The scurs were wise not to mothball those long johns just yet and with the help of the Weather Eye, they made the right call. Will their reliance on the Weather Eye prove justified for another week? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with highs in the low teens and lows slightly below zero. Mostly sunny and cooler for Thursday with highs in the upper single digits and lows slightly below zero. Friday, sunny and warmer. Highs in the upper teens and lows around 5 above. Mostly cloudy and warmer on Saturday with an increasing chance of snow. Highs in the low 20’s with lows in the low teens. Sunday, continued warmer with a good chance of snow for the first day of March. Partly cloudy with highs in the mid-20’s with lows around 10. Sunny on Monday with highs in the mid-20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Then mostly sunny and warmer for Tuesday. Highs in the mid-30’s with lows in the mid-teens. February 26th puts us back over 11 hours of daylight for the first time since October 15th. The sun will set at 6 p.m. on February 27th. The normal high for March 1st is 33 and the normal low is 16. The scurs have more free time on their hands since they skipped watching the Oscars, again.
When one looks at the temperature and precip records for February, all one will likely say is it was dry and cold barring a resurgence of 80-degree temps and a sudden deluge before the weekend. Temperatures have trended well below normal since the 12th. As a result the frost depth has actually increased at the SROC as the month has progressed, going from 20” on the 16th to 25” on the 23rd. Can usually tell when the frost gets to about 2’ at the ranch because the frame on the walk-in door at the ranch begins to heave and it won’t close. Not until the frost goes out again anyway.
Bird activity has been steady with the cold we’ve had. We have an active group of woodpeckers and nuthatches. They’ve adapted well to the horizontal suet feeders. Fortunately the starlings and sparrows have not. The Roller Feeder has kept the squirrels at bay and while the house sparrows have increased their activity, it’s still hard for them to kick as much feed out on the ground due to the smaller size of the feeder. The cardinals continue to be pleasant additions. We see them almost every day, although by the sound of things, they live at neighbor David’s if their singing in the early morning is any indication.
Watching the squirrels in the yard is a favorite pastime not only for Ruby and Fudgie but for me as well. While some are less taken with them I’ve always been amazed by these hardy little creatures. In Sunday’s wind, they were busy climbing the tree, grabbing their kernel of corn and getting to the leeward side of the tree to get out of the elements. They’ve eaten a fair amount of corn too over the course of the winter. At approximately two ears a day since November with roughly 480 kernels per ear average that’s about the equivalent of a bushel and peck’s worth of shell corn. I’m fairly positive they’ve “planted” a lot in the yard too. One could probably spray the lawn with glyphosate and produce a pretty good corn crop.
Lambing progress has moved slowly as of this writing. That will change. Only four ewes have lambed thus far and they are lined up like planes on a runway. The six lambs on the ground so far are healthy even though the weather hasn’t exactly been cooperative. There are some cold days when one wonders how they can take it. The lambs look a little hunched up and possibly cold. The next thing you know they’re bouncing off their mothers and using them as playground equipment.
Got to see the Gopher women’s basketball team’s last home game of the year and it didn’t disappoint. An old high school friend had invited us to join him and his wife so we had decided this would be a nice break. Mrs. Cheviot had at the last minute changed her mind and with the ewes getting ever closer to lambing, she stayed behind. I went ahead anyway and Phil was able to find another taker for her ticket. The game was the stuff legends are made of. Zahui had 27 points and 27 boards, Kelley pumped in 23 and local heroine Carlie Wagner added 21 in a double-overtime victory. What was probably most interesting to me though was how the game was a catalyst for a day with an old friend.
Phil and I had been friends throughout high school. We had been in FFA, band and choir together and had done our level best to have a good time. When we graduated high school, we went our separate ways. Phil went to Augsburg where he met his wife Janine. I went to the U, where I wasn’t serious about much of anything other than agriculture. Phil and I saw each other at class reunions but hadn’t had an opportunity to do much socially until getting together with another friend a few years ago. Saturday it was as if the friendship hadn’t skipped a beat. Driving to their house, having a scrumptious late breakfast they’d prepared and attending the game made for reminiscing as well as catching up. Meeting their dogs was an honor too as I have a well-known soft spot for furry friends. Also got to meet their friend David who was the lucky recipient of the spare ticket. I couldn’t tell if he was furry or not because he kept his hat on. By the time the day was over, it was time to go home and it had been a “10”. One set of twins was all that had been born so Mrs. Cheviot hadn’t been inundated with ewes coming in and I was able to get home in time to help finish the chores.
Later that night as I was flipping through the channels I found the 2007 Led Zeppelin Celebration Day concert. Couldn’t help but think how there were probably some similarities between the band members and the bond that Phil and I along with several others had. We were all musically talented and while we certainly weren’t in the class of a Zeppelin, it didn’t stop us from playing together and enjoying each other’s company. As Jimmy Page cavorted with his Les Paul, Robert Plant wailed and moaned, John Paul Jones kept pace on the keyboards and along with John Bonham’s son Jason on drums, there were parallels. Each performed their part seemingly effortlessly. After the last bows were taken and they walked off stage, you could sense they still got along, and that was all that mattered until the next time.
See you next week…real good then.