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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Apr 12, 2013

This has been the winter that won’t leave and we are desperate for any sign of spring to let us believe winter has finally ended.

We are waiting for the spring flowers to emerge from the crocus, daffodil, and tulip bulbs we planted last fall. What a greeting they are going to get when they appear.

Personally, the appearance of tomcats in March, especially when they haven’t been seen since last March, tells me spring is on the way.

Robins are the quintessential sign of spring, and birds have been filling the air for the last couple weeks around here.

Geese, ducks, swans, finches and many more we haven’t seen since last year, including the robins, have all made their appearance.

We see them and we hear them in an ode to spring fueled by the mating season.

Today, the blackbirds made themselves known in force. Hundreds of them filled the air.

They spent the day going between the trees and the lawn as if they were in search of something important they had lost.

When the day ended it seemed they had not found it as they were still combing the lawn in serious examination.

A flock of blackbirds in a tree can make a joyful noise. We listened to them with the window open, and there were occasions when the entire flock went suddenly silent.

My wife and I were puzzled at how they seemed to go from place to place as a flock, moving at the same time in the same direction as if it was a group decision.

With their mass movements in unison and complete pauses of silence in the middle of their song, we wondered, who was in charge?

Somebody had to be orchestrating the singing and the flying.

It reminded me of watching a school of fish that seem to move randomly, but they move as a group. How do fish signal each other and who is doing the signaling?

I asked my wife, “Do you think farmers could ever be so organized to move like a flock of birds or a school of fish?”

It is tough organizing a group of people whose chosen occupation has a strong sense of independence built into it.

My wife countered that farmers are not as independent as they seem. One farmer goes to the field, and then everybody has to go to the field. She had a good point.

It is like watching a flock of birds or a school of fish. Everybody does the same thing at the same time, but who is in charge?

That led us to the next question.

A group of fish is a school. A group of birds is a flock or more specifically, a gaggle of geese and a murder of crows. A group of monkeys is a troop. What would you call a group of farmers?

I thought maybe it could be a hitch of farmers or possible a tractor of farmers. A few minutes later, I came up with a harvest of farmers.

My wife suggested a field of farmers. Ooooh, she is good.

Okay, now, who is in charge?

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

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