Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Smells of the farm

What did you think of when you first read that title?? My guess would be most people immediately thought of hogs? Or cows? I think that's what most people associate with a farm when the sense of smell is mentioned. 

Our sense of smell is pretty amazing, isn't it? How a certain smell can instantly bring us back in time to a specific place, time or memory. Maybe you remember how your house smelled that you grew up in. Or maybe it was grandma's house. Or your best friend's house. The smell of your little kiddos after a bath at bedtime. I bet if you think about it hard enough, you can almost smell it even though you aren't there and maybe haven't been there for many years. 

I'm sure there are many people have a variety of smells associated with family and friends. But being from a farm, there is a whole different set of smells that can trigger just as many memories or bring you back to another place in time. 

This is a timely topic as it is currently July on the farm. Right in the smack dab middle of pollination. On these warm, humid days, the distinct smell of pollen from corn tassels is thick in the air. That earthy smell is very distinctive to the farm. It may bring lots of pain to those who suffer from itchy eyes or noses (nothing a little Claritin can't fix! ;) ), but it's a smell I look forward to every year - a critical point in time of our growing season. But also is a smell I associate with warm, carefree summer days.
Directly west of our house - lots of pollen coming from here!
Another example that many can relate to this time of year....wood chips! The smell of wood chips brings my right back to the Webster County Fair and the Iowa State Fair. That smell when walking through hog barns at the state fair brings memories flooding back of the hours spent with friends at county and state fair doing anything (and nothing) from a rousing game of quarters to watching other kids playing practical jokes on unsuspecting fair goers. :) For me personally, the smell of Joy dish soap takes me right back to fair too. We always used Joy - lemon scent to be exact - to wash our hogs before taking them to fair. Priceless memories, those fair memories. 

Another distinctive smell comes a couple months before pollination time. If you have never driven around the country in April/May timeframe and smelled freshly worked dirt, you're missing out! It's thick in the air as planting amps up into full swing. It's always a smell I associate with finally coming out of winter and the start of greening grass and the optimism and anticipation of another growing season upon us. To go along with freshly worked dirt would be the smell of seed, fresh out of the bags, going into the planter. It's a smell that is hard to describe - one you must experience yourself. 
The planter rolling just south of the house
And you can't forget the distinct farm smell that comes as the growing season comes to an end. Harvest....the smells are so unique to that time of year. The air smells different as summer slowly turns cooler and we work our way into clear, crisp fall days. There is the distinct smell of corn and soybeans....fresh out of the field. Or unloading into the bins. Or trailer full of grain. The smell of the corn dryer. Or when the fans on the bins are running. What a glorious smell. 
The boys working on corn harvest
Same boys working on beans :)
And countless other smells as well. I always know when Bryan has been in the tractor all day - the specific smell of a tractor cab on his clothes. Or I smell it on one of the kids if they get the chance to ride with daddy. Or the rare occassion we all get to ride! 
Kind of a tight fit - even in a 4WD!
The smell of freshly cut alfalfa. The smell of hogs and cows certainly does have to make the list too. The smell of grease. The smell of hay bales. The smell of the local elevator or coop. These are all smells that trigger many priceless and treasured memories. Whether the farm is a part of your past, or it is your present, the smells of the farm are unique, distinct and nostalgic. 

What are your favorite farm smells and what kind of memories does it bring back for you?



1 comment:

  1. Such an awesome piece! My favorite smell of the farm is my dirty farmer. The way his shirt smells like a combination of sweat, oil and dirt after a long day - no matter what he's been working on. The way it takes me over when he hugs me as he gets home. The way his shirts still have a hint of it mixed with the freshness of Tide when I take them out of the dryer. Love it!

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