Lee Pitts: The P.U. Test

Anyone around agriculture is constantly bombarded by a plethora of fragrant odors which disgust some folks more than others. I have developed what I call The P.U. test to determine your SOS (sense of smell) index. Rank the following ten smells and then compare them to my correct answers to determine your P.U. index. (I have limited the entrants to smells of biological nature because I didn’t want to make this column any more gross than it already is.)

10. A horse stable- In high school my friend Rob had to clean his family’s horse stables on a daily basis and occasionally I’d help him. I loved the smell of sweaty horses, freshly cut alfalfa and leather tack. In fact, if I could bottle that smell and use it as a room deodorizer I think I’d have a “stable” business. It’s got to be better than the Dollar Tree deodorizer I currently use which smells far worse than the smell it was meant to overpower.

9. Sheep shearing shed- I raised a lot of sheep and the smell never bothered me except in the shearing shed but I don’t know if it was the sheep or the several sweaty men working in close quarters.

8. Pig barn at the county fair- This smell is worse than the cafeteria on a bad bean day.

7. Buzzard Bill the Tallow Man- I could always tell when Buzzard was coming three miles away. At first I thought it was his truck that smelled until I encountered Buzzard at a social occasion. (Eating lunch at the Frosty Freeze.) When the clientele got one whiff of Buzzard Bill I understood why it’s called fast food because they left faster than green grass goes through a goose.

6. Feedlots- Some people are offended by the smell of cattle feedlots and complain especially around the cowtowns of Amarillo and Dodge City due to their proximity to numerous feedlots. I’ve spent time in both locations and think the smell is worse in Amarillo, not because of the cattle but because it’s home to the Big Texan, the world famous restaurant that offers a free 72 ounce steak if a customer can eat it in 20 minutes. The restroom there is especially pungent when it’s full of retching unsuccessful challengers.

5. Popping the top of the septic tank- Need I say more?

4. The blue lagoon- During spring break and Easter vacation I always volunteered to work at the swine unit in college because I enjoyed the highly intelligent hogs. After two weeks of living by the blue lagoon I had to burn my clothes and still no one would sit within ten yards of me when classes resumed.

3. Tulare County California on a rainy day- Tulare county is the largest dairy county in the country with half a million dairy cows which produce 5% of all the milk in America. After a rainstorm the place smells worse than a wet chicken coop.

2. Freddie the fistulated steer- While in college I helped the vet put a cannula into the rumen of a celebrity steer named Fred. A cannula is like a window that allows a researcher access to the rumen when opened. Believe me, you don’t want to be around when the vet first pokes the rumen with a device called a trocar and cannula. This is an ice-pick-like device inside a tube. When you pull the ice pick out of the cannula enough gas explodes through the hole to light up Phoenix for a week. Take it from one who knows, you don’t want to be standing within two miles of the eruption.

1. Fresh roadkill skunk- One night after a charity auction I was driving home when I heard a thump followed immediately by the most unmistakable odor on earth. To make matters worse the skunk somehow got wrapped around the fan blade and I had to remove it before continuing. If this ever happens again I’m going to pull over, abandon the car beside the road, hitchhike a ride home and try to find a wrecker who will haul the car to the nearest wrecking yard. If I can’t get a tow truck I’m sure Buzzard Bill will tow it with his tallow truck. Now that would be a combination that would “knock the buzzards off a gut wagon!”



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