The Weather Eye had the right idea, although no one including the scurs was disappointed there was no snow. The new heater core worked to perfection, keeping precip to a minimum. Will it continue to perform or will they need some stop leak? Starting Wednesday mostly cloudy and increasing chance of rain and snow by evening. Highs in the upper 40’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Thursday, cloudy with a good chance of snow changing to rain. Highs in the mid- 40’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Mostly sunny on Friday with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the mid-30’s. Saturday mostly sunny with highs in the low 50’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of rain showers. Highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the low 40’s. Monday, mostly sunny with a slight chance of rain showers. Highs in the mid-50’s with lows in the mid-40’s. Partly cloudy on Tuesday with continued slight chances for showers. Highs in the low 50’s with lows in the upper 30’s. On March 30th we’re back to the sun rising before 7 a.m., the same as it was back on February 24th. Gee that was sure worth it, wasn’t it? The normal high for April 1st is 49 and the normal low is 29. The scurs have it on good authority that President Trump will sign an executive order suspending Daylight Saving Time and ban travel from those countries that don’t follow suit. No foolin’!
The weather this past week did little to foster thoughts of large scale fieldwork just yet. Temperatures remained on the cool side and cloudy, damp days from the 23rd–27th had everyone’s daubers down. A quick visual check of my alfalfa revealed that at least at this point it is still alive. It doesn’t necessarily however guarantee that’s the way it will stay. There were indications that some of the plants had been singed by the cold temperatures. The rhubarb mentioned in an earlier edition showed signs that it too had been injured by the cold. I am hopeful however that there will be enough alfalfa to feed the sheep as the oxalic acid contained in rhubarb is toxic and potentially fatal to sheep if consumed in large amounts. Fortunately this is not the case in humans especially if ice cream is involved.
More phenology as we head into spring. Saw a meadowlark on March 22nd on my return trip from metropolitan Hope where I’d purchased some feed. On Saturday the 25th I spied what first appeared to be a mourning dove on steroids under the feeder. As I suspected, it turned out to be a Eurasian collared dove. It’s the first one I’ve seen at the ranch after encountering a flock of them in Bugtussle a few years back. The song wasn’t the same either, with a deeper, less soothing approach. Male robins appear to be establishing their turf. With the cooler temps they’ve also been hitting the crabapple and cranberry bushes fairly hard. Earthworms apparently also think it’s been cold. Out of nowhere large choirs of red-winged blackbirds continue to move through. Their resulting choral is nearly deafening. Then as quickly as they appear, they’re gone. A large variety of waterfowl is in the air, on the water and afield as well. Many tundra swans moving through. The pond held several wood duck and mallards when checked on Sunday. The Canada geese must’ve been on break as the muskrat huts were unoccupied. Sandhill cranes seem to be picking up the slack, their call almost hauntingly echoing from the hollow. At any rate, the morning air is alive with bird music of all kinds. After a relatively quiet winter in the birdsong department, I’m in the mood for a melody.
The nasty sinus headaches I’d dealt with the past 10 or so days finally subsided over the weekend. That allowed me on Saturday to get feed, pick up the lamb from Morgan’s Meat Market, empty all the trash cans and clean up the large branches that made the backyard look like a combat zone. Luckily there was a strong northeast wind. Still, as damp as everything was it was surprising how completely it burned. Sunday was still cool although it allowed me to get a good start on pruning the fruit trees. The fence was walked and charged, again. It had been up and running the first time back on February 19th. Within a few days it had rained and a few days after that we had heavy snow that shoved most of the lower insulators nearly to the ground. Hopefully we’re done with that. The main accomplishment though was letting the lambs out for the first time this spring. They didn’t disappoint, letting loose with pent up energy, running, hopping and driving their mothers crazy. The last of the lambs was moved on Monday night into the main group so no more hauling little buckets and pans from one barn to the next. Yay!
Mentioned fruit tree pruning above. This late winter-early spring ritual while time consuming pays big dividends down the road if one keeps at it. It makes picking the half dozen apples the birds and squirrels haven’t damaged or destroyed much easier. It also means lots of wood for grilling. I have to chuckle when over the years several people have discovered I prune our fruit trees and shade trees religiously. Then they want me to prune theirs. What they don’t realize is I frequently prune trees out of sheer spite. I’m not amused by knots left on my melon or deep gashes by the spines on plum and crabapple trees while mowing. A few pointed questions though usually solve the issue. Q: Has the tree been pruned before? A: No. Q: How old is the tree now? A: Oh, it’s been there ever since I can remember. Q: Does it look like Don King on a bad hair day? A: Why yes! How did you know? Me: Lucky guess. I would suggest pruning at ground level or contacting Don King’s barber!
What a great end to the high school basketball season with both the boys’ and girls’ teams winning the consolation championship at the MN State High School League Tournament. We were unable to attend, but followed along on the radio or livestreamed the games on the confuser when they were televised. That was truly an amazing accomplishment for not just one but both teams from communities that are dwarfed in size by some of the competition. Sure, they could’ve packed it in and called it a season. To their credit, they battled on to a worthy goal. As the saying goes, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Congrats!
See you next week…real good then.