My early exposure to the sights, sounds, and smells of a small rural farm, at such a young age, couldn’t be bad. In fact, it was to be very enlightening for a little city kid. To awaken in the mornings to the sounds of farm animals, and the many other local creatures was an education in itself. It was always the coo-oo, coo-coo-coo, of the mourning dove that first got my attention when awakened to the day. It is one of my favorites, if not the favorite, sounds from my youth.
Although it was on a small scale this farm was a fully functioning operational farm. Our grandparents lived a subsistence lifestyle, and had for most of their lives. Two horses worked pulling the plow in the spring, and summer, a mule was kept for odd jobs and a cow for their dairy. There were pigs, chickens, ducks and the geese, which we were terrified of. They would chase us all over the barnyard when we were caught off guard in their territory.
There was an orchard that contained every kind of fruit tree you could imagine and nearby, a stack of beehives that I thought were way to near the outhouse. There were hen houses where we collected eggs each morning. Not far away, and just outside of the orchard fencing, was the smokehouse which sat atop a root cellar. The dark and musty smells of the cellar were very stimulating to our imaginations. We felt there was something terrible living down there… in the dark of it.
A large deep vat of water sat out behind the farmhouse that collected rain water. It was a place where we thought we were teaching frogs to swim. We soon learned that frogs were born swimming and we were not to throw them down into the cistern again. If we did, grandpa threatened, “I’ll put you two in the root cellar for a few days, you won’t like that much, I guarantee”. He said that a lot.
There was also a large garden down toward the highway, and it was always on our daily schedule of places to pay a visit. It was a huge delight for us, where you could always find something sweet to eat ripe on the vine. There were blackberries, and raspberries, grapes of many varieties, strawberry bushes that ran for a quarter mile. What kind of heaven was this? There were also the root veggies of every kind and enough sweet corn to keep the neighbors down the road in good supply for the season.
The Mourning Dove [Zenaida Macroura], is a graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying. Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America. (credit to allaboutbirds.org).
For sounds of the mourning dove Go Here!