August: Dust, heat, smoke and a full eclipse. Swallows gather; bluebird families frolic in the birdbath. Hummingbirds take their last nourishment from our flowers and feeder before heading out, while the yellow jackets thicken. As wet as the spring was, summer has been ever the drier.
Not uncharacteristically, August has been a struggle to work in. Prime harvesting weather but for reasons unknown to this farmer, not prime yields on our earlier grain that had looked strong for so long. One never knows the crop until they drop the combine header and begin to reap. And weep…? Not that bad, yet. And hopefully the later plantings, soon to ripen, will strengthen our overall numbers.
A look at our first runs of grain so far makes me think we’ve hit good quality once again. We ran the first of new-crop emmer yesterday and got good results on clean-out. Also, we ran some of our rye a week or so ago and it tests really well in the flour mill.
Overall word is the Northwest has survived the heat and mild drought better than many inland states. Major drought hit parts of Montana, the Dakotas and other grain states. And once again several large wildfires are burning throughout the West. Then there is Texas! Our hearts go out to all those suffering there, including the animals. An awful, awful situation. Throw in the eclipse, and as stagnant as the dog-days of summer can sometimes be, lots of “stuff” went on this August.
Through this all, the granary has been quite busy! We’ve been running a myriad of orders and even in the heat Bluebird grains and flours are being consumed all over judging from the steady flow of finished product. I’d say we’ve had our busiest summer season to date, and as we lean toward fall, orders generally increase thanks to all you devoted fans!
I’ve been changing irrigation the past few mornings where we’ve mowed off our buckwheat cover crop and are prepping for fall grain and I’ve had to wear gloves it’s so cool. Then by noon it’s in the 90’s! Wild climate this is. But daylight is shortening and the cool nights are growing slowly longer. With that surely comes a sense of relief, but a mild sense of urgency also knowing how quick Mother can change. We’ll stay busy prepping and planting our fall/winter grains beginning with our rye next week. Any fall cover crops will also go in and we’ll be working in the grain stubble as we finish harvest.
I love fall as I’ve mentioned 1000 times. I hope we get a chance to do more fall work than we have the past couple falls when we were shut down early due to moisture. That said, if it begins raining after the last of the grain is in, let it rain!
Another year of school with lots of little ones on the roads, sidewalks and elsewhere. Please be extra careful as some of these children are not that big! And enjoy the last month of summer – upcoming.
Cheers, Farmer Sam