The Farmhouse Files: What’s That Smell?

farmhouse files

Life on a farm.  It can be idyllic.  I can look beautiful from the outside, and especially on the internet.  Of course, I showcase a lot of the beauty of a country life here as well… but there is a lot of real life going on that I don’t necessarily publicize.  Sometimes because it’s gross, sometimes because it’s embarrassing, and sometimes because it’s so terribly ridiculous that nobody would even believe it.

Although living in a century-old farmhouse has its perks (the character! the large windows! the history!) it definitely has its downfalls as well.  Today, I’m starting a regular series where I tell you some of the creepy, crawly, dirty, and ugly details of life on the farm.

A few weeks ago, Matt and I experienced one of the most quintessential examples of what I am now calling ‘The Farmhouse Files’.  There was a smell coming from our closet that was a little ‘off’.  I can be totally guilty of letting wet wash cloths or towels sit in the hamper, so I thought the smell was the laundry.  I did the laundry, and didn’t think much of it. 

When Matt got home from work, he also commented on the smell, but I told him that I’d taken all the towels down to the laundry, so it will probably dissipate.  We flipped on the room a/c unit and closed the door so that the room could cool down before it was time for bed.  Since it was a Friday night, we went on our merry way grabbing a bottle of wine, a pizza, and a movie to relax the stress of the week away…. But when I went back into the closed up room for my wallet (to pay for said pizza) the smell hit me like a ton of bricks… it was definitely a rotting smell.  A rotting, dead animal smell.  It was so strong that I quickly returned my wine glass downstairs so that none of the smell particles got in.  I even covered it up with a coaster to make double sure… because I have very clear priorities.

After getting Matt to help me investigate further, we both agreed that there was indeed something dead in our master bedroom closet. Now, for anyone who lives in a very new, tightly sealed, well insulated house, you may be freaking out.  I can tell you that when you live in a house as old as ours, you learn that the division between the inside and the outside is a little more… fluid.  We have original windows from the 1800’s (only half of which open) and a dirt floor in our basement.  Let’s just say, we can’t exactly lock out the critters. Aside from the overall gross-ness of the knowledge that there was a rotting something hidden away amongst our clothes and shoes, we weren’t super fazed.

We started the hunt by each taking turns going into the room with our eyes closed and trying to at least pin-point a more exact location.  I was convinced that the smell was coming from a certain corner while Matt thought it was coming from another… both near the window. We started to go through every shirt, shoe, and purse in the closet, turning each upside down, sniffing, and then putting it back.  We went through the entire closet and didn’t find anything. Not.a.thing.

Frustrated by this, we kind of just realized that our noses were tired, our pizza was cold, and our wine needed drinking. We decided to sleep in the guest room so that we didn’t have to breath in dead smell and figure it out the next day.

We went ahead and finished our pizza, watched a movie (The Kingsmen, it was just ok) and when we went back upstairs to go to sleep, we popped into our bedroom to change our clothes and were shocked because the room didn’t smell at all… I mean…what the hell?  With a buzz and a pizza belly, we just went ahead and went to sleep in our room.  No smell, no problem, right?

The next day, it still didn’t smell… but I thought that was a problem… really, where in the world would a dead thing have gone off to? I actually started to think this was a bigger issue then having a dead thing, finding it, and eliminating it.

The worst part is, after three weeks, we still haven’t solved the mystery. We have a few theories:

  • Maybe another critter came along and ate the dead critter.
  • Maybe the dead critter was on the roof of our front porch (outside of our closet window) and a bird came a carried it away.
  • Maybe the dead critter was already on its last day of the decomposition process and although it wasn’t gone, the smelly part of the process was done.
  • Maybe it was the mug of coffee that I had on my vanity for a week and it had turned into a science expedient.
  • Maybe it was something on Perry’s breath that she was breathing into our faces?

As gross as the whole experience was, it’s part of life in an old house.  I think it’s part of life for a lot of people out there too.  After I posted something on Facebook about the issue, I got so much feedback from people who have had similar issues.  One friend said that they had to make several holes in their drywall to get to the bottom of rotting smell… which turned out to be a dead squirrel that fell inside of the wall.

Home ownership can be rough… things like this happen to all of us, and amongst the picture perfect lives we try to lead, things like this are embarrassing.  But here I am – Home decor and entertaining blogger with a dead animal problem… or not… who knows.


 photo: Death to the Stock Photo

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