The scurs have been checking the Weather Eye over to see what’s up with all the recent cloudy weather. Is there a “mushroom” setting they’re unaware of or will we see the sun before next week? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a good chance for rain changing to snow. Highs in the mid-30’s with lows in the mid-20’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with highs in the upper 20’s with lows in the mid-teens. Partly sunny Friday with highs in the low 20’s with lows in the low teens. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Partly sunny and warmer on Sunday with highs in the upper 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. Mostly cloudy skies for Tuesday with highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. A sneak peek at Christmas Day: A chance of snow under mostly cloudy skies with highs near 40 and lows in the upper single digits above zero. The winter solstice will occur on the 21st at 10:49 p.m. and we should see roughly 8 hours and 51 minutes and 9 seconds of daylight. The normal high for December 21st is 24 and the normal low is 7. More time for the scurs to sleep before facing those Christmas shopping crowds on the 24th.
Quite the spring weather we had in the last week. Most frost in the soil is gone and ice on area lakes has completely disappeared. Rainfall totaled 1.56” since the 10th at the ranch, bringing the total precip to 1.78” for the month. Fields that were still wet from the November precipitation have become saturated to the point where water is standing. Some tiling was being performed yet last week, although in places it was plenty muddy for that if the ruts and mud on the road were any indication. There has been some concern about loss of fall applied nitrogen, although most were careful to apply it when average soil temperatures were 50 degrees or cooler at the 6” depth. Soil temperatures have generally remained well below that so most of the N should be in the ammonium form. Along with the use of a nitrification inhibitor, it should help keep conversion to nitrate to a minimum. Once the ammonium has converted to nitrate, it is subject to both denitrification and leaching.
It has been a bizarre weather month to be sure. Lawns remain relatively green and the sheep at the ranch are still foraging around the pasture looking for those precious last few blades of grass. This of course after they’ve devoured a bale of hay. It would be great to finally get a chance to burn the huge brush pile in their pasture. As wet as everything is, it’s doubtful that it will burn very well anytime soon. That and here in the People’s Republic of Steele Co., I need to make a personal appearance to procure a burning permit so the STFP (Secret Trash Fire Police) drones can pinpoint my exact location.
This time of year gets so busy for everyone. Seems like we’ve been on a whirlwind tour for much of the month and we don’t have any kids. We spent part of the weekend before last at the MLWP get together in Chaska, then served at a Lions Club pancake feed in Bugtussle that Sunday. From Tuesday through Thursday was at CPM Shortcourse in Megalopolis, then on to choir practice upon my return. Had a good time attending a Christmas party Friday night near St. Peter. Then on Saturday, back to Megalopolis to attend the Gopher women’s basketball game courtesy of Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer and his bride. Sunday we attended an organ recital in a small town just across the freeway from Little Jerusalem. Somehow we manage to squeeze some time in to get chores done and go to work in between. Being a social butterfly is exhausting. Just might require a long winter’s nap.
We also managed a trip to get our live Christmas tree, although as one sage pointed out, once you cut it down it’s not alive anymore. Very true and one realizes that when it comes time to put it outside. After sweeping up the needles and other assorted stuff that falls out of them, sometimes one wonders if it’s really all worth it. However after having a real tree most of my life, nothing matches the smell of the real thing. Even after it goes out the door, it serves as a place to hide for some of the birds frequenting the feeders. And every spring when it turns brown, I entertain myself by torching it; on the sly of course in order to evade detection by the aforementioned drones.
Fudgie and Ruby seem excited as Mrs. Cheviot transforms the house from Thanksgiving mode to Christmas mode. They know the routine by now and rather enjoy it. It means extra treats and attention as we move closer to Christmas. There will be some leftovers that come their way as well since there will be plenty of feasting throughout the holidays. Both dogs are closer to finishing up their fall shed only to be replaced by the winter shed. Actually they don’t shed much this time of year and their coats usually glow from all the goodies they’ve been consuming. When company arrives Ruby especially enjoys all the extra attention and while Fudgie doesn’t qualify as Miss Congeniality, once she stops woofing, she picks and chooses. Her coat is as nice as I’ve ever seen it and I’m envious, especially when the rain dripping off the eaves finds the thin spot on top of my melon.
See you next week…real good then.