The scurs had the Weather Eye dialed in or as close as it gets this time of year. Will our above normal temperatures make it another week or will we face the real December? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy becoming sunny. With highs in the low 30’s with lows in the mid-teens. Thursday, sunny with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the upper teens. Partly sunny and warmer Friday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Monday, partly sunny with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Warmer with sunny skies for Tuesday. Highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. The sun will begin rising after 7 a.m. on December 4th. The normal high for December 7th is 29 and the normal low is 13. Having dodged the Black Friday and Cyber Monday bullets, the scurs can settle into their regularly scheduled programming. Long time yet until Christmas.
We got our ugly weather out of the way on Thanksgiving Day and had an encore performance the following Monday. Still, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been with the brunt of the storms missing Greater Bugtussle and environs once again. That’s OK by most. Having snow at Thanksgiving time isn’t prerequisite to making it a fitting holiday. And I have yet to hear anyone complain that they missed moving snow for several hours so they could get out of the driveway. People are funny that way.
November did add additional moisture to our soil profile after a drier than normal October. Precipitation at the ranch totaled 3.36” for November, with most of it being absorbed into the soil. We should be at or near field capacity as the soil finishes freezing up for the year. With as much fall tillage as was accomplished, we should be set up well for spring as internal drainage draws some of the moisture out of the lower profile over winter.
The Friday after Thanksgiving is usually a day for lower intensity activity and this year was no different. After getting some odds and ends tied up it seemed an appropriate time to finish the tree wrap project before the bunnies finished it for me. Indeed they showed indications that they’d been there, although the damage was surprisingly light. The day was chilly however and after finishing wrapping about 20 trees, was thankful there weren’t more. It did provide some time to get a glimpse of the pond sans mosquitoes and darkness for a change. Was curious to see what the landowners to the north had done with their water diversion project and was pleasantly surprised. Excess water from the earlier rains appeared to have been diverted into the wetland and the basin was nearly full. That should bode well for returning waterfowl next spring. Hopefully the pond freezes solid soon. One wood duck house to clean out yet and the water will go over the top of my boots if I break through the ice. I could opt to wear my waders, although that sounds like an awful lot of work.
Bird feeding has had its moments so far this season. Unfortunately the sparrows and starling population have made it less enjoyable just by their sheer numbers. Oddly enough, after snuffing in the neighborhood of 200 sparrows between the sparrow trap and BB gun, there doesn’t appear to be much impact on their numbers. Even worse is the fact that over the matter of a few years they’ve adapted to feed and feeders they’re reputedly not supposed to like. There’s a reason they belong in the same category as rats and cockroaches. They are survivors. I feel bad for the nuthatches, woodpeckers and chickadees that contribute something positive to the bird feeding experience. And they don’t make a mess in the shed.
With weather looking potentially ominous for Monday, it was the weekend to bring the ewes home from the kindly neighbors’ pasture again Sunday. It’s been 20-some odd years now we’ve been pasturing them there and it’s always with some reluctance. This year in particular with the long fall and relatively good grass as a result it was tempting to attempt to outguess Mother Nature. Alas, one can only tempt fate about so long before you know that it’s time.
They loaded up easily, having been locked in the night before to feast on their corn screenings. Luckily they’d also been fed the kindly neighbors’ pumpkins outside a few days before so they had a head start on the ewes at home in that department. Once we were home, the ewes hopped out of the trailer and seemed happy to be there. They know the accommodations and within minutes were out in the pasture with their buddies. There was some minor jousting as pecking order was reestablished. Once that was out of the way, all was calm.
The ram lamb that had been running with them was held back as the ewes exited the trailer. He was paired up with a new roommate, a lone ram lamb we had kept back when the fat lambs were loaded out earlier in the month. Sparring partner is probably a more apt description as there is usually nothing calm about penning two young Cheviot rams together. This time was no exception. Seeing their churned up enclosure and bloodied heads at choretime reminded me more of the aftermath from a barroom brawl than a sheep pen.
See you next week…real good then.