Boy, I got the short end of that deal…

Annually, there’s a big problem at Hacienda Del J&H as the manure pile gets out of hand. Last summer I hauled it away with Ian’s tractor, but I couldn’t promise to do that this time due to reliability issues. How many times can I leave the tractor on the side of the road for a day or a week, bucket full of manure, before the neighbors start to complain? So this year we did something new involving D&L’s tractor, and I made a promise I’m already regretting.
Every week I dump approximately six of these. Most are rather more full than this, some are overflowing. Let it accumulate for a year, and that’s a helluva lot of horseshit. Haul it away every week and it’s not that big a deal. So I promised to come by with the Jeep trailer every Friday.

Most of the year that’s not going to be a particularly harrowing job. Dry horse shit stays in apple form, dries quickly, and weighs very little. But this is Monsoon, during which horse shit returns to a masticated form of its original consistency, holds moisture beautifully, combines with the mud below it, and weighs a very great deal. The Augean stables were…approximately just like this.

There was actually talk of bulldozing the latest mountain’o’dung into the gully behind it, which would have pretty much applied the Heraclean solution to the Augean problem. I talked them out of that: You really want to fill that pretty rock canyon with shit, where it will (most visibly) flow to the wash every time it rains? You’re gonna hate that.

So anyway, for the next several weeks I expect to work up a very good sweat every Friday morning. After that, when things dry out again, it’ll be less of a burden.

I do wish I’d discussed payment in more detail, though. I mostly promised it through anxiety that I might be losing the shit shoveling gig entirely, and that’s still up in the air.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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2 Responses to Boy, I got the short end of that deal…

  1. czechsix says:

    Hmm. Free shit. Who can pass on that?

    Actually, I’d be thinking of getting some good quantities of it, composting and amending it…and then using it for trading material/selling.

  2. Under the right conditions that stuff could become a large part of a good gardening soil.

    I’ve got two 10′ by 10′ by 2′ high enclosures set up for horseshit. I just rotate filling and use as needed – composted stuff for soil and dry apples for tree mulch. For the first year or two I could get away with just having a couple large piles – but the local wildlife started figuring out the larder that it was and started spreading it around. Grubs seem to take hold in it just by circumstance – and I introduce composting worms to it too – so plenty of animals will get in it if they can. The badger was the one who prompted the enclosures – he had a fine time spreading the pile and getting dirt in it while tucking away the grubs.

    The only thing you really need is time and moisture. It might be a push but it’s not impossible that you could put together enough to fill your raised beds entirely with good soil by next Spring. That and some sheltering for your seedlings and you might just coax more out of the ground.

    Sorry to prod you, Joel – but the answer to your gardening woes is looking fight back at you out of that wheelbarrow!

To the stake with the heretic!