The scurs missed the Tuesday cold front, but otherwise were dead on. Will their forecasting skills be honed in for Thanksgiving? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 20’s and lows in the lower teens. Turkey Day, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Mostly sunny on Friday with highs in the lower 30’s and lows in the lower 20’s. Partly sunny for Saturday becoming mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow by evening. Highs in the lower 30’s and lows in the lower 20’s. Sunday, mostly cloudy with highs in the lower 30’s and lows in the lower 20’s. Mostly cloudy Monday with possible snow showers. Highs near 30 and lows in the mid-teens. Partly cloudy for Tuesday with highs near 30 and lows falling to about 10. The normal high for November 28th is 33 and the normal low is 17. On December 2nd we’re back to the sun rising in the morning at 7:30. Also, the loss of daylight has slowed to less than two minutes per day at that point. Enough about time or lack of it. The scurs will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday traditionally by boycotting all Black Friday activities. Plenty of time left to shop.
With the exception of some tiling, the cold temperatures over the weekend all but ended any remaining fieldwork. Corn has stopped appearing at the elevator in Bugtussle and the 10-man dryer has ceased its fearless roar. Some of the prevented plant acreages remain in windrows while other fields were rolled up ahead of last Thursday’s snowfall. None of those bales I’ve seen are steaming yet so that’s a good sign. Soil moisture remains in good shape in the top 5’ measured at the SROC in Waseca. There were nearly 10” available back on November 1st, slightly above the long-term average with some additional accumulation since then. Much of the moisture is deep in the profile so at least at this point, one can look optimistically at next spring’s potential planting conditions.
It will soon be time to bring the ewes home from the kindly neighbor’s. The sheep coming off both pastures are fat. At home they were treated to vegetable leftovers including daily buckets of carrots from Souba’s. At the kindly neighbor’s they consumed countless acorns as the bur oak trees there were very prolific. In the meantime, there is still the small barn left to be cleaned. The cold weekend made matters less than palatable so with a warmer forecast, it’ll happen. The main barn was finished up before the snow Wednesday afternoon last week and mostly without incident. I did, however, discover the likely cause of the tractor missing and coming to a sudden stop last weekend. Looking in the bottom of the sediment bowl I spied a familiar “object.” Not just a part, but the entire body of one of those insipid ladybugs! That it got in the tank doesn't surprise me, but how it got through an opening the size of that in the bottom of the gas tank is beyond me.
Mrs. Cheviot took off again for another weekend of action packed house decorating, so once again the dogs and I were in charge at the ranch. It was a good Saturday to run some errands and upon returning, peruse the Web for Studebaker parts. Yes, brakes are in order and my trusty mechanic keeps finding “things” needing attention. The brake drums are to the point that turning them won’t bring them into tolerance. New brake drums aren’t cheap and neither are decent used ones. Luckily the Internet has made part shopping almost fun, although looking at all the options first including hard copy always makes sense. The car doesn’t have to be on the road anytime soon and replacing the brakes is imperative. Since it’s a three on the tree, one could do a lot of downshifting I suppose. However, operating without a like new braking system given some of the hilly terrain one might encounter could be downright dangerous.
Sunday meant a little warmer temperatures so after church the dogs and I were busy doing some more winterizing. While we refilled the sheep water tank, we got the skid loader out and then removed the old hay bales from the well pit. We used them to mulch some of the perennials we’d planted previously, something that should work just about right. We replaced the partially decomposed hay bales with nice cornstalk bales, making me breathe a little easier the next time Old Man Winter decides to leave the freezer door to the north open again. Having done all this should of course cause the weather to warm up. Hey, if that’s what it takes we’ll keep doing it.
Thanksgiving this year will come as a bittersweet holiday at the ranch. It had become tradition that we’d go get Mom and Fudgie from her place and have her over to stay as long as she’d like. When we’d call to invite her you could always detect the excitement in her voice, the anticipation of the relaxation and the feast that was a part of the visit. Of course she always felt compelled to bring something and among the favorites was the cherry salad she’d make. We have a lot to be thankful for this year, including all the time we spent with Mom since last Thanksgiving and her passing in June.
Those Thanksgiving memories are still alive and well however. I was just at Krause’s the other day, recalling how impressed she had been with the little farm store off I-35 in Hope. She always asked about the store and spoke fondly of her visit there; rightfully so. Few stores exist like that anymore. The rolling of the pumpkins down our hill with the sheep chasing merrily after them was cause for much giggling on her part. And we can’t forget how she loved the way the warm house smelled, especially once the turkey came off the grill to intermingle with the wonderful aroma of everything Mrs. Cheviot had whipped up. We won’t have Mom this year, but we will have cherry salad made from her recipe. Treasured memories and we are thankful for them.
See you next week…real good then.