West Michigan has cities (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Holland, etc.) for sure, but in between it's not all paved over and built up... yet. Lots of farmland. With the arrival, more or less, of something resembling Springtime, we get activity in the fields and a certain amount of... odors.
It starts with the winds. As soon as they start turning soil you begin to see great brownish clouds drifting across the roads. Roll up the windows as you speed along the highways and the freeways, or you'll get a faceful of dust.
When you own a bunch of older vehicles, you do get sensitive to smells. On Wednesday morning, we got a new one, at least for this season. Real raw strong farm smell. And as the US-131 freeway rounded a curve to the right, there was a tractor motoring along with a big green tank spraying lovely brown liquid manure onto a field. Mmmm, yum. (Actually, as long as I don't have to deal with it for long or up to my ankles, it's a good farm smell. For a little bit.)
The sad part, of course, is that "civilization" is encroaching all the time. Of course, you could argue that I am part of the problem. I have no desire to be a farmer, but when our house was new (neither the first nor last in that stretch of road), there were lots of active farms around us. Our property was once a bad Christmas tree farm (someone sold a little old lady this investment scheme, involving rather poor-for-Christmas trees jack pines), and to the west is some of the midwest's major shrubbery farms. We are the Knights who say NI! You must bring us a shrubbery! -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (more or less) South of us they raise cattle and every spring the fields are filled with cows and cowlets, bulls and bullets. It's fun watching the little ones scamper in the spring. There's a sorghum field (at least I think it's sorghum) where they let it grown six to seven feet high, then let the cows in. Freaky to see it disappear in days, or to have cows emerging from the dark green shadows of the tall grasslike plants like the ghost ballplayers in Field of Dreams.
Alas, the fields on that stretch of road are being sold into lots and half-a-dozen or more homes are going in. This year it's all construction, with the cows watching it. Not sure how long the cows will last once people move in. Or maybe these people like cows. There are some student apartment buildings just west of Grand Valley State University which are built into some cow pastures -- and a friend of ours said it was very peaceful to sit on the deck and watch the cows.
If there aren't too many cows, pasture lands don't smell too bad. Not like some of the hog, chicken or turkey farms...
Playing Toxic Avenger
However, Thursday evening while coming home, it was in the high 60s and so I was rolling along the highway at a legal 70mph with the window open. Just a few miles south of Mr. Manure Sprayer the day before. Got blasted with a really harsh, awful smell. Windows up... And off to the left of the freeway, a tractor was spraying a really yellow chemical. Since I assume we're not using mustard gas to kill bugs, I'm not sure what the product was, but boy did it smell bad. Wish there hadn't been so many trees, or I might've been able to see it first and get the windows up before intersecting the downwind drift (grin).
BTW- this is not a rant about the evils (or saintliness) of agricultural chemical warfare. Merely a play-up of scents and smells leading to...
Right after the stinky yellow gas attack, a sedan passed me in the left lane in excess of the legal 70mph speed limit (as if anyone besides Dr. Phil pays attention to that in the entire state of Michigan). To my surprise, a hand came out of the driver's windows holding a huge travel cup with a lid, and this idiot inverts the whole thing, shaking it to make sure he was dumping the rest of his coffee. Which sprayed out in a huge brown plume behind him. Maybe his sense of taste was altered by the yellow gas attack. But Jiminy Cricket folks, what in the hell did he think he was doing dumping his coffee at speed? Did he think I wanted a face full of coffee as that spray made its way through my open window? Or that I needed to wash my windshield a second time? (I'd just run the washer to make sure the yellow stuff wouldn't stick on there.)
But who does this sort of crap? Idiots! That's who. Oh, was I asking a rhetorical question? Well, he was still an idiot. And I get so tired of snarky little self-centered a-hole idiots.
Have a lovely spring day, folks.