April is a discombobulated month in my region of the country. Mother Nature cannot seem to decide whether to be winter or spring.

I’m thinking it might be an early spring this year. When I drove to town the other day, I saw signs of some of the earliest critters of springtime. The prairie dogs are moving about, looking for new territory to dig up, and the skunks are out in full force. Unfortunately, they don’t have much respect for vehicles and there were several casualties, which made for a smelly drive.   

In April, one day it can be 70 degrees with a light breeze–the perfect kind of day to catch up on outdoor yard work, such as raking up winter’s junk, bush and tree trimming, and maybe cleaning of flowerbeds. The next day in April, the wind can come howling, ripping shingles from rooftops. Anything that isn’t tied down can become airborne; people are cautioned to stay indoors (and upright) as the wind is strong enough to send those loose shingles flying through the air like mini swords. Tree branches are easily ripped from trees, and it’s a common for trash cans to be blown up to two blocks from home. Swing sets and trampolines not well anchored can get tossed about, making for hazardous conditions for the cars on the roads.

Once, a huge billboard at the edge of town where I live was badly damaged by a strong April wind. Half of the big posts were broken off, the braces were broken and there was twisted metal for several hundred yards. Yes, the wind here can be that strong!

This time of year, the long v-shaped groups of Canadian Geese honk overhead as they fly north to their summer stomping grounds, stopping only long enough to rest overnight on the dam near my house. The wild turkeys are everywhere, checking to see if there just might be a stray kernel of grain left about where the cattle feed. The turkeys don’t seem to mind the wind–they just head for the tree patches and stay put on the ground until things die down.  If they sense danger, they will fly up into the trees far enough so the coyotes can’t get to them. They make so much noise when anything gets close to them. I think the coyotes just move on because of the racket.

Windy days are indoor ‘puttering’ days for me. I can get to the jobs that need to be done that are usually put off for too long.  Such as cleaning out the old china closet, dusting shelves and washing the fancy glassware that great grandma collected over the years–the things that were only used for special occasions, such as big family dinners. The things were passed on down by elders in her family. The things I have, that are being passed down to the younger generations.

I also washed the old butter churn given to me years ago by a dear friend. I actually used it when we had a milk cow. My kids loved to turn the crank for a little while, and then mom had to finish the job. Those kids sure did enjoy the buttermilk pancakes and the fresh butter smeared on big chunks of warm from the oven bread loaves.

How many children today would even know what a butter churn looks like, much less, how to use one? My old churn sits atop an old cast iron cook stove that I use as a buffet in my dining room, along with some of those green glass canning jars that belonged to a great-grandmother. They get a good washing as well!

In April, I might do some work in the greenhouse, such as moving some of the bigger started plants out of the seeding flats into the individual pots so they can develop the root systems needed for summer growth.

Cleaning out closets is yet another ‘puttering’ job that most of us put off for far too long. One of the best closet organizing tips I have read came from a lady who advised, “Every day, as you dress or undress, take out at least one garment you never wear because it is out of style, stained, too big or too small and put the stained garments in a ‘rag bag’ for the shop/garage. Put the other no longer worn items in a bag and donate to the charity of your choice, so someone else can make use of it. Now, you have a clean closet.”

It may be snowing again by the end of the week, according to the weatherman, and the yard will be filled with robins, maybe a meadowlark or two, along with the other spring birds seeking shelter in the pines and cedars surrounding the house. Sometimes, there are so many birds hanging around that my cats will head of to the upper deck. Those birds don’t put up with any nonsense from the barn cats–getting dive-bombed by a dozen mad robins is enough for said cats to ‘head for the hills’ to safety!

Till next month,

Paula


by Paula Vogelgesang | Paula Vogelgesang is the author of the monthly column "Pennywise", and is a monthly contributor to the Farm And Livestock Directory. Email her at [email protected].  Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.