The scurs had quite a run last week with the Weather Eye from the ’74 Gremlin making all the right moves. Will our mid-May high temps continue or will we get back to reality? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a slight chance of rain and/or snow overnight. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows around the freezing mark. Thursday, partly sunny with a slight chance for rain and/or snow. Highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly sunny Friday with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Saturday, mostly sunny and cooler. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the low 20’s. Mostly sunny becoming cloudy on Sunday and continued cool with a slight chance of rain and/or snow. Highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Monday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of rain. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows near freezing. Partly cloudy Tuesday and warmer. Highs near 50 with lows around 30. The vernal equinox occurs on the 20th, marking the first day of spring. The normal high for the 20th is 42 and the normal low is 24. The scurs expect to hear from angry chickens when all those eggs are standing on end.
Well, the warm spell was fun while it lasted. We deserved it though after the cold temperatures we endured in February, didn’t we? With strong, warm breezes, field surfaces dried quickly and frost left fields in many places. While there was essentially no field work done, it’s encouraging that the fields aren’t snow covered so that when warmer temperatures return, it shouldn’t take long for fields to become fit. It did allow farmers to get equipment out of the shed and actually work on it without having to roll around in the mud for the most part. It’s like playing with the lead compared to some years. Last year for example.
At the ranch we too are ahead of schedule. The electric fence is up and charged marking one of the earliest dates for us that this has happened. After docking tails, giving shots and tagging, we moved seven more pens of ewes with lambs to the loafing area. Fudgie and Ruby were pressed into service and it took about a half hour to get that all done. The lambs were taking advantage of their new found space Sunday afternoon, racing back and forth from the lot back to the barn. The frost must be out now on the south side of the barn too as the walk-in door closes again. No longer need to use the tarp strap to keep it from flapping in the breeze.
The weekend also made a great time for tree pruning. I left the Fireside tree as it will take some time but I got the rest of the apple trees in ship-shape. The activity also replenished the apple wood supply for grilling. It was a good time in general to assess the eye gougers, glasses snatcher and melon mashers on some of the other trees as well. Few things annoy me more when mowing lawn than getting snapped in the face by branches or sliced up by some thorny branches I didn’t see coming. Again, I had more dog help than a person should be allowed to have. The fascination of two Border Collies with sticks, watching the loppers and biting tires still continues to amaze.
The bird migration has been on too with the recent warmth. Saw our first robins on the 12th as well as a bluebird and killdeers. On Saturday the 14th, red-wing blackbird flocks were evident and we had a few goldfinches showing a hint of yellow at the feeders. There were some house finches too which we hadn’t seen for some time. They’re one of my favorites as the memory of their faithful visits to my mom’s window feeder is still fresh in my mind. Sandhill cranes were heard on Saturday night at chore time. Sunday brought a large group of white-fronted geese through the area. They were heading south. Could it be an omen?
Was saddened by the recent loss of a dear friend and former co-worker, namely Bud Tollefson. When we first came to town some 30 years ago, Bud was one of the first people to welcome me at the elevator and make us feel at home. He knew that I had recently lost my dad and went out of his way to make me feel comfortable. I can recall many times coming home from work, my sides aching from something Bud had said or done. It was only the beginning.
I remember one Saturday he had invited me over to look at his oak trees as something was eating the leaves. He and Kathryn invited me in for breakfast and afterwards we proceeded to look at the trees. When I examined the leaves, I don’t recall what kind of caterpillar it was but when I told him “Bud, you have worms,” Bud let out one of those laughs as only he could. We had a large pumpkin patch one fall and Bud volunteered to help pick them. The visual of Bud riding in the garden cart while hollering at the top of his lungs as we drove past the living room window still makes Mrs. Cheviot laugh. I went ice fishing with Bud a few times back when St. Olaf Lake was famous for its cigar stub-sized perch. Most people went out there to kill time. Bud and I were no exception. When one of the old local diehards came over to inspect our holes, he looked at them and said in derision, “Humph! Cork’s too big.” That set Bud and I off into a laughing frenzy. When we’d get skunked after that we had a built in excuse: “Cork’s too big.”
Bud fixed many of the things I had broken and sharpened tools that I had dulled. Wouldn’t take a dime for it. I worked with Bud for only about three years before I took another job. Even after that, Bud always had a smile and a laugh when we fondly recalled some of the “good old days.” And even when he was starting to slip he was still “in there.” Mention that I’d driven the “company truck” to church and it would still bring a smile to his face if not elicit a laugh. Bud was one of my favorite people. He showed me how to laugh again after a tragic loss and the generosity with his time will never be forgotten. Words will never be able to express my gratitude, but as Bud was fond of saying around his family, this will have to be “good enough.”
See you next week…real good then.