Spring has sprung in the Fraser Valley!
I always find that Easter weekend really marks the beginning of a new season on our dairy farm. Although some field work, such as spreading manure for fertilizing our crops, has been ongoing for a few weeks already, Easter seems to be the essence of all things spring. The grass takes on a brighter hue of green, daffodils bloom in my pots in front of the barn doors, and tiny leaves have appeared on the willow trees along our creek. In fact, the explosion of growth and lushness makes one feel that the fence-posts themselves could sprout leaves soon! And the scents of spring, oh the scents: freshly turned earth, flower blossoms, freshly mown lawns, and yes, even the hint of manure, all blended together in an intoxicating, invigorating bouquet of aromas that make a farmer’s heart sing.
It’s interesting how different seasons evoke different emotions in a farmer. For example, autumn seems to engender thankfulness at the conclusion of a season’s hard work and the bountiful harvests of corn and grass, while the beginning of winter can involve feelings of relief at the thought of a more restful period of time on the farm and an appreciation for the homely comforts of a warm barn full of content cows.
However, I personally feel that the expectancy and hope brought about by the beginning of the growing season cannot be rivalled. In spite of the certain knowledge that the coming season is the busiest, most labour intensive of all, this season of rejuvenation and new growth also brings with it excitement and anticipation for great things to come. Choosing seed, planning crop rotations, and getting the ground ready for a new growing season all form a part of the patchwork that make this season the busy and joyful time that it is. Easter also usually marks the start of a new season of cows on pasture. We look forward to it for months, this day when our “girls” gallop out of the barn door to kick up their heels and cavort in the lush grass; the joy they display is both delightful and endearing.
For our farm family, Easter is a time of togetherness. School is closed for Spring Break prior to Easter, and so the kids have more time to spend roaming the barns, interacting with their favourite cows and calves. Buddy seats in the closed-cab tractors are often occupied by future farmers during early field work, and small boots often walk beside our own during the afternoon milking shift.
This break from routine culminates in a family dinner on Easter Monday, complete with an Easter egg hunt around the farm yard. This time spent around the table partaking in a home-made feast of fresh and colourful spring-y foods and fine wines provides us a chance to enjoy one another’s company in preparation for the hectic season ahead when leisurely family meals will be few and far between. They are often replaced with quick and easy picnic-style meals in the field. Come fall, we’ll definitely be eager to once again take our places around the table to reflect on the season behind us and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner together after the busyness of spring and summer.
Fellow farmers and farm friends, we wish you a happy, safe, and successful growing season. May your crops be abundant, your cows healthy and productive, and your family safe and happy during these next few months and all through the year. Happy growing!
Note: While Julaine and her family operate an organic dairy farm, many conventional farms also pasture graze at least part of the herd, during the spring and summer.