The scurs tweaking on the Weather Eye made everyone happy. Temps over the weekend and early week were well above normal as advertised. Will our trek towards an early spring continue or is trouble looming on the horizon? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Thursday, partly sunny with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Mostly sunny Friday with a slight chance of evening showers. Highs in the low 50’s with lows in the low 40’s. Saturday, partly sunny and warmer with a modest chance of showers. Highs in the mid-50’s with lows in the low 40’s. Mostly cloudy Sunday with a slight chance of showers. Highs in the low 50’s and lows in the low 40’s. Monday, mostly sunny and warmer with a slight chance of a morning shower. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Partly sunny skies for Tuesday with highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the mid-40’s. The normal high for March 13th is 38 and the normal low is 21. The scurs are thinking the ice fishing season is about shot. You’ll just have to settle for store-bought ice from now on.
Time for the dreaded time change once again over the weekend. Many crabby, tired people cheated out of another hour of sleep. Oh but it’s so nice to have that extra hour at night, some say. It is? All that tends to happen is we stay outside and work for an extra hour after getting up and bumbling around an hour earlier in the dark for a few weeks. I have an idea: Since some of these presidential candidates are such a bunch of brain surgeons (actually the brain surgeon dropped out), why don’t they come out against this foolishness and see how many votes it would get them? At least promise to leave it one way or the other. They’d have my vote.
Another weekend of phenomenal weather for early March. It was nice last week that it at least stayed frozen in the mornings and into the afternoon in some cases, allowing for some manure hauling to take place. The weekend warmth along with the breezes changed the landscape quickly. Snow is a rare sight, having retreated to some fencelines, tall grass areas, windbreaks and north sides of buildings. At the ranch there are vestigial snow piles that are disappearing rapidly. Not a lot of sod or gravel in them either which is a good thing. However it appears I did do a pretty good job of thatching the yard while I was at it. I’m sure it needed it.
One possible concern in the fields for those with cattle or sheep though is the breaking of dormancy by the alfalfa. If daytime temperatures continue on their present trajectory, odds are it will happen soon. Not a bad thing necessarily although if temperatures are to suddenly nosedive, it could put the crop in jeopardy. Yes, if it kills out alternatives can be seeded. However, talking to most farmers over the years when this has happened, almost to a man they’d much rather have the alfalfa than some alternate source of forage. It’s an extra hassle and expense most would just as soon not incur.
The skies have definitely been full of signs of spring. Over the weekend, I saw killdeers could hear some sandhill cranes to the south of us. An eagle has been making the rounds lately too, feeding on some roadkill deer on Steele Co. 21. Sunday I saw my first ducks of the spring flying in formation heading northwest. When I came outside for nighttime lamb check about 10 p.m. I could hear the whirring sound of their wings along with their quacking as they passed overhead. The local ponds weren’t open yet so it was hard to say exactly where they might be going. March 6th is awfully early for migrating ducks in SC MN. Usually we’re just talking about seeing robins. Incidentally, they officially have one snow on their tails to their credit.
In the lambing barn it looks like we’re about halfway there. We’ve processed one group and moved them in order to make room for the next wave. With the warm relatively dry weather, it has been easier going than some years. Probably the worst thing about it being warm is the ewes feel no obligation to go inside to lamb. It’s too warm inside and they can sneak off to lamb out in the pasture. It’s OK as long as there aren’t complications but when one has to coax the ewe up out of the pasture and into a pen, it gets old if it happens with any frequency. We’re not getting any younger.
We did have one ewe that complicated matters with a set of triplet buck lambs. She was an older model and wasn’t in good enough condition to handle all three. They were extremely aggressive and the ewe went down, almost smothering one of the lambs. Not wanting the headaches that go along with feeding three buck lambs, we called Auntie Mar Mar to see if her Mom, Agnes, might be interested in taking one or more of them. It sounded like she was up to the task and at last check was thrilled to have them. We were just tickled she’d take them.
Extra work is not something either of us need right now. Keeping the lambs already on the ground alive not to mention what’s still yet to come takes enough time as it is. Feeding 3 bottle lambs 4 – 5 times a day, multiplied by 15 – 20 minutes by the time you mix up the milk replacer, warm it up, walk out there, feed them, walk back in, clean the bottles out and put them in the rack to dry amounts to over an hour a day. They don’t give lamb milk replacer away either. It’s about double the cost of calf milk replacer. While we donated the first batch of milk replacer, we really appreciated Agnes’s kindness. It’s always comforting to know that the lambs went to a better home than we’d be able to provide them.
See you next week…real good then.