The scurs’ forecast was consistent, although the week we’re on should be an improvement over that. Hey, the Twins are consistent too. Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny becoming partly cloudy, highs near 65 and lows of 50 – 55. Partly cloudy Thursday, highs of 65 – 70 and lows of 50 – 55. Friday, partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs around 70 and lows of 55 – 60. Partly cloudy on Saturday with a chance of rain. Highs of 75 and lows around 60. Sunday, partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Highs near 75 and lows around 55. Monday and Tuesday, cloudy with a chance of rain, with the better chance being on Tuesday. Highs around 80 and lows near 55. The normal high for May 21st is 73 and the normal low is 48. The scurs will finally be putting away the toboggan and looking forward to the warmer temps.
What a topsy-turvy week for temperatures last week was! We topped out with a high last Tuesday of 93 at the ranch. On Saturday the high reached an astonishing 44 with a nasty, wind-driven cold rain to add insult to injury. That’s the high we’d typically see on March 22nd. Field progress was steady by jerks, with precip being recorded on five out of seven days at the SROC. Shades of April. If the forecast for this week holds, some steady progress should be made with many farmers able to finish up soybean planting. The pattern continues where we receive precipitation frequently without accumulating large amounts. For now it’s a blessing, but we may be hoping it changes once the crop progresses into July and August.
Gardeners have suffered much the same fate. The rich soil has been anything but fit to play in. I did plant some snap peas, lettuce and carrots on the 10th, but I wasn’t proud of the way the seedbed worked up. Just as the tried and true area farmers do, sometimes a little patience needs to be exercised. Conditions have improved greatly and this week should allow those of us who want to get at it to do so. One bright note, the vine crop seeds I planted and entrusted to Bill, Debbie and Amy’s care look fantastic. Every single pot in the seven flats grew, even a few planted with leftover seed from last year. I still don’t totally trust the weather yet though. Perhaps another week of warm weather will change my mind.
It has been a banner spring for recording bird sightings at the ranch. Thank you to TP for clueing me in about some of the birds she was already seeing a few weeks ago in town. It gave me the incentive to find some of the feeders and get them put out. We had been getting used to seeing the female rose-breasted grosbeaks but no males. Finally on May 10th there were three of them. This was also marked about the last day of the sparrows migrating through. On May 11th, one of the small colorful warblers, a redstart, was flitting around the new leaves on the silver maple, apparently looking for small insects. At first glance because of their coloration they almost appear to be a Baltimore oriole in miniature. This was followed by a goldfinch barrage on the 12th. The feeders and ground underneath were covered with dozens of bright yellow males. Also noted on the 12th was the first ruby-throated hummingbird (a male) and we counted 11 Baltimore orioles. On the 13th they were joined by a lone male orchard oriole.
On the rainy, cold 14th, there was a Baltimore oriole explosion. I counted as high as 20 orioles with eight of those being full colored males. Of the group of 20, there were two orchard oriole males. All told they consumed four orange halves, two bowls of jelly and a nectar feeder worth of sugar water then had the audacity to scold me and ask for more! Fortunately part of that circus left the next day, leaving behind 10 or so. It would take a full time person to keep up otherwise. Last but not least on the 15th, a lone male indigo bunting made an appearance and hasn’t been seen there since. Last year I don’t think we saw one and this poor guy may have been confused. Several of the big trees that graced the yard last spring were gone, changing the appearance greatly.
Weaning the ewes and lambs was accomplished the first time on Sunday after lawn mowing by moi and a day of work at the greenhouse was put in by Mrs. Cheviot. It was a battle royal the same as it usually is and I have the black and blue badges of courage (or stupidity) to prove it. We hauled a group off to the kindly neighbor’s and Ruby got to ride along. We were made aware of some sad news while there. Ruby’s playmate and friend Sophie had been struck by a car and killed since our last visit. She almost seemed to sense it as we put the panels back in place, got the fence back up and hooked up the water. Amazingly enough everything worked as we waved bye bye and pulled for home. There the sound of bellering could be heard as I opened the door. Not good for sleeping, I thought, and it wasn’t. I think it even triggered a response from the Dubya’s beef cows down the road as I was awakened several times through the night by the racket. This from one routinely capable of sleeping through severe thunderstorms that blow trees through the side of the house.
The next morning from my throne in the oval office overseeing my little kingdom, I spied what appeared to be a buck lamb mixed in with the ewes heading out to pasture. To make matters worse there was a second one! What the…??? I put my clothes on and rushed down to the barn. Sure enough, there were three ewes that had managed to get back in with the lambs as well! I discovered the spot where they had managed to blow through the fence, so with some fence posts, wire and a hog panel, remedied that situation. There was still the matter of getting ewes and lambs back where they belonged, which would have to wait until later when we could lick our wounds and regroup. They may get loose but never get away.
See you next week…real good then.