Farm Collector Blogs > First Things

Signs of Spring

by Leslie McManus


Tags: spring, swap meet, farm shows,

Time was, I’d wake up one day and there it was: spring. 

With the passage of years, however, I find myself scouting for signs of spring as early as December – and am generally rewarded by the arrival of the first seed catalog just before New Year’s Day.

Muddy spring swap meetBut in the depths of winter, the seed catalog thrill lasts only so long. Fortunately, by the time this issue of Farm Collector hits your mailbox, we’ll be seeing very real signs of spring. Robins and daffodils? That’s kid stuff. In the old iron community, a swap meet that opens with axle-deep mud and closes with a blizzard is a more accurate barometer.

The Big Plan is equally strong evidence of change. When collectors start flipping through a show directory in one hand (got yours? The ’09 model is available now: Call (866) 624-9388 or visit our online store) and a calendar in the other, plotting summer expeditions, or ordering parts for projects long dormant, those are sure signs of spring fever.

A particularly wicked case can result in The Big Plan, Derailed. You’ll know it when you see it: You attend that first spring swap meet (wearing long underwear and Carhartts; balaclava optional) and fall hard for that piece of old iron you knew you’d never be lucky enough to find, let alone afford. Yet there! It! Is! And priced to sell! This is a slippery slope indeed. “The guy doesn’t know what he has,” you say to yourself, as you feign disinterest. And so it is that The Big Plan is abandoned, replaced by Big Plan Version 2.0.

The first nice day is another good indicator of the approach of the vernal equinox – even if it comes in February (meteorologists, after all, consider March 1 to be spring’s opening day). Like the salmon that are suddenly and inexplicably called to return to fresh water, on the first nice day you may find yourself itching to fire up the tractor and drag a rusting hulk of iron out of the tall grass.

If the stars align in such a way that the first nice day falls on a weekend, look out: Conditions are ripe for a sudden bloom of old iron in front of the shop, a sight for sore eyes – and one every bit as cheering as robins and daffodils!