The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Horse manure mother lode

super large pile of horse manure in front of undisclosed barn

alarm clock close up at 6:36 in the amToday was the first day of 2011 where I had to dig out the digital alarm clock, and I'm happy to report it only got used once in 2010.

Recently I got introduced to a friend of a friend who has a friend with a very large pile of horse manure that was looking for a home.

He said we could have it all...and we're inclined to take him up on the offer while the getting is so darn good.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Oh, for the days when I used to shovel s..t and did it willingly to help pay the board for my dear old Henry. He was 1/2 quarter horse and 1/2 percheron. He wasn't real tall, just 14 hands but he was stout and big around like me, so we fit. I willingly mucked all the stalls daily for the privilege of taking care of him, and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

I was familiar with several stables at that time, and know that one of their main concerns was getting rid of the mounting pile of fragrant manure, just out the back of each stable. Sometimes they would get a local farmer to come by and collect said piles and spread the bounty on their own fields. Why more people don't think of this resource is beyond me. Why go to a garden center, and buy lessor quality cow manure, when the horse source is mostly free, is again beyond me. More than one source recommends covering garden beds with several inches of horse manure at the end of each growing season, for its nutritive qualities and the fact that they have found that dogs and foxes normally won't enter said beds once the horse manure is in place.

One last quality of horse manure is that I personally find the general aroma pleasing, and reminds me of one of my best friends now long parted.

Comment by vester Thu Feb 3 18:15:51 2011
Striking visuals. The motherload indeed! That is an enviable amount of soon-to-be compost :-)
Comment by J Thu Feb 3 18:15:57 2011
It's tough to find awesome piles like this around here since people mostly don't have horses. (It's cow country and people keep their cattle in the pasture.) But the folks that do have horses seem to have no use for the manure, which blows me away since I think it's about three times as good quality as the chicken manure compost we bought last year. (Less nitrogen in the horse manure, but a lot more organic matter, so lots of soil building potential.)
Comment by anna Thu Feb 3 18:20:46 2011

J --- I totally agree with you! Just the one truckload Mark brought home today was enough to keep me chipper for days, and thoughts of the whole pile make me feel like I've eaten a whole pan of brownies. (Well, not that nauseous feeling you get a few minutes later. Just the immediate well being you feel until your stomach starts complaining.)

Mark thinks he's found enough manure to sate me, but I'm afraid he's going to be disappointed there. Even the four or five pickup truck loads he thinks are present are only barely going to give me enough for the essentials... :-)

Comment by anna Thu Feb 3 18:31:55 2011
Now that I think about it there were a few days in 2010 when Anna used her alarm on her watch to wake up and then she would wake me up for some sort of appointment we both needed to be at, but there was only one time in 2010 when I had to be up and she didn't and that's when I used the digital beast. With a bit of luck it's the kind of thing that can be limited to an annual event.
Comment by mark Fri Feb 4 16:34:44 2011

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