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July Rains Make Happy Corn Farmers

Those men wearing the broad smiles and looking at new car advertisements are corn farmers — the happiest people in the county these days.
These must be good times down on the farm. It has already rained 4.30 inches through mid July at the Piedmont Triad Regional Airport weather station. The rain has been parceled out in regular, almost daily, healthy doses. The Yadkin River hasn’t flooded the bottomland fields. Temperatures have generally stayed below 90 degrees until this week.
You can almost hear and see the corn growing.
In many fields, the crop is sky high and deep green. Ears are forming on the corn planted early.
In agriculture, these are the best of times.
Retired agriculture agent Don Redmon said he could remember another wet July in 1969 when he was a cub agent assigned to Stokes County. Introduced to the new agent, Stokes farmers began crediting him with the good weather. They called him “Rainy Redmon.”
Often, the heavens turn off the spigot in July. Crops burn in the field. Corn ears often fail to develop.
Corn isn’t the only beneficiary of the recent rain. Pastures have remained lush. Cows have plenty to eat. Soybeans and other crops look strong. Gardeners are bringing in produce without having to irrigate.
The only ones complaining are the lawn mower jockeys. We’re still mowing weekly. This far into summer, lawns often turn brown and can be ignored for several weeks at a time. Grass and weeds are growing strong.

Trees Go Down

A sudden, violent storm hit our neighborhood two weeks ago, toppling trees with amazing force. None of the trees hit homes, but the clean up process goes on. We lost two sweet gums, a poplar, a cherry and much of an elm tree.
One of the sweet gums was within easy striking distance of the house. It fell the other way. Now I’m casting a wary eye at the other tall trees close to the house. They don’t seem so friendly now.
A Bradford pear tree up the street was among the victims. That variety was the darling of homeowners 25 years ago. They are perfectly shaped, have beautiful white flowers in spring and stay clothed in leaves until …