It’s been a long, hard winter in Pennsylvania Amish country, but there are signs of spring in abundance. Snow has melted as the rain has fallen, and the creeks are running high. The stream that borders our road overflowed in the low area and closed the road for two days.
Lambs are playing in the fields, jumping and cavorting with abandon.
Yesterday, I saw an adorable black lamb trailing its ewe. Young calves are living in the little plastic units that restrain them so they will make tender veal when they are butchered.
The stubbled fields are covered with geese by the scores, the hundreds, and even the thousands, resting in their migration and filling their bellies. Usually it’s Canada geese that swoop in, but on occasion it’s snow geese. They circle and circle, going lower and lower, their black-tipped wings vivid against their white bodies, until they land and cover the field with a moving white blanket.
Cows remain close to the barn because of the chill still in the air. Their heavy winter coats are stiff with mud from walking through the barnyard muddy from the thaw.
Farmers are manuring their fields, their big horses pulling the tank that sprays the natural fertilizer over the land. Often this work is done while the field is still frozen so the manure can permeate the ground with the thaw.
A field of corn stubble turns a deep brown, almost black with the treatment. It is always possible to tell if your neighbor is performing this job even without a visual clue.
The children at the Amish schoolhouse down the street are playing tag. In driveways of Amish homes scooters in a variety of colors are lined up, waiting for their owners to come home to play (bikes are not permitted in our area). Clothes flaps on the line, drying in the sunshine.
The meteorologists are predicting snow for the first official day of spring, a rarity for the area. It may prevent the huge field horses from pulling their plows for a few days, but soon Amishmen all over the valley will be breaking their soil for their corn or alfalfa or soybeans, maybe even a bit of tobacco. The women will till their gardens and plant the vegetables they will later harvest and can for next winter.
The cycle of farm life is about to begin again.
Gayle Roper is the award-winning author of more than 40 books. She has been a Christy finalist three times and won the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Her latest book, An Unexpected Match, released on September 1st.
Gayle is also a trainer of Christian writers and enjoys speaking at women’s events across the nation. She’s been married to her husband, Chuck, for “more years than seems possible.” The two make their home in southeastern Pennsylvania where they enjoy their family of two sons, two lovely daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren.
Gayle enjoys reading, gardening, and eating out every time she can talk Chuck into it.
Connect with Gayle: Website
Purchase Gayle’s books here.
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