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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Mar 23, 2009

I have been asked several times recently if I am ready for spring and my standard answer was that “I am ready for spring, because I was never ready for winter.” I have previously expressed my thoughts on winter as a time to endure so there is no need to repeat myself.

At the risk of messing things up by saying it, the signs of spring are here, but having said that, I am afraid of a freak late-winter snow storm appearing just to let me know I can be wrong. Weather always has the last word in spite of what we want to believe or hope.

I have seen my first robin. The snowdrifts are shrinking. People are appearing in public wearing shorts, which really impresses me with their optimism. We have gone through the silly exercise of setting our clocks ahead one hour.

To top it all off, the calendar says we are at the third week of March. Spring must really be here. Although another inch of snow could still show up, it would be more of an insult than a set back.

There are more signs on the way such as Easter, and if you believe in planting by the calendar, you’ll have your potatoes ready to plant on Good Friday. I doubt if the potatoes know the difference so planting on the Thursday before or Saturday after will work, too. Once they are in the ground, they know what to do. All they want from me is good soil conditions, a little fertilizer, and occasional weeding.

It seems like the planting of gardens and entire farms this spring is more important than usual. For all the turmoil we have experienced in recent months, we are looking for those things we have always depended on and can appreciate for their predictability.

Those seeds planted in the ground and nurtured by good growing conditions will do what they have always done. They do not care if the Dow Jones is at 7000 or if your 401K is worth half of its value. They do not care who won the presidential election.

he seeds do not care what corporation is asking to be bailed out next. Their only request is warm, moist, fertile soil. The farmers and gardeners of this world will be happy to provide exactly that.

There are more than seeds to plant in the ground. There are calves to be born and lambs to raise. I am watching the female cats waddle around, swelling with the next litter of kittens close to arrival. Spring is a time for new life in all its forms.

Yesterday a window was opened a few inches because the temperature outside was close to the temperature inside. Fresh outside air replaced the air that had been held inside. At the end of the day, the window was closed, but with each passing week, it will stay open longer until there is no difference between inside and outside temperatures. It is what we have been waiting for since last fall.

We paid our dues during those 90 days of winter from early December to late February. We have earned our right to take a deep breath of fresh spring air, listen to the birds sing, and behold a bright sunny day as the mud becomes firm ground and it gets tougher everyday to have a snowball fight.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net

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