While temperatures moderated somewhat, the scurs and their companion forecasting equipment were still not on anyone’s Christmas card list. Will we improve from slurpee-making temperatures or is the deep freeze finally upon us? Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 30’s and lows in the mid-20’s.Thanksgiving Day, partly sunny with highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Partly sunny on Friday with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper teens. Mostly cloudy and colder on Sunday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the low 20’s. Monday, sunny with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the mid-teens. Mostly sunny Tuesday with highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper teens. The normal high for November 23rd is 36 and the normal low is 20. The scurs are pondering why there are always more turkey leftovers than pumpkin pie and whipped cream leftovers. There are no answers somedays, only questions.
Still battling the same field conditions, different week. Fall tillage goes for a day or part of a day then a small dab of precip or thawing on the soil surface sends tractors and tillage implements back to the yard. Evidence of areas where frost has remained in the ground on north sides of groves and hilltops has hampered not only tillage operations but also anhydrous ammonia applications. Noted where attempts were made and anhydrous bars parked until conditions improved in several fields. Harvest cleanup has started although it’s one of the least favorite pastimes of the fall. Much more fun getting it all dirty.
Speaking of getting dirty, I still need to dig the cannas. Hopefully they’re in deep enough and were covered with enough biomass that the frost line didn’t reach them. If it did, oh well. I was looking for some cannas when I got these. There are more leaves that have fallen off the trees as well. They’re greenish colored but guessing if I bundle up on the lawnmower they’ll still be ground into small enough pieces that it shouldn’t bother the grass. The last of the tomatoes are still in the garage and not sure if they’ll make Thanksgiving. Normally they’re not in the same league as the early September models so no biggy if they don’t.
At the ranch the holding pattern on barn cleaning continues until the skidloader is repaired. In the meantime one of the Cheviot yearling ewes that was giddy about said barn cleaning last Sunday managed to find something to run into, causing blood to run down her right front leg. At first I thought the red liquid might just be transmission fluid that had leaked from the skidloader but not so. Most of the time a minor cut is no big deal and sheep will heal on their own. Not this time. When I went out to do chores Tuesday a.m. I noticed her leg was swollen and she couldn’t put weight on it. Not wanting a three-legged sheep, it was time to get out the antibiotic. Now, if some of the bureaucratic policy makers had their way, I might’ve needed an okeydokey slip from a veterinarian first to administer some of them. Luckily some common sense prevailed. One keeps that stuff on hand for just such occasions and this was no exception.
Catching the ewe turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought. Even running three-legged, she was still faster than I was on two with my cat-like reflexes. I had to improvise by placing some obstructions in her escape route. Obviously the infection hadn’t hurt her much as she crashed into a manger with full force. I clamped onto her rapidly and after she struggled a bit, I quickly slipped the needle under the skin above the front leg, injecting the antibiotic right where it needed to be. The next day I could see marked improvement so I repeated the process. She definitely was doing better Wednesday and determined to get away. I was even more determined and got her treated after sticking myself with the needle first. By Thursday a.m. she could put more weight on the leg and was barely limping while looking at me warily when I turned the barn lights on. She was in luck. Her nickname of “Chester” did not stick.
It seems like only yesterday that we were hosting Mom at Thanksgiving time. Going to pick her up the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving Day along with her bags and loyal Border Collie companion Fudgie had become a tradition. The last time was in 2012 so it’s been five years already. There was no real sign at that time that anything was about to change other than Mom seemed content to stay at our place rather than travelling around the countryside. Of course looking back at the column from Thanksgiving 2012, the temperature crashing into the single digits on Friday might’ve had something to do with it. We created some entertainment right where we were at with the bountiful pumpkins from that growing season. Another tradition has been rolling them down the hill for the sheep to eat. That year earlier cold temperatures had flattened many of them so they didn’t exactly roll. Ditto this year. Doesn’t matter. The sheep enjoy pumpkins deflated or not and Mom will probably be somewhere laughing as the ewes white faces turn orange.
See you next week…real good then.