Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Gas Prices This Week
One of the authors I read in high school was Ray Bradbury.  His book, The Illustrated Man was a collection of science fiction short stories written in 1950.  He starts the story with this: "It was a hard rain, a perpetual rain, a sweating and steaming rain; it was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping in the eyes, an undertow at the ankles; it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains." At the time Bradbury was writing about astronauts on the planet Venus and represented the current theory of the climate on the nearest planet to Earth (That theory has since been proven false).  I really think he was writing about the last 6 days here in Dayton, MN.  It has rained none stop through last weekend and has assured that the drought is all but a distant memory.  Besides raining the only thing else going on has been the rapid escalation of our gas prices.  I used to laugh at the gas prices in California, often $0.60 - $0.70 higher a gallon than here in Minnesota.  Well, I guess it's not very funny anymore as Minnesota took the top spot in the lower 48 as the highest gas prices in the nation.  WHAT??? Yep, according to Pete, my neighbor and gas station owner, the perfect storm of refineries shutting down for so called "maintenance" opening the door for astronomical prices.  I snapped this picture at the neighborhood Sinclair station where I buy my motorcycle gas.  For the first time in years Diesel is less than Unleaded Regular.  There are some reports around the Cities of prices exceeding $4.40/gallon.  Rumors are that in a couple of weeks things will get back to normal if we even know what "normal" is these days.  It wasn't less than 6 weeks ago we were under $3.29/gallon.  I guess we can thank our government for another unnecessary exercise in stupidity!  Either way one has to do what one has to do!

Incredible Blooming Apple Trees
So the apple trees finally decided to outdo themselves this year, making up for last years early bloom, a full month later than last years.  And bloom they did.  Apples tend to do well every other year so orchards work hard to even out this cycle.  By chemical thinning of the new apples, they succeed in keeping the apple crop relatively the same each year assuring product for market.  Last year my apples were blooming on April 15 (very early) and a normal frost pretty much destroyed the entire crop.  Because the trees did not have to put energy into producing apples, this years blooms were absolutely incredible filling up each branch on every tree.  With the danger of a late frost pretty much past, I will definitely have a ton of apples this fall, especially if my spraying routine is adhered to.  Spending time trimming my trees each spring, my orchard is looking pretty good these days.  The pruning theory is to open up the middle of the trees allowing the sun to penetrate the center of the tree.  It's the sunlight that gives color to the apples and its interesting that a leaf covering the apple can create it's shadow as the fruit turns red.  I have already fertilized them and the spraying will start as soon as the blossoms fall.  My neighbor Otto has a recipe for coddling moth traps involving water, vinegar, sugar, and a banana peel.  It smells pretty bad but it worth trying out.

So why am I talking about gas prices and apple trees?  The sad truth is the boat hasn't even been in the water yet.  With Leech covered with ice and the weekend filled with yard work, rain, and a trip to Osseo, WI to see my niece's daughter's dance recital, what can I say?  Reports on Mille Lacs have been spotty as the ice went out on both Leech and Mille Lacs on May 16th, the latest for Mille Lacs ever.  I suspect that it will take a few weeks to get the lake going however I did hear that Leech has been putting out fish.  Saturday is my day to help a friend, Bill Lundeen.  His only daughter graduates from college on Saturday and he needs my help to run the bait shop for about 6 hours.  I have done this before yet the Saturday before Memorial Day is probably going to test my resolve.  Either way it will be fun as I am pretty good at doing this and it will be good for Bill and Kathy to celebrate another milestone in their lives.  If you are driving by Lundeen's Tackle Castle on Saturday between 11:00 and 4:00 stop by and say hi.  I'm betting I can increase his sales by 20% so I'll need all the help I can get.  I might bring the boat up and fish the evening bite or simply head over to my friend Mark's place and jump in his boat for an evening of bobber fishing.  Of course there's always Monday!

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