To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. This chapter of Ecclesiastes was always my adoptive grandfather’s favorite passage from the Bible. He recited it to me so often when I was a child that whenever I heard The Byrd’s musical rendition of it playing on the radio, I would announce, “they’re playing Grandpa’s song.” The ever-cycling patterns of life always brought him great joy.
Winter is now turning into spring here at Peeper Pond Farm. We faced a long, cold winter with temperatures persistently below average and frequent brutal winds with gusts that topped 60 MPH at the end of February damaging numerous farm buildings in our area. Our total snowfall now stands at our seasonal average of 25 inches, but we have not reached the end of the average snowfall season. We still have not received any snowstorm that dropped more than six inches, but virtually everyone around us has at some point earlier this season. Now we have reason to exult in the gradual transition to spring.
Yesterday, March 14, was the first day since November 1, 2018 that our high temperature surpassed 70 degrees—topping out at 72. Last winter was also very cold, but we recorded our first high temperature of 70 degrees or more on February 15, nearly a full month earlier. Our forecasted high for today is also about 70 degrees, after which a dry cold front will sweep through, returning us briefly to below average temperatures.
However, I awoke this morning to a rousing chorus of spring peepers from our signature farm pond. I could hear them calling as Calli burst through the door and raced off the porch to begin her early morning routine in the pre-dawn darkness. She paused only briefly when she heard the sound of a nearby dog barking from an unfamiliar direction—something she knew wasn’t right and realized she should heed. It is a very warm morning with a temperature of 61 degrees and gusty breezes that carried the raucous mating calls from the pond to my appreciative ears. I had heard the first tenuous peeps from the reeds that hug the swampy shoreline when I followed Calli to the pond late yesterday afternoon. Now their song fills the air in celebration of the coming spring weather.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have noticed the return of the robins to our yard and the occasional songs of summer birds, as they sweep back into our hills and mountains to begin their annual summer migration. The birdsong was especially cheerful this morning. I sat on the porch yesterday and watched several buzzards gliding lazily on the breeze as they spiraled higher and higher into the sky prowling for small prey in the surrounding fields. Even Calli has been busy playfully hunting field mice roused from their winter hibernation chambers by the emerging warmth. Soon our own activities will change as we challenge our hibernating muscles to begin preparing our vegetable and herb garden for the annual spring planting ritual. However, we are still waiting for our crocuses and daffodils to bloom. I guess they want to see if the recent spring weather is going to last. After the winter we have experienced, I can’t blame them.