While the scurs were celebrating their newfound popularity after forecasting no snow last week, things turned ugly. Readers looked outside late last week to see snow falling as they were watching another Twins defeat on the tube. Hate mail ensued. Will the scurs redeem themselves? Starting Wednesday, partly cloudy skies with a high of 65. Clouding up overnight with a good chance of rain and lows near 45. Cloudy becoming partly cloudy on Thursday with a slight chance of showers during the day. Highs near 60 and lows around 40. Partly cloudy on Friday with a slight chance of a shower during the day and a better chance of showers overnight. Highs Friday of 65 and lows of 45 - 50. Cloudy on Saturday with a slight chance of showers. Highs near 65 and lows of 50. Partly cloudy Sunday with a chance of lingering showers. Highs around 65 and lows near 45. Monday partly cloudy with highs of 65, lows of 50 and a slight chance of showers. Becoming cloudy on Tuesday, warmer, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs near 70 and lows around 50. The normal high for May 5th is 67 and the normal low is 42, about the same as we experience on October 2nd. The duration of daylight, however, is the same as that on August 7th. May has continued the April trend of cooler than normal. On May 2nd, the high was 37. This is the normal high for March 6th. The sun will rise before 6 a.m. on May 6th so hopefully the longer days will start to warm us up. The scurs will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with some cactus juice.
Wow! What an ugly April that was and as we said last week, a throwback to the days of my youth. Seems like those were more the norm in the ’60s and ‘70s. I still recall sliding down the hill at home on the 29th of April after a spring snowstorm dumped 6” or so. Some details on this April at the ranch: we measured precipitation of one sort or another on 20 of the 30 days. We recorded a trace on three more. Logic tells you if it’s precipitating, it’s generally cloudy. With little sunshine it was also cool. On any given day, it seemed temperatures were off the average mark by about 10 degrees, more March-like than April-like. Cloudy and cool led to little drying in the fields and very little fieldwork was accomplished. On the flip side, while it rained and/or snowed frequently, the amounts were moderate. At the ranch the gauge tallied a total of only 2.54” with slightly over an inch of that falling last week. Given some sun, warmer temperatures, breezy conditions and a little luck, we still have a decent chance to get this crop planted in without resorting to extraordinary measures. Plant in the mud, the crop is a dud. Plant in the dust, bins will bust.
Gardening has followed suit with fieldwork progress. Difficult to make any headway in areas where drainage is lacking and fall tillage was not performed. Wednesday’s rain pretty much put the kibosh on any gardening plans. So when the weather deals you a lemon, you make lemonade. Tree planting needed to be done and the beauty of it was they didn’t need watering. There was already water in the bottom of the hole in places. There are still a few potted shrubs to put in, but one needs to ease into these things so as not to burn out on them. I did manage to get all the vine crop transplants seeded into the flats thanks to Bill, Deb and Amy. Mighty nice to have everything ready for me then just show up to plant. It’s even nicer to get a jump on the season when it includes Bill’s favorite and mine, those sweet Mooregold squash.
The little male goldfinches are close to full color now and the rooster pheasant we call Little Jerry II is biding his time courting the young ladies on the edge of the lawn. Some of the travelers are moving through to their summer homes far to the north and some are arriving here for the season. It’s that time of the year. Included in this week’s sightings were the barn swallows on April 27 and a brown thrasher in the backyard on April 30. A half dozen white-crowned sparrows and a Harris sparrow were spotted on May 2, and all were glad I didn’t decide to torch their favorite brush pile over the weekend. It was alive with activity and makes an excellent place for them to conceal themselves when there are no leaves on the trees. Chipping sparrows are picking out potential nesting spots in the evergreen plantings. Some of the trees are measuring more than 7 feet tall now. Not sure if it’s the same one, but a robin is back in the barn adding to the top of the same nest that has been used for at least the past three years. It’s starting to resemble a chimney and if they keep coming back, eventually we’ll have to cut a hole in the roof.
With spring planting season here, the little fat buddies are on sabbatical once again or at least until the rainfall that knocks us out of the field. To send us off in the right frame of mind, CS recently made a pan of caramel rolls, still almost too warm to eat when they arrived. Lynne S. brought in a cake to thank those who had taken Davey to his appointments in addition to those with whom he shared those morning bomb sessions. Without that nourishment for our bodies, it would be difficult for us to nourish our minds. What’s more, it would be nearly impossible to convey all that wisdom and knowledge accumulated over the course of a long winter to the masses.
See you next week…real good then.