Moving rapidly into the New Year, the scurs had the Weather Eye firing on all cylinders. Will our lull in the snow activity continue or will we see more white stuff this time around? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of snow and sleet. Highs in the low 30’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow rain in the daylight hours, then a good chance of snow by evening. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 30’s. Mostly cloudy Friday with a good chance of snow. Highs in the mid-30’s and and lows in the mid-20’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy and cooler with a slight chance of snow. Falling temperatures with highs in the low 20’s and lows near –5. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with a slight chance of snow. Highs near zero and lows in the mid-single digits below zero. Monday, mostly cloudy and colder with highs near 10 and lows near zero. Cloudy skies for Tuesday with highs in the mid-single digits above zero and lows near -5. The normal high for January 7th is 22 and the normal low is 4. The scurs have decided with the cooler forecast, hibernation suddenly looks very attractive.
Snowfall totals last week after press time varied somewhat, although amounts of snow in the 7” – 10” range were common. Melting the snow revealed .6” - .9” of liquid equivalent precipitation. It made for a mad scramble on Wednesday morning to get snow moved and transportation going again. Luckily, as has been the case with many snowfall events over the past several years, there wasn’t much in the way of a plunge in temperatures or wind following it. And not surprisingly, no one complained that there wasn’t. We wound up with 12.6” of snow for the month at the ranch, only .4” off of the normal at the SROC
About the only people complaining are those who want to do some ice fishing locally. Ice in the southern part of the state has been treacherous and the snowfall on top of it hasn’t helped matters. Some have been working along the lake edges with their portables, but there have been no reports of major activity. The predicted first below-zero temperatures of the season should help. In the meantime most have been convinced it’s not worth the risk. Colder temps, less snow, better ice and fishing to the north.
The wind with the snowfall itself was northeast, so it dumped snow in places for many who really didn’t like it. At the ranch it was no exception, although the feedlot escaped relatively unscathed. Getting the driveway cleaned out enough to navigate didn’t take as long as I’d feared, in large part thanks to the time spent putting the chains on and moving things out of the way prior to the snowstorm. Not my first rodeo.
There have actually been a few clear nights and mornings in which to enjoy some of the astronomical occurrences. The brightest feature in the morning sky has been the “Morning Star” or Venus. The moon has had a partner as well with Jupiter tagging along in close proximity last week. Probably the most unique event though was the appearance of the Northern Lights. There was a fair amount of solar activity that was causing the particles to react in the upper reaches of the earth’s atmosphere. Of course the one night I wanted to see them, they were nowhere to be seen.
As mentioned in a previous edition, we continue to have a cat that adopted us sometime in the latter part of the summer. It has grown on us so that we did actually name it, calling it “Tincture.” It has helped keep the sparrow population at bay in the barn and is friendly, although it has a nasty habit of getting underfoot from time to time. Another negative is the fact it’s a female. We’re likely to see a bunch of kittens in the spring. After all as Betsy’s dad has always maintained, cats are a renewable resource.
With the snowfall we continue to see an uptick in bird activity around the yard, including pheasants. Up the road they’ve been congregating at one of the neighbors including a large number of hens. At the ranch we were blessed with a small group of Hungarian or gray partridge. The plump little gamebirds scurried around and kept me amused with their antics. Best of all they were in close proximity to the pear trees. Coincidence? I think not.
Some of the fruit of the new seeding from the kindly neighbors was put into action over the weekend. The Big Dubya brought one of the round bales up the road from the stash at his place. It was a welcome respite for Mr. Cheviot as this meant a temporary end to hand feeding the ewes in the feedlot. They of course were happy to see the bale and wasted no time once they discovered it to tear into the contents. Sure they’ll waste some of it but it’s not 160 RFV hay. It should be ideal for their stage of gestation is right about now. Somehow they still beller when they see us but at least they’re doing it with their mouths full.
Bumped into an old friend at the store where you go to the bathroom in the big orange silo. We couldn’t believe how the last year flew by and how quickly we’re already starting to saw into this one. Doesn’t seem to want to slow down either. Quite the contrary. Still lots of Christmas gatherings to attend yet too. Best solution: Buy lots of goodies to spoil grandkids and have treats on hand in case someone comes over. All part of the process.
See you next week…real good then.