Vultures, possums, and West Nile
48 degrees and sunny. Kids said "It's spring!" The sledding hill has melted to mud. My father-in-law warns that our gumbo soil (heavier clays) need the hard freeze in order to "mellow." Otherwise they will be large hard ribbon clumps of clay that need lots of work to get a crop in. It was 41 degrees yesterday. January 5th and 6th.
There have been vultures flying in the skies over Big Stone County.
I asked Uncle Mick-- who has lived in the county for 81 years-- whether he had seen vultures in years past. Nope-- he never had. This was the first year he saw them. He doesn't believe in global warming.
There are possums here now too. They're new to the area says a younger farm neighbor-- but he finds them disconcerting. I've only seen them dead along the road, but I grew up in SE Minn and never saw a possum dead or alive. Big Stone County also had a death from West Nile and numerous infected. see news article under my November 19th entry (I'll learn to link soon!)
One of my board members from SE Minn expressed concern that we bought a farm in western MN-- concerns for out future in light of global warming. She didn't think we would fare well in a hotter world with less water. She may be right-- but these gumbo soils did well this past summer. 1 inch of rain in 10 peak weeks of crop growth. We still managed a yield of 100-125 tbushels of corn per acre this past year because that gumbo soil had some water holding capacity. Just 35 miles to the SE where the soils are sandier they were wiped out if they didn't have irrigation.
Well-- it looks like the temperature is dropping again. It's down to 43 degrees.