Friday, March 17, 2017

Here a chick, there a memory

I have a confession.  I love going to Tractor Supply or farm supply stores.  I love the smell of the leather, the salt blocks, livestock food...  

I know it goes back to my childhood of having critters around.  The smell of the hay, which occupied half of the barn, permeated every nook and cranny, often housed small gray mice and rats, which scampering one could hear upon creaking open the heavy wood door.   I have memories of standing as still as possible, in the middle of the barn, waiting with baited breath, to see if I could spot of the  critters, stomping on the wood floor to send them to their hiding places again.  It was like a game, but in reality, they weren't really that scared of us.  A large hay hook enabled one to pull a bale from the tower of hay, sectioning off a few squares of hay to fluff for that day's winter feeding.  Plunging the huge metal scoop into the 50 lb bag of horse food.  The pellets spilling about as the horses crowded close to snatch the first bite before the plinking of the falling pellets hit the wood trough.  Their velvety soft noses exploring coat pockets for special apple or carrot treats if you didn't act fast enough.  Tromping to the north end of the pasture, water from the cistern was pumped into the white chipped and dilapidated claw-footed tub that served as a water trough. the horses scattered droplets of cold well water with their noses, shaking their heads before plunging their noses under and blowing bubbles.  

Hefting the 40 lb bag of grain-free lamb dog food in the basket, I glanced towards the back of the store, drawn by the glow of heat lamps in the middle of the aisle.  I was instantly propelled back to my childhood, as I glanced into the huge galvanized feed troughs, from which chirping, fluffy balls of yellow huddled beneath the warming lamps.  If it weren't for the locked enclosure keeping people from handling them, I would have been in the middle of them. 

Growing up, we didn't have a farm implement store close and ordered our baby chicks through the mail. The second you walked into the doors of the post office, the much anticipated peeping of the chicks filled your ears...  Looking back, it was such a wonderful time building memories.  I actually have felt sorry for my own children, that they did not experience the same chores and memories that Honey and I have growing up in more rural settings.

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