Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pineapple Weed and Pigs

Pineapple Weed (matricaria disoidea) is a native annual flower in Eastern Canada.  It's fairly common but it hadn't graced our property until this year when I noticed it today by the side of the road. I have a fondness for pineapple weed, not only because it smells so good (citrus and pineapple blended together), but because it brings back happy memories of summer.  When we were young, a neighboring farmer allowed the locals to swim in the stream that ran through his property.  He even brought in sand to make a little beach where the stream widened to make a small pond. Almost every day in summer, unless it was raining, we would go for a swim in the pond, or perhaps we would venture further upstream, and sit under the six foot waterfall and have our shoulders and back pummeled by the cold, fresh water.  If we wanted the stream to ourselves, we would go right at suppertime when everyone else had gone home to eat.  Either way, with company or alone, it was always a refreshing spot.

OK, but what about the pigs? and the pineapple weed?
Well, the walk over to the water took us down the farmer's lane way, which always had a good patch of pineapple weed growing in it. Our little feet tromped on the plants releasing the aromatic oils, and I would get lovely wafts of the pungent smell as I bent over to inspect the funny looking flowers.  Were they really flowers? Hum, I wasn't sure. 
At the end of the lane, was an all-purpose barn used for storing implements and hay, and for many years, sheltering several pigs.  Often we would stop in at the barn to say hello to the pigs, who always seemed to be eating, and never bothered with us.  The farm dog would join us, and bark incessantly trying to get the pigs' attention. But they had a job to do, they had to eat, so eat they did. In spite of our cool reception, we enjoyed watching the pigs. I suppose it's comforting to watch an animal so happy in its food.
We always visited the pigs on the way out to swimming, which was probably wise, as we undoubtedly picked up some aroma from the pig barn, and a good swim would freshen us up.
 I smiled today when I saw the pineapple weed and remembered other encounters I'd had with it, and I'm thankful to that farmer who gave us so many happy days swimming in his pond, trampling his pineapple weed, and hanging out with his pigs.

1 comment:

  1. Cute story Jenny. The river sounds wonderful. I would have loved that as a child! What a nice man that farmer must have been. I am sure he would be chuffed it he knew your childhood memories included his generosity.