Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Farm

This is kind of a different post. Among the philosophies that are embodied in Stealth Farming is the idea that you do all that you can do yourself. You rely on yourself as much as possible. You are the first person you turn to to get the job done. If you want you farm planted, you plant it. If you want your crops watered, you water them (rain notwithstanding). If you want your crops harvested, you get out you baskets and harvest them. It’s what you do.

With that being said, isn’t it nice to realize that we can’t do it all by ourselves? Isn’t it wonderful that there are people who can lend a hand once in a while (or more often!) and make the work easier? Isn’t it nice that you don’t really have to do it all alone?

I’m lucky in that I have a wonderful set of daughters to help out. I needed some help in turning a bed recently to get it ready to plant. My daughter Rebecca came to the rescue. She did more in less time that I could and did a great job. I don’t think she broke a sweat while my brow resembled a soaker hose on steroids.

I’m at work all day and some areas need to be watered and checked. My daughter Sarah came to the rescue. Since she’s home from school for summer vacation, she has some time available and has been doing Yeoman service in watering my tomato buckets and garden beds each day. (Only recently has she negotiated a $1 a day charge for her services. Silly girl, I would have paid it all along if she had only asked.)

I had been looking for a local supply of horse manure for my worm beds and garden beds for a long time. Everyone I asked, the local horse park, several neighborhood horse arenas, some folks who have horses in their back yards, all of them either used it (doubtful) or didn’t want me coming around and hauling it away or wanted me to pay for it. I just felt that someone wanted to get rid of it and my volunteering would actually benefit them.

I placed an ad on Craigslist last week and got several responses. All of them were either clear across the valley or wanted to charge me for the privilege of removing their waste products. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t seem carbon-neutral to drive 35 miles for a load of horse poop. I needed something closer to home.

About half-way through the unloading process.
Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a guy named Alex. He asked if I had found my manure and if I had not, to give him a call. I did. He has 6 horses. He hauls the stuff to the dump to get rid of it. He lives a mile from my house. He said I could have as much as I wanted as often as I wanted it because I would be doing him a favor. Plus, he had a tractor so I wouldn’t have to load my own truck. I almost cried.
My Grandson Benjamin supervising. What is it about manure and little boys?

I got my first load last night. True enough, he drove a little bitty tractor into the horse stalls and loaded my truck in about 15 minutes. My job was just to spread it around the bed of the truck so he could get more in. He didn’t want payment (although I’m going to have to find a more material way of saying thanks). He said to keep his number and give it to my friends so that they would have it too. And he said to give him a call and come back as often as I wanted. I’m going back next week.

As I got home last night, I started to off load my truck and wheel it around to the back yard. I got about half way through and my daughter Nicole noticed that I was working alone. She climbed up in the truck and began shoveling it to the rear of the bed. That made it really easy for me to load into the wheelbarrow. Then her husband Brian showed up and he took over the wheeling business. With Nicole and Brian shoveling and wheeling, I was out of a job. Then Nicole swept out the bed of my truck and swept up the driveway (to keep my wife and the neighbors happy) and the job was done.
The first pile in the backyard next to the bean patch.
Now all I have to do is sift it and amend the beds.

I don’t think I’ve ever been made as happy as I was last night over a load of crap. I met a really nice guy who wants my garden and my worms to have great food. It also helps him. I got some great help just as I was running low on steam and the work got done faster and better than I would have done it.  (My normal way of sweeping out the bed of my truck is to open the tailgate and drive to work.) And my plants are going to be so happy, I may need to name my farm “Happy Farm.”

Farming is hard work. I’m just glad I don’t really have to do it all myself.


  1. How wonderful! I am glad that you have so many wonderful helpers!! I get happy over the poop too, so you are not alone! :o)

    I'm glad your helpers got everything done for you! Now sit back on the porch and drink a big glass of sweet tea and relax!

  2. This is the first blog that I have ever read that just made me smile with a warm, squishy feeling behind it. I am happy that you notice and appreciate all that everyone has done and continue to do for you. But I also feel such a sense of pride in my family at this moment. What great people you raised, Dad. I love you.


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