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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Somebody better call Noah.

Welcome to another season of completely unpredictable weather in Eastern Ontario. I don’t know what you think about the Farmers’ Almanac – I can’t understand the darn thing in hard copy form: too many charts and numbers for me. I prefer words. But the online version is kind of cool, and the search function makes it a heck of a lot easier to find things. I did a search for “summer in Ontario 2014”. The Farmers’ Almanac gave me the whole year. 
Winter was supposed to be a bit warmer than normal. Not sure if I agree that it was. The coldest periods were to be early and mid-December, late January and late February. Well that kind of covers all bases, doesn’t it?
The almanac did predict higher than usual amounts of precipitation and we did get that.
So the almanac can be pretty spot-on. Is it kind of like a weather horoscope? Maybe. Take it or leave it, here’s what the almanac says we have coming up.
April and May will be slightly cooler than normal (Booo….). Snowfall will be above normal, despite below-normal precipitation. Now that I find confusing. Isn’t snowfall the same as precipitation? And WHY are we still speaking of snow in spring?? Anyway, I digress.
The almanac says summer will be warmer than normal, with the hottest temperatures in mid to late June, early to mid-July and early to mid-August. So basically all summer. It’s going to be a hot one. Rainfall will be normal.
Looking ahead to the fall, the almanac says September and October will be warmer than normal. Precipitation will also be above normal.
I’m just lookin’ around and all I see at the moment, as April settles in, is snow. I know in some areas like Toronto they have experienced some flash flooding already, but I’m thinking we might need to take some extra precautions when the big melt comes. Like build an ark or something.
I’m really hoping the County gets their road crews out to clear the road grates on time so we can have proper drainage. Because the melting snow pools at the corners and we don’t need people hydro-planing through our many roundabouts in Kemptville. 
At the farm, we already have our usual ice-puddle in the entrance to the cattle area. Every year it catches me by surprise and I slip and fall on it. Not this year. But it’s a little more noticeable this season, because it’s already a small pond.
On the mild days, snow slides off the barn roof and we quickly count calves and sheep to make sure no one is buried under the resulting drift. Soon all of that will melt and we will have to make sure the doghouses, lamp creep and hay feeders are high and dry.
The barnyard will become a mudfield for the next few months, until the summer sun finally dries it out. The mud will try to suck my rubber boots off my feet, pulling me off balance so I am in danger of falling and sitting in the sludge. It has happened more than once.
The animals pick out a path on the edges of the mud, and we often lay boards down for them to walk on so they don’t get stuck in the mire and the muck. There’s nothing sadder than a sheep who has lost her footing and fallen over. Imagine how hard it would be to get yourself back up if you were built like a barrel with pegs for legs. More than once I have had to run out and upright a toppled sheep. And then this weird thing occurs. It’s like the innards of the sheep have shifted, and she can’t walk straight for a while. You have to hold her still and steady until she is right again.
All that being said, I’m looking forward to the rainy season. I love all the four seasons, but the ultra-warm sunshine that will break through occasionally in spring just puts everyone in such a great mood.
We do have a lot of snow to melt, however, so if anyone has a direct line to Noah, dial him up. I’m just glad I bought myself a new pair of boots.

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