Jim Bennett

The late spring with the cold and rain hung on too long, making late arriving summer come in through the bathroom window, thank you Beatles and Joe Cocker. Recent intense heat and humidity seemed comfortable for Floridians, but it confused sunfish that are still on the beds in July, a rarity.  Walleyes are just starting to drop out to that preferred first weed edge, soon to go deeper with largemouth bass in tow.

Crappies were an easy find early but they too have moved into deeper water and have been harder to find. Trout anglers are having a great year though. Stream trout are least affected by weather, high and low pressure changes, mostly due to the cold streams they live in. It’s only rain that muddies a stream that affects the trout bite and trout anglers.

Gardens, too, were affected by the cold spring. The last of my seeds didn’t get worked into the ground until the first week of June and plants struggled until hot weather came knocking. Almost overnight kale, broccoli and sweet corn exploded. Strawberries and raspberries took off with the first strawberries ripening as June walked out the door. Last year I put up four small raised beds and this year they produced bumper crops of leafy greens because they can be worked early. They’re now going to a third planting. I wonder why I never thought of doing raised gardens years ago.

My apple trees are having mixed results as fruit sets. My overall crop looks like it’s not going to be as fruitful as last year but my neighbor’s trees have an abundance of fruit. My cherry trees are also showing the affects of the cold, as fruit production seems to be down this year. My doctor, who lives in Baldwin, said his trees are suffering from the cold, wet spring with less fruit, while the little bit of fruit my tree is producing turned into a roadside diner for local birds.

Geese are having a great nesting season with this year’s young already in full adult plumage. Local lakes and wetlands with loons seem to have also fared well. I love their eerie calls but they seem odd echoing across cornfields where I live. It makes me want to take a trip to the Boundary Waters.  I’m not seeing as many ducklings as I would have liked and many seem to be small, a result of late or second broods compared to other waterfowl. The cold spring may have forced them to re-nest as they don’t nest as early as Canada geese.

Beagles are happy as bunnies seem to be everywhere. Same with deer. Problem with that is that I’m spotting them and their tracks too close to my garden.  Something may have to be done but I’m not sure how. Same with my potatoes that are abundant but so are the potato bugs. I want to find a natural remedy to get rid of those pests to avoid chemicals, but I’m struggling to find something. If you have any suggestions to get rid of potato pests please let me know.

Jim Bennett is an outdoorsman who lives and worked in the St. Croix River Valley and can be reached at jamesbennett24@gmail.com


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