The scurs were overly pessimistic about last week’s forecast. Although there was snow most days, it was forecast except Monday. Are we headed toward spring this week? The scurs tell all. Starting Wednesday, mostly sunny becoming cloudy overnight with a chance of showers. Highs of 50 – 55 and lows around 40. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs once again of 50 – 55 and lows of 25 – 30. Partly cloudy on Friday and cooler. Highs around 45 and lows of 25 – 30. Partly cloudy on Saturday becoming cloudy overnight with a chance of showers. Highs near 50 with lows near 35. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with a chance of showers. Highs near 50 and lows around 35. Cloudy on Monday with a chance of rain. Highs 45 – 50 and lows near 25. Partly cloudy for Tuesday and cooler. Highs of 40 – 45 with lows near 20. The normal high for St. Patty’s Day is 41 and the normal low is 22. The scurs will be seeing leprechauns after consuming mass quantities of green malted barley beverages.
The Full Moon is upon us on the 19th. This is known as the Full Worm Moon as the worms come to the soil surface, leaving their castings while enriching Mother Earth. It is also commonly known as the Full Sap Moon and the Full Lenten Moon, the last full moon of the winter. This was also known as the Snow Crust Moon by the Ojibwe as the snow that was thawed during the day became crusted and frozen at night. The Sioux called it the Moon When Buffalo Drop Their Calves, same as many farmers in the area. At the ranch we know it as the Moon When Border Collies Are Caked with Mud.
Up to this point, Old Man Winter has done his level best to make sure the landscape is white. After giving us a thaw on Friday, the weather was anything but spring-like for much of the weekend. Water buckets in the lambing barn froze and there were times on Saturday one would’ve sworn it was January with the snow blowing so hard that visibility was greatly reduced in areas. On the way to Owatonna, there were times I wondered if it was a wise decision to attempt the journey. By the time I returned however, the snow squalls had subsided and travel was safe once again. Such is March. It may be like a lamb one day but the next day the lamb grows fangs and takes a hunk out of your behind. Even though the weather is supposed to warm up this next week, most of us have lived through enough March snowstorms to know that just about anything goes this month in the precip department.
There are some glimmers of hope though. On the 18th we are back over 12 hours of daylight once again. Spring officially begins on March 20th with the vernal equinox occurring on March 20th. This of course means lots of irate chickens when their eggs all stand on end. In the house at the ranch, the ladybugs are also coming to life, although their numbers appear to be diminished over some years. Other signs outside this past Monday that indicate we are about to see some change include a red-winged blackbird as well as more robins. There have also been more hen pheasants showing up and that’s a good sign. The snow piles are shrinking and, unless something drastic changes in the forecast, the fields should become bare once again as they basically were during the thaw back in February. The horned larks will appreciate that on their short grass nesting area. Tough to hatch eggs on top of the snow.
The ewes are nearly done lambing. There are only a couple left to lamb now and the crop has been bountiful. The loafing barn is at capacity and we need the weather to melt the snow so the fence can be charged again. Some of the lambs that were born a month ago are about 25 lbs. already, so they really can use the exercise. The snowmelt thus far has created a huge lake in front of the barn, so that needs to melt a channel through the snow banks. Otherwise Ruby gets extra filthy, especially when her first official act each night at choretime creates a rooster tail of water behind her as she zooms into the barn.
The seeds have been ordered for the garden once again before the selection gets picked over. It’s always a great little surprise to find that package in the mailbox, partially because it covers up all the bills. In the early garden, we’re trying several varieties of snap peas this year. The prairie winds always seem to raise heck with some of the taller types, defeating the purpose of putting up trellises for them to climb on. In the late garden department, we’re always heavy on the vine crops as some of the varieties we like are tough to find without ordering through a catalog. Thanks to Betsy’s dad’s cousin, we’re going to give the winter radishes a whirl this year. They were welcome table fare about the time much of the garden produce was done for the season last fall. Kindled thoughts of what to look forward to in the next garden.
See you next week…real good then.