Manure Satisfaction

Have you ever had a project that made you feel pretty good when it is done? When the combination of events that combined to make the recipe for the project just seemed to jibe at the end. I had one the other day that involved some horse manure.

Some friends split the crowns of their rhubarb a while back, and kindly gave us about 8 of them. They came at the beginning of winter when the digging was getting kind of hard. I picked a place to put them where a row of blueberries had been planted, died, and abandoned. I consulted Rodale, and he told me to excavate an area “the size of a bushel basket” for each crown. Hacking something like that out of our clay soil is hard in any season, but was out of the question as far as I was concerned. Once the hole was dug, most of the hole was to be filled with the topsoil I’d saved, plus copious quantities of manure. I had no manure, but I did have a few bags of peat moss.

So a hole the size of a 2-gallon cooking pot was dug, a quarter bag of peat moss was added, along with the rhubarb crown and whatever topsoil I managed to save. As this project was under way, my friends emailed to say they had some extra raspberry plants if I’d like them, otherwise they’d DIE. So I stopped by and grabbed them too; a dozen or so very healthy looking raspberry plants.

This time I fired up the rototiller and worked up the sod a bit before I dug the trench for the berries. The plants went in the ground and I cleaned up and walked away. But something nagged at me. I thought about those poor rhubarb crowns having to come to life next spring with only a couple of gallons of peat moss, rather than the bushel of manure they deserved. So I called my neighbors with horses to see if they had any spare poo. They did!

I drove over with my Scout, a wheelbarrow, and some tools, and spent a fun half hour with my neighbor raking, shoveling, and wheeling the pungent crop. In the end we got 6 full wheelbarrow of the stuff in the back of the scout, and had a good time reacquainting ourselves.

The next morning I drove the scout across the snowy yard, and wheelbarrowed until the truck bed was empty. It was when I took a last look at the project as I was getting ready to put the scout away that I got that satisfied feeling, and snapped the picture at the beginning of this post. Now the rhubarb will come up next spring surrounded with a warm happy layer of poo, as will the raspberries. My neighbor’s horse shed got cleaned out, we had a good visit, some plants my other friends didn’t want will be cherished, and hopefully provide us with good food for years to come. Now that, my friends, is manure satisfaction.

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