Fifty Five Thousand Pounds of Manure


That’s the amount of horse and goat manure I figured I have left to move.

Wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow full.

A whole years worth.

I calculated its weight in pounds by adding up the hay we feed the animals each week, which is somewhere in the thousand pound range and timesing it by 52 weeks in the year, and adding a little for good measure.

I did not, however, add in the weight of the 20 inches of rain we’ve got this spring,  nor the additional weight of grass, grain and whatnots they find in the field to eat.

Nor did I add in the weight of maggots, flies, dung beetles and earthworms which have all made their home in the inches-deep manure bed.

Fifty five thousand pounds is about all my mind can fathom.  And it has a hard time doing that.

My most recent plan was to use my lawn mower and the garden cart I finally got wheels for, to move the manure from the pasture to the garden, but the lawn mower, with the garden cart attached is now stuck in the garden, possibly forever.  It was no match for the 6 inches of hay I had already put down when I drove it up in the garden with a 500 pound load of wet manure in the cart.

The worst thing is, I’m having to lay down the manure and hay over top of grass that’s four feet high.  If I had followed the instructions I found online for building a layered, no-till garden,   and layered the whole garden at one time last fall or even early this  spring, I’d have no weeds whatsoever.

I found that out when trying to decide where to put some tomatoes and I pulled back some thick layers of hay and saw nothing but rich brown dirt underneath with gobs of earthworms and a few leggy mushrooms.

Whatever.

So, even though I got my garden cart wheels fixed, I found that it stays stuck more often than unstuck when driving around in thick layers of wet hay and manure, and my old wheelbarrow wheels don’t like to hold air….and my new plastic manure fork, which I just bought, is no match for the heavy stuff I’m moving, so I’ve had to go back to the metal fork I’ve had all along….not having the plastic fork or good tires was the whole reason I didn’t get the manure moved when it was a more manageable amount….like only 20,000 pounds or so.

So, I’ve learned my lesson.  Maybe I need smaller horses that eat less?  Or maybe plastic horses that stay where you put them and whose plastic bale of hay lasts forever and never  creates anything wet and messy that needs moving.

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