The scurs checked the Weather Eye and decided that it was just working in slow motion. The calendar was indeed correct at February. Will March come in like a cold kitten or would we revert back to our February lambing and tanning weather? Starting Wednesday, cloudy with a good chance of morning snow showers. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy and cool with a modest chance of snow in the a.m. Highs in the low 30’s with lows in the upper teens. Partly sunny with a slight chance of a.m. snow showers on Friday. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the low 30’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with a modest chance of evening rain showers. Highs again in the low 50’s with lows in the low 30’s. Monday, partly sunny becoming cloudy with a modest chance of rain and snow. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Partly sunny on Tuesday with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the mid-20’s. We’re now picking up daylight at about three minutes per day. On March 7th we exceed 11 hours and 30 minutes of daylight again for the first time since back on October 4th. With all this additional daylight, the scurs are going to need all the extra nap time they can get.
You knew it was too good to last: The record-setting temperatures in February, not the Valentine’s Day candy. Storm total snowfall varied around the area but amounts in the 10” – 13” range were common. When measured with the snowboard, liquid equivalent amounts of moisture of up to 1.6” were tallied. Traffic other than absolute necessity was curtailed and schools were closed in anticipation of the storm. It was probably the most intense winter storm of the season thus far for us. Visibilities due to the wind and intensity of the snow made travel overnight hazardous. Soils being largely thawed and snow melting slowly can only mean one thing: lots of mud with more mud beneath it.
At the ranch we had notice of the storm well in advance with plenty of warning being given by just about every imaginable media source. Like most storms these days it probably didn’t live up to the hype although it did keep snowing well into Friday allowing additional inches to accumulate. It made moving snow challenging too as blowers would clog up especially if trying to push them. This necessitated the use of the bucket and trying to avoid cutting sod off the yard was beyond challenging, especially at the ranch where a flat spot in the yard is rare. Up until this storm I’d done a pretty good job of refraining from peeling layers of sod and gravel. With this last snow not so much.
We did finally see our first robin at the ranch on the 23rd just ahead of the storm. However the rest of our feathered friends had practically deserted the feeders prior to the snow. The brown grass really didn’t look like winter and likely had exposed as much food as it possibly could. Once it snowed overnight and into Friday however the regulars were back in force, prompting me to refill their feeders by Saturday morning. I did feel bad on Saturday after moving some snow to see a sharp-shinned hawk had claimed a male red-winged blackbird near one feeding station. It is the cycle of life however and it could just as easily have happened out in the pasture where I wouldn’t have known about it. Something like this never would’ve happened on those Walt Disney shows I grew up watching.
We managed to get the last of the more recent arrivals moved down the loafing barn even though it wasn’t without some consternation. One of the ewes we had to deal with is nicknamed Psycho as she just goes absolutely crazy when humans come near her. While this is not unusual for Cheviot sheep, this particular animal takes it to another level. Most recently she’d taken to jumping out of her pen, leaving the lamb behind with both bellering because they were separated. Didn’t exactly endear her to the poor sap who upon putting her back in, would wind up doing it again once their back was turned. Sensing the urgency to get her moved, Sunday we got the tails docked, tags inserted and vaccinations given on the rest of the pens then moved on to Psycho’s. Her lamb behaved fine but when it came time to update the ewe’s CD&T shot, I volunteered to catch her, figuring she’d be more than Mrs. Cheviot would want to handle. Sounded good in theory anyway.
I got in the pen, cornered her and had a pretty good hold of her or so I thought. She suddenly lunged to jump over the panel as I pulled her back into the pen. Rather than simmer down, she ducked quickly, catching me off balance while taking my legs out from under me. She then proceeded to run over me a couple times and in the process broke the nose pad off my glasses. I had bruised ribs, an egg on my calf and a sore cheekbone where her foot had struck me in the face. It’s a good thing her lamb is one of our better ewe lambs or she might have received one of those all-expenses paid trips to the meat packing plant following that performance.
We continue to wait patiently for the last of the lambs to be born. We were beginning to wonder if we’d get any March lambs period although it now appears there is a chance we’ll get a few. There is one ewe we were sure was going to lamb two weeks ago and so far all she’s done is get larger and eat more feed. A watched pot never boils and as the saying goes whether it be ewes, heifers, sows, you name it, they won’t give birth either.
See you next week…real good then.