The scurs had the Weather Eye checked out again at Ike’s to see if there was some way to get more heat out of it. Will it warm up or will we be stuck on winter for the rest of winter? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with highs in the upper teens with lows in the low teens. Thursday, mostly cloudy with highs in the upper 20’s and lows in the upper teens. Mostly cloudy Friday with a slight chance of snow. Highs in the low 20’s and lows in the upper teens. Saturday, mostly cloudy and colder with a slight chance of snow. Falling temperatures with highs in the upper single digits and lows in the upper single digits below zero. Partly sunny on Sunday with highs only a degree or two above zero and lows again in the upper single digits below zero. Monday, mostly sunny and slightly warmer with highs near 5 and lows a few degrees below zero. Partly sunny skies for Tuesday with highs in the mid-teens and lows in the mid-single digits above zero. The normal high for January 15th is 22 and the normal low is 4. On the 19th we will have gained about a half hour of daylight since the winter solstice. It’s still only 9 hours and 24 minutes of light however. Armed with that information and with no more festive holidays in sight, the scurs will continue their quest for long winters naps.
Small accumulations of snow were common this past week, although we tallied roughly 2.4” of snow at the ranch in about four different snowfall events. Luckily this hasn’t been the kind of snow that needs a lot of attention as the winds have largely left it where the good Lord put it. By press time that will likely have changed some and there will likely be some drifts exactly where we’d rather not have them. Oh well, luckily it was 2.4 inches and not 2.4 feet of snow. It’s still taking a little getting used to the cold, however. We’ve become wimpy with all the warm temps in December and now we’re having to readjust. Won’t be long though and 20 degrees will feel good.
As temperatures have cooled, the frost depth in the soil as measured at the SROC in Waseca has increased form 7” on January 4th to 9” measured on the 11th. It is likely a safe bet that most primary tillage operations for the upcoming cropping season have been performed, at least for a while. Tile lines continue to run reminding us that not only are soils not frozen at the tile depth but our soils are still relatively loaded with moisture across much of South Central Minnesota.
Bird feeding has become relatively routine with one minor twist: A female cardinal was seen by Mrs. Cheviot the evening of the 11th, so now begins the annual game of “Where’s Waldo” we play to spot the male. It’s been since last year about this time that we started noticing cardinals appearing. Safflower was recently added to the seed mix with the hope that they would appear again. Was wondering when we started seeing the mourning doves recently if the cardinals would show and sure enough one did.
The cold spell has meant adapting to conditions and in some cases taking advantage of it. For example, when it’s comes time to keep ice cream cold for a family gathering when the freezer is full, putting it in a cooler out on the patio outside works very well. Likewise one can hear the howl of aeration fans across the landscape as farmers try to cool any potential hotspots in their bins down and freeze the grain up for the winter. Sometimes I have to check to see that the one toilet flapper valve isn’t stuck as inside the house it makes a sound similar to that. Time to adjust the chain again.
Fudgie and Ruby have adapted about the same as we humans have at the ranch to the recent cold snap. In other words, they don’t enjoy staying out in it any longer than they have to. Not unusual to see cold paw lifted up in an attempt to let us know they’re not liking this any more than we are. Once back inside like us they’re happy to get to their food dish and stay warm on a pillow or the couch.
Ruby has developed a routine when it’s garbage pickup day at neighbor David’s. First off, the sight of the dumpster at the end of his driveway sets her off. It’s out of place and she sure everyone needs to know that. Then when the garbage truck arrives, it’s as though the world has come to an end just down the road. The barking, growling and whining makes me think she’s suddenly become a politician. The final straw though is when someone comes out to retrieve the dumpster. Cause for more carrying on then more growling at the squirrel eating corn which is usually followed by a nap in sun on the rug. For a Border Collie, Ruby really knows how to get the most out of her entertainment dollar.
See you next week… real good then.