Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ok, so we do not own a pickup truck. There, I said it. Sure no one who lives in the country should be without a pickup but we don't. I suppose we weren't really sure if this whole country living thing was going to stick so why strap ourselves with a car payment was the thought. Well it's been a couple of years now and it looks like we really do need a truck. Of course I hear that owning a pickup can lead to farm animals and I am not so sure I want things to get that out of hand.

So for us city slickers who do not own our very own beat up pickemup truck, we rent. We pay the one time rental fee and play rancher for the day. DH and I had a few things we needed to get done that simply can't be done without a truck. We had a full day planned in order to get the most out of our city slicker dollars.

First stop was the Water Gardens where we get our pond plants. They also sell bark by the load but the delivery fee is $100. Everyone's delivery fee is $100. The place directly down the hill from us and, I do mean directly down the hill, is $100. We had 5 different loads to get that day. Yup, the math works up to $500. So truck rental it is. We may be country now but that don't mean stupid. (add appropriate and offensive twang)
Off to the Water Garden for bark. They know us, of course, so the guy topped off our 2 loads with extra which makes it worth while to keep going there with our business. Thank you Water Gardens! We did two trips for bark taking them each home to shovel out the bed and go back for more.

Next trip was for the horse manure. Now this place was a bit far considering that we live right next door to horses and are also near more dairy and horse farms than you can count. That said these guys had good stuff and they promptly answered my email for setting a time. Turns out you can't just show up unannounced and expect to get your truck loaded with poo. Who would have thought? Besides I figured we could grab a bite to eat on the ride down and take a break from shoveling the bark.

The place was very nice. The manure was nearly all composted which is a huge bonus! Most places give it to you very green and often with gravel. This stuff was perfect, as if horse cr*p could be said to be so. Since it is nearly all composted there is no offending odor. Just an earthy smell that makes you think of leather saddles and hay. Kind of nice.

After unloading the first load we decided that we would go back for a second load. Hey you can never have enough $#** in your life right? The second load was actually better. It was from further down in the pile so even more composted and some of it still actively cooking. That's great because it gets the newer stuff from our own compost pile off to a great start. These guys had 8 acres and boarded horses as well as having their own. They had amazingly clean stables and he took us on a tour. It was probably the best horse poo gett'n experience I could have hoped for. I just wish I had dressed better for impression's sake. But hey, I was planning to shovel horse poo after all!

The next trip was to the local feed store where I wanted to pick up some bales of straw. I had recently learned of staw bale gardening and was eager to get started. The idea is to start the bale composting by adding water for a couple of weeks, then add fertilizer for another week, let it cook then cool and then your ready to plant. I thought this was the solution for my trench project. I could just use the bales to compost right in place and not have to pick ax all that blasted gravel. So off to the feed store we go. We picked up 8 bales. It looked so pretty in the back of the truck. DH was very proud to have a pickup full of straw bales. Pretty cute. Now home to toss those babies off the back.

While we were at the feed store I saw that they had a bunch of free pallets off to the side. I have been nagging, I mean telling DH for some time that pallets would be a good way to keep his winter wood stock off the wet ground. He finally saw my brilliance and agreed to come back for a load of the free pallets. I think we got about 16 in the truck all standing upright. Home to unload those.

Then it was off to pick up some fire wood logs DH had been culling from the lower property. He will cut those down and split them later. He actually will cut and split quite a bit more, oh yes, quite a bit more. Love the wood heat but it takes a lot of wood. It's a very grounding experience to be responsible for your own heat throughout the winter. It is a lot more work than turning a dial but it brings something to your soul that paying the gas/electric bill does not. I think it makes you own each day in a very personal manner. I know every piece of wood that goes into the stove was collected, cut, split and dried months ago with this day in mind. It puts us back in touch with the true meaning of saving and planning.

Back to the poo and bales. I eventually reconsidered my plans for composting the bales in place. I decided that for one thing I needed them to form a corral for all the manure and secondly that the bales would compost right there with the manure and it would all even out in the end. I was actually more excited about the manure haul than the bale gardening and I liked the look of it. DH even said he thought it looked cute and that made me smile.

It was a 12 hour day of non stop work but we had a lot of fun together. The horse poo jokes were flying as fast as our shovels and we loved every minute of it. I've been laying out the bark and digging up more of my driveway gravel ditch and beaming with pride at my big pile of horse poo. I know that come fall I will be dumping loads of chopped up leaves into mix with my composted manure for a mulch/top dressing that will be like spreading country gold over my flower beds and that is going to give me a great deal of satisfaction.



  1. Ah ha ~ Now I can really picture what you and your DH have been up to the past few days. Pictures are great and I loved what you wrote. I hope you two get some much needed rest after that haul in your rented pickmeup. Before long, you'll do a trade in, so that you will have your own and use it at any time You can put some good 'wear and tear' on it too, then no one will take you for city slickers anymore. :-)

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  2. Hi Lesan, I found your blog through a comment you left on FlowerLady's Musings. I see you just started in June. I started in October, and am thoroughly addicted. I follow so many blogs I can't keep up with them. I enjoyed your posts so much I added your blog to my list.

    Welcome to blogging! I love your property, and look forward to seeing the results of all your labor. We live in the city, but my husband drives a pickup truck with a camper shell on it. I know someone who has horse poo, too, and has said we can come get some any time. I keep forgetting to go get it. I hope hers isn't fresh.

    Have a great day!

  3. Flowerlady, we actually did that all in one day. The next day it was back to the pick ax. At this rate I'm to tired to be tired. hehe

  4. Hello Sue! I am so happy to have you joining me here. Thank you for the welcome to blogging. It was Flowerlady who inspired me to give blogging a try. Looks like she should start getting kickbacks for her influences.

    I highly recomend the horse poo, it's fantastic fertilizer!