The “smells” of spring, good and bad, are in the air

Published 7:49 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

As a farm boy, I learned about barnyards and the fragrances associated with such. Actually we didn’t use the word fragrance, we used the word smell. In any case, a hog pen or cow lot had its own affect upon the olfactory senses, if you know what I mean.

Not everyone felt the same. My Granddaddy, for instance, would said, “Smell’s like money to me.”

One thing that wasn’t so prevalent way back then was the assault on that important sense of smell that we find today as so much chicken litter (to use an acceptable word) is spread upon our fields.

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I am a great lover of chicken fingers and, as a pastor, I’m called to eat as much fried chicken as I can. It’s part of the job, you know. Chicken in all of its ways to be cooked has become the centerpiece of many a dish and, thankfully, we have plenty of chickens being raised.

Long ago and far away, if one lived in the country, there were chickens in the yard. Not so much anymore. With all the chicken we eat these days, it would take some pretty big yards and one would really have to watch carefully where they stepped. Especially if church was the destination.

Now chickens are grown in long, long houses and there may be 25,000 chickens in each house. Most chicken-raising farms have eight or so houses. They raise five to seven flocks a year. And since the broilers that they raise don’t come with “stoppers” for their backsides, that means a lot of stuff!

I don’t know if they thought about all that stuff when they introduced this industry to South Georgia, but I can promise you it did not take too long for someone to say, “What am I going to do with all this stuff?” They might have posed a more descriptive question, but it all means the same.

By the way, raising chickens or broilers has long been popular in North Georgia and Gainesville, Georgia is the “self-proclaimed” chicken capital of the world. They have built a monument with a life-sized chicken or rooster on top. How do you tell the difference between a chicken and a rooster? Also, it’s illegal to eat chicken with a fork in Gainesville.

So, what’s all these words about chickens and their biological movements about? It’s about the wonderful smells of Spring.

Think Confederate Jasmine and other spring flowers or freshly turned earth as it is being prepared for planting. Think first time for the season mown grass. Perhaps someone is grilling out for the first time. A ride down a dirt road past fence rows with that bush that is filled with white, fragrant blossoms or the smell of wild onions.

But wait! I see in the distance a large green wagon and dust coming from its whirling behind. And I don’t believe that’s Confederate Jasmin I’m smelling. Somehow, it permeates the interior of my car. Those wonderful March winds, “Oh, if only you would blow in a different direction!”

Whoever said, “You better stop and smell the flowers” had a beautiful thought. We are here only for a moment. Don’t hurry through life. Stop and enjoy the sights, the sounds, the smells all around you.

I don’t think that person ever thought that in this life there would be chicken houses and all the stuff that comes from chickens. Sure, it smells like money to some people. I can appreciate that, but it’s not the same smell as, oh say, a rose.