Life as I see it…
Is it spring yet?
May 20, 2020
I stepped out of the barn into a glorious spring day. The sun was shining, the sky was a deep blue and the birds were singing to welcome this long-awaited day. Spring was really here after a few false starts.
Spring came cautiously over the land like a young child taking those first shaky steps. The winter had been a tough one. It was bitter cold, and the snow was in huge piles all over the farm. As I walked to and from school, I noticed those piles were getting smaller each day. Walking through the woods I could see and hear the melted snow trickling down to lower levels and eventually empty into the creek. I still needed a jacket for the trek to school in the morning, but it was tied around my waist on the walk home. Flocks of birds were winging their way through the sky twisting and turning as if on a vital mission. Their mission was to be the first to grab those tasty worms and grubs that appeared in the furrows as Dad and the horses plowed the land getting it ready for planting.
The lilac bush next to the front yard gate was almost ready to burst into bloom. Its fragrance would rival anything manufactured and put into a bottle. The bush’s shade would once again be a resting place for Puppy as he protected the farm and announced any arrivals of man or beast that came close to the house.
Mom still lit the wood stove in the morning to chase out the chill and make the kitchen more cozy. I still wore my flannel pajamas to bed, but I could now forget the socks. And I could get dressed in my bedroom instead of rushing downstairs to dress in front of the oil burner in the living room.
Having done my barn chores, I scurried to the chicken house and opened the little door letting them stream out and start their day of scratching for bugs and worms. I replenished their supply of egg mash and freshened their water.
I was in a rush to get all of my chores done because this was a special day. It was the day that spring made a grand entrance on the farm. National holidays and birthdays were the only days that rivaled this day and I was anxious to be a part of it.
We gathered around the kitchen table to enjoy a hardy breakfast of sausages, eggs and toast. Dad and the boys talked about spring planting, how warm the soil was and if we had enough rain to encourage the hay to grow. Mom and Millie discussed spring house cleaning and the progress of the strawberry plants. Don and I just sat and enjoyed the good food. I wanted to tell everyone to hurry and finish eating so we could get on with it.
Finally, it was time to get on with the big event. Today was the day that the cows would be put out on pasture for the first time since last fall. I called to Puppy and we all stood guard by the barnyard gate. Jim let the cows out of the barn into the barnyard. There were no fences to confine the cows as they walked from the barn to the pasture. Cows are smart when they want to be. When Milt opened the yard gate, the older cows knew what was happening. The rest of us spaced ourselves so we could guide the cows to the pasture. The cows didn’t lollygag. They knew that fresh green grass was awaiting them. As they entered the pasture, they all broke into a run. Even the old cows kicked up their heels in glee. They ran, they stretched and licked for it was freedom at last. After a good romp in the tall, green grass, they settled down for some serious grazing.
And why was this such a great day? Cows going out to pasture doesn’t equal a trip to Disneyland, but it was a great event for all of us. When the cows were in the barn just for the milking time, there was no need to clean the gutters every day. No one had to throw down silage or struggle to drag great layers of loose hay down the chute. Being a farm kid means getting rid of as many chores as possible or at least making the chores easier.
Enjoy the spring and wiggle out of as many chores as you can.