Pamplin Media Group – RURAL REFLECTIONS: From Spring to Spring

A nostalgic Pamela Loxley Drake writes a hymn to her favorite season of the year.

Spring means so many things, and it means different things to different people.

For us in Oregon, this spring has meant enough rain to float an ark. And for this farm kid, spring is full of delicious memories.

In early spring, our small number of sheep grew. The ewes gave birth to adorable, long-tailed, woolly little lambs that seemed to know how to wriggle greedily from birth. Very often a lamb was abandoned by the mother and had to be bottle fed.

Winter wheat began to grow through the ground. Fields that were brown and barren have turned green. A lush green. Maybe they seemed greener, because we had seen mostly gloomy shades of colorless landscapes all winter. Now the fields were eager to produce that crop that would help the farmer get through the year.

Here in Oregon we have fields of red clover. The hills are covered in breathtaking red.

It was a time when our tobacco beds were steamed in preparation for the tobacco seeds. The old steam engine chugged along the road and up the driveway to our house. Tobacco beds were steamed to sterilize the soil. We have to pull the chain for the whistle.

Mom looked at chickens a little differently than she had all winter, because now she could kill a few to fry or feed her family on Sunday nights. Take their heads off!

She hung them by one leg on the clothesline, while my friend Brenda and I watched. Yeah, entertainment.

Dad plowed the garden and the seeds were sown. The age-old rhubarb plant around the corner was sturdier than ever. I could almost smell the pie in the oven.

Since we started school in August, we had been out in May. The days were getting warmer and my feet couldn’t wait to get out of the shoes. A Bible school would soon be underway, along with 4-H projects. Mom loved 4-H. His daughters, not so much. We were a family of the arts and not the house “of the arts”.

Dad couldn’t wait to go to the fields to plow and plant. It was time to see that all the equipment was oiled and ready. Field work would be continuous until the fall. The barns have been cleared of wintering animals. A smell of manure fills the air. Soon Dad and Cyril, our next door neighbor, were going to shear the sheep.

Oh yes. Spring. Really, it’s my favorite time of year. And, like every spring, my thoughts return to the farm.

I jumped in the spring.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a resident of Beaverton and describes herself as a lifelong “farmer”. You can contact her at This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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