The scurs and their Gremlin X Weather Eye with the Studebaker thermostat have given them a degree of accuracy not previously achieved. After more tinkering, will the results continue on track? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a moderate chance of snow. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Cloudy on Thursday with a good chance of snow. Windy conditions may cause blizzard conditions. Highs in the mid-20’s and lows in the low teens. Partly sunny and starting a cooling trend on Friday. Highs in the low 20’s and lows in the middle single digits. Cooler and mostly cloudy Saturday. Highs in the upper teens and lows near zero. Partly cloudy Sunday with a slight chance of snow. Highs near 15 with lows just below zero. Mostly sunny and cold on Monday. Highs near 10 and lows near zero. Warmer for Tuesday with highs rebounding to near 20 and lows in the upper single digits above zero. The normal high for Washington’s real birthday on the 22nd is 30 and the normal low is 12. The scurs will be shoveled out for a piece of cherry pie at Hartland’s Village Inn by then. Probably have some ice cream too while they’re at it.
The Full Moon on Valentine’s Day was as good as advertised. It was orange and huge as it rose, prompting a reader to call and ask if I’d seen it. Indeed I had as we were settling in for an evening of Gopher hockey. Quite a planet we live on and full of beauty in the skies this time of year. Venus continues to shine brightly in the morning at chore time. Mars will become a more prominent feature as the month draws to a close, rising around 10 o’clock in the east. Jupiter has been high overhead around 10 p.m., one night recently appearing to be racing with the moon. On February 25th we’ll see 11 hours of daylight for the first time since the middle of October. We have actually seen some sun too once the clouds roll out. A welcome relief from the long dark days of late December.
The lack of snow was suddenly changed, although it was amazing how much mileage we got from the dabs of snow that fell. High winds were responsible for several back-to-back driveway cleanings with the same snow. Saturday changed all that with about 3 inches of snow at the ranch followed by Monday’s encore performance of another 3+ inches. The amount of moisture in the snow has been changing as well. The snow last week was very dry with .02” of liquid in .6” of snow. This week the snow on Monday for example was .35” of liquid per 3.2” of snow. Seasonal wetlands should benefit, although it’s unlikely this latest snow will impact the fields much as the frost depth was 28” at the SROC on February 17th. Snow depth is guesstimated at about a foot at the ranch. Reports of frozen pipes are becoming more and more commonplace, particularly in areas that have been kept clear of snow. Frost has been reported as deep as 6’ in those situations.
The birds continue to respond to the cold conditions with increased amounts of snow on the ground. The pheasants in particular are becoming more numerous in and around our yard. Over a dozen at a time were spotted at the ear corn feeder recently. When you’re reading the paper and they fly by the living room window, it’s comical. Some people have automobile traffic. I guess we have pheasant traffic. Sunday morning saw the first robins of the season. They were back on Tuesday morning. One has to wonder if perhaps some were sick of trying to tough out the winter and were moving south. I think a lot of us can relate.
Shearing was accomplished once again at the ranch over the weekend. The fleeces were clean and for some reason extremely dry and light. The sheep were generally cooperative although one ram decided to demonstrate his four-wheel drive by snapping a steel T-post off at ground level. Thanks to my cat-like reflexes, he narrowly missed my knee. Our age is beginning to catch up with us though. The next day getting motivated to do much more than move from the couch to the dinner table was challenging. It doesn’t seem to faze the shearer and the catcher however. They seem to never age. We had more lambs on the ground when he came and after he left the games began in earnest. Thank goodness it warmed up, although those born in the sub-zero cold are doing just fine. It’ll be time to move them into a loafing area soon so the lambs can access the creep feeder. Must be nice to be young and able to eat as much as you want.
In between moving snow and running back and forth to the barn, we make some time to watch Gopher hoops and hockey, both men’s and women’s. All the teams have been competitive and, win or lose, the games are entertaining. The Olympics have also been a great way to relax when we get a chance. Ruby’s latest pet peeve appears to be figure skaters. She can awaken from a dead sleep and if figure skating is on TV, she’s growling. Unless the skaters fall of course. Their movement stops and true to her Border Collie roots, that’s the way she prefers it.
See you next week…real good then.