Tuesday, July 8, 2008

REMEMBERING OUR FARM

I grew up on a small farm in southern New Jersey. Originally my grandfather raised the usual local crops, tomatoes, potatoes, and lettuce. He also planted a vineyard and was licensed to make and sell wine - the label read, Father and Sons Claret. They sold the wine in Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia. When my father took over the farm in the early 1940’s he switched to poultry farming, giving me the opportunity to grow up on farm with 10,000 egg laying chickens. The vineyard remained for most of my childhood and my father, like all self respecting Italian men made his own wine, about 200 gallons a year. We also had sheep, pigs, a cow (which I milked every day), and my father’s amazing garden.

Because of a series of crippling heart attacks my father had to give up farming prematurely and my children never had the benefit of experiencing life on our farm. Conscious of regretting how little I knew of my parent’s early years, I initiated a “memory search” of the first 18 years of my life and began a series of short narratives to pass on to my children and grandchildren. I thought I would share some of these with my readers while I have no new art to show.

CHICKEN SHIT

I grew up with chicken shit! I walked in it. I smelled it and breathed it. I swept it. I shoveled it. I spread it. The shit of ten thousand chickens was with us always...a part of our lives. I left the farm when I went away to college at age 18. It was not until almost 15 years later that I realized just how deeply it was ingrained in my mind. I was making a house call outside of the city of Wilmington and the patients daughter greeted me as I got out of the car. I stood up and immediately asked who had chickens and where were they. She looked at me with astonishment and said they were at a small farm about a half a mile away.

2 comments:

dog face girls said...

LOL, and again it's all about the SHIT,I mean POOP!!!

madre-terra said...

I grew up steeped in low tide aroma. I so love the smell of low tide.