The scurs were pleased to see the Weather Eye at peak performance once again. Are we home free and looking at spring or will we get a taste of February reality? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow. Highs in the upper teens and lows in the mid-single digits above zero. Thursday, partly sunny with highs in the low 20’s and lows in the low double digits. Mostly cloudy Friday with highs in the upper 20’s and lows in the upper teens. Saturday, partly sunny with highs in the upper 20’s and lows in the upper teens. Partly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of evening snow. Highs in the low 30’s with lows in the upper teens. Monday, mostly cloudy and slightly cooler with a slight chance of snow. Highs in the low 20’s with lows in the mid-single digits. Mostly cloudy skies and much cooler for Tuesday with highs in the mid-teens and lows near zero. The normal high for February 9th is 26 and the normal low is 7. On the 5th we go over 10 hours of daylight again, something we haven’t had since November 5th. In spite of Tuesday’s inclement weather, the scurs are sensing that tanning on the lawn furniture is just around the corner.
January turned out to be less of an ogre than it sometimes is. Sure we had our below-zero temps, but in general it wasn’t bad. Snowfall too at the ranch was well below what we typically see for the month, tallying a paltry 4.3”, a little less than half of what is normal at the SROC in Waseca. The snow tended to be very dry as well, with the liquid equivalent measurement being about a third of that at the SROC. The interesting thing was that Old Man Winter seemed to get a lot of mileage out of the January snow we did have. Road ditches were nearly filled and it seemed every time you turned around, there was a nuisance drift in the way or snow to shovel out of the way. There was a lot of cloudy weather which probably helped keep our temperatures on the warmer side. The NOAA February outlook calls for better than even odds of above normal temperatures while we they call for even odds of above or below-normal precipitation. This would make everyone happy if it comes to fruition. Normal snowfall is about 9” and the liquid equivalent is about 1”. Unfortunately, we might get it all in one snowfall event.
Last weekend was about as nice as one can expect for this time of year. Temperatures on Saturday reached the mid-40’s at the ranch and on some bank thermometers, causing the snow to disappear in rapid fashion. Sunday brought a slightly cooler encore performance, but one that was still comfortable enough to grill on the patio. Even the ladybugs were waking up and annoying us in the house. With another bonus day on Monday though, one could almost expect the other shoe was about to drop. The humidity was high as evidenced by all the fog Monday morning and it has been a while since we’ve had a real storm. In other words, we’ve been long overdue for a real live blizzard. Some of the drama queens on the TV weather were already talking about 1-35 being closed as early as Sunday morning. When it happens, they look like geniuses. When it doesn’t, you never hear about it.
Fortunately, we are a few weeks away yet from lambing at the ranch. Still, it was a good idea to button things up so the animals could get in out of the weather if needed and stay dry while they were at it. The water tank was filled and the door was closed up again after letting the barn air out over the past week’s nice weather. Another round bale was procured from the Dubya’s ahead of the storm. The tractor and skidloader were pointed out the door, ready to counter-punch whatever happened to be thrown at us. Keeping the feedlot area cleaned out is a must. It’s great for gestating ewes to be able to get out and traipse around. Getting some exercise keeps their metabolism going and makes the lambing process go a lot smoother as a result.
Of course, being one who lives in the country yet has an office in town, I had to journey out just to see how bad it was. I can always make the excuse that I’m a weather spotter so as long as I’m not endangering my life or others, then it’s OK. When I left the ranch it was starting to snow. After about an hour of tepid conversation at the Mall for Men with the little fat buddies, I decided it may perhaps be time to think about moving towards home. Had to stop at the post office to wish them a Merry Christmas first then on to the grocery store to procure the raw material to make French toast.
The roads on the way home had deteriorated slightly in an hour to the point where there was generally 2” – 3” on the roadway. It was a little tough to see in places too, especially where there was a building site or sheltered area on the north side of an east-west road. Still, I was glad to pull into the driveway and glance over to see the snow-covered ewes still outside grinding away on their round bale. It really wasn’t that cold out and with their 4” wool blankets still intact, they probably had no clue it was even snowing. Nobody ever said they were smart. Unloaded everything from the truck and went in the house. Nice and warm, electricity still on with the dogs to entertain me inside and birds and squirrels to entertain me outside, until choretime anyway. Just relax and enjoy the ride.
See you next week…real good then.