The scurs were a bit overly optimistic in their temperature estimates for this past week. Has the Weather Eye come back down to earth or will we see an encore performance of warmer than normal again? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with an increasing chance of rain into the overnight. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the mid 30’s. Thanksgiving Day, mostly cloudy with a good chance of rain, becoming mixed with sleet and then a chance of snow. Highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the mid 20’s. Partly sunny and cooler Friday with highs in the upper 20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the upper teens. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Monday, partly cloudy with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the upper teens. Partly cloudy for Tuesday with a chance of flurries. Highs in the low 30’s and lows in the mid-teens. The normal high for December 1st is 32 and the normal low is 16. Avoiding Black Friday at all costs is the scurs’ goal for the week. Easily accomplished. Lots of time before December 25th.
The Full Moon for the month lands on the 25th of November. It is known as the Full Beaver Moon as this was the time that trappers were getting their supply of warm winter furs. It is also at this time that beavers are laying in their supplies for winter. The Ojibwe called this the Freezing Moon and the Sioux knew it as the Moon of the Falling Leaves. At the ranch, it is known the Frozen Ground Moon, making it possible to clean the barns with reckless abandon.
It was indeed a good weekend for cleaning the main barn. Fields that had become wet from the rains back on the 12th suddenly got wetter last week. Some areas saw well over an inch where at the ranch we recorded .95” and in town 1.15”. Friday’s snow measured at an inch at the ranch and melted out, contained .12” of liquid equivalent precipitation. Not a lot of snow but enough to give the snowplow operators a chance to clean all the dead skunks and raccoons off the road.
Conditions on Friday were such that the frost in the ground allowed anhydrous ammonia application and for some late fall tillage to be performed. The ground was pretty hard on Saturday morning however with overnight lows falling to 12 at the ranch. This meant that it was definitely time to get the barn cleaned and I was not alone. While inside the barn running the skidloader I spied the Dubya’s tractor and spreader heading up the road to do battle. Doug and David’s field where I spread had been worked although one could tell it was squishy under the layer of frozen soil. Sunday it started to get a little greasy about the time I finished the 12th the last load about 2:30. The roads were getting thawed off in places so it was time to be done without tracking a lot of mud.
A small group of our ewes as of this writing remain at the kindly neighbors’ pasture, supplemented with a medium-sized bucket of screenings at night. The recent snowfall made me think that I should probably give them a couple slices of hay in the morning over the weekend just to see if they would clean it up. Silly me. They’re sheep. Pigs got nothin’ on sheep when it comes to eating. If you’ve ever watched a group of greedy ovines gobble down their grain too fast then barf it up you know what I’m talking about. Of course they cleaned the hay up. The ewes then proceeded to forage through the trees and feed on the remaining grass the rest of the day. They came up out of the pasture as I arrived with their screenings Sunday night. I figured they’d be all about me showing up to feed hay Monday morning. I plopped the slices into the tubs expecting to see them come on a dead run. Guess again. They were all the way down in the far north end of the pasture where there was sufficient grass for their taste. Later I got a call from the kindly neighbor asking if it was OK to toss the leftover pumpkins and corn stalks over the fence to them. At this rate they may never want to come home.
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day of course and our plan is to lay low. Mrs. Cheviot has been on a whirlwind tour it seems and yours truly has had his hands full riding herd on the ranch and all the critters. Sometimes we just need to exhale. Hopefully the weather cooperates as per usual turkey on the Weber is slated as standard fare. Doesn’t seem possible that just last week I mowed the lawn and went for one last ride before mothballing the Stude for winter. After that beautiful weekend, we really did have something to be thankful for. There are still plenty of things to get done, but Thursday is one of those days best left alone at the ranch.
Ruby and Fudgie have always enjoyed Thanksgiving dating back to the times when Mom brought Fudgie along on her visits. Along with olfactory overload and organ meats on the naughty list these days, the giblets wind up being their property. That’s OK by me and they deserve it. The numerous times over the course of a year that we’ve called upon the dogs to give us a hand or their companionship and unconditional love qualifies them. They are a pretty intelligent lot as dogs go and relatively obedient. Both Border Collies definitely know which buttons to push, yet usually know when they’re getting pretty close to crossing the line. They’re a lot like kids that way, although I don’t recall seeing kids shed quite like these two.
See you next week…real good then.