Farmer: It’s All In The Smell Of Dirt

Farmer: It’s All In The Smell Of Dirt

Farmer: It’s All In The Smell Of Dirt

If you are lucky enough to live in a rural area there is always something across the road that is interesting. It could be out front, out back or over towards the neighbor to the north or south.  Oh sure there are things in town, just across the street to bring about interest.  

When I was a kid we lived in Reno. On the street where we lived, directly across the street, there was an old lady who we would see peeking at us kids out from between tightly drawn curtains covering her window. All as we were calmly and quietly playing outside. You know with all the refinement and finesse of a bunch of chimpanzees trying to grab the last banana from the bunch. We never saw her outside. I wonder sometimes if she was in there planning our demise. Naw. Well, maybe.

In the rural world it is hard not to see all the things across the road in all directions. It really is one of the wonderful perks of living out in the middle of farming and ranching action.  Like now. It’s spring. Things and people are beginning to “wake up.” Oh don’t think we have been hibernating. It is just that now, now that the sun comes up before noon things are moving and shaking more. Like the horses in the field kind of kitty corner from where I live. There are two of them. They have been sticking close to the middle of the 160 acres they have to roam about on. Now? Oh now the grass is getting green. That makes them go out further, on a search and destroy—I mean search and eat mission. The two of them, I am pretty sure, often talk of the lady who hasn’t been out to visit them since late last fall. Now that the temperatures are above the spot where I don’t have to wear a coat, scarf, mittens and boots, I will fill my pockets with treats and go visiting. It’s a spring thingy they and I have done for several years. After a few days they will meet me at the fence. The first few days, they look at me like I was one of those afore mentioned chimpanzees. It’s the treats that get them coming over and giving me a reason to smile in the springtime mornings.

Out back and down about a half mile the sheep have been let out on pasture. Just getting ready for the lambing to begin in a month or so. Last week was shearing. Then of course it snowed a couple of inches. The snow that comes now isn’t too worrisome, it melts and becomes a memory. And mud.  But the sheep are hearty little white specks that I can hear talking baa baa to each other over and above the sheep herding dogs that are spreading alarm of seen and what I suspect are more so unseen boogie men, uh coyotes. Yes out back and down the way things are happening too.

There is an airplane flying to the southwest. He is crop dusting applying I imagine either fertilizer or seed or maybe spraying weeds. It is much too early for bugs. If you ever get the chance to see a crop duster dance in the sky, take the time to stop and watch. It’s amazing. But! Yes a low flying “but.” The fact that someone sees that it’s time to start farming in earnest tells me it is time to attack my yard too.

Yard work for me is more of a therapy. I found that farming is therapy too. Just on a much grander scale. I happily embrace my small scale although the therapy is still needed and enjoyed after a long winters nap. There really is nothing like digging in the dirt. The feel of the ground and the smell of the earth cannot be matched by anything. Just ask a farmer. I am so amazed at the different soils you see when you travel. The darkest richest dirt is where the tallest corn will grow. That is one of the best lines of advice I can bestow on you.

I never looked at dirt, in the way a farmer looks at dirt until I married one. I’m here to tell you that above the mud and dust and dry patches and rain at the wrong time and weeds and bugs and all the things that stand in the way, it’s the smell of freshly turned earth that will bring a smile to the soul of a farmer.

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book, “They Call Me Weener” is available on line or email her at for a signed copy. Really!