Ann Swanson

Spring on the farm is an exciting time. It also involves work from morning until night. There are baby animals to tend to, fields to be prepared, as well as a garden to plant. There is no shortage of jobs to be accomplished.

When I lived beside my in-laws when we first got married, I helped plant the garden at the farm. There was really no place to have a garden of my own. We shared whatever we produced.

Grandpa was always proud of his garden. He would walk out there to inspect the plants daily. It was my mother-in-law and my job to see that there were no weeds. It seemed like that was an endless job. The weeds always grew faster than the plants. As a novice gardener it was sometimes difficult for me to distinguish between the two.

One year my father-in-law grew some really big carrots. Although they were very large, they were quite tender. Two carrots were enough to serve us all. I sent a picture to one of the farm magazines and he was so proud when they printed it.

Another sign of sign is that the wild animals also prepare to deliver their young. We have had deer in the yard all winter. In fact, I have had a bunch of deer in my yard every day – just grazing. This morning I surprised three deer who were near the back door and they bounded off. When they were a ways away, they turned to look back at me. They stood in that new spot for quite a while.

I do not personally have any baby animals at my place but the farm my son operates down below me will have baby lambs, goats, pigs, and calves. The calves are usually the last ones born. During calving time my son makes trips home from his business to check on them. With the lambs and goats my daughter-in-law makes the trips home to check on them.

As I think of spring, I think back to the old days when the men planted corn. There were endless trips around the field to prepare it for planting. It had to be plowed, then smoothed out before the seed was added. It was a challenge to raise corn. The birds would often eat the seed before it had a chance to sprout. That made for a sparse field.

The daffodils are finally in bloom. Somehow, I missed the crocuses this year. I never saw the prolific spread of purple that usually fill my lawn. I suspect they came up under the snow.

The tulips will be close behind the daffodils. I am of Dutch descent and I love tulips. My great-grandmother used to have so many different kinds of tulips in her garden. We usually took some of them to the cemetery along with narcissus and daffodils. After they were finished the peonies were ready. We took flowers from the garden.

I am watching the trees for buds. I can hardly wait for the trees to have their leaves. I love that yellow green of the new leaves. Of course, the flowering trees are preparing to blossom. It depends where you live how fast you see blossoms.

I have so many things to be thankful for. Watching for the signs of spring is just one of them. I have my health, a roof over my head, a loving family, and plenty of food to eat.

I am thankful also for faithful readers. I receive so many comments about the articles. Some of them come by e-mail, some by snail mail, and some by phone. People relate to different articles depending on their personal experience. A special thank you to the lady who brought me a coffee pad and a book. I have not had time to read the book yet. Another thank you goes out to the lady who brought me a devotional about knitting. I am so thankful that people consider me a friend when they read my column.

The piece I did about the pecans brought a response from the Pecan Council. The lady thanked me for my interest in the product that they produce. I never expected that.

The Mail Pouch piece triggered responses from many around the area who knew of other signs that I did not know about. I also heard from the organization that I mentioned in the article. Now I am a member of the mailpouchbarnstormers. It would be fun to attend their convention.

When I print a recipe I often get responses. Just last week I received a response about a recipe that I had published more than a year ago. The lady liked the recipe and wanted to know if I produced a cookbook. People often come up to me when I am out and about and tell me they tried the soup or cake or whatever I wrote about.

Even when I work my volunteer stations, I meet readers. One man was so excited to meet me he called his wife to have her guess who he met. That kind of response creates an awesome responsibility for me. I know what I have to say is taken to heart.

As we welcome spring to this area I hope you enjoy what the Lord created. As I edit this it is Earth Day. That is a time for us to reflect on our blessings and take seriously our responsibilities toward the earth and its resources. We must be good stewards of all that has been given to us. Some of our resources are renewable, but many are not. We must learn to use them wisely and for the benefit or many.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.


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