Showing livestock at the fairs was something my son and I looked forward to every year. Some lasted a day or up to a week. What was irksome was a certain type of visitor who came to the show barns. It never failed that they would wander in and immediately grab their noses, wave their arms and declare how bad the smell was. What are they talking about? Generally those animals are probably the cleanest they will ever be.
The majority of people exhibiting have clipped, shampooed, fluffed and powdered these animals for hours. I know from experience that if any of these critters decided to poop, it was shoveled, hauled and outside before it ever hit the ground. Those animals and pens are a source of pride and also a great place to lay down and catch a nap or spend the night.
Photo by Fotolia/pearlguy
But it did make me think of all the aromas found on a homestead. What they tell us or what memories they bring back. Yes, there are the bad fragrances of course. The dog getting sprayed by a skunk and making it all the way to your bed before you realize it. Opening the stall door and knowing immediately that your bucket calf has the scours. But so many are pleasant, evening walks in the fall with the scent of fresh cut hay. Autumn means bonfires at the neighbors, the wafts of smoke and burnt marshmallows. The compost pile gives a rich earthy scent. A freshly cleaned stall bedded with fresh wood shavings is something to love. But it is also time to clean the barns one more time before the snow hits. Honestly each barn down the road is doing the same, so none of us really notice.
Now I laugh about the dog and realize that he will do it again, that won’t be the last time. I will never get use to the stench of a rotten duck egg when stepped on. How can one egg reek so badly? Standing at the back door in the early morning, you take a deep breath of the morning air. Could it be that subconsciously you’re taking a quick inventory of your surroundings? Taking note from where you’re standing that the tomatoes are ready to pick, red and ripe. Or a whiff in the breeze revealing that a raccoon got in the trash again. Well, that is a whole other form of ripe.