probably should do that with the Super C too, as 12 volts to a 6 volt starter turn it over faster and don't require such heavy cables.

A few photos from the Farm and neighborhood this week.

Painting the house -- this is the north side.  The bottom part is done, top part scraped and ready for primer and a coat of finish paint

Didn't sell apples this year.  The extremely wet year caused a great deal of apple scab, rusts and other problems making so many blemishes the apples didn't look appealing at all.  Next year I add a fungicide to the Sevin spray I use.  Warmer and wetter years, what scientists predicted for us in Global Warming, is here.  For us, it means an earlier maple syrup season as well as getting used to wet warm conditions that foster more plant problems. 

Got the west side and here (north) sides of the house painted this fall.  Only the east side left -- for next year.  The house was built in 1917, so the new paint is to celebrate 100 years!