Spring weather - invariably variable

One of the challenges of farming in the spring is definitely the weather. As I mentioned in the last post, this spring has been cold and wet, so everyone is behind with spring work.

A good word to describe the spring weather in Eastern Washington would be erratic, but that might be an understatement. As I was driving around on the tractor yesterday, the weather kept changing from sunny to cloudy to rainy to snowy. Yes, snowy.

The following set of photos give you an idea of how quickly the spring weather changes here. In the first, taken at 7am, you can see lots of blue skies and sunshine. It was cold and windy too—about 38 degrees (brrr). The turbines in the background were making plenty of electricity. From that time onward, new waves of weather repeatedly crashed down upon us.

Starting out nice

The most noteworthy weather event of the day was the snow. I have seen April snowstorms before, but this one was whiter than usual.

Is that snow coming?

I don’t know if I have ever been driving a tractor in a snowstorm like this one. For a few minutes, you would have sworn it was January and not April. I had to pull out of the field when it got too muddy.

Um, yes.

However, as spring snowstorms often melt quickly away, this one did too. An hour after I stopped, the sun had reappeared and the snow had disappeared. It was still cold, but I was able to get back on the tractor for another couple hours before quitting time.

No more snow, back to work

As you can imagine, the sun didn’t stay too long either. Dark clouds soon formed on the horizon and readied their cold, heartless blow.

Here we go again

When you are out on a day like this, the magnitude of the earth is in plain sight. Even with all of the modern technology we have, we are still at the mercy of the weather. Farmers are especially aware of this fact each year about this time. They see skies like the one below and wonder whether the clouds or the sun is going to win. I often think it would be nice to have weather on-demand, but then I think that we would probably get bored with endless 80-degree sunny days. 

My money is on the clouds

Or maybe not.