Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Glamorous Life

Poor Big Red. He never gets a break. Last weekend we had him hauling far more hay than a truck his age should be expected to handle, and yesterday A. drove him off-road into the pasture where I proceeded to fill up his bed with really filthy sheep bedding.

He's a long-suffering truck, and I'm sure will get his reward in the next life. In this life, however, there is garden mulch to be had from the sheep barn. And Big Red is just the guy for the job.

Well, Big Red and his sidekick A. Plus Cubby the Supervisor.

I had started to move the bedding out of the barn in the pasture and into the garden with the wheelbarrow. I did two loads that way before deciding, "SCREW THIS. Not efficient. Get that truck up here."

So A. drove Big Red right up to the barn and I spent a really aromatic 45 minutes forking an unholy mixture of straw, sheep shit, and urine into the truck bed. This had been accumulating all winter from the hay the sheep wasted and spread around, then conveniently fertilized for me. It was at least a few inches deep everywhere, more like half a foot deep in some spots. I had to use the pitchfork to dig it out, because it gets kind of matted and solid and has to be sort of peeled up.

Smells just about like it looks. That is, like shit.

I do not enjoy mucking out the barns. I mean, obviously. NO ONE enjoys mucking out barns. But in an attempt to keep ahead of the weeds in the garden a little better than I did last year (which was, uh, not really at all ahead), I knew I would need a LOT of mulch around the plants. And what better for mulching than half-decomposed and pre-fertilized straw? It's right there, right? Free for the taking, and anyway, if I'm going to be doing ridiculous things like this with those infuriating animals, I might as well get some use out of them.

You can't see all the little flies or gnats or whatever that swarm around this stuff. It's gross.

Gross it may be, but it will make for some happy plants. Once I get out there and actually spread it all around. You'll notice that it's just hanging out in the garden right now. I figured that was prudent, to make sure it had off-gassed any noxious fumes that might burn my plants.

See? I can learn.

Anyway, I only mucked out about an eighth of all the muck that's up there, so we should have enough to cover the entire garden in all-natural, totally free mulch. Assuming my back and the pitchfork hold out.

Happy Saturday, duckies!


Anonymous said...

Ah the glamourous life of a farmer.

Anonymous said...

Ava Gabor......can you see HER doing that....NOT.
I bet you can beat most men at arm wrestling if you want that's a big thing in 'woodchuckville' or is it bale pitching or cow chip chucking or sheep hefting...or barn raising or log lifting....hee the fun goes on.Beth

word verification-busneli
a whimpy person who HAS to use public transportation

Daisy said...

wondering... wondering... could I use my bunnies' litter boxes as mulch rather than as part of the compost?

rls said...

Garlic scapes at our downtown Farmers Market this morning made me think of you. $3 for a bunch of maybe 5 or 6 of them. Nice, huh?

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Not the fun part of farming!

Anonymous said...

Fingers crossed - maybe next year S and I will be up in time to help. did it once with you and survived...... moi

Anonymous said...

I get a kick out of the Big Red name.
We have the same truck, but a different color and 4x4, and we call it Little Blue.