Dairy air is the smell of home

Our Corner

Phew! Or maybe I should say pee-yew.

Either way, I’ve decided to weigh in on all the fuss about the letter to the editor that addressed the dairy farm aroma here on the Plateau. I’m sure the gentleman who wrote the letter does think the smell of spraying manure is offensive and I’m also sure he knew what a stink his comments would raise.

Personally, I like the smell. Having grown up here on the Plateau, it’s the smell of home.

It may not be as inviting as fresh-baked bread tickling the nostrils, but it stirs up great memories of growing up in the country.

Back then, and it really wasn’t that long ago, this area had three or four times more dairy farms than now. A big highlight for us during many of those summers was visiting the county dairy family of the year because likely it was a farm in our area and it meant a big barbecue with hayrides and ice cream.

When my kids complain, I like to tell them that is the smell of no development. I enjoy living in the country. And, like many of the letters in response have mentioned, we are a big dairy product purchasing family and they understand the process. Besides, their friends, like many of my friends, growing up, are farmers.

The dairy air isn’t the only smell that reminds me of home.

My children may never know, or understand, the scent from barrels of brine wafting on a summer breeze. I loved taking a deep breath every time we drove by the pickle factory. The smell seemed to go hand-in-hand with memories of splashing hours away in the cold water at Pete’s Pool.

We drove by a mill outside Sedro Woolley recently and it too made me nostalgic, bringing me back to family rides up to Mud Mountain Dam and Mount Rainier and the smell of the Weyerhaeuser mill as we’d drive past. We’d always wonder how many logs were really piled in that big pond. It was like one of those games where you guess how many gumballs are in the bowl. When they emptied the pond a few years ago, we never found out how many logs were in it.

Even when I lived in Ellensburg for a time, the smell of the stockyard really didn’t bother me, or passing by the Tacoma tide flats. They remind me of places I’ve been or people I know.

I still remember the musty smell of my great-grandmother’s house and my dad’s aftershave.

Smells, for me, are triggers for wonderful memories. I guess I’m just scentimental.