Stop and Smell……

The Boy Scout brought the two wreaths over the weekend.  Even though I normally don’t do any decorating before Thanksgiving, it seemed silly to just lay them on a table for a few days, so I hung them up.  One on the outer front door and one on the back porch inner door. 

Then yesterday morning, I spent a few hours picking up, cleaning up, arranging – it had been a while and the downstairs was looking ragged.  Our kitchen trashcan is actually on the back porch (thanks to a string of too-smart Irish setters) so I was opening and shutting the door onto the back porch repeatedly – each time I was greeted with a waft of evergreen.  It gave me a wonderful feeling every time.  My family always did live trees for the holidays.  A couple of years ago I flirted with the idea of an artificial tree and decided against it because I thought I would miss the evergreen smell.

I have other favorite smells.  Two of them are hard for me to admit; as a vegetarian for almost 50 years, it seems somehow wrong that bacon and tuna are high on my list.  They bring back pleasant memories from when I was younger, not from the taste of these things but the experiences surrounding them.  Of course, warm bread smell is hard to beat as well.   Wasband and I once ate an entire loaf in two hours – the first loaf out of our new bread machine.  And chocolate chip cookies.

Any evocative smells for you?

45 thoughts on “Stop and Smell……”

  1. Yes, bacon and coffee and bread baking popcorn. I would add fresh rosemary and eucalyptus, lavender. I recall a lotion I once had by ShiKai that had a citrus-y scent.

    I remember being in the Rocky Mountains and my mother sighing: Smell the pines!” It became one of her trademarks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adhesives and their odors (or lack thereof) are a regular feature of flooring. Two adhesives made by Armstrong were S-89 and S-90. Manufacture of them ended sometime around 1980 as they contained asbestos. The asbestos content made for the best vinyl composition tile adhesive ever made. So what that it could kill you?!
    Each was tar black and smelled horribly to those unfamiliar with it. Their use frequently generated complaints.
    My reminiscence of them is a case of what I didn’t smell. S-89 had a very lengthy working time hence smelled (smelt?) the worst. Often we would glue up an area in the afternoon and come back in the morning to install tile. As long as the spread was kept dust free, 24 hours of working time was not unusual. S-90 had a limited working time of about 6 hours before it absolutely had to be covered. Not much odor.
    So the crew set up a large classroom in the afternoon for installation the next day. An apprentice got the job of spreading the adhesive. When we returned in the morning…no smell. The guy, not reading the number off the bucket, had spread 90 not 89. The fellow had requisite training about reading the labels of every product used. I took my share of the responsibility and scraped up two square feet at the doorway. He had to do the rest himself but at least there was little smell from the S-90.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Rise and Take a Sniff, Baboons,

      When I was in grade school, the mimeograph machine ruled the world of worksheets. As a teacher my mother spent time making these worksheets on a “Master Sheet”, painting purple goo to the needed area on the machine, adhering the Master Sheet to the mimeograph roller, then finally cranking out the number of needed copies. I loved that smell. Every kid in my class loved that smell, and would spend a few seconds sniffing a newly mimeographed page. When I was really lucky, I got to operate the crank for mom, inhaling deeply as I turned that handle.

      BEWARE. Jacque’s sociological theory ahead (tongue in cheek!). I am sure we all got high from the solvent or whatever it was on that machine. This is, I am sure, what is wrong with our generation—brain damage from mimeograph solvent/ink—and it all led to the vicious drug habits of the late 60s and early 70s. It led to Bill Clinton’s sexual problem, #45’s delusional pathology, and all the decisions leading to the invasion of Iraq in the90s and 2000s. I just thought you should all know this. It makes as much sense as the far right theories of vaccine science. (Yesterday I read an opinion that the vaccine interferes with the decomposition of certain proteins which then interferes in our ability to access heaven. A good reason to avoid vaccination. And here I thought the vaccines were all about the tracking microchips now floating through my system).

      All the other aromas mentioned are on my list, as well.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh! That explains so much!!
        And it makes sense; I didn’t come to the mimeograph world until I was in my 20’s… In fact, I have that ‘government Green’ storage cabinet home in my shop; It has one deep drawer that you hung the wet copies in.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I associate fenugreek with Winnipeg, as that is where I first ate Indian food.

    Tacoma used to smell pretty bad due to pulp and paper mills, but I think they are gone now, and the “aroma of Tacoma” is pretty good.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That paper pulp smell is pretty offensive, rivaled only by the reek of processed soybeans in Kansas small towns. Kind of smells like massive amounts of burning Cannabis.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. If you ask a hog farmer how they can stand the smell, they’ll tell you it smells like money to them. 🙂

          I don’t like ‘maple’ smells… or mint.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. We once moved to an old home that had been converted to a duplex in a low rent part of Saint Paul. When the wind blew from the east it carried the odor of what we were told was a dog food plant that combined molasses with some of the lesser parts left over from processing turkeys. Maybe that sounds like a good smell: turkey parts and molasses. But if you got a good whiff of that while picking up the morning paper, you’d soon be perusing apartment rental listings.

    When we drove home with bags of takeout food from Caravan Serai, the car filled up with the most amazingly delicious aromas. I recently mentioned the incredibly attractive odor of cinnamon rolls. It’s hard to beat the smell of a classic farm breakfast: coffee, bacon, eggs and toast. The city of London had a wonderful and distinctive smell, the result of all those little black cabs burning a certain fuel. Someone once gave me an aftershave cream labeled Wet Hunting Dog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used to buy bags of calf feed starter which had a high molasses content. In the winter, for weight in the back of the car, we’d put some of these bags in the back. If you had a hatchback, like Kelly’s Pinto when we first started dating, the car would smell like molasses and it was kinda nice.
      Dairy cow teat dip is usually iodine based. While not a totally unpleasant smell, it was distinctive. And even these days, if I walk into a group of farmers, you can tell the dairy farmers in the bunch. And it’s a pleasant memory.

      Vanilla is one of my favorites. Lilacs, too. Plus, yes, chocolate chip cookies!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. There used to be a molasses plant near the sewage treatment plant in St. Paul. When the wind carried the smell over the city it was pretty pungent. People always blamed the smell on the sewage treatment plant, but it was actually the molasses plant. You would think it would smell sweet, like baked goods, but it definitely did not.


    1. Did you just put it in because I just saw a minute ago. I believe that PJ was the first person who used it, wasn’t she?


      1. I think I was the first person to use it on the trail. I did, however, not coin it. It was widely used in some circles and was listed in the “urban dictionary.”


  5. The summer of 1969 was the stinkiest of my life. That summer featured muggy, jungle-like humidity and high heat. We were staying in a lovely home next to the Saint Croix River, just north of Stillwater. One weekend we were gone for three days. While we were in Wisconsin, a freezer in the closed garage jiggled so much that its plug popped out of the outlet. Everything in the freezer melted, oozed out of the freezer, ran on the garage floor and became malodorous. You would expect the rotten meat to be the worst, but actually the most foul smelling thing turned out to be a gallon ice cream. After our trip we opened the garage door and were almost knocked flat by the stench.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I once received a gift of cherry chocolate simmering potpourri. It made the kitchen smell sort of like you were baking brownies in the oven and preparing a fruit jam on the stove at the same time. Wish I could find more of it.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Once upon a time, I was given a ‘Thank you gift’ of, what seemed like the quart bottle size of English Leather. I was barely old enough to know about cologne and I think it sat in my room for several years before I started to wear it. Nancy, the receptionist at a local theater loved the smell and would stick her nose in my neck whenever I was wearing it and comment on how much she loved that smell. There was nothing sexual about it and I never took it that way, but I don’t think she would do that these days.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I remember spending, for me, big bucks on a Plum Pudding candle I found at Donaldson’s in downtown Mpls (remember Donaldson’s?). Named for the color, shape, and divine smell – have never found a replacement…


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