Thursday, 27 May 2010

Mysterious Stinky Thing in my Flower Bed

So, every year at about this time we have had Bad Drain smells in our garden. This has been going on for over ten years. I always spend a few days sniffing at drains and being mystified when our drains appear to in fact be fine.

A few times I've decided the stink was coming from the earth in our flower beds, but could never narrow it down to a specific location. I've wondered a few times if it was actually a Bad Drain smell that was heavier than air, sinking down to ground level and then drifting about aimlessly, hence hard to locate.

I've had this lingering paranoia that we have a broken sewer gradually seeping shit into our earth, but had no idea how to ascertain whether this was true or not, or what to do about it if it was, so shoved it to the back of my mind.

ANYWAY. Tonight I went in the garden and was hit by how strong it was. And also found the dog had got through the makeshift fence and into the bit she's not allowed in, where she had happily dug a new hole in a flowerbed. Got the dog back inside, and suddenly the stink was all over the house. Took me a while to realise that it was only in whatever room the dog was in. And her feet stank of it. So I checked out the newly-dug hole... yup, it stank of The Stink. Oh no, I thought. I was right. We have earth full of sewage. So I took the torch out, and found... really weird stuff in the earth, where the dog had dug a hole.

There was a load of crumbly whitish-coloured stuff, a bit like soggy chalk or crumbly cheese. It stank of The Stink. There was also a thing that looked rather like a potato chopped in half. You know the patterns you get in the cross-section of a potato, kind of radiating out from the centre? Kind of like that, and shrivelled at the edges, like a dried-out half-potato. But also slightly spongy, and grey. I didn't investigate very far, cos it was dark, and it stinks. Although you have to get your nose quite close to it to smell it. But sadly I got some of the crumbly stuff on my fingers and the smell won't wash off. But again I have to put my nose close to smell it. But anyway. There was a significant quantity of the weird crumbly stuff, like, more than a handful, and it looked like it might extend deeper. The half-potato thing looked like it might also be crumbly and like the other stuff if I was to break it apart.

So, could it be some kind of stinky fungus? Maybe it's been there for years and comes into some kind of Pong Season at this time of year? Any Smelly Fungus experts out there?

[update: see here]


Some Chilean Woman said...

I wish I cold help you! That sounds like a horrible ordeal, but aren't you glad you've finally solved that mystery?

Beleaguered Squirrel said...


Beleaguered Squirrel said...

PS See latest post.

Jenny Beattie said...

This really made me laugh. I have a good nose for stinky things.
the rest of my family think I'm mad and won't help me to identify where the dead creature is hidden. (It's always a dead thing the cats have brought in.)

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

JJ, me too!

I hate it when there is a smell and I don't know what or where it is. Even if it's a pleasant smell, although unpleasant ones bother me more. I hate unidentified noises, too. I probably get the smell thing from my mum, who is forever obsessing about hidden gas leaks.

Funnily enough our cats have been the solution to our hidden-dead-creatures problem though. We used to get mice a lot, and traps didn't work so we poisoned them, but then we'd get dead ones under the floorboards. At first they can smell like gas. But now we have cats, who kill them and then eat them, thus eliminating rotting-flesh odours. Rather considerate of them, I think.

Another one that always bothers me and also confuses me every time is lilies. I reckon lilies smell like melting plastic, but not until they reach a particular stage of floweringness, which is normally a few days after they've entered the house. I never buy lilies myself but for some reason they're a common addition to flower bunches bought as presents. They smell horrid! Anyway I always spend ages fretting about the electrical appliance which I believe is quietly smouldering away in a corner, until I finally remember that's what lilies smell like.

We also have an uplighter that fries flies and makes a nasty smell that always makes me think the house is on fire until I remember it's just fried fly.