One Sunday after church, we were visiting with friends Jane and Don about an apple orchard that we both visit to buy apples in these winter months. This orchard has a small salesroom where you can buy most varieties they have along with their excellent cider, cheeses and more.
At the same time, the owners encourage regular customers to go back in to their cold storage where the apples are kept and pick out what we want that they have bagged and ready to sell. When you walk into that cold storage, there is a delicious smell of apples of many kinds. It is an aroma that is one of a kind that we really enjoy.
Last Sunday after church, these friends came up to us with Jane carrying a small package. Because of illness and weather problems, we had missed several Sundays, but they were looking for us. This small package was a candle that, when burning, gave off the aroma, or nearly so, of that apple storage. We do enjoy it and appreciate the thoughtfulness of our friends with that little gift.
This experience made me think about the many pleasant aromas that are all around us if we take time to stop and notice them. Visiting a bakery with all the wonderful smells coming from fresh baked products is an experience we all should enjoy once in a while. Problem is, I am no longer allowed to have any of those fresh-baked doughnuts or sweet rolls. But it doesn't cost anything to enjoy those delicious smells.
Better yet is to come home and find that Betty has baked fresh wheat bread, rolls or an apple pie. The house is full of aromas that linger for sometime. Naturally, when fresh bread cools a little bit, I have to have a big slice. It's never better than when freshly baked.
Most of my life I have lived in the country or a small town, and I have an agricultural background. That may make me more aware of pleasant aromas and sights that are found out in the country.
There is another aroma common to spring that you don't want to miss, and that is freshly cut hay curing in the field. You can smell the pleasant aroma coming from the hay as it cures when you drive by. Better yet, find a safe place to stop and walk to the edge of the field and really enjoy the experience.
I do some hay, grain and silage judging at county fairs. One of the requirements of a top sample of hay is to open it and find that fresh, newly cut aroma. It indicates top quality hay. Any hint of a musty sample or mildew grades the sample down.
Grass silage made at the right stage of maturity and stored at the right moisture content has a pleasant, sweet aroma. If it has a sour, pungent odor, it was probably too high in moisture when put in the silo and is not the best feed.
Another pleasant aroma that we can experience anytime now comes from the sugar houses where maple sap is being boiled to make maple syrup. When the farmer is using wood to boil the sap, as many still do, the smell of wood smoke combined with the steam from the evaporator is another pleasant experience. Then you need to sample the newly made, warm syrup when it comes off the evaporator. Delicious!
Thinking of pleasant sounds, it's enjoyable to hear the first frogs or "peepers" in the spring when you can open the windows. They tell you that spring is really here or just ahead. A positive sound. Early morning birds chirping just outside the window are sounds we need to listen to and enjoy. One friend says he wishes those noisy birds wouldn't start so early in the day, but he isn't really that grumpy.
Take time to enjoy the sights, sounds and pleasant aromas that are all around us if we will just listen to them. Even the big supermarkets in town have many pleasant aromas that we can enjoy. And most of them do a fine job of creating attractive displays of their foods.
Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune.