The scurs were tracking well until after the weekend and then the wheels came off. Will we see more of the mid-December prelude or return to more typical November weather? Starting Wednesday mostly sunny with highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Partly sunny on Thursday with a slight chance of rain or snow. Highs in the lower 40’s and lows in the low 30’s. Friday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid 40’s and lows in the low 30’s. Partly sunny Saturday with a slight chance of rain or snow during daytime hours and a modest chance for rain showers in the evening. Highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Mostly cloudy Sunday with a fair chance of rain. Highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the lower 30’s. Mostly cloudy Monday with possible rain and snow showers. Highs in the mid 30’s and lows in the upper teens. Colder for Tuesday with highs in the low 30’s and lows falling once again into the mid-teens. The normal high for November 15th is 42 and the normal low is 25. The scurs have officially put their Speedos in mothballs for the season.
With Venus in the southeast sky at dusk, the 17th of the month marks the Full Moon, commonly known as the Full Beaver Moon. It was at this time that the early settlers and traders spent much of their time trapping for warm fur pelts. No Thinsulate in those days. The Ojibwe called this the Freezing Moon and the Sioux knew it as the Moon of Falling Leaves. It will be both at the ranch if the temps don’t change and the leaves continue to come off the trees. Grinding up leaves in the snow doesn’t exactly sound like my cup of tea.
Did it look like Christmas early this past week? It sure felt like it. The low temp of 6 at the ranch on the morning of November 12th was indeed normal for December 25th. The snowfall added some insult to injury with about an inch of snow being measured. It contained about .19” liquid equivalent. This will likely mean some greasy soil surface conditions after the snow melts for a few days. Luckily the forecast calling for a warm up later in the week should allow much of the remaining field work to be completed before the ground freezes for good. The fly in the ointment may be the predicted rainfall over the weekend, making the opportunity short lived. The clock is ticking.
Fudgie was less than impressed with the snow and cold like most of us as we age. She moves more slowly and her attitude reflects the weather. Fudgie was downright surly Tuesday morning when the ewes got close to “her” gate. She’s more amicable staying inside where it’s warm to eat, drink and nap. Ruby on the other hand is more like a kid, where the snow is something to tear around in when not tearing around in the house. I remember many times being told to go outside to play and blow off some steam. Same goes with Ruby. Watching her flip and empty oil bottle and pink plastic bear in the air I’ve come to the conclusion that Border Collies are simply reflections of their human masters in furry clothing. While they may not say much they don’t have to. Their actions truly speak louder than words.
This also means for many of us it’s time to get matters in order for winter including those of us at the ranch. A couple more loads of hay were tucked away over the weekend so we should be ready for a while anyway. Both the winter and spring type radishes were harvested, cleaned up and put away. Apples were picked with anticipation of the pies sure to follow. Space was made to afford everything with a motor in it a place to sleep. I dislike snow this time of year. It has no useful purpose other than to serve as a reminder that there’s no time to rest. Still, the emerald evergreens Monday morning stood in stark contrast to the white backdrop left behind by the fast moving storm system. Much as I hated to admit it, it was pretty. There was plenty accomplished, to the point it was time to take a deep breath and admire the beauty of it all.
The birds are slowly coming around too, adding to the Christmas card atmosphere of that first snowfall. The goldfinches are hanging out at the feeders more and the lone chickadee appears to be a resident. Downies and hairies frequent the suet regularly. Blue jays keep the sunflower feeders busy and the resident squirrels have found the ear corn when they’re not contending with the juncos under the feeders. Not everyone is seeing the same things however. I received a phone call from “A” of A & P fortune and fame earlier in the week expressing concern over the lack of birds at his feeders. I came up with several possible explanations but nothing concrete. When we were sitting in the sanctuary before church on Sunday I mentioned to Mrs. Cheviot that “A” had called wondering why he had no birds. She knew exactly why: He didn’t have his sheep yet! When I told him that I thought he was going to fall out of the pew.
See you next week…real good then.