The scurs were back on some Christmas card lists once again as last week’s weather finally lived up to the Weather Eye’s forecasting capabilities. Will they pull it off again or will we need to throw another log on the fire? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Thursday, partly sunny with a tiny chance of morning showers. Highs in the low 60’s with lows in the low 40’s. Partly sunny Friday with a slight chance of a daytime shower. Highs in the mid-50’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the low 40’s. Partly sunny Sunday with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 50’s with lows in the low 40’s. Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of showers. Highs in the low 60’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Mostly sunny skies for Tuesday with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. The sun will set at 8:30 p.m. on the 12th. The normal high for May 12th is 68 and the normal low is 47. The scurs have their night crawlers collected for the fishing opener. Robins can’t eat all of them. What a great week for farmers to finish much of their soybean planting. After a slow start to the week, the sun shone and fieldwork commenced once again on Wednesday in many areas. With the weather holding through the weekend, many area farmers were able to capitalize on it. Once planters left the field, frequently one could see sprayers were right on their heels applying pre-emerge herbicides. Top that off with rainfall Monday morning and one couldn’t have scripted it much better. There were some concerns also in the corn that crusting was becoming a problem, which was largely alleviated by the rainfall and cooler temperatures. Small grains have loved the spring conditions so far and hayfields are also looking very nice, having survived the winter in good condition for the most part. In the skies if it isn’t cloudy, May should bring some planetary viewing of note, according to Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer. Mars will rise in the east around dusk by the end of the month. It will continue to become brighter, rivaling Jupiter in brightness. Saturn will rise about an hour later than Mars and will be yellow in color. A conjunction will occur on Friday the 13th between the quarter moon and bright planet Jupiter to its right. May 20th, between Mars and a nearly full moon, with the moon above Mars. The next night a rectangle forms with the full moon upper left, Mars upper right, the star Antares lower right and Saturn lower left. The same players can be seen on the 22nd with the moon to the left of Saturn, the star Antares to the right and Mars above Antares. Again, if the skies permit it. Thanks also to the Steele Co. Astronomical Society Club for the update. Chores are still taking far too long after getting home so some of the greedy, overweight ewes who shove anyone out of the way to get at the feed bucket are destined for the pasture soon. There should be numerous candidates and that should help streamline things. Once weaning is completed, the entire chore process becomes semi-tolerable. That said, there are still too many sheep here for my tastes. I’m approaching the age my Dad was when he divested of the flock at home and sold it to my sister and me. I think he was onto something. At least he bottle lamb detail is beginning to wind down. I can finally stop the 10 p.m. feeding. Maybe even have time to gaze at the stars. At the ranch some gardening progress was made as the tiller was pried from its parking space between two wagons in the shed. Checked the oil, put some gas in it and proceed to till up the gardens for the first time. After about six hours the task was completed. The smaller garden areas went pretty well but the main garden on the backside of the windbreak was a sodden mess. Annual bluegrass had become entrenched there after getting a start last fall. Under the snow it had nearly perfect survival. Sunday was a good day to do all that though because last year’s garden residue was crispy dry. It went through the tiller with relative ease. The ground was hard but the next time through when it dries up should go much more quickly. It may be a few days until that happens. Around the yard the lawn needs mowing as we head into our busy season. Frequently it begins to take on the abandoned farmstead look unless we have the good fortune to mow at night. The flowering crabs were beautiful last week although Monday’s wind ruined many of the later blooming trees beauty, scattering petals like confetti on the lawn. The apple trees bloomed rather profusely with the SnowSweet being the heaviest bloomer. That’s good because they’re probably my favorite apple to eat with some caramel come fall. The rhubarb is gigantic and even though we’ve picked a lot of it, it’s difficult to tell. Due to my screw up on the Schwan’s order we wound up with a gallon and a half container of vanilla ice cream. This can only mean one thing: We’ll need to harvest even more! The spring birds continue to return to the ranch and some of the visitors such as the Harris’s and white-throated sparrows appear to be leaving for their summer homes far to the north. Our first Baltimore oriole loudly announced his arrival on Saturday morning about 9 a.m. He’s staked a claim to the jelly feeder and so far he’s had no competition. The first house wren was singing Sunday morning so it can officially be proclaimed spring at the ranch. I spied an orchard oriole on the hummingbird feeder from the oval office the morning of May 10th. On a less pleasant note: Looking at the rain gauge Monday noon following the morning rain, I noticed there was no water in the gauge. The collection funnel however was partially full. When I examined it more closely my old nemesis the robin had defecated in the collection funnel and plugged the hole up tight. Must need more fiber. Guess I’ll have to leave a little plunger out there and see if they get the hint. See you next week…real good then.