Friday, September 19, 2008

Ahhhh, Fall!

Well, it's almost fall again, at least in this part of the world. The official date is this coming Monday but, in reality, it can start just about any time around this date. Our daytime temperatures went from the low 90's just a few days ago to the mid 50's overnight last night. I don't know about you, but that's sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather for us! The constantly running air conditioner has been silent more and more often lately and the house is still comfortable! Oh, joy!

But, there's always that fly in the ointment, isn't there? Or maybe it's just that humans are never satisfied. But, I digress.

We've really been looking forward to fresh air at night and just as cooler weather finally arrives, so does the truck that spreads chicken litter over the pastures and hay fields across the road from us! For those of you who aren't all that country savvy, North Carolina has quite a few commercial chicken farmers who raise chickens for your table in these large buildings. These chickens never see fresh air or anything outside the walls of their houses until the time comes for them to be shipped to the chicken processing plants. Not only that, but the houses are crammed full of chickens!

Once that bunch of chickens has gone to the processing plant, the farmer cleans out the chicken houses to ready the houses for the next delivery of chicks. This results in a tremendous amount of waste to be disposed of. The wise farmer makes money from his chickens then sells the chicken waste to other farmers who spread the mixture (containing wood shavings, chicken waste and dead chickens) over their fields and allow it to sheet compost, or break down over time. You cannot imagine the smell when it's first put on a field. And, to top it off, our prevailing winds come mainly from the northeast and the fields in question are nearly directly north of us!

So, no open windows last night & probably none today nor tonight! The wind has shifted slightly so it's coming from more to the south this morning so I quickly hung up a couple of loads of laundry. I've been trying to offset our rising electric bill by saving when and wherever I can. Hanging the laundry outside was one of the steps I was taking to conserve electricity. There's also nothing like the smell of laundry hung in the fresh air and sunshine! However, that dividend is certainly lost if the wind happens to be from the wrong direction!

Well, the chicken litter usually quits smelling real bad after a few days and a good rain - unfortunately for us, no rain is expected for at least a week!

Ahhhhh, Fall - and the joys of country life!

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