The scurs should redeem themselves this week: no snow in the forecast! That said, will we see more seasonable temperatures? Starting with Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers. Highs near 45 and lows of 35 – 40. Thursday, cloudy becoming partly cloudy. Highs of 55 and lows near 40. Partly cloudy Friday becoming cloudy by evening with a chance of overnight showers and thunderstorms. Highs of 65 and lows of 45 - 50. Cloudy Saturday with a chance of showers. Highs of 55- 60 with lows near 35. Sunday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers. Highs around 50 and lows of 30 - 35. Mostly sunny both Monday and Tuesday with highs of 55 – 60 and lows of 40 – 45. The normal high for April 30th is 65 and the normal low is 40. The scurs are looking to cash in two weekends in a row, sure in the knowledge that May baskets are headed their way on Sunday.
The weather hasn’t been conducive to fieldwork for most of the month, but that could be about to change. Rather than being obsessed with the upcoming royal wedding, most farmers are tuned in to weather forecasts. Fortunately those of us in greater Bugtussle and environs have been spared the heavy downpours thus far. As of the 25th at the ranch for the month of April we have only recorded 1.37” of liquid precipitation. All it would take would be for some dry, warm breezy days and most would be able to get moving. It’s not early anymore, but the stretch of winter we’ve experienced since last November has been a throwback to the days many of us grew up with. Yes, those days when we walked to school uphill both ways in snowstorms during the month of April. Somehow we always managed to get a crop and sometimes surprisingly good crops when corn was planted in May. The data indicating we lose very little in yield before May 10th still has a great deal of validity. The restraint most have demonstrated to this point has been admirable. Sure, we might burn more dryer gas, but we need to keep things in perspective sometimes.
The weather has been affecting more than just crop farmers. It’s also having a negative impact on the movement of garden and nursery stock as well as making it tough to move ewes to pasture at the ranch. No sense to put animals out there if it isn’t sufficiently greened up to carry them. It’s getting time though. One muses how much longer the body can take the greedy, aggressive ewes pounding on knee joints that are designed to move primarily back and forth. What’s worse is some of the lambs are getting big enough so they can potentially inflict the same kind of damage. Snap! Crackle! Pop! It’s not just for breakfast anymore.
Gardening has been on hold too. Potato planting on Good Friday didn’t happen, nor did the radish, onion, pea, lettuce or carrot planting. There is still time however. Would rather do it once the right way as opposed to mudding it in and having to do it over. It takes time and money to do that too. There has been time for some tree planting. Think I mentioned the Patten and Parker pear trees we planted. We also got our Red Splendor crabapples planted. After the big ash tree landed on the nice one we’d planted about 20 years ago, it was great to plant some wonderful replacement stock in case that one bites the dust due to fire blight or other assorted maladies. Hopefully we get a chance to finish planting the Freeman maple and Nigra green arborvitae this week.
Some time was made for cleaning out the bluebird nesting boxes, although they usually are occupied almost immediately by tree swallows. This year was no exception and within minutes of seeing any mouse nests or last years leftover nests removed, the swallows were circling. A quick trip to the pond while on the birdhouse cleaning excursion revealed about a dozen blue-winged teal and a pair of giant Canada geese who took loud exception to my presence. The wood duck house needed to be cleaned too. The kestrels that nested in it last year were not particularly tidy tenants and removed all the cedar chips from the box before they constructed their nest. Due to the horrible mosquito infestation last year, I never did get back down there to see how many babies there were. Judging by the mess, there must’ve been several. The goldfinches are slowly but surely changing into their summer outfits. It won’t be too long and the orioles should make an appearance. One can only hope we don’t have to put heaters in their nectar feeders.
Ruby had another big weekend, this time travelling with us to visit my mom and her Border Collie Fudgie near Spring Valley for Easter. The two red and white dogs picked up right where they left off last fall with lots of running, growling and chasing. They genuinely seem to like each other as evidenced by Fudgie allowing Ruby to drink out of her water dish and eat her food. All dogs have distinct personalities, but Border Collies seem to take it to an extreme. One can definitely see that Fudgie and Gus were out of the same litter as some of Fudgie’s head tilts and expressions leave no doubt they are closely related. While Ruby is not as closely related, she has the same drive that her great grandmother did along with her same desire to play ball 24/7 if you’d let her. It’s time to get Ruby checked out for heartworm soon and would encourage those who haven’t done so to do the same for their dog friends. Mosquitoes are starting to show up with greater frequency. The last thing anyone wants to see is their favorite pet, companion or in our case little helper, suffer, and possibly die from that highly preventable affliction.
See you next week…real good then.