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Beauty and the Stench


We have lived out here in Cat Spring, TX for over 10 years now and I love it.  I love the open space and the green grass and the trees.  I love what we've done with the place.  We planted all manor of flowers and shrubs, trees and bushes.  We finished off the barn and turned a large rectangular open space full of half a dumpster's worth of trash into a three stall barn with a tack room and Ron's workshop.  We added fences and cross fences and four shelters that work well for all the animals no matter who is in which pasture.  We have re-roofed all the buildings, added a cement floor to the shed and most glorious of all, we built my wonderful studio.

But last week there was a fly in the ointment.  I walked outside to feed the animals one morning in the glorious sunshine and smelled the stench of a dead animal.  First job was to run around and count all the animals - Yes!  All the animals were fine.  But the stench was still there.  I tried to follow the smell to it's source and never could find it.  It was a bright and breezy day.  I could smell it between the barn and studio but not in either one.  I could smell it between the barn and the shed and it seemed to be coming from the northwest across our property line.  But it also smelled strongly south of the barn.  Well, rats!  This was not going to be very straightforward. 

We had had several days of heavy rain so having something dead in the vicinity wasn't out of the question but I just couldn't find it.  Ron thought the smell was coming from piles of very wet plant material that had been washed up into large piles by the runoff.  Those piles could have been hiding something small and dead in their depths but it didn't seem to smell any more there than anywhere else.  And it was a very large stench.  We wandered around and sniffed and sniffed and never could come up with the source.

The stench remained most of the week.  Some days it was stronger and some days it was fainter.  Finally, the last front moved through and we had another bout of heavy rain.  Happily, now the stench is gone.

This morning I smelled skunk for the first time in months.  Ah, well.  It's always something.