Signs of spring

Jerry Apps

The sun is up, the sky is blue, the wind is down, and so is the temperature—it is 19 degrees as I write this. “Where is spring?” someone asked me the other day.

Signs of spring are everywhere on the Apps' homestead Roshara.

Snow covers much of Roshara’s woodlands. It also remains around the buildings. But it is a tired snow, a stiff, dense, not so beautiful, grainy snow. Snow that disappears a bit more with each sunny day.

Aside from the reminders of winter, cold morning temps and snow, the signs of spring are here. The robins are back. So are the sandhill cranes. The sun is high, and each day we have a few more minutes of daylight. A friend said he’d seen a bluebird. I saw a flock of high-flying geese winging north—geese that winter farther South and are not returning. Not to be confused with those tough, local geese that stay. 

A sure sign of spring is my woodpile. Last November it stood four feet high, this morning but a few sticks remain.

I’ve seen the coming of a good many springs. No two are alike. Some are early, some are late, and some seem to last only a few days before they morph into summer. One year I planted my early spring crops in the garden by this time. Today, the garden remains snow covered, and the ground is frozen.

But spring is just around the corner, a bit shy to face up to old man winter with his bluster and might. But she will do it, as she always has. We just need a little patience.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: March on the farm builds character and challenges optimism.

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life.