Spring Deliveries

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I can physically feel spring arrive. Can you? One day it is fully winter, and the next day the sun shines on your face without the cold wind smacking it too. There is a smell of warmth on the air, the spring peepers begin to sing and a few early flowers pop up. Sure, here in Tennessee we go through about a dozen “winters” named after the plants that bloom before and get bitten back during the cold snap (dogwood winter, blackberry winter and so forth), but that doesn’t mean spring isn’t here. Other than those few intense days of cold that drive strawberry farmers crazy, spring has arrived and everyone knows it. Could anyone possibly hate spring?

Hard to believe, but well, yes … maybe, if your line of work involves delivering goods to farms. Oh, what the good folks in the delivery industry go through to help us farmers put food on your table!

Spring means baby chicks, and so far, the U.S. Postal Service has not found a way around the actual physical delivery of this persistently chirping farm product. Have you ever heard a box of 50 baby chicks on their second leg of a two-day delivery? Maybe if the postal workers were able to see the birds, they could overlook the noise those cute little girls can make all day long. But no such luck, all the postal workers get to see is a lovely brown box with holes poked in it.

Chicks are one thing, but bees are a whole different story. Yet again, the USPS is responsible for delivering this farm product (and you wondered why stamps were so high these days). How in the world the post office got stuck with both chicks and bees, I’ll never know. I guess that is what they get for being the first in the business!

In case you had no idea bees could even be shipped, let me just say the packaging is entirely too skimpy, in my opinion. A rickety wood frame is nailed together and covered with mesh wire stapled to the wood. The bees cling to each other in a cluster around the queen, who is located in the very center of this open-air box. As a person who regularly works with bees, I would really feel better handling the so-called box with my bee suit on. Truly, I can’t imagine riding in the same car with a package of bees, starting and stopping frequently all day long. That said, I am so thankful for the people who overcome and persevere to deliver these things to us farmers.

Truthfully, spring probably comes a little too soon for the UPS man. His big brown truck is just recovering from the Christmas rush when all sorts of heavy packages begin weighing it down again. UPS is the big dog in farm delivery. If UPS can’t deliver it, your next option is a trailer truck. Seeds, fertilizer and minerals in less than 200-pound quantities belong to the UPS man. Growing supplies and tools in extremely odd-shaped boxes make him stop at our farm almost daily in early spring. Around here, we love our UPS man. We could not farm without him and the things the big brown truck delivers so well!

Let’s not overlook that final farm deliverer, the FedEx man. Compared to the other two delivery providers, this guy has it easy. Come to think of it, he may actually like spring. No chirping, buzzing or back-breaking for him on farm deliveries. All he has to handle is a small box with holes labeled “live bugs – handle with care.” This box with the bug label rides around in his truck all day leaving him plenty of time to wonder, then worry, about just what kind of bugs are in there … and could that possibly be one of them crawling on the back of his neck? On second thought, maybe the stress of the unknown makes him dislike spring too.

About the Author

Julie Vaughn is a spring-loving gal who grows four farm boys and lots of vegetables in Middle Tennessee. She also orders all kinds of crazy farm products and is happy to see the mail car, UPS man in brown and FedEx truck pull in each day any time of the year.

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