Saturday, January 10, 2009

Spreading Manure

Yes, I took a long holiday hiatus, although I thought of blogging, a lot! We had several mild days over the holidays and Handyman is making serious headway on the south side of the barn. The "tack room" has a window now, and there are three sliding stall doors. One of them has plexi in place and the other two have all functional hardware. Princess continues to entertain us, by galavanting right on through the inside stall door, if it's left open by chance. She isn't a bit phased by stacks of lumber, power tools, cords. If there is any snippet of food in the immediate area, this gal would take on fire-breathing dragons with a wide-eyed, pinky-nose gaze. I hope someday we get to take her out on cross-country or something. I think her attitude would be amazing.

During those warm days I was able to dig out some colonies of Curly Doc that were taking hold in the pasture and do some "manual" manure spreading. We do not own tractor or implement, but we are both committed to not having an eaten-down dirt lot, so we try to keep the pasture maintained. The first year, I dutifully picked up all the manure piles, summer and winter, in the whole pasture. Then a couple of people reminded me that I was gathering up and disposing of some great fertilizer that could benefit my grass.

We have a large area of deep, terrific clover and grass that the horses will not graze. There was also a lot of Curly Doc in that area, so I went on a rampage to eradicate it. I tried hand-spraying Round Up, but Handyman and I were both unhappy about the results from that. So the only choice left was to dig it, one at a time. This is one of those weird, wacky tasks that I actually enjoy--although it may take a lifetime to finish. Fortunately, Curly Doc grows on a tap root, so I use a sharp, straight-edge shovel, point-first into the root. When I hear the snap under the ground, I can pull the whole, giant plant up and dispose of it.

So during those warm days, whilst I was digging Doc, I also started "spreading" manure. As I wandered from plant to plant, I kick any nearby piles for all I'm worth! WARNING: Do a few test piles first. I am not responsible for any broken big toes! It's pretty easy to do a hip and thigh workout, as I kicked for all I was worth about two thousand times, each day! If the manure is spread out, it won't kill the grass underneath, it fertilizes a bigger area and melts away in the soil. Left in those big piles, it burns away the grass, the horses won't graze there and it takes MUCH longer to disappear.

Now, my horses are wormed regularly and there are no other horses coming onto my property, so I feel pretty comfortable about leaving/spreading their own manure in their field. Of course, there could be a time when there is too much manure in the grass and in that case, I would remove it.

The bad part of my method is that Tucker the Wonder Dog thinks it is awesome to have fresh manure flying into his face. So he would bark and dive at my feet as I kicked. Fortunately, I avoided kicking his teeth out. That dog would not quit. Didn't matter how much poop was flying, he was on it.

Although I do not miss having a chicken living in my kitchen this winter, I was delighted to see that a guy down the road has four or five roosters that look just like my old John. I'm even thinking of leaving a note in his box, asking if he wants to get rid of one. Are there folks who don't want to get rid of roosters?? Probably not.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Oh, I am so glad I'm not the only one out there who takes some kind of weird pleasure in pulling the nasty weeds out of the pasture! I also spread the pasture manure manually. I go out with a pitch fork and, as I tell my hubby, I "fling poo." I pick up those piles with the fork and fling 'em as hard as I can. I can get pretty good distance on those and it's a great upper body/ab workout. :P

Spring is just around the corner and I am SO looking forward to flinging poo and watching the grass thrive.