Spring — best, worst and baseball

Keeping up with springtime, when there's time, and baseball in this week's Ponoka News reporter column.

For me growing up, this was always the best and the worst time of year.

Anyone that presently lives on an operational farm or, more appropriately, on a working farm prior to all of the gadgets and technology (anyone with a ‘party’ line will know what I’m talking about) understand exactly the reasons behind this.

With the temperatures beginning to climb, life seems to be coming back in every way more action from animals and wildlife, bugs and insects make a return, grass and weeds can be seen starting to grow, tree branches begin to sprout leaves and water seems to be running everywhere.

My favourite parts were being able to get out more often with the horses, moving the cattle, working to deliver calves, being able to work without gloves on, get to the nearby fishing holes that were open and play toss with either the dog or some friends.

It was that last one that I really liked, because it meant baseball season would soon be upon us.

Along with hockey, baseball was next in line as far as favourite sports were concerned. It always felt like the one sport I didn’t have to be big, tall, overly strong or the fastest though I was fast in order to be good at it.

In fact, being somewhat smaller than many of the others was a bit of an advantage, since it was difficult for pitchers to hit my strike zone without giving me a good pitch to hit. It also helped the home plate umpire when I was the catcher, then he didn’t have to look around me or try to guess where the pitch went he was able to track it right from the pitcher’s hand to my glove.

Running was also another one of my advantages, as I was fast enough to track down nearly any fly ball when I played in the outfield and speedy enough on the base paths to make up for any height disadvantage. That supposed disadvantage was of great assistance when sliding, since my small stature made it easier to squeeze in to reach the bag or avoid a tag.

Stuck in spring

However, there were many sides of spring that I didn’t much care for.

That included all of the water runoff I had to help tend to, be it around the farm yard and buildings or out in the field as well as the mud clumps that built up on my boots that I would have to fling off every other step (only to eventually lose one as it flew 40 feet ahead of you and almost always into the nearest puddle).

I also wasn’t enthralled with the hours spent rock picking in the fields and so the vast farmyard lawn could be cut with no danger to surrounding windows.

Digging up the garden plots and planting all those vegetable seeds wasn’t high on my list of spring chores, neither was having to help with seeding all those acres we had. Suffice to say, things would have been a lot different if we had modern tractors with GPS, automatic steering and computerized air seeders and fertilizers instead of a couple older manual seed machines, an old Massey Ferguson and a pair of draft horses.

Spring was also a bit more of a pain, since I wasn’t able to sleep in much on the weekends or school holidays because the sun would wake me up sooner every day.

Still look forward

Nowadays though, spring comes with some different likes and dislikes.

I really enjoy the warmer temperatures as my bones no longer ache or get stiff due to the cold, I anticipate getting outside without having to bulk up on clothing, I love running my vehicle through puddles and I don’t worry about the sun waking me up when I sleep in.

Unfortunately, the season now brings on a treasure trove of allergens that I don’t remember bugging me as much when I was a kid, I’m annoyed by having to wash the vehicle and the floor and our kids all the time because of the constant grime and the bright sun has me wearing sunglasses and sunscreen all the time.

Though, at least I still have baseball.

But that is…just an observation.