The Weather Eye was in “the zone” last week and the scurs breathed a sigh of relief. Will the scurs continue to enjoy success with it or be forced to put it back in the Gremlin after next week? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with an increasing chance for rain. Highs in the low 50’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Cloudy on Thursday with rain likely. Highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Friday, partly sunny with a good chance for snow and or rain. Highs near 50 with lows near the freezing mark. Mostly sunny Saturday with a slight chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the upper 50’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Sunday, mostly cloudy with an increasing chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Partly sunny Monday with a moderate chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Tuesday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. The normal high for April 15th is 57 and the normal high is 35. We continue to gain daylight at roughly 3 minutes per day. The scurs are rummaging through their couch so they can pay their taxes. They should get a penny refund from the two dimes they found.
Temperatures continued to be relatively moderate with the exception of the 80 degree high recorded on the 2nd and 43 for a high on Friday. That’s spring in Minnesota for you. Soil conditions are dry, although they remain cool with temps in the top 2” averaging in the mid-40’s at the SROC in Waseca last week. This is evident when looking at the soils in the fields or the garden for that matter. About the only weeds germinated thus far are lambsquarters and giant ragweed. Anhydrous ammonia has been applied and some dry fertilizer has been spread as well. Someone asked me if the way to tell if it’s fit to plant was to drop your drawers and plop your rump on the ground. I responded that I sure see a lot of guys doing it so it must be.
It has been a bit of a see saw ride so far this spring. Some get very excited when temperatures warm only to become sullen when they suddenly plummet again. No two springs are alike and it is still early. Looking back at old columns, I saw that in 2012 I planted radishes and peas on March 18th and they were up by the 23rd! Rhubarb was a foot tall that year by that time. This year, I decided to put some peas and radishes in on the 31st. Five days later, no sign that anything was coming up yet. The rhubarb was just breaking dormancy on the 31st with some plants about an inch tall this year on April 5th. Conclusion: This is not 2012.
Phenologically speaking, things are progressing slowly as well. One might’ve thought that we’d be hearing more of the chorus frogs in the pond area. Alas, the first we’ve heard from them was back on April 2nd. To date, we have yet to hear the nearly deafening noise coming from the wetland on a warm still night. There is a slow changing of the guard around the yard. A brown creeper was checking the trees out for bugs. They show up almost every spring and if you blink, you miss them. As suspected, the robins have been finding a plentiful supply of earthworms on the south facing slope. There were plenty found in the garden also. The lawn and pasture are greening up slowly although there is already enough grass on six acres to supply the three ewes without lambs.
The last of the ewes has lambed at the ranch and not a moment too soon. Of course, it had to be a yearling that decided to not accept the lamb right away. Aside from that and a few too many bottle lambs, it has otherwise been one of the most problem-free years of lambing we have had. No real difficult births along with lambs that got up off the deck quickly, often despite the coldest weather of the winter when they were born. This is one of the reasons we raise Cheviots.
Fudgie got a long overdue brushing and celebrated by “helping” pick up sticks. She really did seem happy though and her coat for a 12-year-old dog is just beautiful, almost glowing in the sun. Somehow the sticks tend to move out of the piles they were raked into however. One thing about Border Collies, they are always right on top of things, literally. Trying to bust up some root masses from last year’s planters I had to shoo Ruby away so I didn’t take her front paws off with the shovel. She’s much safer barking at the apple trees while watching The Wizard of Oz. Oh well, since we’re done moving ewes with lambs the dogs have to have something to do. Keeps them off the streets or at least out of the road I guess.
Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer made a visit last week and we discussed the cosmos amongst other things. April is an interesting month in the heavens. Some may wonder why we missed the lunar eclipse last week. It was primarily because it really wasn’t a full eclipse here. By the time most were up looking at it, the moon was already below the horizon. Venus continues its yellow “mini-moon” status, low in the western sky at 10 p.m. Jupiter is overhead in the southern sky at that same hour. Saturn rises in the east about midnight, becoming earlier each night so it rises by about 9:30 by the end of the month. The Big Dipper is nearly upside down, hopefully dumping out some needed precipitation in a timely fashion. The noted Swedish astronomer and I concurred that stargazing goes much faster when it’s cloudy out.
See you next week…real good then.