The scurs have had a hard time predicting the warm weekend temperatures as of late. Does this mean from now on we’ll only see warmth on the weekend? Guess again. Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs of 50 – 55 and lows around 35. Cloudy on Thursday with an increasing chance of rain by evening. Highs near 45 and lows of 35. Cloudy and cooler with a good chance of rain and snow on Friday. Highs of only 35 - 40 and lows of 30. Saturday and Sunday, partly cloudy, highs of 40 - 45 and lows dropping to 25 - 30. Cloudy on Monday with an increasing chance of showers by evening. Highs of 50 and lows around 35. Cloudy on Tuesday with a chance of more rain showers. Highs of 55 and lows around 40. The normal high for April 15th is 57 and the normal low is 34. On April 17th the sun will rise before 6:30 and will set at 8 p.m. The scurs will be double checking their taxes in the slim hope of getting enough money back to buy more firewood until the weather decides to change.
The Full Moon for the month of April occurs on the 17th, Palm Sunday. This moon has many names including the Full Pink Moon for the commonly occurring ground phlox in the woodlands. It also goes by the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and the Full Shade Moon for the fish that were running in the streams of what is now the Northeastern U.S. The Ojibwe called this the Broken Snowshoe Moon and the Sioux, the Moon of Greening Grass or the Moon of Red Grass Appearing, as particularly the warm season native prairie grasses such as the bluestems would commonly start off the spring slightly reddish in appearance. After the recent rains and warm temperatures, lawns and pastures have begun to green up, something one wouldn’t have bet on a month ago.
Spring made some significant progress this last week as there were signs that perhaps we have turned the corner. Temperatures at the ranch skyrocketed to 78 degrees on Sunday afternoon as we dodged a weather bullet from the strong storms that developed to our east. Rains were generally lighter than forecast, so that doesn’t hurt when it does decide to dry up so field work can be accomplished. Buds on trees are swelling and some such as the silver maples are showing signs of pollinating. Removed the protective barrier and tree wrap from the peach tree and it appears to be alive when peeling back some bark, revealing a lime green cambium layer beneath it. While the snow piles in the yard have all melted there are still some vestiges of snow banks on the north sides of fencelines and groves. By next week they should be a memory. The ice went out on St. Olaf Lake sometime on the 9th or 10th. Since it is a relatively deep lake, it takes a little longer than some in the area. The western chorus frogs are out in force now. Near Silver Lake on Thursday, they were already loud and after the weekend warmth, the noise was deafening when conditions were still. On the 5th, I saw my first striped gopher of the season. Pocket gophers had been digging for several weeks prior to this. The initial leaves are unrolling on the rhubarb and given some warm rains, a piece of warm rhubarb pie before a weekend afternoon nap seems all but assured.
The birds are coming back too. On the 6th, the first of the tree swallows was seen checking out the nesting box in the windbreak. Definitely need to get around to all the bird houses to clean them out and make sure they’re ready for occupation by our feathered friends. The goldfinches continue their change to summer plumage. Right now they’re blotchy looking with an occasional male getting closer to full power sunshine yellow. On the 10th, there were two brown creepers probing the bark on the ash trees for insects. These little guys make an appearance every year about this time but have never stayed. Too bad as there are lots of insects including those pesky multi-colored Asian ladybeetles that suddenly have sprung to life. There was a male mosquito in the pickup last week and Mrs. Cheviot swatted one in the house as well. On Monday the 11th while soil sampling near the Little Cobb River, I spied a dragonfly. Just what we need to eat up some of those early season mosquitoes. On the same journey, there were white pelicans lazily making their way north, highlighting an all too rare sunny weekday afternoon.
Tree wrap and protective coverings were removed this past weekend. So far so good. Everything came through the winter in good shape. Even the peach tree appears to be very much alive. The pruning mess from the apples was picked up and the grapevine that had become a nuisance was beat into submission for another spring. Sunday we picked up a couple pear trees so the spot still needed to be decided on, along with a spot for the winterberries and dwarf burning bush, yet to be purchased. This decision-making process makes me oh so nap-ish. Some things never change.
Ruby has kept things amusing during the wet weather, although some of the things she does make one wonder about being man’s best friend. After the most recent rains, when we let her out for potty, rather than use the wet grass, she’s decided the sidewalk looks like a better place to keep her feet dry while doing her business. Oddly enough, when it comes to running around down by the barn at choretime, suddenly it doesn’t matter how wide or deep the puddle is, she’d rather run right through it than go around it. Go figure.
See you next week…real good then.