Am I sick?

I Love the Smell of Manure

It smells like home September 24, 2023

I love the smell of manure. I don’t get to smell it every day like I used to.

Friday, when I was walking to the post office, I was caught off guard a bit by the familiar smell that wafted into my nasal cavity.   

It was like an old friend.  But where was it coming from?  It is not a typical smell in the village of Greenwich.  It was so pure.

We are a farming community and the hub of our county for ag business and support to our farmers. So it’s not entirely uncommon, but indeed not every day or every month for that matter.

However, it didn’t take me long to figure out where the smell was coming from.  As I crossed over Salem Street, I did a quick little hop when I looked down and saw the trail of what was a stream of wet that seemed to have been falling out the back of a cattle trailer as it turned the corner and up a slight incline onto Salem from Main Street.  Aha, the culprit, and fresh, as it still glistened with wetness in the middle of the road.

Smells are a trigger, and for whatever reason, the smell of manure takes me back to growing up and my Aunt Betsy hanging her sheets out on the clothesline.  Why that particular memory pops into my head when I smell manure, I will never know, but it feels like home. Familiar.

Every farm has its own distinct smell of manure, varying, obviously, from species to species but also within the species.  The smell of manure on the dairy farm I grew up on smells different from the dairy farm my kids know or the neighbor’s farms on one side of the road versus the other.

Variability due to manure storage types, rations, or even dirt plays a role.  And maybe it has a little to do with the fact that it’s yours versus someone else’s.  Like our children, I can pick out the smell of my kids and even my dog without even seeing them. 🙂

It’s pretty funny how animalistic we humans really are, despite ourselves thinking that we can take certain senses away or change the visceral reactions that are born into us through instinct, experience, and time.

Physiologically speaking, smelling that manure the other day caught me off guard, and I reacted.  The endorphins kicked in, and I felt at home, crossing Salem Street on my way to the post office on an unassuming Friday afternoon.

It was far from what I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised, and it embraced me.  I was happy that my senses kicked in, and I was taken back…

…to Aunt Betsy hanging sheets on her clothesline at the farm, all those years ago….

Happy Monday, friends!  Have a great week!

With love,