While the ground is still mostly snow-covered in our “neck of the woods”, it looks as if spring may be “springing” with warmer temperatures predicted for this week. If anything’s exciting, it’s the promise of spring just around the corner. Don’t misread me, we like winter, and enjoy the incomparable scenes winter snow and ice bring to the landscape, but the life, vigor, and new awakening spring brings is unparalleled as well.
While winter brings challenges that don’t exist during the other 3 seasons–and vice versa–winter does allow us a much-needed reprieve from the demands that come with spring, summer and fall. It allows us about 3 months of siesta to spend extra time with family and friends, plan for the upcoming season, sleep in (occasionally), and just take it easy overall. Cattle numbers are low on our farm during the winter, our rented farm in Elverson is completely dormant (no cattle), we have no chickens except a flock of laying hens, and only a few pigs in the barns to compost the winter bedding pack.
On the farm, what are the con’s? One, its harsh weather–deep snow, ice, frigid temperatures that cause chores to take double the time and effort. Two, it’s the lowest income and highest input time of year. We buy all our hay for the cattle during the winter, and it comes with a cost, of course. I’ve heard winter being used as an analogy to the Old Testament Law of Moses–harsh and unyielding. But, in this part of the world, we deal with it, whether we like it or not. But we enjoy winter, we really do, but come late February and early March, I’m the first to admit to being overtaken by spring fever.
If winter represents the rigidity of the law of Moses, the warm season would represent the boundless grace of God. This time of year I always find myself perusing summer photos depicting lounging cows in abundantly green grass, short sleeves and bare feet, chickens on pasture and pigs in the woods–yes, a ton of hard work, but a world of fun. During the winter we dream of bright yellow-orange spring butter and fresh chicken on the grill. Spring and summer are great, but if we had it all the time, I would likely be wishing for the reprieve of winter before I knew it. That reminds me of an older gentleman I worked with when I was a teenager who who liked to recite this little rhyme:
As a rule, man’s a fool
When it’s hot, he wants it cool
When it’s cool, he wants it hot
As it is, he wants it not.
So true. But to me, the beauty of the four seasons is the variety. And that’s the View from the Country.