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BERTRAM — An entire community relies on Pawnee and the miniature donkey’s judgment each year to predict the arrival of spring.

He’s presented with two choices of feed: Oats represent an early spring, while sweet feed means six more weeks of winter.

Water is also offered, indicating a wet spring. But we all know donkeys rarely drink water, and Pawnee barely acknowledged it.

With all eyes fixed on his most important choice of the year, Pawnee dropped his head toward the feed bowl on his left. He chose the oats. In his eight years of forecasting, Pawnee has been known to have uncanny accuracy predicting the oncoming spring.

Most in attendance were wearing short-sleeved shirts on this rather unusually warm February day. An early spring was near.

Until …

Pawnee raised his head. Noticed more food to his right and went right to the sweet feed. The donkey, apparently, chose both.

“It will be mixed,” Donkey Day Judge Ken Odiorne said. “It will be cold, then hot, and we’re not going to know how to dress.”

Pawnee continued to go back and forth between the two feeds.

Mayor Dickie Allen uses Pawnee’s guidance to plant his garden.

“I guess I’ll plant a garden and cover it up,” Allen said.

Most in attendance left ready to be prepared for any type of weather — except rain.