|New Pioneers Columns|
Some of our well-loved columns that appear as "New Pioneers Notes" in The Springfield Sun.
After a long gray winter, spring is finally here on the hill farm. With 70 degree weather and sunshine, the farm and the farmers give thanks for an end to gray cloudy days and weeks of snow and rain. Daffodils and crocus have come and gone, dogwood winter made a quick journey through, and the spring peepers are singing on the creek. The fields are greening, and the lambs are on corkscrews, jumping in the air for the fun of it. Iris, roses, peonies are making a debutante’s bow on the edge of the yard. A fat robin checks out the worm menu in the back yard, and the finches are showing their Easter yellow finery.
After a long absence from writing the column, I found myself with a rare day of quiet and free time; the farmer had gone to the machinery show, the grand kids were back in school, and except for the usual chores in the farmhouse kitchen, I had a block of time to think and write. This February has had echoes of last year’s ice storm with repeating snow layers, but the lights have stayed on, the road down the hill has been relatively passable, the farm lambing and weather problems have been minor, and we are beginning to look for spring.
As a young mother in the 60’s, one of the small pleasures of a busy life was a clothesline full of freshly washed diapers, bleaching in the sun and smelling of fresh air and country breezes when folded and ready for use. Many years later my babies had grown up with families of their own; when my first grandchildren came to visit, they brought a different kind of diaper, diapers that were complete with absorbent padding and plastic covers on the outside. “So easy and clean to use” read the blurb on the package, just discard in the garbage after use, no washing or dealing with the mess. But farm life is always different from city life, we had no garbage service for pickup, and were already sorting and composting or burning most of our garbage; soiled disposable diapers were impossible to burn or compost. So I was left with carrying the diapers to work and sneaking them into the waste bins, or saving the diapers and sending them back home with the babies.
The phone message sounded like one of those credit card offers that you delete as soon as you hear it, but after listening again, I thought I recognized the voice of our sheep shearer. We had been expecting his call, as it was late May, time for shearing. The sheep were carrying a heavy coat of wool, and hot days were causing panting, and going to shade early in the day. The message on the phone said that our “natural fiber removal technician” was available, and would be on the farm in two days. After we deciphered the message, and understood the joke, we began preparation for the shearing.
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