By Marilyn Lamb
Everyone can look at a calendar and find the months of March, June, September and December and see when spring, summer, fall and winter begin. I don’t need to look at a calendar to see that a new season has arrived, I visually see the seasons changing in a more natural way.
I grew up in the ’50s living in Marilla and there were many small farms whose owners worked tirelessly making a living for their families. Both of my grandfathers were farmers, so I have an appreciation for their long days, hard work and always relying on Mother Nature to treat them kindly.
Now the number of farms in Marilla is greatly reduced. The farms that are still operating are larger and more efficient. But these farmers still have long days, still work hard and still look to Mother Nature.
I now live in Lancaster but I still have family in Marilla, whom I visit regularly. My neighbor is a dairy farmer. His land and crops are familiar to me. Farm land is in my blood and environment.
As I travel between these two towns, I enjoy the simplistic life. Country life. Hard-working life. The change of seasons is so important to these farmers who put food on our tables. They are not given the recognition they so deserve. They are the reason I don’t need a calendar.
I know it’s March and spring when I see the farmers busy in their field plowing. They open up the dark ground so the warm sun and spring rains allow them to plant the small seeds of corn, oats, sunflowers, soybeans and other crops. I love this time of year because it signifies we’ve survived another long winter and we are all anxious to shed our winter coats and get outside.
June comes, and with it the first day of summer. We experience the longest day of the year. The sunflower fields are a sight to behold as the flowers lift their pretty faces to the sun and everyone wants to snap a picture.
The farmers are busy cutting and baling their sweet-smelling hay. Their cows are enjoying the outdoors, the bright sunshine, warm temperatures, and eating the green grass. It’s always a pleasant sight to see the black-and-white cows on the rolling hills in Marilla during the summer months. Each week I see the crops growing taller and greener. There is so much happening during the summer months.
Then it’s fall, or as some call it, autumn. Either way, it’s September. The kids return to school. The farmers are still busy because their crops, which have been growing all summer, are now ready for harvest. The green corn is getting chopped, the oats and wheat have been harvested.
The soybeans have changed from green to gold. Even the pumpkin field is littered with orange globes. The once pretty sunflowers are dried up and wait to be cut.
Winter arrives so close to Christmas Day it’s almost like getting two gifts. We are now experiencing the shortest days of the year. It’s dark when you arise and dark by supper time. The farm land is now still. The ground is at rest. The crops are safely stored for a long winter’s nap. Will the farmers be able to rest as well? One can only hope.
As the new year begins, winter is still with us. It’s bitterly cold. The days don’t move as fast. But the promise is there that in a few months, spring will once again arrive and the farmers will be back to plant their crops and begin a new season.