Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring is Sprung

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

When we were kids, we used to recite a short poem that went like this:

Spring is sprung,
The grass is riz,
I wonder where
The flowers is!

I searched the Internet to find the author of this little poem, but it appears that no one is sure. And, regardless of the author, the last two lines don't really apply this spring, at least here in Wisconsin. Despite the fact that we’re usually still experiencing cold weather and sometimes snow at this time of year, spring is in full bloom.

Ruth and I decided we’d better hit the road and try to capture some spring scenes this weekend. So we headed out at the crack of dawn on Saturday. It’s rather odd to see some trees, like the oaks and maples, still bare, and the daffodils, tulips, forsythia, and even some crabapples in full bloom. What is also very unusual is how green the grass is. Some people are even breaking out their lawnmowers.

Last year in May, Ruth and I stumbled on a sheep farm and had a great time watching all the lambs and the donkey that was in charge of protecting them. This year, we didn’t expect to see lambs this early, but we discovered a pasture full of sheep and lambs. It seemed that every single ewe in the pasture had two lambs.

Some were sleeping. Udders…I mean, others were drinking from their mothers and we couldn’t help but cringe as we watched them slam their heads against the mothers’ udders. Still others were frolicking around the pasture. Ruth said that was her favorite find of the day.

The next thing we stumbled on was a true blessing. We have been wishing for the past couple of years that we would find the time to hunt up some pasque flowers. But we never seem to take the time to visit any prairies in early spring. On Saturday, they magically and unexpectedly appeared before us.

The Pasque Flower is one of the earliest flowers to bloom in prairies. Its name refers to the religious holiday of Easter when the flowers are often in bloom. It is also known as the Easter Flower and is the state flower of South Dakota.

After enjoying the pasque flowers, which were covered with raindrops from the early morning rain we experienced, we headed to the small town of Postville, where there is an old blacksmith shop that was built in 1856.

For some reason, even though we have visited this town on several occasions, Ruth noticed a totally different location from which to photograph the blacksmith shop. Because it was a main road with no shoulder, I drove the car to a location where it would be safe to park and I walked back. After photographing the blacksmith shop, with Dougherty Creek making a nice pattern in the image, I began to walk back to the car.

As I passed a farm, I heard a cow bellowing. At first I couldn’t see any cows, but then I realized there was a Jersey cow sticking its nose out of a broken pane in the barn window. It was as if she was mooing, “Hey, can you get me out of here so I can enjoy the nice spring day?”

Next, we drove over near the blacksmith shop and I took a few more photos from close up. As I turned around, I saw a cat who was sitting on the lawn watching me and enjoying the weather.

By this time, it was way past lunch time and we were starving, not to mention the fact that we desperately needed to find a restroom. So we headed toward New Glarus. If you know anything about us, though, you know that we never make a “bee line” anywhere. In this case, we passed several bee hives and they were rather colorful, so I just had to take a few shots. The bees were busy buzzing around the hives, which is amazing for late March.

In today’s newspaper, there was an article about the disadvantages of such warm weather so early. Everything is blooming, so if we get freezing weather in April, it could spell disaster for businesses such as the apple orchards. We’re hoping that doesn’t happen, along with hoping for a return to a bit cooler weather rather than the July-like temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately.

Happy Shunpiking!

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