After the last week’s temperatures, the scurs and Weather Eye are once again back in the good graces of all who experienced it. Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the low 30’s. Thursday, sunny with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly sunny on Friday with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 40’s and lows in the low 30’s. Partly sunny on Sunday with a modest chance of rain. Highs in the mid-40’s with lows in the mid-30’s. Monday, mostly cloudy with a moderate chance of a rain/snow mix. Highs in the low 40’s with lows in the upper 20’s. Mostly cloudy Tuesday with a continued chance of a rain/snow mix. Highs in the upper 30’s with lows in the low 20’s. The normal high for December 1st is 36 and the normal low is 20. The scurs are bitterly clinging to their suntan lotion and Indian Summer.
December 3rd ushers in the Full Moon which goes by several names, most commonly the Full Cold Moon or The Long Nights Moon. Indeed, the nights are becoming longer as we continue to lose daylight at about a minute per day. This Full Moon may also be called the Moon before the Yule. The Ojibwe knew it as The Small Spirits Moon and the Sioux called it the Moon of Popping Trees as the bitter cold would sometimes cause trees to suddenly split open. At the ranch, it is known as The Moon of Popping Knees for all the climbing on and off tractors and skidloaders along with hauling buckets over fences and gates. This moon stuff is overrated.
Farming, at least the cropping variety, has largely been completed. However, the recent warm spell gave farmers an opportunity to perform some last-minute tillage once the ground thawed out again. The frequent freezing and thawing has already had an impact on the surface soil conditions. Some of the later applied anhydrous ammonia has gone on as well as it has all fall and any remaining tillage is also going well. It was fortunate we had this late warm spell as there was plenty of manure yet to be applied. Also fortunate is the sparse rainfall received thus far for the month. The normal precip for November is 2.16”. As of this writing at the ranch, we’ve tallied .34” and in town .33”, much of it falling in little dabs. This may have something to do with the grain dust on the tops of many of area bins. It simply hasn’t rained enough to wash them off.
Thanksgiving came and went. There was time to deposit the numerous pumpkins we’d amassed in the sheep pasture. That made them happy, creating a pastoral scene as I grilled the turkey. The birds at the feeders kept me entertained while thinking about the chores to be done in the afternoon. Dinner was absolutely delicious with the vast majority of it purchased locally. Afterwards Mrs. Cheviot blasted off to work for a while. After cleaning up the Thanksgiving aftermath, I decided the primary objective should be to get the tree wrap on the hazelnuts (bunny candy). The hazelnuts had been chewed a little, although not bad considering the calendar date. The next move was to grind up some of the green leaves that had fallen off the trees. Again, good fortune was on my side. The wind I generally curse had deposited them to parts unknown. Good thing because it was getting towards dark. I love it when a plan comes together.
Neighbor David’s grandson Jon got my skidloader operational once again so work could proceed at the ranch. The barn could be cleaned while it was imperative to procure bedding first, which I did on Saturday. Once that was accomplished it led to unhooking the tractor from the spreader, putting the bale spear on to unload the cornstalks as well as moving some round bales of hay into the feedlot. The pasture is waning so time to get feeders in place. They were installed around the bales and an additional trough was in place for feeding screenings. The cornstalks were unloaded and put in the barn with the skidloader. After that, the bale spear was removed and the tractor was reattached to the spreader. Everything was readied for hauling manure the next day. All the on and off, hooking and unhooking had done tuckered me out and I hadn’t even started chores yet.
Sunday was warmer so there was no time like the present. After taking apart panels and gates for what seemed an eternity, barn cleaning commenced again. The first load was stuffed and was followed by more pen dismantling and moving animals into areas where they’d be of little concern. The yearling ewes were shoved outside and the freshly cleaned ram pen was bedded. Once they were in it, back in manure-loading mode. Amazing how much more evenly the material spreads when not overloading the spreader. A little more bedding for the yearling ewes, some panels put back in place and suddenly the main barn was finished. What to do?
Go in the house, rehydrate for a bit then go for a cruise in the Stude as a reward, that’s what! I debated briefly, then made my decision. It hadn’t been cleaned up yet for the season anyway and there was plenty of fuel in it so what the heck? Mrs. Cheviot opted to pass, so charted a course to the nearest Dairy Queen on smooth roads. The car started on the second attempt and once running, the gauges along with the purring of the engine convinced me it was up to the task. Took off up the road and put the Silver Hawk through its paces, running smooth as glass as I slid it on down into overdrive. We made it there incognito or as incognito as one can in a ‘59 Silver Hawk and proceeded to get our just deserts or dessert in this case: a butterscotch dipped cone. As I was consuming the delicacy, I spied an older gentleman, older than I was anyway, snapping pictures of the car as his wife was obviously becoming impatient with him.
They came in the door about the time I finished my cone so I smiled at them, exiting without saying a word. The sun was low in the sky so after attaching my shades, we set out for home. I turned the lights on as it was time and bolted, watching for deer along the way in the areas we’ve seen them before. None to be found and no mud or manure on the road to make me feel as though I’d committed some kind of collector-car sin. It was 50 degrees and even with the heater in the “off” position, the leaky valve allowed just enough heat to bleed through, making it a cozy excursion. It’s likely to be the last ride, one of many on the season. Tallying up the miles driven after I parked in the garage, they totaled over 1500. Not bad for an old fart driving a car almost as old as he is.
See you next week…real good then.