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By Staff | Feb 27, 2009

When we change the calendar page to March, it just seems to change our whole focus. No matter what the weather in February, it is always winter. No matter how warm the temperatures, it still is winter.

February is still too early to plant, too early to do much outdoors. But when March comes, we really start thinking spring.

Transitioning from winter to spring is a pleasure. We don’t just look for that first robin we fully expect to see that first robin. When working outside it is a day of festivity when we hear the honking of a flock of geese. Little crocus and daffodils should poke through what looks like barren soil now.

Yes, during the month of March there is a feeling of anticipation. The lethargic attitude of winter fades away. No longer couch potatoes, we start planning to plant potatoes.

Tax time for farmers comes at an almost ideal period. As we have signed and mailed our tax returns off this past week. Income and expense receipts from the 2008 year can be cleared from our desks and filed into whatever record keeping system we use. Yippee!! Probably never to be looked at again.

Mentally I start checking my winter list of things to do. Checking it more once to pare it down to what I deem most important. In the process the list has been sorted into three categories:

  • Have to get done.
  • Should get done.
  • Must get done.

Obviously it wouldn’t have gotten on the list if it weren’t vital, right?

There are a few things I need to order through garden catalogs yet. The seeds are done, but there is still a bit of nursery stock that I desire. It’s fun to grow a variety of fruits and trees.

That reminds me, we got to prune those fruit trees and grapes yet. My three-year-old-and-older grape vines have yet to see a pruning tool. My idea was that the more vine growth would equal more fruit is not right. They need pruning to bring forth good, quality fruit. I’ll bet there is a sermon in there.

On March 8, we all have to adjust our clocks to Daylight Savings Time. There is going to be a lot of sleepy people for a week or two before we all adjust to that transition. Germany was the first country to adopt this in 1916 as a way to conserve energy. The U.S. signed on in 1918, which did not please the population and was repealed the following year.

However, it was reinstated by FDR during WW II and then again by President Nixon in 1974. Wouldn’t it be interesting to read those letters that must have been written to newspapers and politicians about that issue?

Our minds really start thinking about fieldwork and spring planting. That countdown seems to have sped up once we enter March. Time to check the filter supply, make sure any equipment needs have been secured or found. That everything is made ready for the week or two Iowa farmers spend planting.

Some of us we will be a whole year older by the end of the month, even entering a new decade of life. Whether we’ll be wiser is debatable.

Transitioning from winter to spring is probably one change we are all willing to make.

Renae Vander Schaaf is a Farm News staff writer from northwest Iowa. Reach her by e-mail at suncrest@netllcwb.net

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