The last several weeks have put a lot of stress on the local farming community.
When you see the corn leaves roll in the day time, you know the plants are struggling to get enough moisture for the health of the plant.
I've seen this many times over the years. One good thing about a dry spring is that the roots of the corn/soybeans reach down deeper.
I've seen many springs where we had excess rain and then July & August rolls around and the rains stop so the roots are shallow and end up in dry soil, so the plant is not able to fully fill out the ears and pods.

Besides the farmers of the area feeling a sigh of relief with the rain on June 8, the Robins are chirping with joy - they don't have to struggle as much to find worms and bugs to feed their babies.
When the weather/soil is hot & dry, the nightcrawlers stay down deep in their holes so the Robins have to be more patient for the occasional worm that pops out of his hole or finding other smaller surface worms & bugs.
Now with this rain, the European nightcrawlers will be coming to the surface to get some of their food which is residue they formed into a compost pile over their hole called a midden.
They also rebuild this midden which also serves as a sort of umbrella that diverts rain water from getting directly into their hole, which is vertical and goes down as deep as 4 to 5 feet.
These large nightcrawlers were brought over from Europe by our ancestors/Pioneers who wanted to make sure they had good fishing worms here in the New World.

We'll still need a lot more timely rains to get a good crop of corn/soybeans this year, but this rain, for now, keeps us away for a while from the stifling temps/drought we had during the 3 consecutive year drought cycle from 1975 through 1977, when the Nishnabotna quit running for over 2 weeks in 1977, with the smaller creeks drying up in 1976.

Below is a radar map from 8:30 a.m. June 8.
For several weeks now the weather patterns having been moving in from the Northeast and on June 8, straight down from the north, which is why the smoke from fires in Canada is blowing down into the US.
The vast majority of our weather comes from the Southwest.

June 8 radar map - line of rain moving straight south...

Here are rainfall amounts on our farm since the end of April
April 28 - .2
May 5 - .6
May 11 - .3
June 1 - .3
June 8 - .45

I've been telling people how I'm seeing a LOT of different species of birds the last 10 years, compared to when I was a kid.
The other day I saw my first Warbler here on the farm - they've been around all these years but I never got lucky to actually see one.
Then today (June 6) I came home and was walking into the house when I heard a sound I had not heard for 30 to maybe 40 years.
It is a Bobwhite quail and I remember hearing them in the field behind the house while growing up on the farm.
Then as the years passed by I heard them less and less to where it was not until 2023 that I heard one again.
The day was perfect in capturing sound with my digital camera since there was no wind.
So I snuck out the door to see if I could capture the "Bob White" sound. Unfortunately I have a small exhaust fan on this side of the house but I wanted to see if I could capture the Bobwhite whistle - I caught 2 of them. Then I snuck back in the house and turned off the fan.
I was able to capture the Bobwhite one more time and then I believe he flew away - the rest of the audio is of other birds and a housefly that buzzed by.

I sure hope there is a pair of Bobwhites and that they'll nest nearby.
Like always, I try to take a picture, or in this case capture the sound to prove what I say or write about.

Bobwhite - first one in decades

So far I haven't heard anyone (YET) locally try to claim/blame the Asian Emerald Ash Borer on global warming/climate change, but it is another interesting aspect in nature that seems to cycle throughout our past.
I remember Clifford "Bud" Johnson telling me about how the parking along the streets in town were lined with Paper White Birch trees in the 1920s and 30s...then the Birch borer took over and wiped them out.
So to follow with uniformity, most people replaced them with American Elm trees...guess what? Dutch Elm disease was introduced from Asia. In a decade or so the American Elms were mostly wiped out. Some people replaced them with Chinese Elm, which were somewhat resistant but this time around the people of Manning realized that planting all of one species of trees doesn't work.
So at least now, when the Ash trees disappear, there are still other tree species that will be here.

One thing I'm amazed with is at how fast the Ash Borer is killing the trees. I expected maybe up to 5 years before they are wiped out but based on what I'm seeing right now, once infested, the tree tops will die off in a year and may try sending out new shoots and branches the next year but will not survive for very long.

Here are a few Ash trees already in serious of which has mostly died back.

June 5, 2023

The battle in nature - the borer is killing the tops and the ash tree is trying to recover at the bottom.

Almost dead

June 5, 2023

One thing I keep reminding people about is that most of Iowa was treeless/shrubless. It was tall-grass Prairie for thousands of years - after the glaciers retreated and the GREAT dust storms blew in Iowa's topsoil called Loess - then grasses and flowering plants started moving in. Once the Prairies were covered with grass that turned brown in the fall/winter, great Prairie Fires occurred which helped to revitalize the soil and existing plants and keep woody plants away.

I was just joking the other day to some people who were standing near the Freedom Rock that one day the glaciers will return and "bulldoze" this rock and the town of Manning away.
You just have to live long enough to see it.

Paper White Birch trees in the parking

Paper White Birch tree near the old Lutheran Church along Second Street

1957 picture showing one of the huge American Elms on our farm.

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