I felt a tickle on my leg; under my long pants and above my sock line. At first I ignored it. Then something deep in the mind urged action and I pulled up the pant leg. Nothing on the leg… so I continued on, doing absolutely nothing while a soccer Champions League game played out on TV. Then the tickle was felt again just under the knee. Another check and this time a black dot with legs is working its way up my leg through the wool. Yanking and pulling its way upward,,, Yes, ticks are out and about again for the season. A few months of creepy crawlies before their lifecycle leads them to other activity than seeking warm blooded mammals to suck blood from.
The spring weather has been relatively good for early field work. Bed prep and some direct seeding have been done. Strawberries look absolutely robust after the winter snow cover. Soil temperatures remain low so no reason to hurry with much other than the truly hearty crops. A few early greens have emerged but growth is barely perceptible with the cold temperatures. To give you an idea about where the seasons’ progress is, we have not had any flowering fruit blossom yet, tulips will flower on time for the first year in many at the Holland Tulip Fest, and the perennial crops of asparagus and rhubarb will be harvested during the traditional May into June time that has crept earlier the last many years.
Bird life on the farm has been active. The meadow seems to be sectioned off in tight quadrants by numerous Meadowlarks. They like wooden fence posts as perches and sing their song endlessly. It just happens to be a favorite birdsong along with the crazy jumble of song from the Bobolinks that arrive a bit later in the season, and the deep wood song from the Thrush. When the wind is right and road noise minimal, I can listen and watch the Meadowlarks to distraction. They seem to have a self-conscious streak in them. If I watch too long they seem to feel the gaze and leave the perch for the safety of the tall grasses. So I watch and keep it brief, maybe look away for a while or keep them in the corner of the sight. They seem to sing and perch longer. The bug eaters are having trouble filling up on the wing so they are less visible than the last few years. Still the Swallows and Bluebirds are seen making flyovers but keep on to other places till more bug life is on the wing.
Long range forecasts have us likely lower than normal for the next 90 days. As a CSA farmer it matters little. We grow so many things that a few less peppers or melons are balanced with more peas, spinach, and fewer bolted early season crops. The work continues and the plants keep growing.