We Wisconsinites always look forward to the first signs of Spring. I suppose those signs are unique and different for each of us. One of the first signs for me is baseball Spring Training, when pitchers and catchers report to their team’s training facilities, either in Florida or Arizona.
For this year, 2017, it was Tuesday and Wednesday Feb 14 and Feb 15. The rest of the rosters will report next week, starting on Monday Feb 20. I believe the Dodgers will go to the World Series this year.
A sure sign of Spring is the maple trees. I look for the swelling of the buds. They don’t leaf out ‘till much later, but the buds swell in response to the longer daylight hours. We have 2 big maples in the back yard. The sap is running, but I’ve never got into the collecting of sap and boiling it down to syrup. You do know that there is some little sap in every family tree!
Of course, we do see the daylight hours increase, the Sun coming up a bit earlier and setting a bit later each day. As a kid on the farm, we noticed the Sun came up in the morning over Stovey’s farm buildings in the summer, but in the winter the Sun came up over Kuntz’s place. Stovey’s farm was to the northeast, and Kuntz’s to the southeast. Never understood why until much later.
Which reminds me of the story of my brother Bob and Gene Ingham who teamed up to play a bit of a prank on Willie Knutz. Willie raised goats and one or two of them were frequently tethered out by Oak Grove Ridge Road. They were staked out so they could graze on the fresh grass. We would see those goats each time we passed the Kuntz roadway, whether we were in the Scheckel car or on the school bus.
Bob and Gene, only a rumor you understand, removed the tether rope from the stake in the ground and they tied the end of the rope to the electric fence. We don’t know if Willie ever determined who pulled this hoax. The goat came to no harm. But the deed lives on in Scheckel folklore and the tale is embellished at each family reunion. At last telling, the goat was fried!
Other signs of Spring in the past: breaking out the softball and bat at Oak Grove school, watching the snow melt go through the culver under the road by the Ingham farm, the V formation of flocks of geese heading north, Valentines Day at Oak Grove school, Ground Hogs Day, the first robins in the lawn, mourning doves, swallows returning and building their mud nests in the Small Barn, and seed catalogs arriving in the mail.