The scurs got their Christmas shopping done, saw the sun and got a white Christmas all in the same week. This led them to believe the Weather Eye is a relevant forecasting aid. Will we see a warm start to the New Year or will we revert to the real January? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow. Highs in the low 20’s with lows in the lower double digits above zero. New Year’s Eve Day, mostly cloudy and colder with highs in the mid-teens and lows in the mid-single digits above zero. Mostly sunny and slightly warmer New Year’s Day with highs in the upper teens and lows in the mid-single digits. Saturday, mostly sunny and warmer with highs in the mid-20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Partly cloudy on Sunday with highs in the mid-20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Monday, partly cloudy with highs in the mid-20’s and lows near 10. Partly cloudy skies for Tuesday with highs in the mid-20’s and lows in the low teens. The normal high for January 1st is 23 and the normal low is 5. The scurs are certain their resolution to start their resolutions when they’re darn good and ready should be attainable.
More snow fell this past week although more of the precip was actually rain than snow. This has been an unusual December from that respect and at the ranch has been above normal as compared to the precip norms at the SROC in Waseca. Precip for December there is normally 1.48” and so far we have recorded 2.4” with some snowfall likely not added until after this writing meets the early deadline. Soils have largely frozen once again since then however so unless we see a thaw in the near future, not much of what falls this week will wind up in the soil, at least not for a while.
The snow was welcome by those who like having the landscape look like winter for Christmas. It is interesting however in places that have never seen snow how they relate to our notion that a winter wonderland is part of what makes it Christmas. On Christmas Eve Day I made a run to get some groceries. When I got back to the truck with my purchases, thanks to the snow, the door on the truck was iced up. Struggling to get it open I dropped the milk jug which split wide open, splashing the contents all over the nerf bar and my shoes. Seem to be attracting a lot interest from area cats wherever I go lately. Can’t cry over spilt milk as they say. It was just nice not to have to move the snow out of the way. Cleaning snow out of driveways and feedlots is highly overrated.
The recent snow has increased the activity of the creatures frequenting the yard, particularly the birds. A large rooster pheasant likely of the Little Jerry lineage was a frequent visitor over the weekend. Juncos are back as are a couple goldfinches. The woodpecker group consisting of downies, hairies and red-bellied has been keeping the suet feeders busy. Chickadees and nuthatches are regulars at the sunflower feeders. The leghorn-sized blue jays have returned too. Not sure where they hail from but they are huge, almost closing the ports on the squirrel-proof birdfeeder. And speaking of the squirrels, the fox squirrels have eaten so much ear corn that they are nearly round.
There have been a few days when sunflower seed consumption has been noticeably lower, making me curious as to why. Two consecutive days while we were at home, I spied first a Cooper’s hawk and the next day a smaller model, likely a sharp-shinned hawk. It was fascinating to watch them harass the sparrows as they attempted to conceal themselves deeper in the brushy cover. Was hoping they’d get one of them to fly out of there as hawks are like lightning.
With the weather terrorists telling us that the landscape will be once again plunged into another winter snowfall apocalypse, it was time to batten down the hatches just in case. Moving everything around so that snow removal is a possibility is a place to start. Since the winter thus far has been less than snowy, putting the chains on the tractor needed to happen. It’s a pain in the butt but if you plan on moving snow with a loader on ice, it’s almost a necessity. In the meantime, Fudgie and Ruby helped as I backed the empty gravity box into the feedlot. The ewes looked momentarily at the gate, then decided that discretion was the better part of valor. With one Border Collie inside the opening and the other looking menacing on the other side of the fence, it was simply not worth it.
Seed catalogs continue to arrive in the mail almost weekly. Not sure just what to order yet but there are several items that are automatics. We are sweet squash lovers and the Mooregold and buttercup varieties are our favorites. A wide variety of gourds for decorating are always included. Each year it seems there are new types that have a unique shape and color that are fun to try. Best of all, gourds are pretty tough, prolific and easy to grow. Indian corn too is another “must have”. Simple to grow and if the striped gophers can be held at bay, the colorful results are still like opening a Christmas present.
Mrs. Cheviot unfortunately wound up with a bout of stomach flu for Christmas. Of course she had the doggies to help pick up the slack so all was not lost. Most of the time she was miserable but there was little to do other than keep her comfortable. By Sunday she was back online again. Must be due to the wonderful care she received. Ruby and Fudgie should’ve taken up nursing.
See you next week…real good then.