Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Backyard Fertility & Thank You Subscribers!

I walked into the hardware store with Gibson and everyone asked where he was? I explained that Gibson rolled in enough goose poo to gag a garbage truck and he wasn't allowed in public till that misfortune had passed. No one seemed to mind his absence after that. "I do not miss that," said the woman behind the counter with a nostalgic smile. Sometimes people give you hints to a whole history in one phrase. I smiled back. I think she's the new owner? She had just walked down the loft steps from her office with two giant carafes of coffee. Our little Ace Hardware got a total makeover when it changed hands but my favorite things about it are the following:

1. Farm Dogs Welcome
2. They sell sheep and chicken feed
3. Free Coffee

I was there at 7Am to buy a bag of layer mash, some grain for the goats, and a new hoe. My old one's handle broke yesterday. Probably the third time I broke a hoe in so many years. You think I would learn to invest in a quality tool but I always end up buying some twenty-dollar tool with a prayer. Today I had a nice prospect, an ash-handled job. I put it on the counter and explain the grain I needed and made some small talk. I had been up since around 5:30 so I was loquacious as a toddler. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and I realized it was Tuesday. Tuesday must be a pretty big business day in town since its the day the livestock auction is held a mile up the road. Hundreds of cars, trucks, and trailers fill the parking lot for the beef and dairy animals up for market. I bet a lot of those farmers need this or that and stop in at the store too.

I left with my receipt and hoe. I'd have to drive to the loading area for the feed. I liked how it felt, the handle. I thought between sod breaking and compost forking I could pick it up and practice my bo-staff techniques I was learning at Tae Kwon Do. There are 12 attacks with the staff and I think I have them memorized. You can bet that later this morning I will be there with my arms strong from morning chores and a good hand milker's grip on the hoe, whirling around with martial arts flair barefoot in the potato patch. Let the neighbors think what they want, I'm a happy woman.

I'm excited to work on the potato patch today. I have a lot of ground to prep and compost to fork in but this year is a little celebration because I didn't buy any of the compost for this patch of spuds. I am using the 18-month old pile of pig bedding and manure and a 12-month-old pile of chicken yard hay to create the organic fertility. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but I am beside myself with excitement to see how this patch of taters grows. I'm so proud of the rich soil I am making here, a gift of the animals (one of their many offerings) that will be reincarnated through my little veg patch. Yesterday I used a heap of it to make mounds around the pumpkins and zucchini. Today It'll be mixed into the soil on the hillside to make a native dirt/compost combo I hope will get the seed potatoes excited. I always plant my potatoes in June, even if that sounds late. It lets me miss the blight and bugs that hurt the chemical-free crop and I don't care if the plant tops curdle in an early frost come October. I can always harvest them up from the earth a little into the cold snaps. That is the plan I am sticking with. In a few months I will be eating hash browns with my eggs thanks to a pile of pig poop, blood, and straw. Backyard fertility, how about it!

P.S. I wanted to thank the 15 folks!!! who signed up to subscribe to the farm. It is such a wonderful thing to help and support the writing. Most folks opted for the five dollar option and that is no small gift. To some people that is a lot of scratch! To others it is a coffee from Starbucks. Either way to me it is a tiny salary you are paying me as a reader out there in the ether for keeping you up to date on backyard manure, Ace Hardware's canine policy, Merlin and My adventures, and much more. I sent you guys an email (two addresses bounced back, so thank you Jackie and Cathy too) but I thank all of you who read, considered subscribing and could not, and all of those who may yet sign up. It means the world to me and makes me feel like what I do here is worth the time. Which really matters, to anyone really. We all just want to know what we do matters, right? SO THANK YOU! We will keep each other going!

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