The scurs are glad to announce that global warming has returned. After copious amounts of PB Blaster, the control cables on the Weather Eye are back to predicting weather with the best of them. Will it be enough to make it to spring or will we get stuck with more winter? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with highs in the mid-20’s and lows in the upper teens. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of evening rain. Highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Partly sunny Friday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the low 40’s and lows near 30. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Partly sunny and slightly cooler on Sunday with a slight chance of rain and snow. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the low 20’s. Monday, mostly sunny and cooler. Highs in the upper 20’s with lows in the upper teens. Mostly cloudy skies for Tuesday with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the low teens. The normal high for Washington’s real birthday is 30 and the normal low is 12. This brings back temperature-wise to roughly the end of the first week in December. The scurs cannot tell a lie: They will be celebrating with cherry pie and ice cream of course.
The Full Moon for the month will occur on the 22nd, which coincides with Washington’s birthday. It goes by The Full Snow Moon as the snows were deep when the tribes of the Northeast got to February. For our area however, February ranks 4th in total average snowfall. The Ojibwe called this The Sucker Moon for the suckers began running in rivers and streams. The Sioux called it The Raccoon Moon as the raccoons would tend to awaken at this time of year and start to move around as the temperatures began to warm. At the ranch it is of course The Full Lambing Moon as soon the ewes unload their cargo. And not a moment too soon as far as some of them are concerned.
Last week was a cold one and thankfully not one where we were lambing. Temperatures were even below normal for early January. While temperatures were cold, they didn’t reach the predicted overnight lows Friday night. Nor was there much snow. For the month thus far we have tallied about 9” of snow with 6” – 7” of that coming early in the month. Frost depth continued to head downwards however from 12” at the SROC on the 8th, back to 13” on the 15th. As an anecdotal reference, the walk-in door on the barn at the ranch is beginning to get sticky, something it does as the frost gets deeper. It tends to heave the frame up on the bottom as a result. Typically it gets to the point where the only thing that will keep it shut on a windy day is a good old-fashioned bungee strap.
Tuesday afternoon will be shearing time at the ranch with the ewes having won a reprieve after the temperatures were so cold over the weekend. There should be only 40 or so to do, so it should go relatively quickly. Probably the biggest hang-up has been trying to keep the ewes out of the snow prior to shearing. The little nuisance snowfall events have provided just enough snow to make the wool wet if we don’t shut them in ahead of time. The shearer doesn’t like it, the catcher doesn’t like it, the bagger doesn’t like it and the mills don’t like getting moldy wool. Can’t blame any of them. It’s not good to keep bred ewes cooped up though for long periods of time so getting the shearing done will make all parties concerned breathe a collective sigh of relief. Fun to observe; not so fun to be a participant.
Luckily, the Gopher women’s basketball team has provided something to look forward to all winter long. Having been fortunate enough to attend several games and watch most of the rest on TV has made the winter seem to fly by. I do have to laugh at some of the BTN commentary however. They have generally given the Gophers very little credit all season long aside from Rachel Banham’s scoring prowess and occasionally the one-two punch of Rachel Banham and Carlie Wagner. Last Sunday while watching the Nebraska-Michigan St. game they tried to make it sound as if the Gophers’ 110-73 mauling of Nebraska back on the 11th was some kind of a fluke. Even Monday night they seemed preoccupied with putting Iowa into the NCAA tournament for much of the game. Funny how it suddenly stopped when Banham put a dagger in their heart with a last-second 3 ball to win the game. As one fan said: “There! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!” The only thing worse has been BTN’s network hockey coverage. It’s as bland and stale as a piece of white bread left out on the counter for three weeks. Watching the Ohio State band perform during the intermission between periods? Give me a break. Makes me long for the good ol’ days of the WCHA.
Ruby is working on surviving another Westminster Dog Show. One more night and she should be in the clear. This is the only dog we’ve ever had that pays much attention to the TV. Even as a kid I don’t recall the dogs barking or growling at anything on the tube. I’m sure the advent of the HD signal probably has something to do with it. The agility trial on Saturday night served as a warmup for her. All the action and movement probably catches her attention more than just the handlers taking the dog around the show ring in a circle. The dogs Ruby gets most vocal about? No real clear pattern, although her favorite is usually the Border Collie.
See you next week…real good then.