Rough week for the scurs as the Weather Eye cranked out several rainy days, including a Saturday rainout for those planning on getting something done. Is spring back on track or are we going backwards again? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 60’s and lows in the low 40’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the low 50’s. Sunny Friday with a slight chance of an evening shower. Highs in the low 80’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Saturday, partly cloudy with modest chances for showers. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the upper 40’s. Partly sunny Sunday with a modest chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the upper 40’s. Monday, partly sunny with a modest chance of showers. Highs in the mid 60’s with lows in the low 50’s. Mostly cloudy skies for Tuesday with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the low 50’s. The sun will rise at 6 a.m. on the 5th. The normal high for May 8th is 67 and the normal low is 45. Mother’s Day has the scurs wondering when the fishing opener is.
Fieldwork came to a general standstill last week as showers invaded once again on April 28th and 29th, coming back for an encore performance as mentioned over the weekend. The weekend showers turned out more generous than forecast so plans of getting back in the fields for most the early part of the week vanished. Corn has begun to emerge even though the temperatures haven’t been real conducive to growing corn. The general yellow color of the emerging seedlings is an indication. Some early planted soybeans were also moving along nicely in spite of the same cool, cloudy conditions that have plagued the corn. Small grains too have been slow and would benefit like everything else from some sunshine and warm temperatures.
At the ranch, the radish germination project has shown that two year old seed can indeed still be viable. Last week saw the first rhubarb pie of the season and it was delicious. Rhubarb sauce was also manufactured for dessert as part of Sunday night’s meal. Poured over ice cream, it was fantastic. The red color is so vibrant this year for some reason too so the sauce is actually very appealing to look at. Only problem is it makes you want to eat more of it!
Still awaiting the arrival of the first orioles of the season. Not quite enough foliage to hide their bright orange plumage in perhaps. As the week wears on that should change dramatically. The jelly appears to have been untouched so far. Strange because the orioles are usually not the only one’s helping themselves. Everything from grackles to grosbeaks to red-bellied woodpeckers typically want in on the action. The number of goldfinches continues to swell also. There are more of them this year than we have seen in a long time. There is one token junco yet. It normally tends to hang with the white-throated and Harris’s sparrows. The number of these two sparrow species is also larger than we have ever seen and they’ve been here a while. The white-throated sparrows are in particular fun to listen to.
The time to start weaning ewes and lambs has drawn nigh. Some of the lambs are getting too big to pass through the creep feeder panel easily and the ewes have plenty of pasture to support them now. And both the ewes and lambs are starting to get annoying. The ewes are fat yet beller incessantly anytime it looks like someone might get close enough to the barn to feed them. The lambs in addition to getting stuck in the creep panel like to use the round bale as a piece of playground equipment. Their climbing on it and getting inside the feeder tends to tromp down and waste more hay than I’d like. Wasted hay makes expensive bedding.
More lawn mowing was in order Sunday after a confirmation service was attended. With Fudgie leading the mower and Ruby following, there’s no telling how many miles those two put on in a year. Fudgie continues to amaze. She decided it was a good idea to walk right in the water the full length of the ditch. Border Collies are not normally known as water dogs so I was a little surprised. On the other hand, Fudgie came in the house with nice clean white socks for a change. Ruby’s white socks were green as grass. Odd? Not so much.
Last week one morning I revisited my childhood as I walked across the pasture to get to the black cutworm trap. A pocket gopher had been working there since last fall and while it hadn’t quite made it to the garden, it was getting too close for comfort. I happened to notice the gopher had a fresh mound and the gopher actually stuck its head out of the hole, indicating the hole was open. Dad had always told me that when the hole was open, it increased the odds of catching the rascals. I quickly went to the barn, grabbed a gopher trap, set it, and stuck it down the hole.
I came back around noon just as it was starting to rain. Dad had also said when weather was moving in gophers became particularly active about closing the hole. He was right again as the gopher was in the trap. I took it back to the barn and gave it to the cat as she had three hungry kittens to feed. Made me reflect on a cat we had named Spotty when I was in gopher-trapping mode growing up. He waited patiently for me to return from the hayfields each morning in the spring as he knew I’d be bringing him a pocket gopher for breakfast. By the time the trapping season was over the cat would be huge.
The township at that time was paying a whopping 35 cents for each pair of feet. It did allow me to purchase my first wristwatch though, a big deal before the days of cell phones and other sources of instant gratification. Poor Mom in the meantime had to put up with jars of gopher feet that accumulated in the freezer. She was a good sport about it though and as long as they stayed in the freezer of the old Kelvinator refrigerator, she at least pretended not to mind. That was Mom though. As many have said, she had to be a saint for putting up with all the stunts we used to pull. And with Mother’s Day coming up, it will serve as a day to reflect fondly, a reminder of how much we miss her.
See you next week…real good then.