The scurs were thinking the Weather Eye had lied about the modest chance of snow over the weekend. Maybe they’d best put a little more trust in it as there is still a chunk of winter left. Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a slight chance of snow. Highs near 15 and lows near – 10. Thursday, sunny with highs in the mid-teens and lows around 10. Partly sunny and warmer on Friday with highs around 30 and lows near 20. Mostly cloudy on Saturday with a modest chance of snow, again. Highs in the mid-20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Sunday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of lingering snow. Highs in the upper 20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Partly sunny for Monday with highs in the mid-20’s and lows near 20. Tuesday, mostly cloudy with a modest chance of snow. Highs in the upper 20’s and lows in the upper teens. As we continue to gain nearly 3 minutes of daylight per day, we’ll see over 10 hours of daylight on February 4th, something that hasn’t happened since November 6th. The sun will set after 5:30 on February 6th. The scurs suspect it may be a tad early to put their lawn furniture out just yet.
The Saturday evening snowstorm turned out to be more than first advertised. At the ranch we measured roughly 4” of snow fell although as in many building sites around the area, it seemed like most of it was in large drifts in unusual places. It was fine snow too and with the wind made for some hard drifts. One individual had left for the weekend and when he came back, made a run through one into the garage. He wound up shoveling a large portion of it back out. At the ranch it was tough to move it efficiently. Large pieces of drift were constantly breaking off leaving pieces strewn around the driveway. The good thing about it though was the layer of snow stuck to the ice so one doesn’t go for a digger anymore.
As discussed with Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer, clear, cold nights lately have made for better stargazing. In the evening sky, Venus continues to climb farther off the horizon in the west at sundown. Conversely, Jupiter is getting a little higher each night at chore time in the east, rising around sundown. So where is the Big Dipper right now? In the northern US we are fortunate to be able to see the Big Dipper year round above the horizon. Looking at 9 p.m., Monday night, the Big Dipper is high in the northeast sky and is standing on the end of its handle during the winter months. It is also part of the constellation Ursa Major or the Big Bear, where the handle of the dipper makes up the tail of the bear and the dipper itself part of the hindquarters. The star on the front bottom of the dipper (Merak) and the one on the top leading edge of the dipper (Dubhe) form a line that points nearly directly to the North Star or Polaris. Polaris is the star on the end of the handle on the Little Dipper. It in turn in part of the constellation Ursa Minor or the Little Bear. Generally we have pretty good stargazing at the ranch although it’s best to get away from the yard lights in order to see the Little Dipper. Tough to do much about the nearly full moon though especially when there are high clouds.
More snow must mean more cardinals. Another male has joined the original male and female. Activity in general at the feeders increased with the colder temps and snow. It was a surprise over the weekend to see how much corn was being plucked off the cobs by the birds as opposed to the squirrels. Several blue jays and a red-bellied woodpecker consumed almost as much as the rodents did. And one of the squirrels seems to be dominant or at least takes exception to the attempts of the others to procure any corn while he’s occupying the feeder. That typically results in the squirrels doing a high speed chase and one little red and white Border Collie getting all wound up while watching from the sliding glass door.
Another Super Bowl is in the books. Actually it was another pretty good game. When I first came in from moving snow, Mrs. Cheviot was bemoaning the fact it was a low scoring affair and the Seahawks really hadn’t done much. That changed about the time I sat down to warm up. From that point on it was interesting right up until the last play. The entire weekend provided some good sports activity with Gophers and other teams competing. The live-streaming alternative while not perfect does allow us to watch programming we wouldn’t normally see. It helps keep us off the streets on cold winter evenings anyway.
The former mayor of Waldorf was in recently to see if I’d grabbed the screenings out of his shed and dropped off a current magazine with some interesting tractor trivia. Luckily I had already pulled the screening wagon home through metropolitan Matawan on Saturday. The magazine he left was chock full of tidbits I hadn’t realized. Did you know the first commercially available PTO on a tractor was on the International Harvester 8-16? John Deere replaced the Waterloo Boy with the Model D which remained in production through 1953? It took until 1954 for the number of tractors on US farms to surpass the number of horses and mules? One I knew was the 1st production true live PTO was on a 1946 Cockshutt 30. We had the American version, a Co-op E3 growing up. Pull the lever to engage the PTO. Push in the clutch and the PTO kept running. What will they think of next?
See you next week…real good then.