The scurs still haven’t mended the thermostat and are thinking about installing a used one from the Studebaker, along with the Weather Eye climate control system from the old AMC Gremlin. Will it be closer than what they’ve been using? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with a chance of evening snow. Highs near 25 and lows around 5 above. Partly sunny and colder for Thursday with a slight chance of daytime snowfall. Highs near 10 above and lows falling to 5 below. Partly sunny on Friday with another chance for evening snow. Highs near 10 and lows in the single digits above zero. Saturday, partly sunny with a slight chance of daytime snow. Highs near 15 and lows around zero. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with a continued slight chance of daytime snow. Highs in the mid-teens and lows around 5 above. Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance for snow. Highs near 20 and lows near 5 above. Tuesday, mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Highs around 20 and lows near zero. The normal high for Ground Hog’s Day is 24 and the normal low is 5. The scurs will be hoping they don’t see their shadow. That will make it much easier to sleep in.
Venus is back to being a “morning star” once again. Trekking in from the barn, it is very distinct in the southeast sky before dawn. The conjunction with the waning quarter moon on the still morning of the 28th was nothing short of spectacular. On Ground Hog’s Day, the sun will actually rise at 7:30 a.m., something it hasn’t done since December 2nd. And the days keep getting longer. On February 3rd we will have gained one hour of daylight since January 1st. On February 4th, we will see 10 hours of daylight for the first time since November 5th. Time sure flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?
Another week on the winter weather roller coaster ride. With temps on Friday near the freezing mark, it made one wonder how we were going to see a monster develop over the weekend. The advance warning gave us time to get everything battened down just in case. The bird feeders and water tanks were filled while extra bales were put back around the well pit. That’s one of the things about this time of year that can be so dangerous: It can change in an instant. Sunday was a prime example of that. The weather was somewhat nasty when we did chores, but by noon it still hadn’t changed much. So I did what every red-blooded carnivorous male MN would do and started the grill. We had some of Morgan’s brats that were quick and easy. Within 20 minutes they were on the plate and back in the house. Staring out the window half an hour later, you couldn’t see the hand in front of your face. Visibility at times was less than 100 feet as the light pole in the yard disappeared from view. Timing is everything.
As I’ve written before, we’ve been fortunate these systems haven’t had large amounts of snow to work with. With a hair over 3” recorded at the ranch between Friday and Saturday night, it really wasn’t one of those storms of old. Those storms of the ‘60s and ‘70s were amazingly rugged. The timing of school closings due to storms with heavy snowfall when you had a test or paper due was almost magical. Roads were frequently impassible, pipes froze, feedlots were full of snow and adults were generally grumpy. About the worst thing to happen this time? The snow on Friday night was so wet it stuck to the satellite dish like mashed potatoes. We missed the second period of the Gopher hockey game against St. Cloud State, dadburnit.
The birds appreciated their feeders being full both during and after the storm. There was more variety the day after, although most of them were busy staying on the leeward side of trees and other objects. There were American tree sparrows, a mourning dove, two goldfinches, juncos, house sparrows (of course), blue jays, nuthatches downies and hairies, red-bellies and last but not least the cardinals. One always wonders how the birds survive these blasts. Apparently rather well if the amount of sunflower seed and corn consumed is any indication.
January is pretty close to over with and we can cross another month off of winter. The ewes at the ranch continue to get girthier and the dogs continue monitoring their movements. Fudgie has developed a habit of barking at them when they’re slow to come out of the barn at feeding time. With some of the wind, temperatures and early dark chore times, I can’t say as I blame them for sleeping in. Fudgie’s coat seems to get thicker by the day with the cold weather. If it keeps up, we could have her shorn in a few weeks along with the sheep. No such problem with Ruby. Her tootsies get cold and without the heavier coat, she’s more than willing to keep her trips outside brief. It still doesn’t stop her from being the hay Nazi, growling ferociously at the sheep picking through the windblown stems hung up in the fence. No hay for you! Come back one year!
See you next week…real good then.