I'd like to say that spring is here. But this is Ohio. And everyone who lives in Ohio, knows that we experience an odd way for the changing of seasons in this place. We will have days of 70s, even 80s, with pure sunshine, a nice breeze and cool evenings. Two days later, it will be 32 with 4 inches of snow. That's what we have dealt with for the last month. Beautiful, nearly perfect days! Then a reminder that winter is still clawing on its way out. The first week of March was used well. We got an excellent couple weeks mixed with sunshine, warmer temps, and wind. I keep bringing up wind. Why? Because in Ohio, specifically Cuyahoga Falls, mostly everything here is bog/wetlands. Wind, especially a good strong wind that is continually blowing on our land, dries it out so that we can work. Without the wind, we will count only on sunshine - and honestly, our area doesn't have the highest counts in that department. So wind it is.
We were able to not only process a massive white oak for our friends, I was able to get the 2 pastures tilled, and then the kids helped me seed. We had to go by hand because it did end up raining a little overnight, and a tractor to spread seed would have made a muddy mess. So is it perfect? No, not by any means. But is it growing? Yes, there is green back there, and its getting greener everyday. Once this is grown in, we will likely have the sheep/alpaca graze for a couple weeks on it. Then till into the ground, along with all their contributions, and reseed again. Hopefully with this method we will be able to build up our soil and its nutrients so that we can have a proper brome for our livestock in summer, and produce enough to make hay for winter. It's a goal. It's a bit far down the road, but we have it.
Another sign of spring are the honeybees. The weekend we milled the tree, the scouts were out and about, and they seemed to enjoy the wood shavings. I would assume it could be due to fresh wood generally means a hole in a tree? Perhaps they thought they would find a good spot for a new home? Whatever their reason was, watching them beat their tiny wings creating little flutters of sawdust when they took off was pretty incredible to watch. However, since that day we have had at least 3 decent snows. I am pretty certain the new pasture seed and the spring flowers can handle it, but if the bees swarmed and were starting a new hive, they might not have faired so well, cold and no food are not a good combo for starting out a new life.
I was telling my son, I recall in elementary school we would go by the old sayings of "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" or "April showers bring May flowers". Perhaps it was my youth, but I seem to recall that those statements were fairly accurate. It seems anymore, the earth is so messed up that the weather doesn't know what to do with itself. We've had 6" snow in May and sunny 80's in March. This year is probably the closest to "normal" I have seen in a while. I could do without the late snow, but other than that, the overall temperature has been steadily rising rather than the huge jumps we've been seeing. And although I would also prefer less rain, the amount we have gotten thus far hasn't been as bad as the previous few years. I am so very thankful for that. It's our first spring with livestock and the less mud we have to deal with, the better.
Hoping that this cold spell heads out and leaves us with some warmer weather soon. We have much to do in order to be ready for our delivery of 5 nucs, planting a small vegetable garden, building a barn, installing fencing and moving buildings around. That's not to even mention the tilling of the orchard and attempt to get some meadow/wildflowers growing over there before we start adding the trees and bushes. I already know I will be dealing with the return of winter too soon. So it's time we make the best use of the warmth and sunshine while we have it.