With a high Monday of 50 the scurs and the Weather Eye more than delivered on some good weather. Have we seen the last of autumn or are we in for some Indian Winter? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a moderate chance of rain and snow. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the low 30’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow in the forenoon. Highs in the mid-30’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Cloudy Friday with decreasing clouds by evening. Highs in the mid-30’s with lows in the mid-20’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with a slight chance of snow. Highs in the mid-30’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Monday, partly sunny with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Partly sunny for Tuesday with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the mid-teens, yes above zero. The normal high for December 1st is 32 and the normal low is 15. The sun will rise at 7:30 on the 2nd. The scurs will begin their annual procrastination for Christmas shopping. Lots of time.
If fieldwork wasn’t done, it is now for a while. Monday’s rainfall event on top of the week prior’s episode have left the fields pretty much impassable until the ground freezes enough to carry equipment. There appears to be some tillage which may not be completed this fall until that happens. Some may also be looking at the possibility to try some no-till or reduced tillage on their intended soybean acreage. With the corn crop generally being shorter and lower in residue than some years, it may present an opportunity for that. Rainfall in Bugtussle amounted to .29” total between Sunday night and Monday while at the ranch it was more generous, accumulating .8” in the same time period.
The rainfall has definitely put a crimp in the barn cleaning plans at the ranch. There again, not to worry. If there were weeks’ worth of hauling, it would be one thing. However since there were fewer sheep and the lambs were marketed earlier, it should make less material to handle. Ideally. Knowing how things can go wrong however, it’s best not to count one’s chickens before they hatch. More than once the barn cleaning has stretched later than anticipated yet oddly enough it always gets done. No award for style points when it comes to hauling manure.
In the meantime with the warmer temps it’s allowed for some of the other things to get done. I did have to chuckle just before Thanksgiving when I drove up on the kindly neighbors’ pasture after dark to feed the ewes. They were all bunched up battling over something. When they parted enough I discovered why. Several large pumpkins that had adorned the neighbors’ yard made their way over the fence and the sheep were behaving like Black Friday shoppers! The sheep came home a few days later on the 26th, having been there since May 21st so about six months. That was a nice long run.
Other yard related projects were accomplished including putting tree wrap on and pruning some of the trees while the memory of getting snapped in the face while lawn mowing was still fresh in my mind. Doing all of this of course elicited a lot of assistance from the dogs, more than a person should be allowed to have. Barking when the Gator was moved was a given and careful scrutiny of the pruning process followed. Looks like I’m finally getting ahead of some of the nasty crabapples. The spines on some of them are 3” – 4” long. Not sure what varieties of crabapples they are but after a while looking like you’ve been in a knife fight after mowing the lawn starts to get old.
Some of the small trees were showing signs of being chewed by the local bunny population. The tree wrap was put on just in time. The bunnies have lots of green grass and other vegetation to eat yet somehow find time to damage saplings and other small trees. The bark on some of the trees planted 10 years ago is developed enough so they no longer require tree wrap. It will be a happy day when the last of them reach that point. That will likely never happen because we just keep planting more trees!
There are more birds hanging around the yard as the sunflower feeders are being emptied routinely every 3 – 5 days. Lots of large blue jays, nuthatches and chickadees with a few goldfinches picking at the thistle feeders. The suet feeders are active as well as we have a healthy population of hairy and downy woodpeckers. The largest visitors are the pheasants. They were walking around the backyard on Thanksgiving Day and were flushed out of the garden while I was wrapping some of the trees in the windbreak. They do enjoy picking at the garden leftovers especially the sweet corn and whatever else happens to meet their fancy.
The annual pumpkin pick up at the ranch was completed Sunday afternoon. Along with a few apples and gourds they made a heaping pile in the back of the Gator. It didn’t take long for the sheep to locate them once the produce hit the ground. The next morning the ewes had been grazing on the back part of the pasture when one by one they took off running for the pumpkin pile. Watching from the window one could see some cars on the highway slowing down to watch as the sheep descended like vultures on the pumpkins. Not a lot of money in sheep but at least they provide entertainment sometimes.
See you next week…real good then.