Sunday, July 20, 2008

We had a Poop Party!

I know somebody recently posed the question of what do you do with your manure. If you read this and know it was you, please step forward. Below is a picture of where our manure pile used to be before we moved it. The manure pile was about two feet high, six feet wide, and twelve feet long.

Because working with horses is my interest and my hobby, I take responsibility for doing all the hard labor that goes along with horse ownership. I don't expect my husband and kids to do any horse-related chores. Years ago when my son became interested in money, I offered to deposit a certain amount of money into his bank account and give him a little spending cash on the side if he performs a daily chore or two. I gave him a list of things he could do to help around the farm, and he chose to clean up manure.

Once each season, the manure pile grows to be too big and I have to relocate it. I told everyone I was going outside to move manure, and much to my surprise, one by one each of my family members came outside to help. I turned on a radio I'd been keeping in my horse trailer, and we boogied our way through the task of piling the manure along the bottom of the chain-link fence.

Why do we do this you ask? We do it because the horses tend to paw at the fence in an attempt to get to the wild swamp grass growing on the other side, and they sometimes get their hooves caught between the straight wire and the linked wire. Their pawing also bends the linked wire and brings out sharp points that they cut their legs on. If we bury the bottom of the fence, there are less injuries.

I've explained this to my neighbor and asked if it bothers her that some of manure rolls through the fence into her yard. She was fine with it. Most people appreciate manure. It has many uses. The previous neighbor who lived in that house begged me to throw the manure over the fence into her yard, because she wanted it for her garden.

One benefit of putting the manure against the fence is that the horses will line themselves up along the fence and poop on top of the poop, which means that I don't have to clean it up! Good girl, Lostine.

In the past, we spread manure in the back pen, which we only use in the winter when the horses have their blankets on, and I need to keep them separated, because otherwise they rip each other's blanket with their teeth. The manure dries up, breaks down, and the ground becomes soft.

We also use manure to fertilize our lawns. We have four lawns and a pasture, so there are plenty of places to spread it. My husband uses manure as a pole vault pit. He pole vaulted in high school, and took up the sport again as an adult. We have several poles around the house. He needs something soft to land on, and using a real pole vault pit was kind of out of the question. They are very expensive, very large, and very heavy. We'd have no place to store it when it rains and snows. Manure makes a great pole vault pit because we don't have to store it anywhere.

This is what my boots and pants looked like after two hours of moving manure...

I have to thank my husband, son, and daughter for volunteering to help with this chore. Yesterday the three of them hiked to the top of Half Dome, and they were quite sore and tired today. The job would not be complete without their help. Now I can move on to painting fences next weekend.


Abraham Lincoln said...

Lots of poop makes lots of manure which is good for almost everything that grows.

Misty's Mom said...

That is so great that your kids would just DO that without being asked! Also, good ideas, too. Thanks!

Callie said...

Cool! I have a DR Power grader which fits to my quad and I mix it all in witht the dirt in the training pen/ dry lot during the summer. Works real well. In the winter I scoop as much as I can and throw it on my neighbor's field.

Flying Lily said...

I love the image of your dear husband pole-vaulting into a nice soft landing of...composted poop! Horse poop is so clean and composts so fast - it is the greatest fertilizer in the world. You have a terrific family!

Twinville said...

Your boots look cowgirl tough!
Your paddocks always look so clean, too.
I do the same thing with the horse poo, too. And with the dry weather, the manure breaks down and blends back into the dirt even faster than more humid areas.

I'm very blessed that my Baby Doll is a very clean horse. She only poops at one corner and end of her barn pen. And only along the fence in her paddock. I hardly ever have to clean up after her. My 'apple picker' doesn't get as much use as I thought it would. I'm happily pleased, though, of course.

You've got such terrific kids that want to be so helpful. And what an exciting hubby pole-vaulting around the arena into the soft horse compost piles. hehhe

Dustfinger said...

hmmm...thats a clever idea. The place I keep my horse at just has a huge maure pile where we dump all the poop. Then they use a tractor to pick it up and toss it in the dumpster. They should do what you do. It would save money and make the grass look even better.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Ahhh, wonderful poop. It makes things grow that is for sure. You certainly have some innovative uses for it...Go Steve!!

We also pile our poop. The manure pile decomposes and I dig out the "dirt" to use. I filled in some sunken spots in the yard and planted it to grass-it looks fantastic. I filled my flower pots with it-they have just bloomed like crazy this year and I used it to do my "pot" garden-the tomato plants look like trees and are just loaded with tomatoes. Actually everything is going crazy producing-except some sort of bug got into my squashes and killed off my first few squash. I doused the plants with 7-dust and now it looks like I am going to be harvesting yellow squash and zucchini soon. I can't wait to add to the garden next year.

To help it the new stuff compost this winter, I am going to have someone come and "turn" the pile-putting the newer stuff on the bottom helps it rot faster.

I also think I am going to put up fliers around town this fall and sell some of the good stuff. Lots of people are gardening again and the fall is a great time to spread compost on your garden spots.

Mikey said...

Wow, nice to see someone else piles poop on the fence! For the same reason!
Our fence is on a slope, so it also replaces what the horses erode.
I love what BEC said about selling it.