After struggling through another cold week the scurs found that someone had monkeyed with the temperature lever on the Weather Eye and promptly slid it the other direction. Will someone mess with the scurs’ valuable weather forecasting device again or will the strategically placed rat trap get them first? Starting Wednesday sunny with highs in the mid-30’s and lows near 30. Thursday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the low 30’s. Mostly cloudy Friday with a moderate chance of rain and snow. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Saturday cloudy with a moderate chance of rain and snow. Highs near 40 with lows in the mid-30’s. Cloudy on Sunday with a moderate chance of snow. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the low 30’s. Monday, cloudy with a modest chance of rain and snow. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the mid-20’s. Cloudy for Tuesday with a chance of snow showers. Highs in the low 30’s with lows in the mid-teens above zero. On the 22nd we’ll see the 9 hours and 30 minutes of daylight, the same we did back on the 19th of November. The normal high for January 22nd is 22 and the normal low is 4. The scurs are starting to notice Valentine’s Day candy and treats appear so if they hibernate a few weeks they’ll probably survive.
By the time this reaches print and your mailbox, we will be most of the way through what is traditionally our coldest stretch of the winter. From the 16th–20th tends to be the depths of our winter with the 16th and 17th being rock bottom by a fraction of a degree. Unless the wheels completely fall off the cart someplace in the meantime, we will see instead some of our warmer temps in some time. When one looks at it, the winter so far really hasn’t been too bad. Last week was no doubt chilly and spending a lot of time outside was not in the cards for many. Between the cold and ice that was wise. However, with a warm November, December being a fraction above normal and January over half in the books already with warm temperatures forecast and little snow on the ground, one had to wonder if spring could come early again.
The cold snap had me keeping the birdfeeders stocked and I was rewarded with lots of activity. It has been gratifying to see the number of chickadees we have. It might’ve been Al Batt who said it’s hard not to be happy when seeing and hearing a chickadee. The cardinals were frequent guests during the deepest part of the cold. With loyal blue jays, juncos and woodpeckers, it made the cold seem more distant. One afternoon there were three nuthatches in the same tree zipping up and down the trunk after procuring their sunflower seed. In the fields there have been more pheasants. One morning there were seven roosters and the following morning they were accompanied by roughly an equal number of hens. So far the winter has been to their liking as well.
The lambs born last week are growing well despite having to deal with the cold weather. It appears there will be more January lambs as well and we’ve put the shearer on notice that we probably will need them shorn sooner than later. It may take some time to get them dried out first though. Graining them Monday night it was like walking among a bunch of four-legged sponges. Every time they rubbed against me my legs were getting wet. Of course they don’t smell real pleasant either and neither did my pants. Ruby also had the “wet dog” aroma to her when she came in from chores. As I like to sing to the tune of the Smokey the Bear song, that is why we call her Stinky, that is how she got her name.
Starting to get the itch to work on the Lark project again. The engine is still in it and needs to come out but that will need to be done when the chances of falling and breaking a hip are slightly less. In the meantime I keep scouring the swap pages in search of bargains for either the Lark or the Hawk. Ran across an ad from a gentleman who sent me some nice brake drums a couple years back. This one was for arm rests, a couple of which would be nice to have for the Lark. Between the two cars, I’ve amassed enough spare parts to build most of another car or at the very least have my own swap meet.
And that brings me to something I’m sad to write about. At the same time am so glad that I got a chance to know and appreciate a man who became like a second father to me. When I first came to town, I was raw and hurting inside from the loss of my father. My dad, the man I had counted on my whole life to tell me how to be a man, suddenly was gone. Taking the job at the elevator in New Richland exposed us to a whole new bunch of friends and among them was a guy named Jon Meyer. His brother Rod also worked part-time there. Their family was a tight knit group yet at the same time they were open and inviting. They included me and my wife in many of their social events. It helped open the door for us to the community and best of all acquainted us with their dad, Don. He passed away back on the 6th.
Don loved to fish and once he figured out I had a boat it was only natural that we’d end up fishing. Many times his sons and I went to small area lakes. While we rarely had great success we always had a good time and a lot of laughs. The fishing trips to Alexandria were grand adventures and we even caught fish sometimes. Those excursions were absolutely hilarious and my sides usually hurt from laughing once we returned. And Don was smack dab in the middle of it. “Leeches.” he’d say. “Gotta have leeches.” Then he’d chuckle and we’d smile because we knew the story behind it. Seeing pictures from those days still brings a smile to my face.
Don was a very giving person. At his visitation were several examples of the woodworking projects he’d made. In my office there are several examples of his talent he gave me over the years. I kept every one of them as they served as a reminder of all the good times we’d had, fishing or otherwise. Best of all Don repaired the transom on my boat which had disintegrated. He replaced it and made it better than original then refused to take any payment for it. Of course he wanted to borrow the boat once in a while if I wasn’t using it and who could argue with that?
My only hope is that I gave back a fraction of what I got. My last great adventure involving Don included his son-in-law and grandson. Since Don had expressed an interest, we took the Silver Hawk out for a spin a year ago last November .The beautiful day offered a chance to make good on an opportunity. Even though the Parkinson’s had slowed his body, his will and wit that day were still very much intact as he made it into the front seat. We cruised many a smooth blacktop road and Don seemed impressed as we dropped it on down into overdrive. Not long after that he suggested we stuff the other two in the trunk and cruise main in Albert Lea for chicks. I almost drove in the ditch. Vintage Donald and I was fortunate enough to be a part of it, just as I was fortunate to know him in the first place. Thanks for everything you did for us Don.
See you next week…real good then.