As you may have noticed, spring has sprung! This past Friday was the first day of spring and with it will come flowers, sunshine, and more delectable fruits and vegetables. Spring is the rebirth and celebration after the long hard months of multiple layers of clothes and grey skies. According to The Farmer’s Almanac the spring equinox occurs when the length of the day is approximately equal to the length of the night and the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west. The precise moment of the spring equinox is when the sun crosses over the equator. Spring is widely considered to be a magical time of year; it is said that on the spring equinox you can stand an egg upright and it will stay standing for 24 hours. Similarly, people once believed that clover were spring gifts from fairies for luck and protection. So, amongst the fairies, flowers, and new life, we stumble into the spring. Here are a few signs of spring that bring a smile to my face every year:
Baby Animals: Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of spring for farmers who have livestock is the birth of baby animals. I talked to Wilkerson Farms in Willow Springs to see how the spring is going for them and they were very excited to report that they have lambs! In England, the lambing season is so widely anticipated that it is broadcast live for the whole country to watch. The show is called Lambing Live (it’s on youtube if you’re curious). Since we are not so lucky here in the US, we’ll have to settle for these adorable pictures Wilkerson Farms sent me of their new lambs:
Daffodils: One of the very first flowers to appear in the spring, the daffodil is a bright yellow flower that is part of the Narcissus family. According to some botanists, there are 200 different varieties of daffodils. You can plant this perennial and watch them multiply and spread, but keep an eye out for the ones that grow wild all around.
Forsythia: Also a bright yellow, the forsythia shrub blooms in early spring and grows to be 8-10 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide. The flowers only last for 2-3 weeks unless the cold gets to them first. Forsythia have become widely recognized and planted throughout the South.
Robins: A well-known and well-loved songbird, the robin is brown with an orange chest. They are the largest of the American Thrushes and actually live in North Carolina year-round, but the spring brings them out in number. During the winter they spend their time brooding in trees instead of out and about for us to see.
Red-Tailed Hawks: These are some of the largest birds you may see in North America, they often hunt as a pair and mate for life. They can be recognized by the rich brown color on top and their pale underside with a bright red tail. In the spring you will begin to hear their calls, a high-pitched shrieking sound that could scare even the bravest of people.
Strawberries: As you may know, we have been counting down to strawberries in our newsletter every week. There are approximately 21 days until Britt Farms has strawberries from the field ready for us to enjoy! This means strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream, strawberries with yogurt, and it truly means that winter is over. They’re doing a lot of work to prepare for strawberries at Britt Farms, such as weeding, watering, uncovering and re-covering them with row covers depending on the temperature. We can look forward to strawberries in the very near future and know that they have been grown with care.
If you’re interested in learning even more in-depth about spring unfolding in Raleigh, Piedmont Picnic Project has just started a project called 100 Miles in 100 Days. During the 100 days of spring they will be walking all 100 miles of the greenway system and noting the wild edibles and their history along the way.
Spring is the perfect time to actually slow down and observe all the changes that are happening around us. Take a little time to notice the flowers and birds that are out, bask in the sunshine, and watch the world unfold.