Signs of Spring

You know how I talked last week about some of the Boers shedding their cashmere undercoats? Now they’re all doing it; that’s a sign of spring!

by Martok
Boer goat
Photo by Sue Weaver
Amelia has tufts of cashmere stuck to her horn—a sure sign of spring.

You know how I talked last week about some of the Boers shedding their cashmere undercoats? Now they’re all doing it; that’s a sign of spring! They scratch their itchy backs with their horns and walk around with cashmere stuck on the tips. Mom thinks it looks really cute.

There are lots of signs of spring to see on a farm, depending on where you live. We talked to Hank the Beagle, who lived in Minnesota. Here are some things we learned.

Hank says he lived in Minnesota for lots of years (he’s a really old dog nowadays). He says winters last a lot longer there than they do here. Snow gets deeper than a Beagle is tall and it stays that way all winter long. And it’s cold—super cold—for a very long time. 

Up north, some animals hibernate or become less active than their cousins here in the Ozarks, so when you see a groundhog or smell a skunk in the North, that’s a springtime sign. Geese and ducks come winging home. Male woodcocks fly high into the sky and then dive at the earth to impress lady woodcocks. Then come the noisy spring birds, like red-winged blackbirds and eastern phoebes. Woodpeckers drum on trees and fence posts—even on the sides of houses! As soon as ice and snow are off of the ponds and lakes, spring peepers begin chirping and turtles start basking in the sun.

But Hank says the surest signs of spring are when bushels of dog poop emerge from the ice in the dog yard and the ground under the bird feeders gets utterly disgusting.

It’s harder to tell when spring is coming here in the Ozarks because we don’t get much snow, and it’s warmer most of the time. Skunks and woodchucks are active all year. Mom heard a phoebe singing fee-bee, fee-bee in late December and turtles bask on sun-warmed river rocks below the Mammoth Spring State Park dam even on cold winter days. 

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But there are signs! Like the sun shining higher in the sky, buds swelling on the redbud trees and moths fluttering by the barn lights at night. 

Dad says its light when he goes to work and light when he gets off at night—that’s one of his favorite things about early spring. Mom wears fewer layers of clothes to come out and feed us: jeans and a jacket over a sweatshirt is all. And, she puts away her balaclavas and Fudd hats with ear flaps for the year—that’s when we know spring has almost sprung. 

So how can you  tell when it’s almost spring on your farm? Uzzi and I want to know!

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