the smell of silage; I can tell the difference between horse, cow and pig poop.
I know how milk is priced ( a complicated formula based on the price of cheese in Chicago).
I know how to bale hay, milk a cow, farrow pigs, castrate piglets, ride a horse, milk a goat, steal eggs from mother hens without getting my eyes pecked out, the difference between a Holstein and a Hereford, how to tell if a rabbit is pregnant, how to slaughter, clean and ready a turkey for the oven, how to carry chickens and how to extricate myself from a barbed wire fence.
I have pulled calves from bawling mothers, rescued pigs frightened by a hurricane, taught my children to ride horses, lugged 55-gallon drums of garbage to the cooker to feed the hogs, grown vegetables, corn and pumpkins.
I love all animals so much that when I was a little sweet girl, in my little feed sack dresses and my little pigtails and my little freckled nose - oh wait, I didn't have freckles - I would pick up all the dead birds, flattened frogs and poor deceased butterflies that I found walking back and forth to school. I put them in my lunchbox. Why I never died after eating my lunch that had been sitting with some decomposing blue jay all morning is beyond me.
So when I grew up, of course I married a farmer and spent the next two decades raising hogs and children.
Today, agriculture is my reporting specialty at my newspaper.
And today was like my Christmas, birthday, Mother's Day, Fourth of July fireworks, a giant banana split and a terrific night of sex all rolled in one: It was the 68th annual Maine Agriculture Trade Show. Three days of workshops on topics such as cooperative marketing, sustainable agriculture, foot and mouth disease, milk commission pricing, .... ah, heaven.
I love it.
I seriously love it.
I love smelling the iodine on the dairy farmers' jeans while hearing about crashing milk prices.
I love seeing the women knitting while they listen to tips on energy efficiency.
I love smelling and eating the homemade sausage from Maine farm-raised hogs.
I love seeing the rows of fresh, green herbs in the little pretend greenhouse.
I love tasting all the Maine artisan cheeses.
I love seeing maple syrup evaporators, and Nu Pulse milking machines and the man that makes scythes and watching little and big boys climb all over the bright shiny new tractors.
I'm a pig in shit today. I couldn't be happier. And I get to go back tomorrow!!
But, I think I need to take back that comment about a good night of sex. That may just have an edge on beekeeping and seed saving.