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Stories of Rural Life! I Don't Know What I Don't Know

Date Posted: 26/01/2015

I Don't Know What I Don't Know

By Andrea Sammut

Mono, Ontario


Life on the Townline...

As an Urban dweller, making the adjustment to country living would be so much easier if I knew what it is that I don't know.  I know what I think I know, but all the rest is a new surprise each day.  I know horses and sheep eat hay.  This is basic knowledge, learned in grade school, leaving me confident that I can safely feed a horse or a sheep.  But wait, there are twists and turns to the subject that never get discussed until the day comes when you need to know the answer. 


Leaving the security of my Volvo wagon, a few steps and I am standing at the feed mill and it’s time to talk seed.  My toothy grin gives the old fella at the cash a thrill he hasn’t felt in much too long…Newcomer!  He has smelled the fear, the uncertainty, and alerted the others to circle around.  We’ve got ourselves a fresh one.


Who would have thought there was so much to learn about hay and pasture? What kind? Legumes? When to cut? When did it last rain? When will it next rain?  Why can’t horses have wet hay when my horse dunks each mouthful in a bucket of water? Who makes those elevator thingys that get the hay up to the loft? Who around here sells the nicest stuff for the best price? Caution! Price is based on supply and demand.  They will supply the hay to the idiots from the city and demand whatever price feels right.

 It’s a sport… “be wary, wary quiet…I’m hunting newbies!”

My new friend at the feed mill eventually sees the tears brimming on my lashes and pulls out a binder from under the counter.  Beaten and filthy, this thing hasn’t seen the light of day for years, but it does contain the names of locals selling hay and the magic formula for pasture grasses for all types of god’s creatures.  Within the hour, I am back on the road with bags of seed too heavy to carry, a phone number for a supply of hay and the confidence that I will get it right.  Good hay, beautiful green grass and the happiest horses ever… Don’t cue the music just yet.  How much seed per acre? How often? Before it rains? After? And the elevator…still a mystery.


A few years have passed since our first meeting at the feed mill.  My friend and I are now on a first name basis, enquire about each other’s health and children and no longer pay cash for each purchase…they trust me enough. “I’ll just send ya a bill”.  There have been lots of mistakes along the way, thankfully none fatal.  We have made some great friends on our road, enjoy playing cards, helping each other with chores and doing the home watch when it’s their turn for vacation.  I love life in the country, not every day, but most.  I have not mastered all there is to know; I think that requires knowledge passed down through the generations.  Someday I hope to be the old timer, ready to rescue a family of suburban refugees setting out on their farming adventure.  I’ll be as kind as I can, returning all the patience I was shown and information that was shared. And you can bet your sweet legumes I’m gonna have some fun with them first.  Maybe start by telling them you need a rooster to get eggs from your hens? No, no, much too cruel.



Mom and wife, Mortgage Administrator, Crazy pug lady, desperately wading through social media to become a master, Andrea can be spotted at Mortgage Architects located at 94 Broadway! 




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