Monday, 6 June 2011

Country smells.

Last week the whole of this end of the Dale smelled of new-mown grass as all the farmers cut their first-cut silage in the dry weather, gathered it up and put it into their silage clamps, or into bales for winter feed.

This week the whole of this end of the Dale smells of slurry as those same farmers spread the contents of their slurry lagoons on to the fields in the hope that it will soon rain and wash the slurry in - cheap fertiliser to help the grass grow again for second cut.

It is now obligatory to have a slurry lagoon if you have a dairy herd. In the winter, when the cattle are inside, all the manure that didn't soak into the straw they were bedded down with drained out into an old-fashioned midden. We still have one of these left over from years ago and I must say that this year, without its murky dampness (it is quite small) the swallows and house-martins would have had great difficulty in building and repairing their nests. But for dairy herds that midden has now disappeared and been replaced by a lagoon.

Of course it doesn't stop filling up in the summer when the cattle are out because the milking parlour has to be swilled out twice a day after milking and nobody has yet trained cows to hold on to their poo until they get back into the field.

Still, it is not too unpleasant a smell - just a smell of the working countryside and one which would disappear overnight if we could get some desperately needed rain.

10 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

Pat...is that the slurry with the fringe on top, or is that such an old counrty joke that it's boring now?!

Elizabeth said...

Used to walk past a piggery on my way home from school.
Not good to be downwind of......
Now is the season of lime bloom here
now that's bliss.

Midden sounds better than 'lagoon' which sounds a bit foreign to me!

Heather said...

I love the smell of new mown hay and freshly cut grass but am not so keen on the other good old healthy country smells. However, the countryside wouldn't be complete without cattle and other animals and their smells are a small price to pay. We had light rain all day yesterday - do hope you have had some and have more to come this week.

Doohie said...

I love the smells of the countryside, even the bad ones. They bring back good memories of childhood holidays on a Great
Aunt's farm.

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Ah the smell of the country, my dad used to say it cleared the sinuses
XX

steven said...

i live about one hundred feet from fields that are slurried. i have loved the smell since i was a little boy and travelled with my grandad (a methodist minister) on his circuit, some of which included little farms. it was pure magic to me weaver. steven

Pondside said...

The smell of a prosperous farm - it's never bothered me a bit, but I don't think I'd like to live downwind from the lagoon!

angryparsnip said...

Well one must take the good with the bad... but if it helps the field grow a few days of discomfort is worth it.
Hope you get that much needed rain.
Some how I would rather smell the slurry that the smoke from the three fires that are burning all around Tucson right now. We could use some rain right now too.

cheers, parsnip

Bovey Belle said...

Like Elizabeth I love the word "midden" which always makes me think of Neolithic shell middens at Archaeological sites!

Needless to say, living next door to a dairy farm, I am quite used to, ahem, country smells!

I love your header - cows have such curiosity!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Like the joke from Gerry - and no I have not heard it before.
Piggery smells are something different (and worse) but other than that you all seem happy with country smells.
No rain yet - just what the farmer calls 'a droughty wind'.
Thank you for the comments.