The scurs had the Weather Eye functioning at peak levels last week. When it was supposed to be warm it was warm and so on. Will they need to reinstall the Studebaker thermostat? Just so long as they don’t put in the old water pump that leaked. Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain/snow mix. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Mostly sunny becoming cloudy for the first day of spring on Thursday with a modest chance for evening snow, sleet, rain or all of the above. Highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly cloudy on Friday with a modest chance of rain and snow. Highs near 40 and lows in the mid-20’s. Partly sunny on Saturday and cooler. Highs in the lower 30’s and lows in the upper teens. Sunday, partly sunny with a slight chance of snow. Highs near the freezing mark with lows around 20. Mostly cloudy for Monday with highs in the low to mid-30’s and lows in the upper teens. Mostly sunny and slightly warmer on Tuesday with highs in the mid to upper 30’s and lows in the middle teens. The normal high for March 20th is 42 and the normal low is 24. The scurs will be standing their eggs on end in celebration of the vernal equinox.
The snow left last week at a fair clip, especially from darker colored fields. Some were positive that since the sun has more bite to it, we’d be running in the fields soon. Obviously they need to check the thermometer and the frost depth. There’s still nearly 3’ of frost and there were yet more reports of water lines and septic systems freezing up as of last week. With temperatures running in the 30 – 40 degree range, especially without much sun forecast for this week, it’s similar to thawing a Thanksgiving turkey in the refrigerator: It’ll be a while. Not necessarily a bad thing. Freezing and thawing tends to release the snow melt in a metered fashion. The silver lining in all this presently though is the lack of snow cover to the south. Temperatures have been in the 70’s as close as Nebraska so once it decides to warm up, it could do so quickly. That could make the frost a memory before we know it. Then the question becomes, how much rain and how long will we have to endure before soils become fit?
The planets are putting on a spectacular show when the evenings are clear enough to see them. At 10 p.m. lamb check, Mars is still low in the eastern sky. Jupiter is high overhead and trending towards the west a little more each night. The Big Dipper is in the northeastern sky and nearly standing on its handle. The dipper will tilt more to the left reputedly bringing the spring showers. Now that we’re on DST, Venus is once again a feature in the morning sky when we’re bumbling around in the dark. That’s about the only thing Daylight Wasting Time is good for.
In the yard at the ranch, the birds have shifted gears rapidly with the diminishing snow. The large groups of sparrows have left although their tendency to toss the safflower out of the bird feeders has played into the cardinals hands er, beaks. It looks like we may have a pair looking things over. The pheasants appear to have scattered once again although there are still a few showing up to feed at the ear corn feeder. There have been four goldfinches some mornings which is the most we’ve seen since last fall sometime. Lone pairs of geese have been seen scoping the area out. With little open water they were just lookers.
March 25th marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Norman Borlaug. I read with interest an article on his life in the most recent edition of CSA News. As a 7th grader, I remember Dr. Borlaug being featured in the Current Events magazine for winning the Nobel Peace Prize and becoming known as the “Father of the Green Revolution.” What was even more remarkable was the opportunity I had at the U of M to hear Dr. Borlaug speak in a rather small, crowded meeting room in the Soil Science building. It must’ve been in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.
I could’ve blown it off, but my then boss Jerome persuaded me that this was deserving of my time. Was it ever. I still vividly recall Dr. Borlaug asking us to think about the money spent on just one F-16, the premier fighter jet of the day and what kind of an impact it could have if just a few of those dollars were spent on research such as he and others were involved in. Far-fetched, I thought at the time, given that the Cold War was showing no signs of changing and a grain embargo was soon to be heaped on the backs of America’s farmers. Still, the message struck home. Since then he proved to be a visionary, being awarded many international honors for his accomplishments. In retrospect, I was glad I took the time that afternoon to listen to this man of peace. His message was simple yet powerful. While some have tried since to detract from his mission, their efforts pale in comparison to Dr. Borlaug’s remarkable lifetime of achievements, not to mention all the starving people they saved.
Good luck Panther girls at the State Basketball Tournament!
See you next week…real good then.