It’s been such a long time coming


“It is late April. Daylight comes now around 4 o’clock. While the sky is still dark roosters begin to crow from various farms in the neighborhood. Their voices pierce the dark sky like a knife cutting a design in the top crust of a raspberry pie, and the morning comes through like colored juice out of the slits.”

— Rachel Peden, 1953, Rural Free

What a beautiful time of year! The buds and blooms, the returning color, the singing birds all bring such joy. I have always enjoyed the first warm sunshine, but this year it has felt like such a long time coming that it is appreciated all the more.

The farm countryside which seems to lie so colorless that it is almost invisible to us throughout the long, drab winter now is alive with color. The eye is drawn to the pink touches in the wooded hillsides, the vibrant yellow sprouting throughout the greening ground all around us, as far as the eye can see.

Birds returning

I have been so thrilled to see blue birds returning and watching them flying about our farm in pairs is a welcome sight. Barn swallows, too, have returned to last summer’s nests in the barn.

I was once told by an old-timer that farmers have long considered returning barn swallows to be a sign of great luck and if they return year after year, swallows bring good fortune to a farmer and his family. Hey, we will take all of the good fortune that comes our way, in whatever form it chooses to arrive!

I have seen fat robins, bickering blue jays, red-headed woodpeckers, brown thrashers, even one pair of beautiful orioles. The chirping and chanting of these colorful birds feels like an incredible gift.

Dairy farmers

For dairy farmers, the greening grass means milk flow will increase and chores will be a bit less tedious if the milk cows can be sent out to pasture. But, there is a down side to everything, I learned quite young. I remember dreading the realization that the first lush grass meant the milk cows would come in to the parlor with loose stools, making for an unpleasant stint in the milking parlor for a few days. Most city kids would probably cringe and drop over if they had any idea of the full realities of farm life.

Variety of tractors

This past weekend brought the most amazing weather, which brought all the farmers in the community out with a variety of tractors. It is easy to feel the spark in the air as the joyous frenzy of activity overtakes us. After a long, tiresome winter, getting out of bed is so much easier in the morning when the sun is shining and a warm spring breeze blows across the land.

There is a new boost of energy and bounce in the step after having gone through the motions of simply surviving winter.

Abundance of dandelions

We may not have a great crop of anything else on the farm right now, but we sure have a great abundance of dandelions. Boy, if only dandelions were dollars, we all could be paying down the farm debt!


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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