The scurs had the Weather Eye set on high last week and it showed. Spring had truly sprung. Can we expect to continue wearing shorts or will it be back to reality? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the low 50’s. Thursday, cloudy with a slight chance of showers. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the low 40’s. Mostly sunny Friday with highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Saturday, partly sunny with a modest chance for showers. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Partly sunny Sunday with a modest chance of evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 60’s with lows in the low 40’s. Monday, mostly cloudy and slightly cooler with a modest chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-50’s with lows in the low 40’s. Mostly cloudy skies for Tuesday with a continued modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the low 40’s. The normal high for April 21st is 60 and the normal low is 38. The scurs will try next to hook the headlights up to the Weather Eye in order to get more sun and less clouds. Being a mushroom is overrated.
We’ve come to yet another Full Moon on April 21st. It is commonly called the Full Pink Moon due to the wildflowers that bloom by that name. It also goes by The Full Sprouting Grass Moon and The Full Egg Moon. The Ojibwe called it the Broken Snowshoe Moon and the Sioux called it The Moon of Greening Grass. Indeed many, including those of us at the ranch, can agree with the Sioux as we call it The Moon of the 1st Lawn Mowing.
Tremendous progress was made in the fields last week as corn planters rolled under sunny skies and warm temperatures. Soil conditions were ideal for planting and despite the early calendar date most at least started and in some cases wrapped up their corn planting. There are some soybeans in the ground and although the replant portion of the crop insurance doesn’t kick in until April 21st, the crop is otherwise still covered. Corn has germinated planted Wednesday the 13th and has a radicle about ¾” long on it. Some concern has been expressed that it is too dry. Careful what you wish for.
We had much the same scenario in March with scant precipitation falling the first half of the month. Precipitation actually ended up being above normal for the month in the southern half of the county thanks to abundant rain and snowfall. It also cooled off and temperatures went back to normal to below normal for the last half of March. There is plenty of soil moisture below the top couple inches. The profile was full down to the 5’ level at the SROC in Waseca as of April 1st. Yes it has dried out on top but we needed it to. We also needed it to warm up. As recently as the 13th, the low air temperature recorded was in the upper teens and soil temperatures at 2” average 40 degrees. While some still remain obsessed with knowing the average soil temperature this time of year, it really isn’t that critical. The calendar and soil conditions tell you it’s time to put corn in the ground if you haven’t already.
The local fauna serves as a reminder that spring is on the move. New arrivals included the tree swallows last Friday and a brown thrasher. Chipping, Harris’s, white-throated and song sparrows all made appearances under the feeders along with a lone female purple finch. It shouldn’t be too long before the first orioles and hummingbirds arrive. The jelly feeder was dusted off and put in place in anticipation. The bluebird houses were readied quickly and a check on the wood duck houses revealed that they were already occupied. Luckily the houses had been looked over last fall and cleaned out pretty well. The wood ducks took it upon themselves to evict the deer mice that had squatted in the nesting boxes over winter so all was well. There were six eggs in one box and seven in another.
The chorus frogs with the recent warm nights have made themselves heard and loudly. Heading out to feed the bottle lambs into the open or grilling on the patio, the noise is almost deafening. Was wondering if the recent low temperatures in the teens had perhaps thinned their ranks. We were still breaking ice out of water buckets yet last week. If the racket emanating from the wetland was any indication would have to say the answer is “no”.
At the ranch it’s been time to do some odd jobs, although the garden hasn’t moved to the top of the list just yet. Cleaning up the plethora of small sticks in the backyard so they don’t make Swiss cheese out of the vinyl siding when the mower hits them was higher priority. We got all the lambs docked, vaccinated and tagged so they were moved to the main barn Saturday. Small pens slow everything down at chore time. They were happy to have more room and displayed their pleasure by running and hopping. That makes everyone happy. It was tempting to remove the tree wrap on all the trees although in the past, doing that on the small whips has yielded disappointing results. A small bunny just outside the front door served as a reminder as to why. Not superstitious but also haven’t taken the chains off the tractor yet. In the past, removing them much before about May 1st has meant a surprise snowstorm of a major magnitude. And some years, even that’s too soon.
See you next week…real good then.