The scurs got the Weather Eye pointed the right direction once again. About time. Will the weather forecasting device remain in our favor or will we hear more about 4-letter frozen precipitation words? Starting Wednesday, partly sunny with a good chance of rain. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the low 40’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Mostly sunny on Friday with a slight chance of evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the low 50’s. Monday, partly sunny with a moderate chance of rain and thundershowers. Highs in the mid-60’s with lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly cloudy on Tuesday with continued chances of developing thundershowers. Highs in the upper 60’s with lows in the upper 40’s. The sun will set at 8:30 p.m. on the 12th. The normal high for May 14th is 69 and the normal low is 47. The scurs are looking at Mother’s Day as another good excuse for a day off just like the rest of their days.
The Full Moon for the month falls on the 10th and goes by several names the most popular being The Full Flower Moon for the blossoming flora on the landscape. It also goes by The Full Corn Planting Moon (wonder why?) and The Full Milk Moon as the cows were turned out on pasture, which also caused the butter to be a bright yellow color due to the carotenoid pigments carried thru in the milk. The Ojibwe knew this as the Blossom Moon and the Sioux called it The Moon when Ponies Shed. At the ranch, it commonly goes by The Moon when Border Collies Bite Lawnmower Tires.
Corn planting progress was tremendous once temperatures warmed and soil conditions became the best they’ve been all spring. Farmers wasted no time taking advantage of the opportunity and by press time, most of the corn in our part of the world will be in the ground. Corn planted on the 17th was just poking through on Monday and corn planted in the second wave (April 22nd - 25th ) was right on its heels. A large portion of the soybeans will also be planted as the calendar says “plant”. Small grains are progressing nicely, able to capitalize on the cooler days as well as the sunny, warmer days. Older alfalfa stands are showing their age with dandelions filling in the gaps where some of the alfalfa used to be. Some of these fields will likely need to be reassessed once a cutting is taken to see if they are worth keeping or if planting corn or soybeans into them would be prudent.
Lawn mowing has kicked it into high gear across much of the area. The rains and warmer temps have certainly made the grass grow. Like the aforementioned hayfields it’s also caused a dandelion explosion in many lawns and dooryards. Along with that, the plum thickets like those at the ranch burst into bloom, looking almost like it had snowed in places. The smell was every bit as sweet as one remembered. The apples and crabapples at the ranch are getting closer to flowering although their city cousins to a large extent are a few days ahead of them.
The kittens continue to grow and recently their mother Tincture moved them on top of the manger where we could see them. There’s one gray-striped, one black-ish and three that are orange. Unlike some of her earlier batches of kittens, these have had some human attention so are relatively tame. Last Friday night, the female half of the kindly neighbors stopped in after chores to cuddle and coo them. About five minutes after she left, reinforcements arrived in the form of the owners of Bugsy the one-eyed tomcat, the sire of the kittens. The kittens are at that cute but bumbling stage so now is the time to expose them to even more human contact. Ruby didn’t exactly suffer from lack of human contact during either visit. Her whining and licking belies the impression she likes to give that she never receives any attention.
May continues to bring winged newcomers through our yard. While the white-throated, white-crowned and Harris’s sparrows are still here, the juncos have largely vanished. A male rose-breasted grosbeak was seen on the sunflower feeder on the 4th while a house wren was heard singing from the plum thicket on the 5th. Bats were out in force on the evening of the 5th. When the grosbeak appeared, I decided it was time to get the jelly and hummingbird nectar feeders out and retire some of the suet feeders for the season. It only took a few days until I was rewarded with the first Baltimore oriole on the 7th. A couple house finches were also new to the feeders. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them. The female grosbeak was present on the morning of the 8th, content to hang on the sunflower feeder to pluck and crack a seed then repeat the process. A squirrel decided to try the roller feeder on the 8th. As advertised, it still continues to be squirrel proof. I’m just waiting for the chipmunks to show him how it’s done.
Mother’s Day will likely arrive without much fanfare relative to the old days. There are still fond memories of sharing the day with Mom especially her love for the birds. This time of year especially the phone line was frequently busy between us with reports of the first oriole or hummingbird. Usually if one of us hadn’t seen them yet, they appeared within a few days. Several times when she’d visit on Mother’s Day the first rose-breasted grosbeak would arrive at the feeder, something that really made her day special. Even in her last days at the care center when the house finches came to the window feeder she saw them and smiled. It helped brighten her day. Seeing those same birds here recently made me recall those times. I’m more than glad to feed them as a small token of my gratitude and the pleasure I derive from seeing them, just as my Mom did. Happy Mother’s Day!
See you next week…real good then.