the fields out my kitchen window

I was born in a valley known for its production of peppermint. We named our first dog Minta as we sat on our front porch swing and watched the mint trucks drive by. 

When I was eight, we moved across a few fields to twenty acres planted in peppermint. My brother and I loved to run through the field and come back smelling of mint, no matter how itchy or green it made us. I still remember flopping down in the middle of the field, breathing deeply—you could only see the blue sky for the aromatic green stems all around.

Eventually, the lease ended and my brother and I helped Daddy plant poplar trees in those fields. The poplars were harvested long ago and now the fields are leased to a hazelnut grower. Much of the peppermint production has moved to another part of the state, as well. But sometimes I’m there visiting at just the right time of year to smell the peppermint harvest again.

When I married my farmer husband eighteen years ago, we built our home in a long, narrow valley in the middle of an alfalfa field. It took awhile before we had more grass growing in our yard than alfalfa. Once in a while, we still have a determined alfalfa root that makes its presence known in the middle of a flower bed.

Our children made “forts” in the alfalfa when the stems were nearly as tall as they were. Their daddy would smile at the matted down spots in the field bigger than any the deer had left. And only occasionally would a toy end up a victim of the swather.

Each year our children look forward to posing for pictures on the big round hay bales (except these days I no longer have to lift them atop the bales). It doesn’t matter how itchy it makes them, they still run through the field in bare feet or sandals and climb on the bales without long pants. 

Through the years, we’ve planted wheat and barley between rotations of alfalfa, and grains make for gorgeous fields when they are ripe and ready for harvest. But nothing smells as beautiful as fresh cut alfalfa. Especially fresh cut alfalfa with a bit of dew on it, the first morning after it was laid down. 

I sat there with my coffee yesterday morning, watching my husband rake the first cutting of alfalfa in the field around our house, feeling a bit nostalgic about the fields that have made up my kitchen window views through the years. There are many things about farming that aren’t easy, but in the midst of the longest days are breathtaking scenes and can’t-bottle-this-up aromas only God could have created.

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