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Spring fever

Susan Manzke
Tundra swans nibbling in a neighboring field are a welcome sight for Bob and Susan Manzke.

Throughout my life autumn was my favorite season. The scents and color changes especially touched me every year, and still do. Thinking of the cold that would follow fall never bothered me. My younger self enjoyed winter.

Recently I’ve adopted a different opinion on my love of seasons. Spring has leaped ahead of autumn.

Spring, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…..Okay, that might sound silly, but right now I’m head over heels in love with spring.

First, the end of winter really boosts my love of spring. Snow and ice have disappeared. Now we have a mostly brown landscape, but that’s soon to change. In many places, like lawns, green remained hidden all winter long. Now stems of green are showing themselves above the brown thatch.

On our late winter walks, Bob would marvel at the green of the winter rye planted by our neighbor. “It’s looking better every day,” Bob said as he delighted in the seasonal change—I thought my husband saw more of an early change than I did, but as usual, a farmer is hopeful for the coming growing season, even if he anticipated it a bit early if you ask me.

Today my tulips leaves are about six inches high. One tiny crocus bloomed, but by the time I noticed the little thing had already wilted.

I’m ready to turn soil for planting. I love the smell of freshly turned earth. Of course, it’s way too early for planting my garden, so I’m starting some seeds inside. We’ll see what comes of those plants. If they don’t do so well I’ll be able to go to a greenhouse and buy replacements.

Seeds in the spring are the dreams of a fall harvest. I tend to get too many whether they are sprouted here, or bought elsewhere. My garden has dwindled to a few unusual raised beds—meaning tractor tires, EZ-Flow spreaders, and old stock tanks—I like my garden up off the ground.

Besides the sights and smells of spring there are wonderful sounds surrounding us. The loudest sounds come from returning birds. Canada geese come by the hundreds to take rest in our field where rainwater still sits. These geese come in honking, talking to each other, making quite a racket upon their arrival and departure.

The Canada geese don’t come alone, along with them are tundra swans. These birds make a little less noise but their beauty fills the sky and the fields around our area every spring.

The Canada geese don’t come alone, along with them are tundra swans. These birds make a little less noise but their beauty fills the sky and the fields around our area every spring.

A friend had asked when the swans were going to be at our farm. We never know. There can be 100 here looking like they’re going to stay a long time and then the next time you look out the window they’re gone.

It’s funny how the swans come in the spring but they pass us by in the fall. Even though we only get the swans for a short time their arrival speaks highly of the wonders of spring.

I was just outside giving some handouts to the barn cats when a flock of geese started gliding towards our field. I stopped what I was doing and just watched them. Their comings and goings amaze me.

Another big bird in the neighborhood is Sandhill cranes. There calls are prehistoric. A pair always nests in our backfield. Their return heralds spring, too.

Spring fever often hits me mid-winter. This year it came for me after the vernal equinox when our spring officially had already arrived. It appeared in the form of a terrible, no-good, horrible, very bad spring cold.

A cold is rare for me and I am miserable. But I will continue to appreciate the change of season. Bob appreciates it too. He’s getting set for planting even though it will be a while yet before his soybeans can go in the ground. With each seed we plant hope.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;