Monday, May 16, 2011

Weather Woes

Yesterday, I awoke to rain and an outside temperature of 38 degrees F - normal for March, but unusual for mid-May.  My folks reported an inch of snow at their home east of Sonora - the first time they could remember measurable snow in May in the nearly 44 years they've lived there.  Our intern Paul was caught in a thunderstorm (including hail, thunder and lightning) while moving the sheep in Rocklin.  By all accounts, May 15 was a wild day, weather-wise.

Normally I enjoy late season storms - I soak up the cooler weather knowing that the summer heat is just around the corner.  This year, since a canal outage has disrupted our supply of irrigation water, I'm especially grateful for the nearly one inch of precipitation we received yesterday.

On the other hand, we're trying to get our sheep shorn.  We're nearly 3 weeks behind our normal shearing date, thanks largely to the extraordinarily wet March we had.  I was planning on shearing about 30 ewes myself yesterday - we gave up after shearing 21 because the remaining ewes were too sloppy from having been penned indoors overnight.  Our contract shearer is due to arrive Wednesday morning, but we're still up in the air because of the rain forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.  And we're behind on several grazing contracts - mostly because of the tremendous grass growth that all this wet weather has supported.

As I write this, the sky looks as if we'll be getting more rain soon.  I'm reminded of a story my Dad tells from the summer when he and my uncle were setting up their first farm equipment auction in southeastern Washington.  They were sitting in the kitchen of a wheat farmer on an August morning, watching the rain ruin the crop.  My Dad asked the farmer (Mr. Fulgham, as I recall) what he was going to do.  Mr. Fulgham replied, "I guess I'll just let it rain."

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