I think of all our senses, smell is the most maligned. People tell you to stop and smell the roses, but what about those other scents that are less unanimously praised? Ellen and I have come up with a list of our favourite scents, many of which are less appreciated, but which have a great deal of meaning to us.

The first and most traditionally pleasant, for me, is the smell of lavendar, which reminds me of visiting my grandparents in Provence when I was a child, and harvesting lavender to make lavender dolls.

Ellen and I both love the smell of goats. Not the rank stench of bucks, but the smell that you get when it’s early in the morning and you’re milking a doe. It’s cold, and you’re leaning against the goat’s belly, smelling its warm hair as you listen to the metallic sound of the milk hitting the bucket.

Another great smell is coniferous wood, especially cedar. Walking into a forest or passing by a stack of wood, you get that amazing spicy smell of pine needles or cedar planks – it’s wonderful. Sawdust and wood shavings, or burning fresh green branches – the smell can’t be beat.

When we were kids, we used to love helping grow “yeastie beasties” while my mum was making bread. Nowadays, the smell of yeast elicits images of beer, bread, and warm kitchens.


We also love the smell of cold mornings. Getting up early for chores at home or the fair, I loved guessing the weather by the smell of the morning. Right before the snow, I swear I can smell the difference in the air. So crisp, so cool. Perfect!

And then there’s rain on the road. Technically, we know it’s the smell of dead worms. But we like it anyway. Plus it’s damp and earthy and reminiscent of home.

Ellen in particular loves the smell of a stinky old farm dog. She’s been made fun of for it for years, and defends herself by saying it’s not the smell of wet dogs, but older outside dogs that haven’t been groomed in years. It smells like home and makes her want to hug and snuggle them and rub her face in their fur.


Stinky old puppies are the best kind!

Who could forget the amazing scent of wood smoke? Campfires and wood stoves, fireplaces and barbecues, there are so many good memories associated with burning wood.


Wood burning pizza oven smells amazing!

Last but certainly not least is freshly turned dirt. For me, this smell elicits memories of walking through the garden in the hot sun, digging up baby carrots with my toes, stealing peas and raspberries before my parents had the chance to harvest them.