The Weather Eye seemed to be tracking a bit on the cold side so the scurs went back to the warmer thermostat. The calendar now reads March so does the start of meteorological spring really mean anything or do we still have a couple more weeks of fun and games? Starting Wednesday mostly sunny with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Thursday, partly sunny with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Mostly cloudy with a fair chance of a.m. snow showers on Friday. Highs in the mid-30’s with lows in the low 20’s. Saturday mostly cloudy with a modest chance of snow showers. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the mid-20’s. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with good chance of evening snow. Highs in the low 30’s with lows in the mid-teens. Monday, cloudy with a good chance of snow. Highs in the low 30’s with lows in the mid-teens. Partly sunny on Tuesday with highs in the upper 30’s and lows in the low 20’s.The normal high for March 12th is 38 and the normal low is 21. Also, through that epitome of governmental meddling known as Daylight Saving Time, the sun will rise after 7:30 again so we can fall off chairs resetting clocks, have increased numbers of heart attacks along with increased automobile accidents. Brilliant! However, since the flowers now have an extra hour to grow as per government edict, the scurs can’t wait to see how much faster they grow.
Coincidentally, the 12th also marks the date of the Full Moon for the month of March. It is known as the Full Worm Moon as it is during this month that earthworms break their dormancy, come to the soil surface and leave their castings. There are plenty of other names as well including the Crow, Crust, Sap and Lenten Moon. The Ojibwe called it the Snow Crust Moon and the Sioux called it the Moon when Buffalo drop their Calves. At the ranch, it historically has been the Full Muddy Border Collie Moon or the Moon when Ruby Stays Inside During Chores.
Fields and dooryards alike remain very soggy as of this writing. .23” of rain fell at the ranch in Monday’s storm with .68” recorded in town. After Monday’s high of 67, the overnight low was 30 with snow pellets decorating automobiles that slept outside. The February snow is almost completely melted with the rainfall finishing most of it off. The bad news is the sod one was trying to hide in the snow piles from the neighbors have suddenly reappeared. In all likelihood it will snow again so no big hurry to replace them. The wet soils have meant no ultra-early planting progress although once again, we are ahead of the curve at the ranch. A rotund squirrel was plucking kernels off the ears of corn and planted them all over the yard before the storm. I wonder if he paid the tech fee?
Once the snow started to leave spring seems to have hit the “resume” button again. The male cardinal has been singing his spring song as have the chickadees. The rooster pheasants are open for business in the plum and sumac thicket on the road cut. There have been as many as four some days and their breeding plumage is spectacular as they primp and preen in the sun. Another robin appeared at the ranch on the 5th and the first killdeer of the season was heard about dusk as we were finishing chores following Monday’s thunderstorm. Tuesday morning a large group of robins was in the yard.
We’ve been training Ruby to be bird watcher or more appropriately “bird chaser”. The male cardinal enjoys bouncing off the sliding glass doors, something that gets rather annoying after a while. That and we’d feel pretty awful if he’d break his neck in the process. However, when we ask Ruby, “Where’s your squirrel?” she automatically runs to the sliding glass doors which in turn scares the cardinal away. There’s usually no squirrel but Ruby doesn’t have to know that.
The bottle lamb feedings are coming to a close and not a moment too soon. So many times over the course of the winter it would be nice to just let the dog out rather than bundle up after falling asleep in the recliner. The recent warmer temperatures seem to allow the lambs to better maintain without the need for quite as much milk and the fact they have access to solid food in the creep feeder 24/7 doesn’t hurt. If they want a bottle they have to come for it. If they don’t it’s senseless to chase them around the pen to try to get them to drink not to mention a total waste of time, yours and theirs. I realize that’s one of the things people who visit enjoy seeing and doing. In this instant gratification world though, if they fed bottle lambs 4-5 times a day the novelty would wear off quickly. It’s much more fun to exhale once the chores are done to watch the lambs play. Trust me on this one.
Still waiting for those last two ewes to come in yet. We do a head count every night in the small barn and every night it’s the same. A few times one looks in and there’s been one missing. So far they’ve been found out grinding away on the round bale or hidden down behind one of the other ewes. The warmer days always make us a little apprehensive. It’s not unusual for ewes to sneak off by themselves behind a brush pile, the manure spreader or the side of the barn to lamb in privacy. Luckily Cheviots are usually good mothers so it’s not that difficult to get them to follow you back to the barn once you catch the lambs. Frequently that’s the biggest hurdle especially if there are two or three lambs that have already nursed. That often means they have some pretty good wheels under them and are never interested in being caught. And while trying to avoid the embarrassment of falling on the ice or in the mud, it also follows that the older we get the faster they get.
See you next week…real good then.