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Signs of Spring!

April 4, 2013
Kelsey Buck , Emmetsburg News

I think spring is finally going to make an appearance. I was doubtful for a while but signs of spring are popping up all over.

Easter weekend is always a great time to get together with family and welcome spring. We went to sunrise service at my family's country church. Several windows face east so the sun warmed the congregation as it came up. It was fun to see all the kids dressed up in their Sunday best and fill their baskets with colored eggs. It sounded like the Easter Bunny was out in full force this year. Our friends' little boy was even surprised with two real-life baby chicks. The chicks spent Easter riding in the backs of toy trucks.

Spring usually marks the time when my brother dreams up some new ridiculous project. He is known for his many hobbies and his wife has been so kind to put up with them over the years. When there isn't homemade Brie cheese exploding on the countertops he can be found doing any number of activities near my parents' farm in southwest Iowa.

About five years ago he started his adventure in viticulture. He planted grapes of Chambourcin, Chancellor, Brianna and Traminette variety. These are supposedly a little hardier and could possibly (and I emphasize possibly) withstand the harsh Iowa weather. The vines start out as small sticks, which could easily be mistaken for kindling or debris leftover from last fall. Amazingly enough, after three years, they eventually started bearing fruit. Every year since has been a surprise. Between late frosts, tornadoes and unwanted visits from birds and critters, the results have varied from year to year.

One thing that has always remained constant is the early spring prep work required every year to kick off the new season. Each year the vines get pruned back before any leaves or buds start forming. It's not an enjoyable task and the result is rows and rows of sad looking bare vines.

They go perfectly with the brown yards and muddy roads. Our dog has found every way possible to track mud inside the house. Fortunately, I was able to spy the first signs of green grass coming up, which should put a stop to that.

I also took a ride with my dad to see the newborn baby calves coming in. He had to pull a calf that morning which is always fascinating to me. Farmers perform some of the most life and death daily tasks like it is no big deal. The baby Herefords are my favorite because their white faces are still so clean and bright. Like any newborn animal, their first steps are shaky but they can make so much progress in very little time.

I'm vaguely familiar with the old saying, "you never see snow on a buzzard's back." Well, I've seen plenty of buzzards around lately. Robins are showing up too although bird experts say they aren't really a sign of spring. Red-winged black birds, maybe, but I'll leave that to the experts. I've been keeping an eye on our willow tree. From what I've read, willow trees are one of the earliest to grow leaves. Before the willows even get close to having leaves, they take on a yellow tone and that yellow tone is just starting to develop.

The longer daylights hours are making people antsy to get outside. Student golfers are starting to practice outside even if their coats are a little bulky and the fishing is transitioning from ice to open water. Several of us went fishing over the weekend while it was nice out. It was my first day on an open pond this year. We only caught a few small crappie and bass but it was fun to see yet another sign of new life this season.



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