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let's talk farm animals

Spring on the farm

by Patricia Grotenhuis, lifelong dairy farmer and agricultural advocate

I always found, growing up, one of the hardest questions to answer was “what’s your favourite season?”  I loved them all!  As each change in the seasons came, I would look forward to the change with anticipation. 

Scenes like this may still be a few weeks away but we're already looking forward to them!

Spring, to me, meant a time for new life.  Not only in the barn, either.  Dairy cows have calves year round, which is why we have a steady supply of milk in the grocery stores.  Other animals, like beef cows, sheep and meat goats, have most of their young during the late winter and spring months.  I have always loved driving down the road in the spring, and seeing the young animals out on pasture.  It is a sight that will make me smile every time, no matter how often I see it.

Spring is also a time for new life in the fields, though.  Crops are planted, and start emerging from the soil.  Tiny shoots which one day (in the not-too-distant future) will be large and will feed us, our animals, or our neighbours appear.

Blossoms and buds appear on the trees, and wildlife starts to reappear from their winter dwellings.  Nothing is more breathtaking than driving past an orchard in full bloom during the spring.

Spring days are long ones.  Farmers have to get the crops planted, take care of all of the new animals, and clean up after a long winter.  Sometimes there are even extra jobs, such as fixing something which broke in the late fall or early winter, has not been used since, and could not be fixed during the winter.

As daylight hours increase, the farmer’s work day often increases, too.  Seeing the little lamb run off through the pasture or that first sign of corn emerging in the field always makes it worthwhile, though.

The warmer days are a pleasing change after a winter of being cold whenever working outdoors, and being walloped with snow.  Animals on pasture are not the only ones happy to be outside after the long winter.  As a child, I always looked forward to playing that first ball game in the driveway (even though there were only three of us, we made it work) or getting the bikes out of the shed.  Riding our bikes back to the field with sandwiches and drinks for Dad was a job we took very seriously.

Even though I know it means we will not see my husband as much, I am looking forward to spring this year.  I will be able to take our boys outside to work in the garden.  We will take the stroller back to the field filled with a fresh thermos and lunch bag full of food for my husband’s lunch.  The beef cattle across the road will be back on pasture, with new calves running around. 

Yes, spring is a great time to be on the farm, for farm children and farmers alike, even though we may grumble sometimes at the long, seemingly never-ending days.

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Posted by OFAC on March 25th, 2011 :: Filed under Crops,Dairy cattle,Farm life,Other livestock,spring,Weather
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