Smelly Times in Rural Bliss

Making a Rural Deposit - © Bernd Biege 2014
Making a Rural Deposit - © Bernd Biege 2014

I cannot help but be continually amused by those who crave a rural life, an existence away from the city, the “Big Smoke” … and the, once they have achieved this in some Irish backwater, start complaining about the smell. “Uuuuh … how awful … this is really bad …can’t they do this somewhere else?” Like when the farmer runs the pump on this littler beauty …

Basically, cattle pees and defecates. And the farmer has to collect and then dispose of this. So, in time-honoured tradition, the (more or less) liquid manure is brought onto the fields. Either with a trailer or, like here, with a slightly more sophisticated pumping system. Done in moderation, this is actually good for the environment. If overdone … the water gets polluted.

But never mind that, says the former city dweller … our tap water looks clean. It’s just the smell. The awful smell.

Well, you ain’t smelled nothing yet, as Randy Bachmann would say. These days we had one farmer giving his field a bit of a boost with some other, dry manure. Basically produced by chickens. And, boy, that really goes from your nose straight through the sinuses into the brain. And then there is the sweet smell of silage when freshly cut after ripening for a few months …

Yon former city-dwellers are certainly in for a treat in rural Ireland. Which will include, over time, massive agricultural machinery forcing the shiny new car into a hedge to squeeze by, and cattle making their way along a winding road, and hedge-cutting in progress, always behind the tightest corner.

On the other hand … no big smoke … unless a neighbour decides to save on utility bills and starts to burn the accumulated trash, some old tyres and his deceased grandmother in the backyard.

But all in all, you’ll have about twenty or so bad days a year in the country. When you really better stay indoors and wait until the smell goes by and the air clears up. Compare that to city life, where you have maybe twenty days with clean air … when you flee the city on your holidays. Or so it sometimes feels.

By the way … immigrants moving to rural Ireland to be “near to nature” are often amongst those who complain loudest when things get awkward, when for instance nature spells “manure”. Those are the worst NIMBYs. And often displaying definitely split personalities, celebrating something until it impinges on their lifestyle. Yes, they need wireless broadband, but they don’t want the mast in their (very much extended) backyard …

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