Unwelcome Neighbors: Manure Slurry and Other Stinky Stuff

Unwelcome Neighbors: Manure Slurry and Other Stinky Stuff

Tess Wilson
May 1, 2014

The place I live calls itself a city, but since there are never-ending cornfields a block away, I politely beg to differ. And since the farmers have begun spreading manure on the fields, I am painfully aware of their proximity. What to do when you're downwind from some serious stink?

Last night, we opened the windows to let in some of the long-awaited warm spring air, only to spend the next 10 minutes politely trying to figure out where that horrible old-sock/rotten-cheese funk was coming from without casting any aspersions on anyone. After much subtle sniffing and thinking, "Is it me?", the smell eventually grew potent enough that we were able to identify it as manure slurry. Ah, slurry in the evening! This is my first spring living here so I'm not sure how long we'll have to keep the house hermetically sealed, but I'm hoping it's not long. We've been waiting for fresh air for six months — fresh air, please.

The whole smelly affair reminded me of the "Dowisetrepla" episode of How I Met Your Mother (season 3 episode 7) in which Marshall and Lily buy a condo, unaware that the name of their new up-and-coming neighborhood is shorthand for Down Wind of the Sewage Treatment Plant. They'd viewed the condo on the weekends — when the plant was shut down — and were therefore unaware that the air was basically unbreathable. More attention was given on the show to the fact that the floors were crooked, an expensive but ultimately fixable problem. I assume the rest of the gang didn't visit them during the week and that they always kept their windows closed, and probably had to invest in expensive air filters. But still — wouldn't just walking out the door mean that they stunk all day at work? Would they every be able to truly de-funkify? Will I?

Have you ever lived in a place with a serious stench? Was it temporary, seasonal, or just a fact of life? Did you ever have to live with a smell that, while not terrible in and of itself, eventually made you totally sick? Tell us how you survived!

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