The scurs gave the Weather Eye last Tuesday off and wouldn’t you know we were blessed with more snow. Will the scurs make that mistake again? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a chance for scattered flurries. Highs in the upper 20’s and lows near 15. Mostly sunny for Thursday with highs in the lower 40’s and lows in the lower 30’s. Mostly sunny on Friday with highs near 40 and lows in the lower 20’s. Saturday, mostly sunny becoming cloudy and cooler with a slight chance for evening snow. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper teens. Continued cooler for Sunday with a slight chance for snow under partly cloudy skies. Highs in the low 30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Partly cloudy Monday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Mostly cloudy for Tuesday and slightly cooler with a chance of snow. Highs in the low 30’s and lows near 15. The normal high for March 17th is 40 and the normal low is 23. The scurs will wash their best pair of green long underwear in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
March 16th marks the date of the Full Moon for the month which goes by many names. It is called the Full Crust Moon, the Full Crow Moon, the Full Sap Moon and the Full Lenten Moon as the pioneers viewed this moon as the last Full Moon of winter. Primarily this is known however as the Full Worm Moon as robins and other birds are able to begin gathering earthworms. That may be a few days however in this area. The Ojibwe knew this as the Snow Crust Moon and the Sioux as the Moon when Buffalo Drop their Calves. At the ranch it is not so affectionately known as the Moon of the Muddy Border Collie for obvious reasons.
As if on cue last week, on Tuesday when we mentioned we were tracking about 8” behind normal for seasonal snowfall, we received 8.1” at the ranch. It caught everyone off guard including the weatherman, who had earlier predicted 1” – 3”. Then of course it had to blow around some for a few days afterwards making driving treacherous. Luckily we’ve had a reprieve as the recent thaw suddenly made that snowfall seem like a distant memory. It certainly was something most of us wanted to forget. If you drive on the side streets in town or on a gravel road though you get a quick reality check.
Black soil is starting to appear in some fields and it won’t take long for some to open up. Coupled with Tuesday morning rainfall, the snow depth has decreased 6” – 8”. However it will likely take a while for the frost to go out yet if we don’t get much warmer than we have. As of the weekend there were reports of more frozen pipes and some heating systems unable to keep up. There also is the issue of the huge drifts in fencelines and groves that unless temperatures do some rapid changing, our best hope is for a normal start to spring. Given some rains following the frost going out however could temporarily push the date back. It’s understandable after the winter from hell that people want it to be spring. That and a spring that almost wasn’t last time around. Sometimes it seems like we’re already behind in spite of the recent sunny days.
There are plenty of signs that spring is coming even though it seems to be taking its sweet time. Large groups of robins have been common at the ranch and there have also been lots of cedar waxwings sharing the crabapple trees with them. House sparrows are starting to stuff nests into places they are unwanted. Raccoons, opossums and skunks are on the move again, taking heavy casualties in areas where they don’t belong. Inside the house, ladybugs and boxelder bugs are adding to the festivities. Nice guy that I am, I try to let them back outside where they came from.
I thinned some of the underbrush from my face the other day. The calendar seemed to be going in the right direction. Trouble is, previous trim jobs this winter have only caused the weather to turn colder for long spells making me long for more facial fur. The last time it was forecast to turn cold I just let it go. Was amazing how much stuff landed in the sink recently. It was time. Another month or so and someone might’ve mistaken me for Billy Gibbons! On the other hand if it gets colder again you’ll know who to blame.
And in the barns we are marching towards the end of lambing season. The rams must’ve been having some kind of a contest a few days last September. As mentioned, Ruby and Fudgie manage to get caked with mud whenever possible. Transferring lambs from the lambing barn to the loafing barn is always cause for much running and circling on a muddy track. We made Ruby’s day recently as we’re using the hose to fill water buckets now the potential for freezing the well up has abated. She can be fascinated for hours staring at the water filling all those small pails. It does offer some variety from the tire biting ritual when snow removal equipment is used. Amazing how the seemingly insignificant can entertain a red and white Border Collie.
See you next week…real good then.