Friday, July 11, 2003
So, yesterday, Ophelia and I took the kids to the farm center thingie at Kensington park.
My son still won't shut up about the animals. When he saw the first sheep, he nutted out completely, and that was excellent.
"LOOK! LOOK, MOMMA! GOATS! THAT'S GOATS! WOW OH WOW!"
He's such a chipper kid.
So, we had a good time, even if the pigs stank to high hell. I forgot how much pigs stink.
When I was still living in Pennsylvania and in foster care, I lived with this family out in Sandy Lake. Sandy Lake is a tiny podunk town with horse hitches at the Safeway for the Amish to park their buggies. This should go far enough to demonstrate to you where I was living.
Okay, maybe that's going a bit far.
Only parts of it were hellish.
Oh yes, it was picturesque. The family had a nice white house on a nice large lot of land with a garden and so forth. We grew corn, for fuck sake. And pumpkins. And any other vegetable that would grow in the bit of land we had set aside for growing vegetables. This is where I learned to can and make jelly and all sorts of things like that.
(On a side note: Canning is dangerous business, and I never liked doing it, but my foster mother needed help, and I was the only kid in the house over the age of 7. Lucky me. I used to have visions of the pressure cooker exploding and shards of glass and wax beans flying everywhere to impale me in the eye. On a further side note: If the pressure cooker had ever exploded, I would only have been slightly appreciative if it had gone while we were canning tomato sauce, since I bet THAT would make for some spectacular special effects.)
Once a week, I would take the tractor out and mow the grass on the upper acres, with my headphones planted firmly on my head and a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. (Yet another side note: If the chance ever arises, do not wear leather pants to mow in the summer. Things get real sticky real fast, and not in the fun way.) This was a meditative experience. Hours and hours of driving a tractor around in a circle. Lots of time to think, or not think, depending.
I miss tractors. I don't suppose Public Works would like it if I acquired a large John Deere and drove it around town?
Anyway, I was like a farmer or something. I even had a black straw hat to protect my fair complexion from the ravages of the sun. It was kinda neat. I wanted to create a bondage version of overalls, but my foster mom frowned on that, so I gave it up.
The fact that we lived in the middle of nowhere didn't really bother me until school started up and I had to sit on the friggin' bus for an hour to the school and an hour back. Or more, if there was snow. Sometimes, we didn't get out of the house for school at all. Sometimes, we got sent home early because of the snow.
Fuck, was there a lot of snow.
The really hellish part came in the summers, when the pig farm up the street (okay, it was a dirt road, really) started baking in the heat and the humidity. We're talking STENCH like I have never smelled before, and hope to never smell again. And pigs make hideous noises in the middle of the night. (Coincidentally, this is how I got from taking my kids to see farm animals and on to nostalgic ramblings of foster families past.)
Moral of the story? Don't live near a pig farm, and if you have to, move away in the summers.
Now I'm all reminiscing about Sandy Lake.
When school started up, I was appalled. All these 4H kids, preppy kids...and me. I was like a black spot in a sea of khaki. It was disturbing. I tried keeping to myself, but apparently, if you're new at Lakewood, EVERYONE has to come say hello to you and then eye you as if you had grown another head. It didn't help that I already looked funny to the rest of the kids. Bleh.
Anyway, I ended up making friends with a few other local misfits.
There was Bill that lived down the road in a trailer with a burnt out houseboat in the front yard. Upon inquiry, I learned that Bill had accidentally set the boat ablaze in an unfortunate incident involving Bacardi, fireworks, and morbid curiosity. Bill also had several dirtbikes (RM 125s) and a goat in a shed out back. We passed time dirtbiking through his grandfather's cornfields, poking the goat with a stick, and playing chess.
There was also the hippie kid (damn me, I've forgotten his name) that lived a ways up from Bill, on Three Sisters Farm. His parents had huge greenhouses, and I suppose I don't have to ask you to guess what they were growing in there...It was not uncommon for me to mosey down to Three Sisters and see his parents flying kites in the yard when there was no wind...
There were a few other miscellaneous persons that I spent time with, but I don't need to list them all.
Suffice to say, we whiled away the days smoking large amounts of marijuana and playing wild games of hide and seek in the cornfields in between chores back on the homesteads.
If it weren't for the pig farm stench, and the small annoying foster siblings I had to put up with, I'd have liked it there a lot.
All right, I guess that's enough time spent wandering down Memory Dirt Road.
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