Spring has sprung! We have warmer days and more sunshine as the days get longer. There are a lot of changes that occur in the spring season. Budding trees, blooming flowers, chirping birds and baby animals are a sure sign of warmer days and new life. Just this week I watched as a robin and mate prepared a nest for protecting and nurturing their new family. I love spring because of the new life, as well as some of the traditions that happen around this time of the year.
One spring tradition that families have handed down from generation to generation is decorating eggs and hunting for them. Easter eggs are decorated and given as gifts. Older traditions used dyed or painted eggs, but many now give foil covered chocolate eggs or plastic brightly colored eggs filled with candies. The eggs symbolize new life as a tiny chick emerges from what started out as an egg. We have great materials in the lending library that teach about chicks, eggs and other baby animals. Books like Chickens Have Chicks and Cows Have Calves by Lynn Stone, Who Grows up on the Farm by Theresa Longneck. All About Eggs DVD, and Hatching Science-21 days of Discovery DVD and Modern Marvels on corn, eggs and milk.
From the eggs (if they are fertilized and not dyed) we get baby chicks in the spring. Traditionally, chickens only laid eggs in the spring and early summer months when the weather was good and food plentiful. But in modern agriculture we can control many of those factors and chickens can lay eggs year round. Chickens need to be kept warm and they lay better when the days get longer. The mother incubates her eggs and needs favorable conditions like food, water and warmth. Chicks are cute little fluffy balls of fur that need care and attention to grow strong and healthy.
Farmers are very busy this time of year planting crops and caring for many newborn animals that live on the farm. Spring brings the baby season. Calving is routinely a couple months of the year around spring. Some reasons for this are that the cow needs to be watched a little more closely for the birth, in case there are difficulties in delivery. By having
routine times for birthing it also allows for routines in regards to immunizations. One of the most important reasons is that spring brings greener pastures and a nursing mother grazes . As the calf grows, so does the grass and soon the young one will be out grazing just like her momma. That makes weaning easier as the mother cow’s milk diminishes.
Spring planting and gardening is one of my personal favorites. I love to go shopping for annuals to adorn the outside of my home. Filling pots and containers with pops of color and fragrance allows even the amateur green thumb to enjoy the beauty that nature provides with plants and flowers. Annuals are plants that complete a lifecycle in just one year and then die. Spring time is a great time to visit local nurseries and farms to experience and enjoy the smell of spring.
Iowa’s fertile soil (farm land and backyards alike!) offers a great growing ground for a couple awesome tulip festivals in May to showcase the beautiful flowers in their areas. Pella has Tulip Time the first weekend of May. The city comes alive with tulips, parades and many Dutch traditions. Orange City offers a tulip festival and many Dutch customs every third week of May.
Spring is here and it is a great time to take advantage of some of these seasonal traditions. Get out and enjoy the warmer temperatures. Dabble in planting a few potted plants and see what’s available in your local area…maybe a festival, botanical garden, or local farm festival would be perfect.