Now that everyone is sick and tired of the Coronavirus, we can focus on a new contagion that is sweeping through our area—spring fever. The early symptoms include an adrenalin rush, increasing heart rate from all the anticipation, sinus congestion for those with seasonal allergies, and rising temperatures from the warming sun. In the most serious cases, it has been known to be accompanied by unbridled joy. The most vulnerable age group, college students, are often driven insane by this virulent disease. Unfortunately, you may find it difficult to obtain testing for it, because most doctors and health officials contract it and refrain from work to recuperate.
It began to spread in our area when the snow melted away and the early flowers poked up from the ground to see if it was safe to emerge. Now warm, sunny days and all the migratory birds have returned, the crocuses and daffodils are in brilliant full bloom and the spring peepers are cheerfully serenading us night and day. I even see tiny leaves beginning to burst on the shrubs and understory trees, which tells me that the mountain forests will soon bask in the colorful blossoms and greens of early spring. The delightful scent of spring renewal is in the air and everyone is eager to get outdoors and catch the fever. Those people who suffer from pollen allergies are sniffling and sneezing their way through the affliction. Nevertheless, you can bet they won’t be wearing masks to slow the spread of this annual contagion. After the cold, snowy winter we just survived, we all welcome it. Thankfully, there is no cure.
Even our goats have contracted the disease. At first, they basked lazily in the warm sunshine at the barn doorway to sooth their symptoms and make sure it was safe to enjoy. Their sense of security assured, they soon braved the outdoors and caught the fever. Now they romp and play with reckless abandon on the grass that turns a brighter shade of green with each passing day. I have even watched Essie and Snowball challenge each other for supremacy of our small herd, as their enthusiasm reaches fever pitch. In the background, our new baby goats scamper and dance about the pens and clamber up the rock pile to proclaim their youthful zeal for life. They are also growing by leaps and bounds having more than doubled in size and weight since they were born eleven days ago. Every living being wants to celebrate the return of spring and the glory of the great outdoors!
Of course, as adult humans, we cannot spend all our time nursing our spring fever. We have a number of spring chores to complete. We have already begun planting our garden with potatoes, peas, and onions. I have also serviced our tractor and lawn mower for the new year. Later today, we will disbud our baby goats’ horn buds—a briefly painful experience we and our baby goats must endure to prevent them from growing horns that could get caught in the woven wire fencing that surrounds their pens and protects them from forest predators. We must also bring our cat Calli home from an overnight visit to the vet, where she is recovering from an actual fever that she contracted a few days ago. Who says a spring fever can’t be serious?
Soon we will clean the wood and pellet stoves and their respective chimneys, pressure wash the house, drain and flush out the hot water tank, muck out the goat barn, and begin mowing yards for the summer. These and other ritualistic chores are the annual aches and pains that often accompany spring fever. Although they are unavoidable and there is no vaccine to prevent them, they aren’t so painful that they overshadow the satisfying pleasure that we gain from the return of spring. All of here at Peeper Pond Farm hope you also catch the spring fever bug and enjoy it as enthusiastically as we are. May we never get so old or infirmed that we can’t revel in it, and may we never recover from it. For the first time in more than a year, we have a new disease that we don’t have to hide from or fear. Finally, we can feel good about catching a disease.