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Friday, July 29, 2011

Stinkin' chicken

I know from smells. I grew up on a farm where my father raised hogs and cattle. My grandfather-in-law had both on his farm until he retired a few years ago, but they're still nearby. He insists that pigs "smell like money."

As a girl, I helped "put up chickens," which was euphemism for butchering. (That particular wet chicken smell came back to haunt me during my college years when I worked 2 summers building Hondas in Ohio. Something about the damp cotton gloves smelled exactly like chickens that had been dunked in boiling water -- helps remove the feathers.) I spent my fair share of time at stockyards when Dad took animals to market; the FFA (Future Farmers of America) boys sometimes butchered livestock in the school shop, sharing the essence with our entire school. So I get it: the smells can sometimes be. . .less than pleasant.

But whatever they're doing in the area around Gainesville, Ga. makes the average farm smell like a bakery first thing in the morning. Perhaps it's the commercial aspect of the operation; after all, quantity is certainly a consideration when you're talking odors. Or the presence of turkeys as well as chickens? Or just the rendering? (Another great euphemistic phrase.)

I had taken the boys to Gainesville yesterday to meet up with friends at a children's museum. After several hours of fun, it was time to come home.

Whatever was wafting through the outdoor air was powerful! (And I have to give credit where it's due: Those folks at the museum must have a supercharged air filtering system because, thankfully, none of the stench had made it inside.)

Boy #1: Ugggghhh! WHAT is that SMELL?
Ma'am: Dogfood? No, but similar. Corn products? Worse than that.
Boy #2: Blegg!

They both covered their noses and mouths with their hands and tried not to breathe. A bit down the sidewalk, we passed a museum employee heading back inside, so I asked about the smell. "That? That's poultry," she replied.

The smell played tag with us all the way home, dancing in and out of the car's air system. So today we're grateful to live in not-Gainesville; and we're very sorry for those who do.



  1. Do you not know that Gainesville, GA is the poultry capital of the world? And real estate is really cheap near the processing plants BECAUSE of the smell. And not-for-profits like the museum are into cheap, you know. I was surprised that we did NOT smell it when we got there!

    BTW, I knew NOTHING of your farming history. It adds a whole new dimension to you and to our relationship. THANKS for sharing!

  2. Yuck!

    Let me tell you, though, you're lucky to live that near if you want to eat the chicken. You'd be shocked at the prices of chicken in the supermarkets here. Two years, and I still can't quite wrap my mind around it...