In stark contrast to the week before, the scurs and the Weather Eye received all kinds of hate mail. An untimely snowfall and below normal temps must’ve made everyone a little punchy. Should you pack away your thong just yet or are there some warmer days ahead? Starting Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the mid-40’s and lows in the low 30’s. Thursday, partly sunny with highs in the mid-40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly cloudy on Friday with a modest chance of rain in the daytime with a good chance of rain and snow by evening. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the low 30’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows in the upper 30’s. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with a moderate chance of rain. Highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Monday, mostly cloudy with a moderate chance of rain and snow. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the mid-20’s. Partly sunny Tuesday with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the mid-20’s. We’re down to 10 hours of daylight on the 6th. Due to government meddling in our daily lives, the sun will set at 6 p.m. CDT on the 4th and at 4:59 CST on the 5th. The normal high for November 5th is 48 and the normal low is 30. The scurs will be keeping their cell phone at the ready in case they fall off the chair setting all those clocks back.
The Full Moon for the month falls on the 3rd and is generally known as the Full Beaver Moon. This was typically the time the settlers would notice the beaver and other fur bearers readying for winter. The trappers were also readying themselves to harvest the pelts in order to make warm coats and hats for the winter. The Ojibwe called this the Freezing Moon and the Sioux knew it as the Moon of Falling Leaves. At the ranch we know it as the Water Tank Heater Moon, as the livestock tanks would freeze without them.
Harvest came to a screeching halt as a result of the snowfall on Thursday night and some places received additional precip which added to the temporary insanity. Most knew better than to try combining with snow hung up on the corn stalks. Thawing combine sieves and concaves out with a Knipco once is usually enough to convince folks not to do that again. The soil surface also became greasy and not as conducive to tillage or anhydrous applications as it had been previously. Soil temperatures appear to be on the right track however so that shouldn’t be an issue once soil conditions become fit once again.
Harvest at the ranch was over last Thursday with the exception of the winter radish crop. Copious amounts of snap peas, fresh greens, jalapeño peppers and tomatoes were brought inside just ahead of Old Man Winter taking a swipe at us. Some of the snap peas may have lived through the chill although there probably won’t be enough heat to advance the remaining blooms. I did sample the winter radish crop for quality control purposes and found them to be very adequate, perhaps even a little sweeter than some years. Ditto on the snap peas.
The cold, crummy weather was timely though as it was time again to venture north to my little fat buddy of the north Billy’s family cabin in Canada. The weather there was even more belligerent than what I left in South Central Minnesota. Temperatures struggled to make it above freezing the entire time we were there. To top it off it snowed 6-8” prior to our arrival and continued to add dabs while were there. This meant burning lots of the wood we’d put up in several of our previous visits. Keeping the wood stove stoked became an every-few-hours job, although watching the flames dance lazily in the firebox occasionally lapping at the window on the stove was aesthetically pleasing, not to mention the heat given off.
The water supply also was an issue due to the cold temperatures. Forecast lows were in the low 20’s several nights and with above ground water lines, it wasn’t a risk worth taking. Hauling water up the hill was also added to the chore list. It makes one realize we take a lot for granted when bathing under the sauna water tank or drinking water that’s safe to drink becomes a special occasion.
Not that it was all drudgery. I’d put out some sunflower seed and corn to see what might show up to represent the local bird population. No takers, although we did see some crow or raven tracks near some of our offerings. It was somewhat puzzling as one sometimes looks at the wilderness here and wonders how anything could survive. That’s just on the surface however. A pine grosbeak demonstrated that as I watched it picking at something in the small tree outside the door. A closer look after it left revealed there were some seeds on the birch trees it was fond of. The local fauna apparently must’ve got the hang of it over thousands of years or they wouldn’t still be here.
We had a great time visiting with the Canadians on several occasions too. G&S were closing up their cabin for the season so they couldn’t make the feed we had planned. They stopped in the morning on their way out. We probably could’ve jabbered a lot longer but it was great to see them even for a short time to see what had transpired in the last month. Saturday night we were able to share some of our bounty as well as from the feedlot with K&D. We were in turn treated to some of the bounty of Ontario, in particular a dessert called a trifle made with blueberries. You can’t go wrong with chocolate, blueberries, angel food and raspberry Jell-O. The next night we were invited to their place and had wild rice soup along with more trifle for dessert. Appears to me we made some pretty good trades and enjoyed ourselves in the process. And we didn’t even need NAFTA to do it.
See you next week…real good then.