|Mom at the rear of the Three Sisters Garden|
He checked the address and said no, that he was in right place. He handed me his card and introduced himself. He was from the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality and they'd had a complaint that I was "spreading manure all over the place" and that it smelled bad. "What do you do with your manure?"
I said "We compost it."
"That's good. We don't want all that in the landfills." He then looked over a ways toward the Three Sisters Garden and pointed out the rows. "I think I see it there," he said.
To which I replied, "Yes, that's a garden. We build raised beds, lay down the manure then cover it with straw and compost it."
He nodded. Then he kindly suggested that the rows be covered by tarps to enable them to compost faster and assured me that I would pleased with the results. I said that sounded like a good idea and that I had plenty of tarps already and would do just that.
He said he usually gets complaints like this about horses. I told him I don't have any horses, only a couple of cows and mostly goats and sheep. He nodded and told me a story about a pygmy goat he used to have and made me laugh.
The guy was very nice and helpful.
I leaned in and asked him if he smelled any bad smells coming from my property. I was concerned that maybe it reeked there and because I came there every day, maybe my sniffer couldn't catch it. He took in a deep sniff and said, "No. You know, goat poop doesn't smell bad. Male goats do, though."
I nodded. It's true. All those rumors about raunchy male goats during rutting season. They have musk glands and pee on themselves to attract the ladies (of their own kind). They smell like the worst possible imaginable body odor during rutting season. And yes, it IS rutting season right now.
He asked me if I knew which neighbor complained. My other neighbor had come over previously to warn me, so I did know. I pointed out the neighbors I knew and how I knew them and pointed to the accused neighbor's lot and said it was probably them since I've never met them. I heard a complaint from another neighbor about the same neighbors complaining that my sheep were too loud in the past.
I felt like I was in big trouble. Maybe they were going to take away all my animals. Maybe I was doing this all wrong. I was a little bit afraid because quite honestly, I love my critters and I love being able to be outdoors in the sunlight and fresh country air.
Then he totally shocked me and said, "If people don't want to be around farm animals, they shouldn't live in the county."
Thank you, Mr. Environmental Investigator. You made my day.