Grit Blogs > Close the Gate


A photo of Nancy KraayenhofLiving and growing up in the city for more than three decades, moving to the country took some adjusting. One of the things that I had to get used to was the variety of smells.

We have a few head of cattle in a yard about a hundred yards from the back door of the house and when the wind is just right (or wrong) ... Well, you know what I mean.

My spouse, Doug, forever the farmer, has been known to step out the back door, inhale deeply and comment, “Smells like money!” I am sitting here telling you that money does not smell like that where I come from. It seems, however, that my senses have adjusted, and lately I hardly notice an ill breeze.

Manure. That is the word used in the agricultural community. I do not dispute its existence (who could?) or its usefulness as fertilizer. God, in His infinite wisdom, certainly thought of everything. What I object to is the word itself.

Manure. Been there, dung that. We have used the stuffing out of that word, and I propose a change. I am starting my campaign here but plan to take it on the road.

I predict that one day my idea will catch on and the utterance of “manure” will be a thing of the past. It will join words and phrases like horse haimes, singletree, shocking grain, wire check planting and milking stool. Obsolete.

Once I decided that a new term was needed, my task then became the search for the perfect word. I searched high and low (considering the topic, it was mostly low) and finally found what I was looking for on the Public Broadcasting Station.

One day my little daycare chickadees and I were watching the travels of “Buster Bunny” on PBS. Buster wanted to see a wild moose on his trip to Canada. Some local children were helping him track when they came upon some moose droppings. They referred it as “scat.”

Scat is a term long used to describe animal droppings by trackers and I would like to suggest the agriculture society adopt the term, with a twist. Let's replace the C with a Q to make it agriculturally uniQue, if you get my drift.

Sqat! What a perfect word! Short and eloquent, yet distinct and unusual. It rolls off the tongue like water off a duck’s back.

Sqat. A word that could only be confused with trackers’ scat or telling a cat to go away unless you see it in writing.

My husband, Doug, besides doing a little farming on the side for the sheer joy of it, used to be a territory manager for a company that sells ag equipment. One of the products he represented for his dealers was a brand of spreaders. Doug was a serious agent of his goods, and he certainly knew his sqat. When it comes to sqat throwers, my husband is a natural.

Sqat spreaders come with different brand names: Slinger, Scavenger, Pro Push, Hydro Push, Hydro Spread, Honey Wagon, etc. During my research I discovered there are also many slang names that are not suitable for print.

I predict, once the word “sqat” catches on, it won’t be long before one sees the name “Sqatter” or, even better “Sqatterer” on the side of a massive distribution machine.

I close the gate on the word “manure.”
“Sqat” is much better; you’ll agree I’m sure.
I’ll need your help and now that you’ve heard,
Get off your computer and go spread the word!

oz girl
2/10/2010 8:26:22 AM

Nancy, I love your uniQue tale of advocation to change the common use of the word manure to sqat. I may use this word in my next "road apple" clean-up discussion with the hubby, and see what his response is... it will most likely be to correct me, "honey, scat is what hunters look for, not what you call horse hockey pucks"... and then I will proceed to correct him and educate him on the loftier name for manure. :-)

nebraska dave
2/9/2010 6:58:42 PM

Nancy there are many different words for excrement. There is the scat that I thought was for bears but then there’s castings for worms, road apples for horses, droppings for birds, cow pies for cows, guano for bats, stool for humans and my favorite is frass for bugs. They all have one thing in common .... there’re stinky. It is as you say quite interesting that they all make things grow better. What’s up with that? I would think that what ever it passed through would suck all the good stuff out of it. I’m just glad that I’m not a plant. I do like your word to cover it all called sqat. I’ll always think of that every time I smell the smell of money.