Spring this year is frustrating for the grazier, and all other farmers, I think, because it is so slow to warm up. Our hay runs out in about a week and a half and it is simply too expensive to buy in more. The grass is just starting up and needs a succession of seventy degree days to initiate growth.
Even the birds seem confused. We have an embarrassment of riches in bird life just now, from wrens and sparrows to robins flocking like blackbirds in number and orioles, warblers, cardinals, jays, geese and ducks and all manner of birds of prey, including the tiny prairie falcon, the common red tail hawk in abundance and several bald eagles that have not yet moved down to the river. It is said by some that the cold spring makes them reluctant to continue on to the north.
Predictably voices are heard questioning all that "global warming" talk. Some scientists, who generally speak more quietly, are heard to say that our cold spring may be due to a weather pattern of arctic highs being held in place by the large melt of the polar cap last summer loosening very cold waters to flow south into the oceans.
What I know is that last summer was so hot we worried about losing cattle in the pastures and had trouble getting the sows to breed. And this spring is too cold. It may be time for all of us to pay a little more attention to the quieter voices among us. They may be quieter simply because they are the voice of reason rather than the understandable human tendency to believe what is easiest and most convenient.