A large farm house with cows grazing near it
Some farm paddock and a field
Telling you about my farm life in spring
Welcome to our article (12), springtime in the farms
Dear readers, in our last article we were telling you, how boring my young life was in winter times in the farms. Where we lived a hard life most of the time.
After winter comes spring, and spring is the season of hope and dreams; but nobody can experience this feeling of hope and dreams more than the farm people, because everything is happening right in front of their eyes.
Therefore, from the farmers’ point of view, spring is a happier season than most of the other seasons especially winter, even though we can say that the farm life is the same even in spring time, because first and foremost you have to look after the farm animal, since the farm animals were the backbone in farming in those days.
You see, up to the time when I was young everything was done by using these animals strength to plough the fields, to carry heavy weights around, and to pull the cart, because, when I was young there were not that many tractors, they were coming out but they were too expensive to buy, so, we had to rely on the farm animals to do the jobs that needed to be done. Now, I want to point out that since then several farm machineries have come out and have helped farming a lot, so, today farming is easier than it was then. Of course, any changes that happen, bring good things and causalities, and I became one of the causalities.
To understand the benefit that the farmers and the entire community has received form this modern way of wheat farming. See this article, Farming today compared to the old way.
Anyhow, here we want to talk about the farm life in spring of those bygone days, therefore, we need to explain to our readers, how we looked after the farm animals in spring.
So, let me describe the changes that springtime brings to the farmers and to the farms’ animals. You see, in the temperate zone of these Southern Italy towns, there are big changes in temperature, because of these changes in temperature, every season brings a new way of life and spring brings big changes.
Now, during the winter, we were hand feeding all farm animals, which was a boring job, day in day out. In spring the way of looking after the farm’s animals changes, because in springtime all the animal that are grass eater will start eating grass in the paddock, at the beginning for only a few hours a day, and then it will reach a stage when most of the farm’s animals will be feeding on grass and nothing else, and most of them will be grazing in the paddock during daytime, at night most of us small farmers would bring them inside the farm stables for security reasons.
As we have said, during the winter, the large farm animals have been hand fed in the stable with straws, oats and hay, but in spring they will be grazing in the paddocks. So, as soon as the grass in the paddock grows enough in early spring, the cows are let loose in the paddock for a few hours each day to begin with, and then as the grass starts growing faster they will graze in the paddocks all day long. The next on line to graze in the paddocks are the pregnant mares, followed by the rest of the animals: So that in mid spring all the animals that are grass eater will be feeding only on grass; during the day in the paddocks and at night with fresh harvested grass, purposely grown and cut from the farmers.
So, the farmers are still busy to look after the farm animals, but now it is not as hard as in winter times and the weather is fine, and every day that go past it becomes warmer, so, a more relaxed way of life can be enjoyed.
Kitchen garden patch in spring time
What relief spring brings to us farmers?
In the farms spring puts an end to the dreadful winter times. You see, springtime brings a smile to the farmers faces, because this new season brings hope to everyone, and if you are in the farm this feeling is felt even more, it is our human nature and because the farmers are closer to Mother Nature they can feel this more than the rest of the community.
Here we must say that all the living animals love springtime too, because spring bring a new beginning to everything, it brings new hope and it brings new life and we humans are all waiting for the good things that will come during the year, you see spring is completely different, from wintertime.
From a young would be farmer point of view, the very first thing that we notice in spring is that the temperature is becoming milder, everything around you are becoming greener; wherever you turn you can see this happening right in front of your eyes, and that is a wonderful thing to see.
We can say that the only time that living in the farm for a short period can be more interesting than living in town is at spring time, because those things that make life interesting in the farms happen one after another, you see, we can observe Mother Nature wonders as they occur at close range; and springtime is the time when most of those wonders occur one after another.
For us farmers early in spring when the weather is fine it is nice and warm to stay outside doing odd jobs, like preparing the soil in the kitchen garden and planting some seeds that will soon grow, while we are doing that we imagine how these new plants will grow and bear fruit in summer; you see, in the temperate zone as the days grow longer and the temperature rises the plants start growing very quickly, so, we are thinking about harvest time whatever we are planting. I know that this seems like dreaming good things, but that is a way of life farmers live; they need to dream good things to come, to continue to do their farming. Now, let us describe the spring season that we young farmer would see happening right in front of our eyes.
Trees in flower at springtime
Wonderful spring in the farms
During early spring it is wonderful, if we can forget all worries in the world, and look at the work of Mother Nature at its best; flowers are everywhere, and everything is alive. You see, today you look at one tree and you wonder whether it is alive or dead, because its twigs seem lifeless; but in a few days, when you look at that same tree again you can see a few flowers and some small leaves on its twigs, and in a few more days the whole tree will be in flower, and also its leaves will be growing on its twigs very rapidly, the trees grow quickly at springtime after a cold winter, also all grass and seedlings grow faster and everything is greener and full of life; the birds that throughout the winter seemed timid and sad, now start to sing and they sound happy. In the country there is a change in the air in springtime and everything and everybody feels happier, because there are lots of sunny mild days in spring, so, the sunshine and the mild days tell you that the dreadful winter is past, so, this brings happiness to everybody and everything.
Of course, we must look after the farm animals, because that is a chore that never ends, but now it is easier and the weather is usually fine, in spring times every day that go past the weather becomes warmer, so, a more relaxed way of life can be enjoyed and there are other happy happenings, you see, spring is the season of hope and in spring we start to harvest many things, there are plenty of vegetables in spring as everything grows pretty fast, also in the fields things grow fast, there are plenty of fresh peas, green beans, broad beans; the farmers go around and hope to harvest plenty of everything, when they are ready to be harvested.
But even in this happy season there can be problems; because the farmer’s life is not an easy life; so, while the farmer is dreaming about the good harvest that can be coming, at the same time they are worried; they fear bad weather that can ruin their crops. These natural facts, that nature can unleash is a real problem when stormy weather approaches, because the work that the framers have done during the year can be ruined in a few minutes. So, hope and heartbreak go hand in hand, and even in this season that is better that the rest, it is not easy being a farmer. Here I have to say that this was one of the reasons why I left farming and migrated to Australia when I was still young, hoping for a better and easier life in Australia which I did.
Some of the farm animals and their offsprings
The farm animals in spring
Now let us talk about the farm animals, and what happens to them in springtime. If we observe, we must admit that the ways that Mother Nature has set up for reproducing the species is incredible, and the way of how most natural things happen in the animals world is almost faultless, for a start most of the farm animals give birth to their offspring when there is plenty of food to go around, and when mild and fine weather is expected, it is for this reason that in springtime most of the animals offspring are born, starting from the cows that usually calf once every year and they make plenty of milk especially when there is plenty of green food for them to eat, also other animals have their offspring in spring, the sheep have their lambs, the mares have their foals, and other animals have also their young’s according to their specie.
Anyhow, most of the farm animals are born early in spring, so that they can grow big and strong during the spring and summer, so, when the cold weather comes back they are able to cope with it easily, this is how Mother Nature wants it to be, you see, everything is set in a way that all living things will get the most benefit that they can get, while they can in the good and warm season, and that is the way that Mother Nature wants it to be. But we humans sometimes interfere with Mother Nature.
Now there is something that I hate to say, but I must say it anyhow, you should understand that farmers to run their farms properly, they are pushed to do things that are cruel. You see, we people sometimes do things that seems against Mother Nature, because we need to control everything around us for our own benefit, one of those things is that we take away the veal from mother cow, after we have done that, then we can happily milk the cow.
We milk the cows and what we do with it is dairy products, dairy products are a wide range of products, of many shapes and forms, starting from plain milk that can be of various sorts and many sorts of cheeses and other things; but here in these articles we are only mentioning, what we did with the milk that we took from the cows and other farm animals, at the time when I was young in the farm.
You see, we used that milk to make cheese; some of the reasons for making cheese was that in those times, there wasn’t a real milk market that you could sell the milk to, so, we had to do something with the milk that we had. You see, farming is mostly based in waste not want not, so, nothing should go to waste, therefore, we made our own cheese from the milk that we had. Anyhow, in our next article we will be talking about, how we made cheese the old way when I was young. Of course, things have changed a lot since then, but nevertheless it was a way of life that we used to live, so, let us tell it just the way it was happening then, in our next article.
See you soon in our article, compare cheese making
Some farm life links and others
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