The scurs with their ’74 Gremlin Weather Eye performed admirably. Little snow although they still need to find that warmer thermostat. Will it be this week? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Thursday, cloudy with a good chance for a rain and snow mix. Highs again in the upper 30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Partly sunny and slightly cooler on Friday with a slight chance for snow in the forenoon. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the lower 20’s. Mostly sunny and warmer on Saturday with highs back in the low 40’s and lows in the lower 30’s. Sunny and beautiful on Sunday with highs finally near 60. Clouding up by evening with a slight chance of rain. Lows in the upper 30’s. Cloudy and cooler for Monday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Mostly cloudy on April Fool’s Day with a chance of rain. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows in the mid-30’s. The normal high for April 1st is 49 and the normal low is 29. The sun will rise again before 7 on March 30th, the same as it was doing February 24th before we messed around with the clocks. The scurs are now saying we will have no more snow and the spring will be perfect after this week. Do you doubt them?
Our spring weather continued to be missing in action once again last week. Highs below freezing over the weekend with single digit lows made it difficult to make much progress towards thawing frozen soil. There were 24” of frost in the ground yet as of St. Patrick’s Day although the soil temperature at 40” according to Tom Hoverstad was starting to warm. As of March 24th, the frost depth measured there was only 15” so it apparently has indeed warmed from below. This may make some including me breathe a little easier as there were still reports of frozen water lines coming in yet the middle of last week.
Luckily we have lost most of our snow cover. This should help speed the process along once it does decide to warm up. Snow depth has fallen from 20” at the ranch back on March 5th to about 2” on the 21st. Looking across the landscape however the road ditches are full yet, the windbreak has huge drifts and the snow piles are still 3' - 4' deep. March has so far given us slightly above average snowfall with 13.5” recorded at the ranch with 10.2” being normal for March at the SROC. Precipitation overall though has been running below normal for the month at .96”, where normal is 2.49”. For the most recent 30 and 90 day outlooks, NOAA has us in the better than even odds of below normal temperatures with even chances of above or below normal precip for those same timeframes.
The birds in the yard in the yard continue the slow changeover from winter to spring. There are still lots of juncos and woodpeckers. However we counted 10 robins the other morning. They must be surviving on the berry and crabapple crop. The birds do have preference for the Red Splendor crabapples versus those on the Indian Magic tree. The former has been picked clean, hence the reasoning behind planting more of those a few years ago. Large groups of red-winged blackbirds have appeared and spend much of their time picking at the leftover safflower under the bird feeders. Grackles made their debut at the ranch on the 20th. Not as numerous as some years for the calendar date although that will likely change. The cardinals are around early in the morning and later toward dusk under the feeders. They are spooky though with any movement detected in the house, they’re gone in an instant. Little Jerry IV (or is it V?) the famed rooster pheasant was seen walking across the driveway in front of the garage Saturday morning. How do we know it was Little Jerry? He was flappin’ his wings and struttin’ his stuff.
The alien that struck Mrs. Cheviot and I back in late February continues to slowly but surely show signs of abating. We still have some coughing fits but at least they are confined to occasional status. It does however continue to make us very tired by the end of the day. Moving the last of the ewes and lambs down to the loafing areas about did us in and hitting the sack that night couldn’t have come soon enough.
Speaking of that, the lambs have all been moved from the lambing barn to the loafing barn. The tails are docked, the ear tags are in and the vaccinations are complete for now. Moving the ewes with lambs usually involves the Border Collies and this year has been no exception. The little icy mud balls they become caked with are also no exception. They’re a bugger to get off and it’s best to let the dogs warm up a while before even attempting it. Each dog has their own little ritual during the wipe down process. Fudgie likes to vocalize, letting out little ‘woofs’ as one gets close to completing the task. Ruby likes to stand on her hind legs which makes it easier to wipe her down underneath. Since she’s smaller and faster, she’s almost always dirtier so that’s a plus. It also gives her an opportunity to give kisses when her tummy is cleaned off. Not such a plus. Oh well, at least the ewes and lambs are in position to cause the dreaded gawker slowdown once the snowbanks melt and their overhead door can be opened once again.
Congratulations to the NRHEG Girls Basketball team on their repeat championship at the State Tournament. Just making it to the tournament is an accomplishment, to say nothing of getting there 3 years in a row and winning it twice.
See you next week…real good then.