By Kim Baldwin, McPherson County farmer and rancher
Spring has sprung on our central Kansas farm. The daffodils and apricot trees are in full bloom and being visited by the honeybees. The small flock of sheep we’ve been caring for all winter have now more than doubled as all of the ewes have lambed. Now the pasture is full of little white lambs frolicking and bouncing all around as their mothers keep watch. Our machine shop has also transitioned from housing a winter basketball court to housing a planter being prepped and bags of corn seed stacked high as we await our season of spring planting.
Like any spring, the Kansas weather has fluctuated from cold to warm and from cold to hot. I’ve experienced many recent days where I’ve had my son change out of the athletic shorts he planned to wear to school and instead have made him get some pants on. There’s also been days where I’ve told the kids to leave their coats at home only to regret that decision when the temperatures drop a bit too much by the time they get off the afternoon bus.
It’s definitely the time of the year where major fluctuations in weather still occur. It’s also the time of the year where some serious countdowns have begun.
While state assessments are about to begin for my children, school will actually wrap up and the kids will be on summer break in less than 30 days. We’ve made it past the holiday celebrations, the winter concerts, the days of indoor recesses, and the mornings of waiting for the school bus in the dark. Daylight is noticeably getting longer, talk of the end-of-year field day has begun and summer camp forms are being sent home. I can assure you, the kids have already started their final countdown.
With that final countdown to summer break, there is also an elevated level of anticipation as we get closer and closer to the return of my son’s cattle from their winter pastures. They will be worked in the coming days and then brought home to pasture over the summer months in the pastures nearest our house. I can’t wait to see the cows grazing nearby while I look out my front windows. While we prepare the fencing and the water sources, we know the clock continues to tick for the herd’s arrival home for the summer.
The countdown carries over as we also prepare to get the machines in the fields to begin spring planting. While we’ve been making final adjustments to the planter, we’ve also been anxiously awaiting a good spring rain before planting the seeds into the ground. While it seems we aren’t in as big of a hurry as previous years to start planting, mostly due to the dry conditions, the countdown has clearly begun and we wait and watch to determine when we will give ourselves the greenlight to begin.
Yes, spring has definitely sprung! And with it, all of the final countdowns have also begun.
“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.