Uncorked

Have you ever gathered eggs?

To this day, it feels like Christmas morning every  time.

Our Austra white’s have finally started laying. 🙂

I still remember when I was  nine  and the excitement of gathering eggs.  The chicken nests were along the south wall of our old chicken house.

The sound of fifty nervous clucking birds wondering what you were up to.  Dust…and chicken feathers. The smell of chicken feed.  The dirty glass on the windows…chicken wire over a rickety screen door.

None of that mattered.  All that mattered was finding the eggs.  Once in a while,  a hen would still  be sitting on her nest. I was too young to realize (or care) that I was interrupting her in a most private  moment….

I (who had grown up in small town USA) had never experienced any of these things before moving to the farm at nine.

I remember slipping my  hand under the sitting chicken, feeling around for eggs..Sometimes, the hens wouldn’t have any of it, and gave me a peck.

Pause….

Feel like I just popped a cork off a bottle of early farm memories….

The smell of fresh curing hay in the summer.

The smell of a freshly plowed field in the spring.

Siding up next to a nine hundred pound Guernsey with my two-legged milking stool, with the intention of milking her by hand.  The feel of her letting down her milk as I washed her utters.  It  took five minutes to milk all four quarters. The farm cats knew when it was milking time and  hung out, hoping for a squirt.  Rich Guernsey raw milk. After we strained it and put it in the frig,  there would be an inch of cream float to the top. Sometimes mom would let us make butter with it.

The biting raw subzero cold in the dead of winter doing chores.  Pulling the small square bales of  hay out of the mow.  I remember my hands feeling like my finger tips  were on fire.

Then later… raising pigs…The contented grunting sounds of the mama sows nursing their litter. The warmth of the barn. The radio tuned to  AM 600 WMT so dad could hear the farm markets.

Side raking hay. Clipping along listening to Band On The Run. Dust. Insects with big wings trying to fly into my ears as I turned the hay over.  To this day, whenever  I hear that song, it immediately takes me back in time.

Did I ever tell you about the first time I hauled manure?  Ancient manure spreader pulled by a John Deere A.  Two bangers  the old farmers called them.

Put put put put….

Dad said to spread the load just behind the barn.  Made it to the field no problem and saw where he’d been working.  Got the tractor facing west,  pushed the hand clutch ahead without killing the motor..and I was off!  Then reached down to my right and pulled up on the power take off lever…the rumbling sound of the power take off…engaging the manure spreader…and like magic..the chunks of cow dung and hay flying fifty feet in the air.

I was bonified!

And then…chunks of cow manure began to rain down upon me like fire and brimstone. What I hadn’t taken into consideration was the wind….

 

doug-and-steve

Life lesson:  Never spread manure with a stiff breeze at your back.

 

What song (s) take you back to your summers growing up?

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12 thoughts on “Uncorked

  1. This one your most beautiful and evocative posts. I was right there with you reaching for those eggs under the chicken in her “private moment, raising the pigs, the sounds, the smells, side-raking hay listening to Band in the Run. And then the kicker, manure raining down on you…like fire and brimstone.
    Lovely.
    I will pass on sharing my childhood memories and just savor yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The house did sell a week ago and we’re already getting the inspection on Sunday and the appraisal on Monday!! My agent says that is very unusual.

      Ben has an unbelievable number of tools to still sort…I was helping yesterday and he could open a tool museum instead. Farm, truck, remodeling, plumbing, electrical/–and so many duplicates of everything, probably because on the farm he’d have tools for workers. In construction, you know all the variety. It is hard to watch–I know it’s difficult. He is keeping some stuff, but we have a 10×15 storage unit for everything. I think I’ll be seeing some magic tricks to get his tools in there before my furniture. Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel your childhood and mine were so similar – one distinct memory of picking eggs was the ammonia that about knocked us over when we entered the henhouse. And yes some were happy to let us have their treasures and others, not so much!! I remember milking cows, barn cats gathering around, purring with slitty eyes waiting for a pan of deliciousness. Dad would let us haul the milk to the house (2 kids sharing a pail, trying not to slop it down our legs) and haul it down the stairs to the separator. That cream that floated to the top? That was the best for whipping cream on pies, poured over our corn flakes (with sugar too) and into dark, strong farmer’s coffee 🙂 Loved all of our farm animals, baby calves, new foals, herds of funny pink piglets .. kitties and farm dogs. Weren’t we ever so lucky? 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did not realize you also grew up with milk cows..the small family farm with milk cows..is almost extinct around here now… we were both blessed, (although @ the time I wouldn’t have called it that)…more like slave labor 🙂

      Like

  3. Amazing story DM, I love these posts from bloggers who share of their youth and memories. I often wonder if that means I’m getting really old and have that need to turn back the clock and pick up on a bit of what is long past to savior and keep close and re-live… Do people in their 20’s and 30’s ever spend time thinking of ‘the good old days’ I wonder, or are they just simply too busy living them 😉
    In answer to your comment about the galette- it is made! Yesterday actually. It is a rustic, one crust tart type thing. Can be sweet or savory-mine are typically sweet, although I wasn’t too generous with the sugars on this one.
    Can’t seem to get my picture from my phone to copy here, or even a link, without great frustration, but if you feel so inclined a quick Google search will pull up images. I love making galettes because they are quick, messy (mine do not look like the fancy arranged images) and versatile.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Being a city mouse, I so appreciate your country mouse memories. I felt like I was right along side you as you did your chores. I too am always taken back to places when I hear a song on the radio. The Candyman takes me to the playground where the school district had summertime programs set up for the city kids. Playing hopscotch. Jumping rope. Learning dance routines. Dream Weaver reminds me of junior high birthday parties where I tried to fit in and always felt like I failed. Laying under the dining room table while listening to my dad’s favorites – Simon and Garfunkel, Janice Joplin, Santana – small tight cozy spaces have always been a comfort to me. 🤓

    Liked by 1 person

    • love how you can name those specific songs and how they make you feel, Dream weaver takes me right back to my senior year in school. Too terrified to ask anyone to dance but wanting to do so @ the same time. Boy am I glad those days are over 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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