Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Signs of Spring

by Shawn Strasburg

It is sort of spring, okay it is positively spring but the weather doesn’t want to cooperate today. I have several reasons to acknowledge the beginning of spring every year and more so this year. People think of spring as either a date, or a change in weather, or perhaps a change in activity. All of these things affect my spring perception but none like the weather.

For starters I was born on the first day of spring and that has always made it quite easy to know when spring begins. However my cake no longer signifies the day when the weather should become nice. Some overzealous joker changed the calendars a few years back and now half of them designate March 20 as the first day of spring. As if something printed could negate what I have know my whole life, spring begins March 21st.

Around my house we have never investigated this thing called spring cleaning. Sure we clean and clean all year long, and no one in my house really likes to do it. This cleaning is a never ending process already and we see no need to devote a week of pure cleaning just to show our dedication to torture. Furthermore, if it is spring and nice outside who would want to be stuck indoors doing such mundane things that should be reserved for times when blizzards are whistling through the trees.

One activity that we do participate in that begins in the spring is gardening. By the first day of spring you are pushing your luck if you have not ordered your seeds by mail and plan to get a good variety. I ordered heirloom seeds a year ago and in February they were already sold out of some bean species. This time of year I think of amending the soil with good organic aged manure and hiring the neighbor kid to rototill it in. Some seeds perhaps should be seeded in the window soon, depending on what you will be planting. Tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini, summer squash, pumpkins, and broccoli all could be growing soon.

If you have seen the movie Bambi then you are well aware that in spring all manner of creatures bear young. Well at my house I have noticed few of the wild species, though the domestic are hard to ignore. Someone (perhaps me) considered a fifty dollar Holstein bull calf to be a good investment. He has in fact surprised us in his continuing value. Consider that a family of four can easily pay over fifty dollars to go to a 3-D film when you throw in a little popcorn and soda. This calf bucks and kicks bawls and plays, he follows me around as a surrogate mother and has notions that my children belong to his herd. Long after a movie is forgotten, Calfy, Mr. Snuggle Face, or number one as my wife calls him due to his ear tag, still brings joy and entertainment to our family with his antics. He is nine days old and I think we get at least fifty dollars a day of happiness from him. When the weather warms up we plan on bringing the kids chickens back from grandma’s house when they have concluded their spring duties of hatching eggs and we will have an orchestra of noises to wake to every morning.

The weather is the least trustworthy measure of spring. In my mind I never consider snow to be a part of spring and cold weather is right out of the equation. Spring should be tropical with warm rains and slight breezes filled with fragrant smells of flowers and fresh air. When I watched the weather this morning and they called for snow, and I looked out the window and saw the stony skies, I felt like returning to winter hibernation for a while longer until summer has prevailed on old man winter.

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