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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stay Away from the Chicken Farm

Ever smelled a chicken farm? No? Take my advice, stay as far away from the chicken farm as your VISA card will take you. Trust me on this. What about egg farms, you ask? Same as a chicken farm, as my olfactory senses learned last fall in western AZ. Don't worry, the only way you will end up in this far flung town is if you work for the largest nuclear plant in the country,..or the egg farm. Although the guy on the side of the main road as you head into town selling nuts would make a fortune selling gas masks instead. Seriously, bring a gas mask or an astronaut helmet.

It seems like a charming, rural Arizona town with towering mountain ranges to the south and land as far as the eye can see. Charming that is, until this horrendous, indescribable pestilent smell creeps into your car's vents. At first you think it will pass, like skunk stink. Then it quickly floods your nasal cavity with a combination of salty, sulfuric and just plain nasty. As I gasped for a sliver of unpolluted oxygen, I hollered "what's that smell?" over and over as my seemingly oblivious husband looked over quizzically...until it hit him.
How could such a sleepy, quiet town exude such a rancid aroma? The big, blue sign reading Hickman's Egg Farm said it all. That and the dead chickens across the street. Apparently, some of the smarter chickens tried to make a run for it, only to be killed by the loose dogs in a neighborhood yard. Why did the chicken cross the road? To escape slavery.
As we reached the plot of dirt we drove out to see, I could not understand why anyone would live here. Miles away now, the offending scent was still quite present and as a backdrop, the majestic mountain range had a permanent cloud of low fog, a gift from the nearby nuclear plant. Oh, yes, and let us not forget the air horns visibly staked in the event of a nuclear meltdown. Really, what are the air horns for? To warn residents of impending death or permanent zombie hood when they clearly don't stand a chance of escaping??
Land is cheap out there and owning your dream ranch is attainable. I suppose someone needs to man the nuclear plant and I prefer locally grown eggs. But who knew chickens could emit such a foul odor?
Disclaimer: I wrote this for you to laugh at my city girl silliness and chose not to name the town in question to protect the chickens.