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Spring Peepers - March 18, 2009

Posted 3/19/2009 10:30am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

Yesterday even our most trivial conversations were somehow related to the arrival of spring. The girls tore off their tights after school and came dashing outside barelegged protesting that they were nature princesses and therefore did not need socks when I reminded them that, officially, it was still winter, and yes, they needed socks and shoes.

Roy took the day off work to clean out the barn in Blacklog Valley where our cows and heifers spent the winter.  Today the heifers, (young females cows who will have their first calf this spring) will be brought home so that we can keep a close eye on them during their first calving.   He uses a skid steer to take out the manure that has piled up over the winter.  After being turned over a couple times to rot down and compost, the manure will be spread on the pastures to feed the soil and increase productivity.  While negotiating around the support poles in the bottom of the old bank barn, he misjudged and brushed the tire of skid steer on the corner of a concrete support.  The tire was punctured and he was forced to take a three-hour break to take the tire off and get it repaired before returning to the work.

I spent my day in the sun cleaning flowerbeds, digging up more lawn for another rock / flower / vegetable garden, and planting some spinach and lettuce in the one bed that is ready to plant.   Since we’ve moved here it has been a goal of ours to decrease the amount of lawn to mow.  As much as I like digging in the dirt and trying to create natural-looking beds that provide food for birds, bees, butterflies, and us, there is a time in every day when I like to sit and look around or read or watch a good movie.  Since I prefer to not have to work all the time, I’ve decided that beds “going native” are really beautiful and I am now convinced of it.   So what if some of them are taken over by Pokeberry.  Pokeberries are really beautiful and the birds love them.  And what is so bad about a big bed of wild blackberry bramble.  The girls like to pick them and we love to eat them and it teaches them that some things are worth a little suffering.

And at the end of the day, we stood still and listened before going inside.  A few Spring Peepers were chirping in the wetlands below the road.   The few tentative chirps will soon be a chorus and join with the song of the Bluebirds, Robins, and Baltimore Orioles competing for mates and building nests.  And then before long, the bumblebees will fly and according to my grandmother, shoes and socks can finally come off for the summer.