The scurs and the Weather Eye received hate mail after Friday night’s snowfall event. Will they get more hate mail after Wednesday or will it be June all of a sudden? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a good chance of rain changing to snow in the forenoon. Highs in the mid-30’s with lows in the low 20’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of a rain-snow mix. Highs in the low 30’s with lows in the low 20’s. Cloudy Friday with a modest chance of a rain-snow mix by evening. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the low 30’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a modest chance of rain and snow showers. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the mid-20’s. Mostly sunny Sunday with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Monday, sunny and warmer with highs in the mid-40’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Continued sunny skies for Tuesday with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the mid-30’s. The normal high for March 27th is 46 and the normal low is 27. The sun will rise once again at 7 a.m. on the 29th, the same as it did back on February 24th. What the…? The scurs are thinking that the only good thing about it is that it’s “free.”
The Full Moon for the month of March will occur on the 23rd and is known by several names. The Full Worm Moon is common as it’s in this moon that earthworms make their way to the surface and begin leaving their casts as well as providing food for hungry robins and other birds. It also goes by the Full Sap Moon for the sap running in the maple trees boiled down to make maple syrup. The Ojibwe called this the Snow Crust Moon and the Sioux, the Moon When Buffalo Cows Drop Their Calves. At the ranch, it is The Moon of Wet Stinky Border Collies.
Not much progress towards planting season was made this past week. The Friday snowfall varied across the area with up to 7” reported by Betsy’s dad northwest of Bugtussle, 5” reported in Bugtussle proper and about 3” at the ranch. It melted down to about .27” of liquid equivalent precipitation at the ranch. It was apparent too that the snowfall amount was greater in Bugtussle than at the ranch as the snow on the north sides of buildings and trees took longer to melt off as Monday wore on. Fields also remained shiny so any notion of fieldwork was quickly put to rest. The ground Monday morning was frozen solid however allowing one last chance for manure hauling if need be. I did notice some corn being planted the other day, however. A squirrel was busily planting kernel after kernel in the yard. Apparently he was unaware that crop insurance coverage doesn’t kick in until April 11th.
Around the ranch the flora and fauna are starting to come to life. Pocket gophers are building mounds in the pasture. The buds on the lilac are swollen as are those on the maple trees. The rhubarb continues to ever so slowly break dormancy while the chipmunks and striped gophers pick up the seed spilled nearby from the barrage of house sparrows. A brown creeper was checking the ash trees for insects on Wednesday. A cardinal graced us with his song on occasion over the weekend at the ranch although I think he lives at neighbor David’s as the song emanates from there most frequently. Rooster pheasants can be heard crowing across the landscape with numerous hens residing in the CRP here. A Harris’s sparrow was seen on Saturday, earlier than what I’ve come to expect, making me wonder if the weather will suddenly break, bringing the orioles and hummingbirds with it. One can always hope.
Got the last apple tree pruned on Sunday. The Fireside tree has about 25 years under its belt, so it’s a fully mature tree. It also avoided being pruned for a few years a while back, so it takes some time even though I’ve been religious about it for roughly 15 years. This was a major pruning, although if something happens to the tree, it can be replaced. A lot of wood came off of it so that should keep my supply for grilling stocked for quite some time. It should also help protect my melon from being bruised during mowing and allow the headphones to remain on my head. Both the Haralson and the Fireside are pruned to the point that not much reaching is required to pick most of the apples. That’s the way it should be. When in doubt, take it out.
We’re over three-fourths done with the lambing. We’ve been at it a month now and it has gone by fairly quickly. We lambed during some of the warmest conditions I can recall for February and March to the point that some of the lambs were dropped outside rather than in the barn. Doesn’t help matters that the ewes are convinced there’s enough grass to make it worth grazing the pasture already. We had a set of triplets born out of a black or natural colored ewe born in the feedlot. Luckily it was about 50 degrees with no rain. There were two white lambs and one black lamb. The black gene is a recessive that shows up here when the ewe and the ram each carry at least one of the recessive alleles. If one or the other carry both as in the case of the black ewes, it increases the odds. White wool of course was selected for as it would take dyes better resulting in more vivid colors. The black lamb was a buck of course but our plan is to hang onto him and use him on a select group of ewes to see if we replenish our black ewes supply. They’re always a conversation piece and more than once we’re told by passersby that they look for the black ewes interspersed on the hillside. Oddly enough when asked how many they would like, we get no takers.
Auntie Mar Mar came to visit on Sunday and brought with her a batch of bars made from a new recipe. She had us guessing what kind of berries the bars were made of, though, after previously making blueberry and raisin bars. Turned out these were made from aronia berries that she’d gotten from someone at work. Just so happens we have a whole row of them about 100’ long. Since there’s nothing else to eat back there when I mow the windbreak, I snack on the berries. They pucker you up, but they’re supposed to be good for you, containing lots of antioxidants. When a little sugar is added and they’re substituted into a bar recipe, they become a culinary delight. Can’t wait to see what happens when Mar Mar decides to work her magic on an aronia pie recipe. Even more of a good thing made even better with a little ice cream.
See you next week…real good then.