I spent a chunk of the morning in the hayloft of the rambling old barn of my childhood and youth. That barn was there when my grandpa moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia in 1943, so I don’t know how old it is. I spent all of the first 22 years of my life on that farm. As a child, I spent hours in the loft making houses and tunnels with the hay and straw bales. Sometimes my playmates and I found nests of duck eggs, or nests of kittens, and barn swallow nests of sod in the rafters. It was a wonderful place for discovery and imagination. As an adolescent and teenager, I helped my dad collect hay bales from the fields and guide those oblong bales on an elevator up to the loft. My sister and her husband still live on that farm, so I can still return when I wish.
Today, I was in pursuit of some straw to finish mulching peppers and potatoes in my garden. My brother-in-law said I could find lots of loose stuff on the floor of the loft. I did not climb the ladder as nimbly as I did sixty years ago, but I was glad I could still do it. The smells of old hay and straw were as lovely as I remembered, but there were more holes in the wooden floor, so I had to be extra careful where I stepped. I was happy to load six bags of straw load into my prius. I had a lovely lunch with my sister on the deck overlooking the peaceful pond before heading home, forty-five minutes away.
Back home, I scattered some of the straw and then prepared ground and planted three short rows of lima beans–the bush kind my mom used to plant. And then I helped my husband unload some compost full of fishing worms in several spots on the garden. Somehow, I planted more seed than I had planned this year. The farm girl in me cannot be restrained.