Winter slowly releases it's grasp here at the farm and spring shoulders it's way in, the signs all around us.
Cows become rounder by the day. Calving should start in the next week and the cows seem uncomfortably ready, grunting with effort to get up from the ground. Deer are congregating in the fields and pastures, groups of 25 and more moving together looking for food.
Hungry mice, possums and raccoons make regular appearances near the farmstead, looking for warmth and anything that is edible. I have heard that the native Americans called this the 'starving time' as winter stores ran out and nothing had yet begun to grow. It seems very true.
In the fields, hints of green begin to show here and there, deep rooted perennial plants that don't mind the still freezing temperatures at night are getting a head start.
On the maple and walnut trees, usually the first of the season to leaf out, buds swell with potent life, though the oaks remain steadfastly asleep wisely waiting for better weather.
Robins have been here for nearly two weeks now, and before them came the blackbirds in their thousands, flying en mass from tall tree to tall tree surveying for ideal territories, most moving on, some setting their flags and staying. Great skeins of geese daily lace the skies, so high as to be almost invisible, but their honking calls carry down and surround us poor earth bound mortals. Now we only wait for the turkey vultures, the last to leave in the fall and the last to arrive in the spring - they will give the official avian blessing to the new season. A mild winter has meant the snows of winter have been steadily giving ground to the warmth and now only hide in shady spots and on north facing slopes. The little frost that we had in the ground this winter is going away quickly, giving us a blessedly unmuddy spring, the water from melting snow able to seep down into the unlocking soil.
Days lengthen and I have trouble following the sun's example of rising a little earlier each day, but the cows need to be checked and there is work to be done. And so I go, creeping like a hibernation dazed squirrel from my bed, I gather my tea and head out with our aged and equally dazed dog to meet the season.