Fresh Air

Our son and his family just moved to a town four miles outside Brookings, SD. Brookings is a university town with a population of 22,000 people. The town to which they moved has around 800. They commute to their jobs in Brookings.

Brookings is in the middle of the prairie. It is not industrialized. The nearest larger towns are 50 miles away. Both are pretty modest in size. We are talking sparsely populated. Son and Dil insist that the air in their new little town is noticeably cleaner than in Brookings. They adore the quiet. They love looking outside and seeing the stars. There is very little light pollution. Unless they fence their yard, any gardens they plant will be eaten by deer and raccoons.

We are so happy for them in their new digs. I think their assessment of the air quality may be a little bit exaggerated, but it is nice to see them enjoying their life. They are so proud of their new home. I grew up in a small town downwind from beef and pork processing plant, so I know how important air quality can be to life satisfaction.

What are your favorite indoor and outdoor smells? What are the most polluted and cleanest places you have lived? What constellations and stars can you identify? When are you most likely to kvell?


49 thoughts on “Fresh Air”

  1. Morning!
    Vanilla, hands down. And lilacs. Fresh mown hay, even a cows breath can be pretty nice but I haven’t smelled that in a few years so that may change depending on diet.

    Someone gave us a maple candle once… I cannot stand that smell. Kelly kinda likes it but we keep it in a cabinet in the laundry room. It still stinks.

    Orion is my favorite constellation. He’s just coming up these days at bedtime.
    I took an astronomy class in high school and enjoyed that. The same guy that teaches geology has a class on astronomy at the college. But boy does he expect me to learn things. His class is hard!

    Kvell? I don’t know, do Minnesotans do that? Maybe just about my wife or kids or friends.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I love the smell of fresh hay drying in a field, as well as the smell of a newly plowed field in the Spring. The purest, cleanest place I lived was in N. Minnesota 16 miles from anywhere. We could see the stars and the Northern Lights with ease because there was no light pollution. (However, some of the neighbors were a little scary—they poached a lot of game and were careless and entitled about it.) While rural, agricultural places often take great pride in clean air, they are often quite polluted with farm chemicals that are carelessly used. This was especially true in the 50s and 60s when I was growing up. There have been major efforts to change this, but I know there are still problems with downriver pollution from runoff. The Minnesota River still suffers from this and can be stinky.

    We visited friends in Northern Minnesota this weekend. I was anticipating seeing the stars, but it was rainy, cloudy and foggy at night both nights. We also tried to visit the Wellstone Memorial, but just as we arrived there was lightening and thunder, then the heavens opened, pouring rain. There are paths that lead from the road and parking lot to the site of the Memorial where the plane went down, so it was not realistic to hike in during a storm. (FYI, Senator Paul Wellstone was a senator from MN who died in a plane crash in 2004).

    Liked by 5 people

    1. We’ve visited the Wellstone Memorial many times. We have friends who had a cabin on Ely Lake near Eveleth, and made it a point to visit the Memorial whenever we were up there. For us it was rather personal, as one of the people killed in that crash was Mary McEvoy, the wife of one of husband’s “paddle brothers” (kayaking buddies). The twentieth anniversary of the crash, October 25, 2002, is coming up next year.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Bacon. Indoors or out.
    My subscription to Sky and Telescope expired long ago but I can still identify most constellations and individual star names. The trick question, “Which star is closest to Earth?”,
    remains a favorite of mine.
    Bad smell? The Crystal Sugar waste water holding ponds in Moorhead, Minnesota had great gagability.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I remember that smell. My first year at Concordia, there was somevsort of beet pond leak into the municipal water supply, and for a week, all the tap water smelled like beet detritus.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Talk about gagability, the smell, years ago, from the South St. Paul stockyards when the winds were from the east was truly disgusting. Fortunately that was a rare occasion. I have no idea how people who lived nearer or to the east of them managed. I’ve never smelled anything else as bad, it was awful.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There are four main towns in North Devon, I suppose, and the one I feel the least affinity with, Torrington, had a bad problem with the slaughterhouse for years. I suppose it started after I lost my sense of smell, so I have no personal experience, but for a long time the whole town was filled with an awful smell from the place. I remember there were constant complaints in the local press and I believe management claimed that they couldn’t discover the cause of the problem. I believe they were the town’s largest employer, so that would be a help in not necessarily being in a rush to find the cause, despite protestations of concern from councillors and themselves. I was told the smell was pretty bad.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. We may have snow this week. It is pretty crisp and clean smelling out here today. One county just southwest of us is in a winter weather advisory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now it is a winter storm warning. They could get 4 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. Last week it was almost 100° F here!


  5. smells
    burning leaves
    wood in the firepit burning
    wood being cut with a saw is any kind
    pipe tobacco in the bag before it’s lit
    my wife body odor sweet onions

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Been to Brookings many many times. Do not remember any pollution and odors. Grand daughter Lily is loving SDSU. All my other family are gone from there now.
    Out on patio but cold wind driving me in.
    My preferred odor is none. My FM multiple sensitivities at play. As I sort through Sandy’s stuff I find a few things that bother me, especially a bottle of Channel #5. A scent she loved and wore until I finally had to tell her to stop. She had to deny herself all odors because of me. She loved scented candles but could not even have them in the house.
    Night sky: in eighth grade science we had to memorize the constellations. I asked the teacher if we were going to memorize a formula for turning lead into gold. She was not amused.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I lost my sense of smell years ago because of long term polyps trouble, which I took years to get fixed. Jane wore number 5 at all times when we met, but I only ever knew because she told me. One of my regrets. Maybe she still wears it, but I haven’t noticed any around. At the time, she got disheartened, and gave up.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m confused, Clyde, how would you know she was wearing it if you can’t smell it? As I recall you have mentioned reacting to smells before when in public places, but if you can’t smell, how do you know that it is odor and not something else you’re reacting to? I’m not doubting you, just wondering how that works?

        Back in 2012 when I spent the month in a rehab facility after my fall, a couple of the African night nurses wore heavy scents that I found very unpleasant, but that was because I didn’t like the smell; it was too strong, and the smell would linger in my room long after they had left. I have that same reaction to patchouli oil, just can’t abide it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. This is how it is for me PJ, Clyde’s problem appears to be different. For instance, mint: a couple of times while I’ve cleared the weeds in an unfamiliar, overgrown garden, I’ve suddenly caught the smell of mint, though having no sense of smell now. And then it would be gone again. And I may or may not have found that I’ve just cut into a clump of mint in among the long grass, either way the mint would be there, and the nearest I can figure is that I’d seen it in my peripheral vision first, and my unconscious mind had recalled the smell, before my consciousmind caught up, and said, no, you can’t smell it, remember? It would seem utterly real just for a second, then gone.
          I walked past some road works, that were obscured from view somehow. Maybe there was machinery in front of the action, maybe it was behind some barrier. But I got a very sudden smell of tarmac, what you’d call asphalt, I think. I never did consciously see that they were laying tarmac, but I’m guessing my subconscious did.
          I’ve got other examples I’ve forgotten, but those brief flashes remind me how much I miss my sense of smell.

          Liked by 3 people

      3. I meant that I could not smell the odor of the perfume on the bottle. Sorry. Everything is chaos right now. I will go silent to avoid confusion.


  7. I have an appt. to discuss the change in my pancreatic cyst on 11/11. I asked if we could make it for 11:11 a.m. Another historical joke gone bad.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I had a note pop up on my calendar the other day reminding me of a memory of an appointment on 10 1010 at 10:10 with the doctor I remember making that appointment and telling the appointment person that I wanted it at 10:10 and she asked why and I should because it’s 1010 of 10 and will have the appointment at 10:10 she thought that was funny I got married at 1:01 of 1/1/01

      Liked by 4 people

        1. 12/12 is my birthday.
          12/12/12 was supposed to be the end of the world. When I presented my ID for a transaction, the bank teller informed me of The End. I told her that I wasn’t worried as “No one knows the day or hour.”
          I’m still here.

          Liked by 4 people

    2. I backed a truck up onto the loading bay, and Kay, the main loader, said something like, “You know it’s the tenth minute of the tenth hour of the tenth day of the tenth month of 2010.” Lucky I happened to be there, because she never said it to me again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The picture of dozens of soldiers ready to pull the lanyard on an artillery piece that would fire the last round of The Great War is interesting. I find the conduct of those people to be very cynical. Killing to the last second.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. constellations
    orion is a favorite. i had a camping trip years ago with my band and joe brought a book of constellations and key stars and and we spent the night learning about caseopia sephus seven sisters it was in grand rapids area of northern minnesota and the sky was bright enough to read the book by
    big dipper little dipper
    the zodiac signs
    i love the night sky
    good fodder for my to do list
    i was up north with my son who is 28 and he looked up and said is that the milky way
    yeah it is

    that’s how i always feel about the sky


    Liked by 4 people

  9. Spending today under grey skies bringing in the last of the garden. This week will bring a killing frost. The lack of any smell is a wonderful smell, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yes, fresh cut grass and hay are right up there. I like things like vanilla and flower scents if they are the real thing, not the chemicals made to smell LIKE them. Yes to bread baking, and bacon. I love walnuts with the husk still on. Eucalyptus grove by my apartment in El Granada was wonderful… that was probably the least polluted place I’ve lived, being on the ocean and only 2,000 souls.

    Clearest sky was in mountain of Utah, was just incredible to see how many stars. Can identify dippers, Orion, Cassiopeia, teapot, that’s about it.

    I just looked up “kvell”, which is “feel happy or proud” – word is easily confused with “kvetch” – to complain (or, as a noun, a complainer). This I learned when living with Wasband in NYC…

    Liked by 5 people

  11. In no particular order: pine trees, wet leaves on the forest floor, lilies of the valley, lilacs, tulips, and some roses. The last couple of days I’ve been roasting tomatoes and other vegetables for pasta sauce, and the house smells great.

    The view of a cloudless night sky in a place without light pollution is a rare treat. We last saw it from a cabin near Beaver Bay over Lake Superior. We had rented a gorgeous cabin with floor to ceiling windows facing the lake over the treetops. We sat for hours in perfect silence, in the dark, taking it all in. The night sky at the Homestead near Ely is pretty spectacular, too.

    My dad, being a sailor, loved the night sky and the constellations; he could identify them all, and used them as navigational tools. I can only identify a few of the most obvious ones, and without a map I’d be lost.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. OT – Somehow the memory of the Wellstone Memorial brought to mind a story from the nearby cabin we used to visit, a story that I told my friend, Philip, last Sunday. As you know he’s a very sick man, but this story had him laughing so hard that for a moment we both forgot about his troubles.

    We were talking about rustic cabins, and somehow outhouses came up. Lisa and Renny’s cabin had one. The outhouse was located near the garage/tool shed close to the road. A sign saying “De LaRocca” was attached to the garage informing visitors at who’s cabin they had arrived. It was the first thing you’d see as you pulled off the road. The owners of the cabin lived in Newport Beach, CA, and allowed friends and family in the Twin Cities to use the cabin most of the summer. We must have used that cabin at least a couple of times each summer for twenty-five years.

    When Ed and Laurie, some mutual friends, came back from their first visit to the cabin, Laurie said she was impressed that Renny and Lisa had named their outhouse. We all looked puzzled, what did she mean? There’s a sign that says “De La Rocca,” she said. Laurie thought that De La Rocca was a fancy Italian term for outhouse, she didn’t make the connection that it was Renny and Lisa’s last name. Need I tell you that henceforward we all referred to that particular outhouse as the De LaRocca, much to Lisa’s chagrin?

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Bacon, mint, the smell of the milk and cows in a dairy building. Fresh cut grass, and fresh made hay, and the smells in the in between stages. Silage and cow dung, but not the waste water that comes from a silage heap. The better made the silage, the less water there tends to be.
    And yes, fresh ploughed or fresh worked earth. I don’t know what the earth here smells like, strange probably, with its mixture of clay and chalk.
    Diesel and oil and grease.
    And a smell I have to concentrate to remember. The floor of the tractor house at Chuggaton Farm. Earth with oil and TVO (Tractor Vapourising Oil, kerosene more or less) soaked into it over years. My dream tractor house to this day. Dad left his job there, and there was an interval, then I went back and worked for the son, who now had diesel tractors. The smell was just the same.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Smell is a really interesting sense, I think. After a while you get used to odors, and you don’t notice them. This is true even of smells that you don’t like, like the smell of the mice in the laboratory where I worked during my years at SIU. After a while I didn’t notice it at all.

      Another smell that I didn’t like was Russian soap and perfume. The minute I got out of the plane in Moscow the first time, I noticed this strange smell that I had never smelled before. It would take me a few days to figure out where it was coming from. On my first visit to the Bolshoi Theater I was seated behind a young Russian woman. During intermission she would dab on more perfume, and I had to pull out my handkerchief to shield myself from the worst of it. Later on I had to ask our Russian maid, Tamara, to quit using Russian soap to clean my bathroom because it reeked. Fast forward about a month, and I didn’t notice the smell at all.

      Then, about fifteen years later, I attended a performance at Northrop Auditorium by the Bolshoi Ballet. The only thing I remember about that performance was the smell that wafted from back stage even before the ballet began; it promptly transported me right back to Moscow. I suspect I’ll be right back in Carbondale if I ever smell a room with thousands of mice again.

      Liked by 4 people

  14. I’ve been thinking about this today and I really couldn’t get it down to one good favorite smell. There are just too many most of which I’ve already been named here today. I will admit that even though I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 50 years, I do love the smell of bacon. I’m actually pretty sure if I ever quit becoming a vegetarian that bacon and spam would be the first meat meal (and eggs!)

    Worst smell is easy. Patchouly. No contest.

    Liked by 3 people

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