The scurs were clicking again and the Weather Eye from the ’74 Gremlin has become their “go to” weather predicting apparatus. Will our good weather fortunes continue or are we in for a downturn? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a good chance of an evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the low 60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Partly cloudy Thursday with a good chance of rain in the forenoon. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the upper 40’s. Friday, partly sunny with a slight chance of a morning shower. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the low 50’s. Partly sunny and warmer for Saturday with an increasing chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Sunday, mostly cloudy with a moderate chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Mostly cloudy with slight chance for continued rain for Monday. Highs in the mid-70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Tuesday, mostly cloudy. Highs in the low 70’s with los in the mid-50’s. The normal high for May 15th is 69 and the normal low is 48. The scurs will be looking forward to next week’s fan mail after seeing how the recent forecast turns out.
Another week of some slow but steady progress as crops continue to emerge. So far so good, there have been few problems aside from perhaps some self-inflicted ones. Corn could be rowed easily, especially in black fields. Some minor weed pressure thus far, although one might’ve surmised that would be the case with the generally light and spotty precipitation that has fallen since herbicides were applied. This is why we are using multiple sites of action as well as keeping equipment such as rotary hoes at the ready just in case. Soybeans planted on April 17th could be rowed by the end of last week and given the predicted rains for the upcoming week, should have no problem emerging. Small grains have really liked the type of spring we’ve had thus far. On the cool side but dry so leaf diseases haven’t been an issue yet. The pea plantings are also enjoying the conditions. After a couple years’ worth of ratty looking pea fields in particular, it’s a welcome sight.
Trying my best over the weekend, was able to get the pasture and hay ground fertilized along with some new seeding that was to be established. The kindly neighbor had asked me if I’d be interested in putting some hay in on a steep slope that had some erosion problems. Easier said than done when you don’t have enough of your own equipment, so with the kindly neighbor’s help, the field got worked. And with the kindness of neighbor David’s grandson, I was able to borrow a seeder to properly place the small seeded forages. For the acreage, the amount of seed came out just about perfect. Sometimes the sun, the moon and the stars do align.
The bellering at the ranch has subsided for yet another year. While it takes a couple days the results are always the same nonetheless. The ewes are happy to be munching on plentiful green grass and the lambs are glad they’re not competing with their mothers for a place at the feed trough. The person paying the feed bill is also happier as chore time gets chopped significantly. About the only ones who aren’t as happy are Fudgie and Ruby. Border Collies simply can’t get enough of that stuff.
Something else they don’t get enough of is brushing. It was time again on Sunday and with the windy conditions, it was like a dog hair tornado at times. Huge wads of hair flew up over the house and into the trees. It was too bad actually as I had planned on saving it and mailing some to Auntie Mar Mar. She still remarks about the last time we did that. I’m not positive but suspect she might be using it to stuff some of her craft projects.
More new arrivals in the bird department this past week at the ranch. An orchard oriole showed up on the 7th, a couple days after the first Baltimore oriole. A house wren was singing in the back yard on the 8th and the first white-crowned sparrow made a brief appearance and was gone on the 9th. Earlier in the low light of the morning I spied what appeared to be a small, dark colored bird at the thistle feeder. Too small and not chunky enough for a junco I thought. As the sun was higher in the sky, his true bright-blue colors showed: It was our first indigo bunting of the season. Still no hummingbirds but it’s still early. They may have been here and we just missed them.
Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer came through with more information concerning the aforementioned moon and stars. Venus has been low in the western sky and the yellow color has made it the predominant feature in the evening sky until it sets some three or so hours after sunset. On the 20th, the crescent moon will be under Venus. Jupiter is also yellow and high overhead, although with no bottle lambs to feed, viewing it occurs only occasionally. Saturn, as Dale Niedfeldt points out in his column, rises in the southeast sky shortly past sunset. He states that it is brighter than usual as the rings are wide open. A 30 power telescope or more is needed to see the rings.
Speaking of rings, I saw the noted Swedish astronomer working on his shed last week. I waved as I drove by then went north to look at some corn fields. The drive was pleasant and gave me some time to listen to rock ‘n’ roll, something I don’t get to do as often as I’d sometimes like. I came back by the astronomer’s way again later during a short cloudburst and noticed he was standing inside the shed gazing out. I gave him a ring to make sure a nap hadn’t interfered with his progress. After all, that’s what friends are for.
See you next week…real good then.