Ode to Manure

Spring is sprung
The grass has riz
Follow your nose
To where the manure is…

In the middle of the night I woke to a horrible odor permeating our home. After staggering out of bed, I stumbled over to a window and peered out. Headlights that could only belong to farm equipment traversed across our neighbor’s fields. Occasionally the lights stayed in one place for a while – the spot beside the farm’s manure pit.

This manure pit resembles a flat-bottom bowl completely sunk into the ground and surrounded by a chain link fence. It’s about twelve feet deep and at least fifty feet across. A series of troughs propel the cow waste out of the barn and into this pit where the manure ferments for several months.

Before this slurry can be pumped out and spread across the fields, a stirring device powered by a tractor spins the manure into a runny consistency. This spinning also sends the pungent cow manure smell throughout the neighborhood and into our homes.

However, not all nearby farms have dairy cattle. Our Old-Order Mennonite neighbors, who use horses for farming and transportation, simply shovel their horse manure into a pile.

At the appropriate time, they load the horse waste onto a manure spreader. As horses pull the spreader, bits and pieces of nature’s fertilizer are hurled over their fields. The horse manure has a different and a slightly milder odor than the cow manure.

Half a mile up the road from us is a very modern chicken farm. But chickens are chickens, whether free-range or not, and produce waste. It’s no secret when this farm spreads chicken manure onto its fields. The odor almost makes horse manure smell good and is far worse than the slurried cow waste.

A mile west of us is a small pig farm. Surprisingly, pig manure contains a slight scent of ham, along with the expected unpleasant smell.

One neighbor avows that turkey manure reeks worse than any other farm animal waste and is extremely glad a turkey farm is not in our area.

By the way, these aromas only last a day or two, and country living is well worth a few days of stink now and then.


About Kathie Mitchell

Kathie enjoys country living, time with family, playing cornet in community bands, crafts, gardening, and writing.
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