It took a while, but the scurs finally got the heater control valve unstuck on the Weather Eye just in the nick of time. Starting Wednesday, sunny, with highs near 70 and lows in the mid-40’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly sunny Friday with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly sunny on Saturday with a chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Sunday, partly sunny becoming mostly cloudy with a good chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly cloudy Monday with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms, Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Tuesday, mostly cloudy and cooler with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. The normal high for May 1st is 64 and the normal low is 42. On May 6th we will experience sunrise before 6 a.m., the same as we saw last July 29th. By May 6th the scurs’ May Basket will be ancient history.
The Full Moon for the month occurs on the 3rd and generally goes by the Full Flower Moon. April showers indeed bring May flowers if they don’t freeze off of course. This moon also goes by the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Full Milk Moon. The Ojibwe called this the Full Blossom Moon and the Sioux, The Moon When Ponies Shed. At the ranch it is a perpetual Moon When Border Collies Shed so it probably more accurately goes by The Moon When Lambs are Weaned or The Full Bellering Moon.
About one day of progress in the fields this past week after the prior weekend’s rainfall and ensuing cool temperatures made it difficult for farmers to get excited about planting full bore. On April 23rd the low at the Waseca airport was 21 degrees. Average soil temperatures at the 2” depth at the SROC spent a few days in the 40’s with one day in the upper 30’s. A forecast for rain on Friday didn’t help matters, although the forecast amounts were small. However, when the rain stopped on Friday, instead of a tenth to a quarter inch, it was closer to ¾” and it was cold. Nevertheless, some did plant on Thursday again only to get rained out Friday morning. Corn planted the week of the 12th should emerge this week given the warm forecast. No sign of problems thus far with any of the corn planted since then, with corn planted on the 14th exhibiting a ¾” long radicle and coleoptile around ¼” on the 23rd. Rainfall for the month has totaled 3.45” at the ranch and 3.5” in town at the Mall for Men. This is slightly above normal when compared to the April normal of 3.21” at the SROC.
You can now access my daily precipitation measurements from the ranch online. I enter them religiously now that I know how to report them electronically. Go to: http://www.climate.umn.edu/HIDENsityEdit/HIDENweb.htm, click on “browse” where it is highlighted by “MNgage precip” under the “Looking at the data” heading. It will take you to “View Minnesota Precipitation Data by Location.” Enter “Steele” where it asks you to find a county then click on the “find a county” button. My location appears as “Berlin s7”. For the SROC in Waseca, choose Waseca where it asks for county and they are denoted as Woodville s18. Click on the monthly total and a drop down box will appear with the daily entries for the month. Make sure you turn the pop up blocker on your browser off for the site or that last part will be an exercise in futility. Speaking from experience.
It has been a fun week to note the subtle changes in bird activity. A white-throated sparrow was seen on the 25th meaning the much anticipated arrival of the orioles at the ranch should occur within a week or so. Thanks to fellow bird feeder T.P., on her advice I stashed an emergency jar of grape jelly just in case. The tree swallows are swarming some of the bluebird houses like gnats. They were cleaned out once earlier this spring but might not hurt to make sure a deer mouse hasn’t stuffed them full again. The robins were busy building their nest in the spruce tree right outside the living room window. It made a nice diversion to watch during breaks in the action during the Wild game. A pair of mallards has started to use the tree planting corridor as a place to snack. The low hanging fruit on the American cranberries is just the right height. Last but not least, the wood ducks that have been picking away at garden leftovers apparently are the two nesting in the wood duck house in the wetland. Checking the box last Thursday, there were four or five eggs in it. What doncha like about that?
The Border Collies had a big weekend, first being able to follow the Gator around the yard and after that, their first lawn mowing excursion of the season. Fudgie and Ruby seem to live for this sort of stuff. Keeping an eye on all the sticks, then watching as the loads of debris were hauled off and dumped gave them a whole forenoon worth of entertainment on Sunday. Then following chores, the lawnmowers made their maiden voyage for the year as did the dogs, following back and forth with each pass. Tires had to be bitten first of course before the lawnmowers made it out of the chute and the weary pair could sport their first grass-stained white socks of the spring. Priorities.
See you next week…real good then.