The scurs weathered another week of cool temperatures and the ensuing hate mail. Will they abandon the Weather Eye or continue to rely on its fine forecasting capability? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a good chance for thunderstorms as the day wears on. Highs near 70 with lows in the mid-40’s. Thursday, mostly sunny and cooler with highs in the upper 50’s and lows around 30. Mostly sunny and cooler for Friday. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows around 30. Saturday, mostly sunny. Highs in the mid-50’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Mostly sunny for Easter Sunday with a slight chance of an evening shower. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the low 40’s. Monday mostly cloudy with a moderate chance of a shower or thunderstorm, Highs in the upper 50’s with lows around 40. Mostly cloudy and slightly cooler for Tuesday with a slight chance of a lingering morning shower. Highs in the low 50’s with lows in the upper 30’s. The normal high for April 4th is 51 and the normal low is 31. On April 7th we see over 13 hours of daylight once again for the first time since last September 5th. The scurs are contemplating putting their snow shovel in storage. Somehow they know better.
The Full Moon for April falls on the 4th and goes by several names. Typically it is called the Full Pink Moon for the ground phlox that are commonly some of the first spring wildflowers in the woods. It also goes by the Full Sprouting Grass Moon and the Full Egg Moon. The Ojibwe called this the Broken Snowshoe Moon and the Sioux, the Moon of Greening Grass. At the ranch we’re always hopeful it’s the Moon of Greening Grass and not just another Muddy Border Collie Moon. Always nice to wean the lambs and move the ewes to pasture as early as possible.
Potential early fieldwork conditions suffered a setback with the snow and sleet from last week. However for those who were bound and determined to fret about how dry it was getting, with the 5” of snow and sleet a couple days later, we garnered over .8” of liquid equivalent precip. Runoff was virtually nil and with Monday afternoon's warmth, lawns and pastures began to green up almost before your eyes. There is still frost in the ground in places however as Betsy’s dad pointed out. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as once the ice came off area lakes, temperatures haven’t exactly set the world on fire. Last Friday temperatures did not get above freezing and low temps that morning were a chilly 15. Brrrrr!
The birds continue their subtle spring transition. There are still plenty of woodpeckers and a pair of nuthatches is frequently seen at the feeders. Juncos persist as well, having all but disappeared earlier when the weather was warm during mid-March. Pheasants are in the garden area and use the corridor area to sneak between the CRP parcels and get to a source of water. In the wind, ducks circle the pond and have to make a few approaches on their descent to a greatly diminished water surface. It is dry from a hydrological standpoint with these shallow wetlands making that abundantly clear. Haven’t been down to the wetland to inspect the wood duck houses since they were cleaned, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see some eggs already. Unfortunately the last time eggs were found this early, the nest was abandoned and the eggs were all frozen.
The lambs continue to grow by leaps and bounds. They were so happy to get out of the barn after being cooped up for several days. It was as if they were shot out of a cannon once the door was finally raised. The crusted snow presented a new experience for them to tear through and slide on. The frozen ground made for a fast track as well, giving them extra traction for their jumping and running. Several have mentioned they’ve stopped to watch them run. The only thing we’d request is people pull into the driveway to watch. The traffic moves at a breakneck pace sometimes on that road so it’s a lot safer.
Gardening is in the back of my mind and every time I start considering putting in an early season crop such as radishes, it’s snowed or the ground stays frozen. That will soon change and when it does, will have enough early garden crops to plant. Probably won’t get the potatoes planted on Good Friday but it won’t be the first time. Many times one would have to shovel through the snow and use a pick axe just to get them in the frozen ground!
With the snow nearly gone, the dogs are beginning to shed in earnest. One can tell when the indoor dog hair tumbleweeds start to appear along the baseboards that it’s time to get out the brush. Once outside brushing Fudgie and Ruby out, the clumps of hair are nice for the birds that use the hair for their nests too such as the chipping sparrows. We frequently find their nests lined with combinations of wool and Fudgie fur. One thing about it, the tiny baby birds never look cold.
See you next week…real good then.