After seeing their shadow the roller coaster ride continues for the scurs and their Weather Eye. When it gets to midweek so far in February expect temps to fall. Rinse and repeat or are we stuck in the spin cycle? Starting Wednesday partly sunny with highs in the mid-teens and lows in the low single digits. Thursday, sunny and warmer with highs in the low 20’s and temps rising in the overnight. Partly sunny Friday with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Saturday mostly cloudy with a good chance of rain and/or snow in the afternoon and evening. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the mid-20’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. Monday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Mostly cloudy on Valentine’s Day with highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the low 20’s. The normal high for February 14th is 27 and the normal low is 9. Their Christmas goody supply nearly depleted, Valentine’s Day can’t arrive soon enough for the scurs.
The Full Moon for the month makes its appearance on the 10th and is most commonly known as the Full Snow Moon as this was one of the snowiest months of the year. It still is although it ranks behind December, January and March locally in that department. The Ojibwe knew this as The Sucker Moon to denote the running of suckers in streams and rivers. The Sioux called this The Raccoon Moon as the slumbering animals frequently awaken during the month and forage for food as the days become longer and the temperatures warm. At the ranch it is generally known as the Full Lambing Moon or the Moon of Sleepy Shepherds.
Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer came calling the other day, bearing news and information gleaned from the stars and beyond. Venus has been noticed by many including the big Dubya who text messaged me with a question about the bright object in the early evening SW sky. It sets about three hours after sunset. Mars is to the upper left of Venus and sets shortly after Venus. Jupiter rises in the east about 11 p.m. during early February and by the end of the month rises about 9 p.m. Saturn appears about an hour before sunrise in the eastern sky. On the 20th it is below and to the left of the crescent moon. The next day it is to the right. Thanks to the Steele Co. Astronomical Society for providing this valuable addition to our lengthy conversation about old cars and women.
It was a great Gopher sports weekend. It started off with the Gopher men’s hockey team beating Penn St. 5 – 1 Friday night. Saturday saw the Gopher men’s basketball team win on the road at Illinois followed by the Gopher women pulling off an OT win at Nebraska. Saturday evening saw the Gopher man’s hockey team complete a sweep of Penn St. with a 5 – 2 win at Mariucci, complete with a hat trick courtesy of a Swede by the name of Leon Bristedt. A Gopher sports weekend doesn’t get much better than that even if you’re not a Swede.
A sad Gopher note on the 6th with the passing of Ray Christensen, the radio voice of the MN Golden Gophers for many decades. Back when WCCO actually still broadcast Gophers games, Ray’s commentary made you feel like you were sitting courtside in Williams Arena. Many a time we’d turn the sound down on the TV and listen to Ray call the games. While he was a “homer” to an extent like all hometown broadcasters he also told you if the Gophers weren’t playing well and gave credit to the other team. As with the passing of several other ‘CCO giants of the airwaves such as Charlie Boone and Steve Cannon, a little piece of MN history passes with it.
With internet service once again restored to the ranch life can get back to more normal. One doesn’t realize until it’s off how dependent we’ve become on it whether it’s checking the latest weather data, answering burning questions on sheep production, or just because with 150 channels on TV there’s still seldom anything on worth watching. Sure, I could do a lot of that on the cell phone but it’s not the same. Looking at a little bitty screen, trying to enlarge it so I can see it then punching the wrong spot on the screen taking me off in the rhubarb somewhere isn’t my idea of a good time. Might be different if my hands and fingers weren’t showing their age. Bifocals don’t help either and I’d like to strangle the numbskull who came up with autocorrect. I can make enough mistakes all by myself without any help.
Sometimes one has a dab of good fortune in the lambing barn just as it appears everything is tanking. One cold afternoon last week I came home to find a new set of twins that had become separated. Complicating matters was an older ewe claiming the buck lamb. Unfortunately that ewe had given birth to two stillborn lambs the day before. While I sympathized with her, she was just complicating matters at that point. As luck would have it, the real mother would only claim the ewe lamb when I penned them up. She disgustedly mashed the buck lamb up against the panel with her head. Sometimes the separation time and different odor the lambs pick up make it more unlikely that the ewe will accept the lamb. Unfortunately this mother was also only producing milk on one side of her udder.
Decision time. After 50 years of lambing ewes, seeing a lamb being beaten by its own mother still breaks my heart. It’s also not my first rodeo. I grabbed the buck lamb to coax the potential surrogate mother into another pen, checked her for milk and discovered she had loads of it on both sides. One could easily tell she was fond of the little guy as he nursed, sniffing and licking him while his tail wiggled delightedly. Watching them a little longer, there was no hesitation on her part and no question in my mind. She wanted that lamb. End of discussion. Things don’t always have a storybook ending in the lambing barn and in fact, many times it’s the exception and not the rule. This time however, there was no reason to look a gift horse in the mouth.
See you next week…real good then.