Season of Fertilization… by JoAnn

A tractor is dumping the grass into a tank.

I live in a farming community. Summer is jam-packed for all. This week seems to be the “Season of Fertilization.” Every farmer within sniffing distance of my nose is fertilizing their fields.

I had been out of town for nine whole days. I had access to a lovely backyard with tons of birds singing and playing. I even had several days when the temperatures were like Spring. It was a wonderful little retreat. But when I returned home to my rural county, P U, it stank!

The first town I entered in my county, the stink was so overpowering. I kept asking myself the million-dollar question, “What is that?!” I kid you not, it smelled like a cross between road kill and a busted sewer line. Both of which had been simmering in the 90+ degree weather all day. It literally made me gag a few times. Needless to say, I couldn’t get through that town fast enough.

Did I mention that I currently do not have a working AC in my car? So all my windows were down due to what is playing out to be a never-ending heatwave. Here I travel, windows down, a stinky wind blowing through my hair as the humidity makes me feel like a hot, damp sponge. I must have been a sight. By this time, I couldn’t have cared less about my appearance. I just wanted to get out of this smelly sogginess and get to my hometown.

The next town I had to travel through before my own had no smell. If it did, it was so much of an improvement over the last one that my nose gave it a pass. But when I hit my sweet little town, my nose hairs fainted. “What in the world is that smell?” were the only words that could make it through my brain. It was even more overpowering than the first round of stench. And this smell, I could not figure out anything to compare it to. I was praying for God to get me home by this time. Surely the smell would stay out in the fields and not invade my apartment. I was right. The horrid stench was gone as soon as I got closer to my home and away from the farming areas.

The next day, my daughter stopped by to return something she had borrowed. Somehow in our conversation, she mentioned that they had noticed a horrendous smell on their way home the day before. They had their Great Dane in the car, so they thought it might be him. They all laughed when they realized the poor dog wasn’t to blame. Apparently, someone told her the smell that is going around is that of the fertilizer that farmers have sprayed on their fields, which is made from chicken droppings and byproducts. And with that, the mystery of the awful smell was solved.

I immediately remembered a local news story a little while back about a commercial chicken farm being built in a neighboring county. They would be supplying chickens to the Tyson plant that is nearby. I remember the news story was about how the property owners near where the chicken farm was being built did not want the farm near their homes because of the, you guessed it, smell!

So this experience answered two questions I had previously. Whatever happened to that chicken farm people were protesting? Well, it obviously got built. And the second question, would it really smell all that bad? Unfortunately, I know the correct answer for that one too! P U.