Agriculture & Livestock: Signs that spring is near
Although it seems like the drifted snow and ice will never melt, for this author, there are signs that spring isn’t far off.
Consider the following:
• The tulips are coming up along a building wall where it’s bared off and warm.
• Some bare spots (yay, dirt!) are showing up along the south side of the shop and increase in size each day.
• For some ranchers, lambing and calving season has started.
• A flock of red-winged blackbirds is sitting up in the elm tree where the birds sing their spring song.
• The bored, not-so-hungry cows are apt to take notice of a gate left open a minute or so too long and escape. (Perhaps they have noticed the small patches of green grass visible where the snow is melting.)
• The barn cats roll in whatever bare spots they can find.
• At least one of the barn cats is noticeably “with kittens.”
• Feed pans, buried in snow by the first big storm, are now visible.
• Although it appeared that one had to walk downhill to get to the stock water tank, the “mountain” of drifted snow is now melting, making it apparent that the pathway to the tank is really level to the ground.
• In the front yard, the spot over the septic tank is bare, and one can see that part of the lawn again.
• Water stands under cars and the pickup truck during the day, then freezes at night.
• The water tank hose no longer has to be put in the house at night.
• A person can’t help but get muddy when getting the mail out of a rural mailbox.
• On the feedlot, some of the ice is melting , but it remains under the “cow pies,” leaving them perched on top of ice. The “cow pies” resemble mushrooms.
• Digging out corral gates involves a lot of chipping.
• Snowboots and all those layers of coats seem to get heavier and heavier.
• Cars are covered with muddy spots, courtesy of the melting county roads.
• Snowboots have sprung leaks, and there are lots of dirty socks in the laundry.
• Deer are now able to find some vegetation along the sides of the highway where the snow has melted off, keeping drivers alert.
• Driveways are slushy in the daytime and icy at night.
• Cows are seen sleeping on thawed (not necessarily dry) spots on the feedlot.
• Mineral blocks that have been pushed out of feed pans seem to sink and then disappear into the ground.
• Piles of snow and thick ice fallen from roofs have yet to melt.
• Bull sales begin happening for ranchers.
• Seed catalog companies that sent out their first 2011 seed catalogs in December are now sending out the second catalogs with special $1 dollar off coupons if customers order in March.
• Practice areas have been plowed at area schools for the track and baseball seasons.
• Cows are “itchy” and can be found rubbing on almost anything that will satisfy the itch, including steel posts, fences, corral posts, gates and the edges of trailers parked on the feedlot.
• The green spots on cow faces come from rubbing on gates and panels.
• When getting too close to the edge of a path, a person’s feet are apt to sink way down into snow that was once crusted.
Copyright Diane Prather, 2011.