The scurs were looked upon favorably last week as the Weather Eye managed to deliver more warmer than normal temps. Will our luck hold another week or will the scurs be forced to check area junkyards for a Gremlin and another Weather Eye? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-40’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Thursday, partly sunny with a slight chance of afternoon or evening rain. Highs near 50 with lows in the low 30’s. Partly sunny Friday with a slight chance of rain and sleet. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows in the low 30’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain and sleet changing over to snow. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Monday, mostly cloudy with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Partly cloudy skies for Tuesday with highs in the lower 30’s and lows in the low 20’s. The normal high for December 15th is 26 and the normal low is 9. The good news: On the 14th, the sun sets at 4:36 p.m. and on the 15th it sets at 4:37 p.m. The bad news: It continues to rise a tad later, making our day lengths shorter until Christmas Day. The scurs’ take: Not to worry. Lots of time until Christmas.
The warm stretch of temperatures had some back in their normal routine for November once again. There was rumor of anhydrous ammonia still being applied last week as well as some primary tillage. Has this ever happened before? Absolutely. Can recall in 2001 seeing dust flying when anhydrous was applied on December 12th. Snow has left most of the landscape with only vestigial reminders in the form of snow piles from driveways being cleaned as well as on the north sides of groves. Since there wasn’t much snow there wasn’t much water to run off. A few puddles can be seen on the headlands serving as a reminder of how wet it had become before it cooled down. Fields have become greasy on top and saturated underneath as some of the ruts and tracks might attest.
Lakes had begun to freeze up weekend before last and St. Olaf had only one spot of open water where the waterfowl were desperately working on keeping open until the warm weather showed up. Now it’s tempting some of us to do some things we don’t often do in December, like go fishing in a boat. I’ve thought about getting the lawnmower out to touch up a few spots I missed, maybe even take the ewes back to the kindly neighbors’ pasture. Or even better yet, get the Stude out for an unexpected encore performance. There are some issues with that idea however.
I was appalled to see the amount of salt dumped on the roads during the last snowfall. Some areas and road crews are worse than others. Our very own crew in the People’s Republic of Steele Co. took the booby prize. It used to be back in the mid -1980s that Steele Co. was Johnny on the spot when it came to snow removal. Working in Bugtussle I was able to compare and contrast the workmanship in both Waseca and Steele Co. daily. Steele had their roads plowed early so they had a chance to melt off without using a lot of salt while Waseca allowed traffic to pack the snow down so it became icy, necessitating the use of more salt. In the 1990s that flip-flopped. Now we’re lucky on days when it snows to see a plow down in our end of the county much before the crack of 9 a.m. And when we do see one it’s usually puking out enough salt to choke several herds of horses. Then a few days later, it warms up enough so the snow would melt off anyway. Remember global warming boys and girls?
A few years ago North Dakota finally fell victim to the salt bug. Having lived there back in the early 1980s when there was no road salt used, I have to say that I never experienced any problems. If the roads were slick I planned ahead, slowed down and made extra time to get from point A to point B. They generally did a good job of sanding without salt so one learned quickly how to deal with it. It was four or five miles to the nearest paved road from where I lived so there was no sand used on those roads at all. If the roads were impassable I stayed put. I guess though in this day and age of instant gratification and entitlement, that doesn’t cut it. Reading a recent release from the Minnesota State Patrol, the overall number one factor in fatal crashes is excessive speed. Regardless of road conditions, for everyone’s sake, let’s slow down this holiday season. Life’s too short to have it end in a crash due to the need for speed.
On Friday was pleased to sell one of the ram lambs we had kept back for a gentleman from the Mapleton area. He came over in the afternoon and after chit-chatting a bit I climbed into the ram pen to grab one of its inhabitants. Obviously I zigged when I should’ve zagged and the one I wanted caught me right above the kneecap with his melon. After grimacing, saying a couple “gosh darn’s, “by golly’s” and “gee whizz’s” I decided the less shifty ram was a better alternative and was therefore going in the trailer. He was a piece of cake comparatively. Probably giving him too much credit, but the last time he was loaded in a trailer by himself he found himself breeding a bunch of ewes. Luckily between the two rams it was about a horse apiece. Both were good stock and the new owner seemed pleased to have him, waving happily as he pulled out of the yard. After being mortally wounded, I was just happy to make it back to the house. Over the course of the week, being careful not to bump the knee has been a challenge. Even with a little hitch in my giddy up, gotta play with pain. Mrs. Cheviot tripped over the cat and banged her knee just the day before. Life as gimps ain’t easy, but at least we can compare bruises.
See you next week…real good then.