The scurs were beginning to think that someone flipped the calendar ahead a couple months. Obviously the part they received in the Kelvinator box was not meant for the Weather Eye. Will or won’t they get the wrong part again? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a small chance of snow. Highs near 20 and lows in the low single digits. Mostly sunny on Thursday with highs around 15 and lows near zero. Mostly sunny again for Friday only warmer. Highs near 25 and lows around 10. Partly sunny becoming cloudy on Saturday with a slight chance of overnight freezing rain. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 30’s. Sunday, mostly cloudy with a modest chance of snow and rain. Highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly cloudy with a modest chance of snow on Monday. Highs around freezing and lows in the mid-teens. Tuesday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of morning flurries. Highs in the mid-20’s with lows near 10. The normal high for November 21st is 38 and the normal low is 21. On the 23rd we’ll see 9 hours and 30 minutes of daylight, the first time since back on January 21st. The scurs are hoping their new part for the Weather Eye arrives before then.
The weather took a turn for the worse last week as we saw temperatures plunge far below normal. How far? The daily highs have been below the normal lows for this time of year. In fact, the highs have been well below normal for the coldest part of winter which typically is January 8th–22nd. The normal high in that timeframe is 22 and the normal low is around 3 above. Many lakes froze over on the weekend including St. Olaf and Beaver. So far at the ranch we’ve recorded 3.8” of snow. Enough bad news. Now for the good news: The weather according to some longer range forecasts indicate a warmer than normal December. That would be a welcome respite from the November that has largely been disappointing from a temperature standpoint.
There are still those battling to get the last of their corn in the bin. As one might expect, combining in the snow is not always pretty. Viewing some of the fields, seeing the snow on husks and leaves then watching the snow covering the snouts appear, one could only imagine that plugged sieves might ensue. There were reports of some machines needing to find heated shops to thaw out. Also some reports claiming air filters were plugging with ice crystals from the fine snow. It’s just been one of those years when the fun never stops for some.
The birds at the feeders in the yard have kicked it up a notch with the extreme cold. As if on cue a male cardinal appeared after the snow began to fall Saturday. We’re blessed to see one this early and look forward to seeing more of him. Lots of woodpeckers and nuthatches focusing on higher density energy foodstuffs like sunflower seed and suet. Four fox squirrels are monopolizing the ear corn while keeping the dogs on alert. The bunnies are back as well, taking the night shift to clean up after the squirrels. And we’re seeing an occasional rooster pheasant sail through the back yard. We’ve heard them occasionally but this is the first we’ve seen of them.
At the ranch we were glad to get the sheep at the kindly neighbors’ back home on Saturday before the weather went completely in the tank. Nothing fun about getting stuck in the snow with a pickup and trailer either. Most had been there since mid-May so it was time. The ewes and ram loaded easily after some trickery on my part. Like the little fat buddies, food is a tremendous incentive when it comes to getting them to do what you want. I had the dogs at the ready ready back at the ranch but they wouldn’t be pressed into action until we came home. I must’ve been rather stealthy as the kindly neighbor came out in time to help me load up the last of the equipment. He had earlier in the week loaded up the corn screenings so the sheep and I were very grateful for all his efforts. We’ve pastured the sheep there now for at least 20 years. Seems like only yesterday.
Getting in the yard as the snow was starting to fall more heavily, the ewes all unloaded off the trailer quickly except one of the three black ewes. As I was trying to hold the ram back I was becoming increasingly frustrated with her bleating and hesitance to follow the other eight that practically flew out of the back. Finally I was able to use the divider in the trailer as a pinch gate on the ram that was becoming annoyed with his inability to move. Finally the ewe got the hint and out the door she went. I let the ram out of the sleeper hold and proceeded to back the trailer up to the barn for his accommodations. Fudgie and Ruby were glad to see him as he rumbled off the trailer, nipping at his side to make sure he went straight into the pen. He should’ve been happy after a long stint wandering up and down the hills at the pasture. To make sure he enjoys his stay at the Cheviot Sheraton, I left a mint on his pillow.
See you next week…real good then.