Yesterday D came at 8 AM with his backhoe and we spread my giant manure pile. Last year it took me two weeks to do this, loading the spreader by hand. With D and the backhoe loading, it took two hours.
I had decided to take a tip from Claire, a young internet friend who farms in Ohio. Claire is conducting her Better Pasture through Poop Project, dumping manure compost thickly over a small area to kick-start the rejuvenation of her pasture. Similarly I decided to spread my entire 20-ton pile over a single acre, and then fence that acre off from the animals for the rest of the summer while the manure broke down.
I had neglected to mention this plan to D. He was mystified as the grass in the very small area gradually disappeared under a thick frosting of manure.
He yelled to me crossly, “Spread it on the field, f’chrissake, don’t keep goin’ round and round in a track!”
I just smiled at him.
My hope is that the heavy application of manure compost will help to sweeten the soil on this small, poor section of bottom land. Parts of it are still so sour and rocky that even winter rye — even briars! — can scarcely get a toehold in the lunar dirt.
By the end of the day I had most of the area fenced off. (Double-click to enlarge.) The experiment begins!