Downwind

By: sonofabeach96

Mar 25 2016

Category: Uncategorized

75 Comments

I was raised in the city, in an old, established neighborhood. Pre-war houses mixed with 100 year-old Victorians and brick manors, some with intact carriage houses, dense, and just outside of downtown.  My wife, on the other hand, was raised on a farm.  Rural, no running water until she was about ten, animals, the works.

I’d had precious little experience with farm life until I met her and began frequenting her dad’s place.  I’d done plenty of back country camping, spent nights in some outta the way and exceptionally rural places, and spent copious amounts of time out of the city hustle and bustle.  But there’s a distinct difference between camping in the wilderness for a few days versus living rurally, on a farm, day to day.

I feel like I’ve adapted fairly well.  We bought our place in 2000, and it’ll be 16 years as of this September.  I’ve gotten used to near constant inconveniences, the harshness of dealing with winter in a 114 year-old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and the constant battle of maintaining a 1/2 mile of gravel ruts we refer to as a driveway, with tongue firmly in cheek.  People park their cars at the bottom and have us come down to shuttle them up, afraid their cars will scrape bottom, or in inclement weather, get stuck.

I’ve learned various remodeling skills, how to build a corral, how to run plumbing and wiring, and how to fence for cattle,

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and a couple of donkeys.

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I’ve birthed, bottle fed, and lost calves.  I’ve nursed momma’s with bad hooves back to health, packed them from (and to) the stockyards, and even had my arms elbow-deep in one while dealing with a prolapsed uterus (I’ll spare y’all the pictures of that one).  I’ve seen and done some unappealing things in my 15 years of making a small farm go.

As a sidenote, I use the term “farmer” loosely in reference to myself, and my skills and knowledge, out of respect for those in my “neighborhood”.  I know many who refer to farmers as “hicks”, sometimes believing they’re uneducated, and are called “bumpkins” or “rednecks”.  Allow me to enlighten y’all, to the reality that the “bumpkin” you see, in his overalls and Farm-All cap, looking dusty and grizzled, face like weathered barnwood?  He and/or she are intelligent, resourceful, exceptionally knowledgable, handy, helpful, and welcoming.  And that combine or tractor out in the machinery shed likely costs as much as some houses.  They’re shrewd, thrifty, and not to be underestimated.  These guys pull no punches, and will call you on nonsense at the drop of a hat.

Anyway, all of my “neighbors” are large-acreage, long-time workers of the soil, or livestock.  They’ve taught me, laughed at my inexperience, bailed my dumbass outta some unusual scenarios, used their implements to clear my drive of feet of snow, unannounced and unrequested.  Some of the finest, give-you-the-shirt-off-their-back, come on in for dinner, salt of the earth people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

But there’s one thing that no amount of experience, teaching, or trial and erroring could ever prepare me for.  It’s a bi-annual rite of land management.  Every Spring, every Fall.  It’s the dreaded, at least by me, laying of the fertilizer.  Manure.  Cow shit.  It’s a scent that is unmistakable, and nearly unbearable.

Roughly five miles down the state road from us is a little burg, maybe 200 residents.  As you go out the other side of town, there’s a dairy, and Holstein breeding, farm.  I don’t know exactly how, or why, but that dude is Mister Manure.  Everybody buys it, and has it delivered to them, from Mister Manure.  You DO NOT want to be behind the truck used to cluster bomb an entire ridge with The Funk.  It is something the (affectionately called) old-timers claim is not that bad, that it’s something you get used to and just part of living in an agriculture-centric area.  “What’s the big deal, city boy?”, they’ll joke to me, as I’m gagging while shootin’ the breeze with them in my driveway.  But it’s pure torture to have it wafting across the hills and dales of these awakening fields.  It’s an olfactory assault of brutal odor that could be used to subdue riots.  It’s debilitating.

I’m tellin’ y’all, for about two to three weeks, it’s rough.  Really rough.  And, as much as I love where we live, and I love it out here in the Spring,

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I don’t know that I’ll ever adjust to the shit hitting the…soil, even as it’s spread across mine.  But I have learned one thing though: when it hits the fan, you DO NOT want to be downwind.

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention that Ms. Aretha is celebrating another trip around the sun today.

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I’ve read that she’s a pain in the ass to work with, and she’s certainly stepped on a few necks in her rise to musical immortality.  But c’mon, she’s not the Queen of Soul for nothin’!

My songs of the day are:

Quiet Corners and Empty Spaces” by The Jayhawks

Weenie Beenie” by The Foo Fighters

Save Me” by Aretha Franklin

Country House” by Blur

Piece of Crap” by Neil Young

This House Is Ours” by Justin Paul Lewis

Think” by Aretha Franklin

Get Off Your Ass and Jam” by Funkadelic

Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

Old Shit/New Shit” by The Eels

75 comments on “Downwind”

  1. There’s the yuk! My arms ain’t gonna go nowhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow so cool! I now live in a rural area and love farms, and farmers are as you stated quite amazing people! They are the salt of the earth!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love it! We’re the opposite, I’m from the suburbs of Chicago, hubby is from a farm in middle TN. Spent a lot of time at his parents and what they called a “garden” which was the size of my whole block growing up! We get that smell up here, too, when they fertilize the common areas at malls, etc. I feel for all y’all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s the only part of the lifestyle that gets to me. It’s rough. Not sure I’ll ever adjust to it. Luckily it’s short lived and only a couple times a year. But when you’re downwind? Oh man! 😕

      Liked by 1 person

      • Funny..I don’t think hubby missed farm life too much. It is not an easy life to choose and he had to do a lot of the work with his brothers and sisters when he was young. I think he misses the space and the scenery, though

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      • That’s what I wanted, the privacy and peace. The rest of it just sorta started happening along the way. Like I said, I’m not a farmer. I’m just kinda playing around with it. I think I’m good comic relief for the real farmers around me. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aww 🙂 at least you’re not a Yankee like me! That makes it harder to fit in, lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, we kinda have an identity crisis in Kentucky. Being right on the Mason/Dixon line is confusing to some. Are we Southern? Are we Midwestern? Depends who ya ask. Me? I’m Southern. Too much time spent in the Carolina’s, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, in addition to Kentucky. I have a drawl, I like biscuits and gravy and shrimp and grits, I think Robert Johnson is the forefather to rock n roll, I love sweet tea, I say y’all frequently. I’m southern. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, my, I might be, too, lol. The accent gives me away, though! I even can make sweet tea and biscuits and gravy (sometimes, when I practice!) And I can usually understand hubby ‘s family. Never had shrimp and grits, tho. Do you put sugar in cornbread? Paul thinks it’s a sin, lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do prefer my cornbread a little sweeter, but there’s no bad cornbread. Shrimp and grits is a staple. At least in coastal Louisiana and Mississippi. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha….you know what smells worse then cow poop?!?! Try driving past Tyson or Perdue…in the heat of summer!!!!! It’s almost enough to make you want to give up chicken (I’d love to raise my own…I do buy mine from a local farmer) .

    BTW….your home looks amazingly beautiful!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this! I grew up on 80 acres, not exactly a farm but we had ducks, sheep and a couple of horses. All our fields were hay fields and we bartered with a local farmer to cut and bale it in exchange for plowing our “road” in the winter. It was lonely for an only child but it sure made me use my imagination to entertain myself. Our farmer neighbors were awesome people. 😃

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  6. Here I thought you were a city not but you are a farmer. It’s fantastic. I’ve always loved farms but like you, not the smell of cow shit. Beautiful piece of heaven you have I’m sure. The photos so not do it justice I’m positive. Happy Easter 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What I learned: you live on a farm and deal with the idiosyncrasies of that life; I’m familiar with that odor (o-dear!) here too; and most importantly, you don’t want to be downwind from the Queen of Soul! Or maybe the last isn’t quite right…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. ~~I hope you consider writing for Who but You? someday! ~~ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gives me a new appreciation for the country life. I dream of having a farm, and I know *in theory* of all the hard work involved, I believe it’s a good life, a worthy one. Get me in there next Spring, and I’ll come haul all that shit out with you. Yowzers. Hang in there man, let Aretha carry you through The Funk.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ireland is a small, mostly agricultural country. The seasonal evens colorfully described in this post, are hard to miss, even in Dublin. Our fertilizer has a different quality though. It is a waste product of cheese making, called cheese whey…
    To me, farmers are the most important part of society. Even the smartasses have to eat.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your home sounds delightlful, yes I know I don’t have to deal with the winters, or the fences that have taken a beating during the winter…but I have worked on many farms, cows, goats and horses…nothing beats the feeling of working in nature….hard work most of the time, but I can say farmers are the salt of the earth…and anyone who thinks a farmer is uneducated is just daft!!! Our house in California is out in the country on a lane, one way in and out…we live near many dairy farms….and oh how the smell can turn sour…especially when the honey wagons are our spreading the manure…thanks for sharing with us….your place sounds fantastic…and I am betting you both have put lots of blood, sweat and tears into it….xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, you could say that. And more of all of those still to go. I’m getting the feeling it may never be done. 😃

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      • trust me….it will never be done….you will get one project finished and then another comes to mind…for me, its all about having fun, and I think you and your wife know how to enjoy life….it would be wonderful to see some pictures of you abode…only if you comfortable doing that….the barn and fields look so inviting and I love your driveway…..the only downfall living here is how close the neighbors are with all there little frigin barking dogs…pretty sure there’s a stipulation if you don’t have 6 to 8 barking little dogs your not welcome!!!! that’s a huge problem here and the law will do nothing about it unless you sign a paper to go to court against them….nice huh!!! sorry started to rant about the rats out barking this morning……Happy Easter my friend…hows your brother in law…did they boot him out of hospital yet??? kat

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I’m aware. Yes, he had the surgery Thursday and it went so well that he went home yesterday. My wife said he’s sore and tired, but otherwise doing great. Thanks! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • how wonderful…all prayers answered…..!! YAY

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  12. That’s a smell that we can smell in Denver all the way from Greeley which is about an hour away. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. We lived 16 miles from ‘Town’ so catching the bus meant getting up at 5 a.m. But we had great views! https://jefflynchdev.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/texas_hill_country_clouds_large.jpg

    Liked by 1 person

  14. J can totally relate to everything from the driveway to the prolapses to the smell! I am just grateful that I don’t live in town. There are pig barns about 4 miles south and when the wind blows, the smell is rank!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I figured you’d know what I was talking about. The pigs are the worst! Thank god there aren’t any around us. I don’t know how Mister Manure deals with it. You should see the veritable mountain of cow manure out behind his barn. It’s as big as his barn is. And it’s only a couple hundred yards behind their house. The smell must be constant. 😜
      I’m from the city, but I have zero desire to ever live in one again at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. My grandma and uncle had a small farm. I have fond memories of haying, making syrup, and watching the cows walk down the street in orderly fashion as they escaped down the road….haha

    In the spring, we’d comment to each other, “Ah…the fresh smell of country livin’!”

    Liked by 1 person


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