The scurs and the Weather Eye delivered more good weather until Friday when we saw the first snow of the season. With Old Man Winter knocking, will we be able to fend him off one more week or is winter finally here? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a moderate chance of rain and snow in the forenoon. Highs in the mid-30’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Thanksgiving Day, mostly cloudy with a moderate chance of snow in the overnight. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Cloudy Friday becoming sunny in the afternoon. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow in the evening. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Monday, mostly cloudy with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Cloudy for Tuesday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. The normal high for November 24th is 36 and the normal low is 20. The scurs will be sleeping in as shoppers battle each other over material things that typically really don’t matter.
Crop farming in the fields is coming closer to a close with the soil freezing up over the weekend. Some last minute anhydrous ammonia was still going on over the weekend as worries about soil temperature fade in the rearview mirror. Primary tillage was still working well across much of the area with precipitation last week being light and soils that hadn’t frozen much under the crop residue. Manure applications over the weekend must’ve been nearing completion as well with the air being relatively devoid of odor for a change.
The skies at twilight have been featuring Venus in the southwest. It’s becoming a little higher in the sky each night and looks almost like a mini-moon. The Big Dipper has been low in the northwest and when it’s closer to the horizon like this it appears to be huuuuuge. At the ranch even that is hard to see sometimes due to our own light pollution, although I’d rather be able to see where I’m walking and not tripping over things on the way to the barn.
Speaking of chores, they’ve still been relatively benign as the ewes continue to forage on the pasture. We’ve barely made a dent in the hay supply thus far. The ewes and ram at the kindly neighbors’ pasture will be coming home soon and while I’ve tossed them a few slices of hay to get them used to coming inside, they just pick at it. The few lambs we kept back take about 10 minutes to feed and water. Doing night chores recently there have been a few mice heard crawling around inside a feed bag. Clamp the bag shut, call here kitty kitty, lay the bag down, open it up and Tincture the tabby cat makes short work of them. On to the next crisis.
The cold, windy conditions made me decide to take a raincheck on barn cleaning over the weekend. No tractor cab and the fact I’m old were also factors in the decision. Prior to the weekend things were put away, cleaned out, hung up, watered in, drained, stored and otherwise put under wraps in case the weather decided to pull a fast one. Luckily we managed only about .08” of precip at the ranch so no harm no foul. Did need to make a trip to the store where you go to the bathroom in the orange silo so off I went bucking the wind. Getting the supplies I needed, I pulled one bag out of the cart and put it in the pickup. When I turned around the cart was being blown across the parking lot by the wind! Didn’t feel too guilty about postponing the manure hauling as the wind Steve Cannon called The Hawk screamed across the landscape.
Bird watching around the yard has been on the slow side during the warmer weather. However, with the recent wind and cold there seem to be more goldfinches. Perhaps it’s easier to land on the feeder perches and have lunch than trying to outguess where the seed heads might be in a stiff breeze in the CRP. They really haven’t said. Something that has been popular with all the birds has been the access to water that we try to maintain. From the blue jays on down to the chickadees, they all can be seen taking their turns getting a drink or splashing about. They will need to keep their eyes peeled however. A northern shrike sat atop the light pole in the yard for a long time recently, casing the joint for potential dinner partners.
Turkey Day will be postponed a few days at the ranch this year as other plans surfaced recently. We will still be doing the turkey on the grill sometime over the weekend. We’ve been doing that some 30-odd years and we’re not about to stop now. The pumpkins will also be tossed over the fence, providing the sheep an opportunity to enjoy the festivities as well. They already had a pregame warm up after we froze squash over the weekend. The squash innards and skins definitely met with their approval.
The dogs seem to be adjusting to the cooler weather just fine. Their winter coats are coming in and remnants of their summer coats appear on the floor. Windrow it and it could be baled. Fudgie has finally pretty well shed off and looks like she’s close to done. Ruby on the other hand is still shedding like crazy. Amazing that a short-haired dog can produce that much hair even with repeated brushings. She still hates the intro to Bonanza too as I found when watching TV the other night. She uncorked a barking hissy fit loud enough to wake the dead. At least both of them will be happy to know the turkey giblets are still their property. For all their help, entertainment and company over the course of a year we are thankful.
See you next week…real good then.