Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Amongst all that straw is my garden. It has never been very productive, except in the weed department, so I'm covering most of it with straw. I'm hoping it will help in two ways. First, I hope it helps keep the weeds at bay. Second, I hope more organic matter in the soil will help with food production. (I must be married to a farmer.) This garden has already seen its share of abuse this summer so I don't expect much out of it. Living in a wide open yard the wind tears at it, the driving rain pounds it and the little bits of hail we received almost a week ago ripped at it. Not to mention the frost that set it back. One thing the straw has already done is produce memories. These bales have never seen a barn but every time I smell a straw bale I'm taken back to my cousins dairy farms. I have two uncles who have a dairy, one on each side of my family, and this morning as I was spreading this straw I kept going back and forth from one farm to the other. I kept thinking of the hours spent playing in the forts made in the bale stacks. Running through the barn hoping my cousin would spray me with milk from the cow's teat but pretending I didn't want him to. Letting the cute, big-eyed calves suck on my hand. Watching my cousin pull out a stillborn calf from its mama when she was 12 years old. Watching the cows being led into the barn for milking and being amazed at how orderly it was and that each cow claimed her place in line and her own tie-stall. Desperately wanting to be part of the action and at the same time being terrified to take part. Being taught the difference between hay and straw, they are NOT the same! Watching my uncles and cousins work ethic. They were out the door in the morning at a time I didn't even know existed and missed parts of family gatherings later in the day because the cows needed them. I didn't realize how hard they worked until I was almost an adult and how much fun I had as a result of their hard work. Those memories I will cherish my whole life. I have to admit I'm a little sad we won't be able to give our nieces and nephews the same experience being on our grain farm but hopefully they will have some farm memory that will one day be triggered and help them through a tedious task like my memories did for me today.