The scurs are starting to wonder if the Weather Eye is hooked to the brakes somehow, based on the spring weather. It definitely has been stubborn since about mid-March. Will it put its foot on the gas finally or do the brake adjustment wheels need a shot of PB Blaster? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a good chance of rain turning to a rain/snow mix by evening. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows in the upper 30’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a modest chance of rain/snow mix in the forenoon. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows in the low 30’s. Mostly sunny Friday with highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Mostly sunny Sunday with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the upper 50’s and lows in the low 30’s. Monday, cloudy and slightly cooler with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Continued cloudy skies for Tuesday with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the upper 30’s. The normal high for April 8th is 53 and the normal low is 32. We are back to over 13 hours of daylight on April 6th about the same as we were on September 4th. The scurs could use a Labor Day break after slaving over this forecast.
More rainfall this past week sent us well into the “slightly above normal” category for March. At the ranch we garnered 2.86” of total liquid precip, with 12.6” of snow for the month. April started out in similar fashion with .4” recorded from last Thursday’s rain. Saturday was cool and blustery while Sunday got us to 73 degrees under breezy conditions at the ranch. Although this dried the surface out nicely, underneath the soil remains pretty sticky in many places. Cooler temperatures and a wintry mix for the week don’t bode well for large amounts of fieldwork being accomplished anytime soon. While our possible early spring has disintegrated to some extent, it also remains entirely possible that it could turn and suddenly when it does. Stay tuned.
Sunday’s wind did allow for some gardening on the south-facing slope. Got a few radishes put in the ground as a germination check if nothing else. Radishes are among our favorite early vegetables. With several packages of seed that were a year or two old, it made for a nice experiment. If they don’t come up, they can easily be tossed and replaced with newer seed that will. The soil was in nice shape so just taking the garden rake over the surface, scattering the seed in the worked bed was enough once tamped in firmly.
Another set of triplets from a black ewe made us wonder if we should be buying lottery tickets. Oddly enough, it was the same assortment we got out of a different black ewe a couple weeks ago: a black buck lamb and two white ewe lambs. The odds of this happening are somewhat unusual, especially in the same season. They are doing well and the weather has been somewhat cooperative lately. Cool, but generally dry. At least it’s not below zero so the ewe has been able to keep up with their demands. We’re down to one ewe left to lamb that’s close enough so we can tell anyway. It’s been a long haul since February 22nd and it’s time to put a fork in it.
Saturday allowed me to start the Silver Hawk and proceed to get it out to limber it up. Cranking it over didn’t seem to be producing the desired results, so a little splash of gas down the two-barrel carb was in order. After the initial fireball, it started right up. Always a good idea to have an operational fire extinguisher nearby, which I did. A quick drive up to the “T” and back confirmed that all was as I left it last November. Sunday made for a better opportunity to take a short spin after the Lions pancake feed so stopped by Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer’s house. Didn’t want him worrying that I hadn’t made it out yet. After that I made my way to the local sheep shearer to chit chat and watch his lambs. Can never get enough lamb watching, I always say. Once home, it was time to wipe the bugs off the white bird and put it back in its cage. Driving the Stude is a little like the bathtub when I was a kid: Once I get in I don’t want to get out. At least I don’t look like a prune, yet.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention something about the loss of a great man in our community, Darrol Sponberg. The personal kindnesses that he bestowed upon us at the ranch will never be forgotten. When a storm ripped our place apart, he came over with his backhoe and cleaned a lot of the mess up and charged us next to nothing. In the ‘90s, we were frequently showing sheep into November for the NAILE in Louisville. Winter seemed to set in early in those years. He allowed us to bring our pickup and trailer into his large shop with floor heat to wash and dry the animals rather than trying to do it in the cold. We thought we’d died and gone to heaven. In those years we had a great deal of success and Darrol was a large part of it. And he was always genuinely interested in how we did. It was as though our success was a reflection on him. We were proud and so was he.
Last summer, when the car club visited the care center, it was so good of Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer to wheel Darrol out to see the cars. He really appreciated it, although I’m sure he would’ve rather been behind the wheel of one. When we held the most recent Lions pancake feed it seemed odd not to see Darrol there taking tickets. I still recall one time when they were short of help and, despite his bad knees, Darrol jumped in to flip French toast when someone didn’t show up. I know it stiffens my knees up and I can’t imagine how he must’ve hurt after that. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to who he was. Always willing to help out, not afraid of hard work and getting his hands dirty. We could use a lot more Darrols right about now, the way I see it.
See you next week…real good then.