The Smell of Rain

| 5/11/2017 1:03:00 PM

Country MoonSpring is probably most people’s favorite season. It’s the time of rebirth and regrowth, a promise of yet another season. But it is also a time of work. Folks talk about the lazy days of summer, but for me, the lazy days are during winter. It is the time that I curl up by the fire with a book, do some painting, and generally take a long sigh and regroup.

This rest includes my muscles which, even though I regularly exercise, become lax. The first day of yard work in the spring leaves me sore from head to toe, using muscles that I have not used during the long winter months. So, when the first warm rays of spring hit, it is time to “get at it.” The soreness, the stiffness — it is a good feeling.

Bikers want to hit the road, runners hit the paths, and it seems that everyone is getting out into the warm rays to do something. But perhaps farmers and gardeners get bit by this spring fever bug the hardest. It’s the urge to get out and dig in the dirt. There is something about planting a dormant seed and seeing it sprout that’s the reassurance that — no matter the weather conditions and no matter what harvest will bring that year — there is the promise of another season.

Just as harvest changes everything, so does spring planting season. For a couple weeks every year, there is no such thing as normal. Everything and every minute is driven by one thing only ... getting the crop in the ground. This is most profound for farmers, but even us gardeners and those that plant flowerbeds and containers feel the urge. After all, why else do we eagerly await the seed catalog arrivals in January and then pore over them for days at a time, knowing that our selections probably will never look as good as those pictured? But yet, we dream.

For the farmer, it is his paycheck. Each year’s crop dictates his lifestyle for the coming year, and most of this outcome is based on his planning for spring planting. He places his seed order the year before, trying to out-guess weather conditions when it comes to how much and what variety will do best for his kind of soil. He places his order for fertilizer and chemicals early to make sure he has them when he needs them. This is all he can do; the rest is up to God and Mother Nature.

Planting season here in the Midwest can be anywhere from mid-March until the middle of June. That’s a three-month spread with a host of different variables. Rain is the big one. The seeds need moisture to sprout, and the ground needs to have the right amount of moisture to be worked up properly but not so much that farmers can’t get in the fields to work.

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