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“Since you’ve helped me with so many things last week,” Leah said, “I thought I would bring by a gift for you this weekend.”
Aw, how sweet, I mused. At least until I heard what her gift was—then I thought, “crap.” Literally.
It turns out that even though it was barely a month past the Winter Solstice, Leah was already thinking about gardening. And ever since I had solarized the garden plot in the back yard and told her that she was welcome to take over it, the vegetarian had been thinking about her dear veggies. Including how to nourish them in nutrient-rich, all-natural brown stuff that dumps out with alarming regularity out the rear end of a cow. Well, at least for the ones that aren’t constipated. Yes, I am talking about dung.
“But it’s only January,” I protested. Wasn’t it a bit early for gardening?
But according to Leah, the time was right for soil enrichment. So fortunately, her friend Kristine has a farm out in Windsor that is home to a whole barnyard’s worth of animals, including the Great Mooers. These bovine beasts were more than happy to produce clumpy fertilizer, so Kristine had an abundance of well-composted poop. Leah got her permission to take some, and then on Saturday she rolled up my driveway with a trunk full of manure.
(Fortunately, it wasn’t MY car filled with manure. She did ask to borrow mine but I pointed out her car was much larger than mine.)
Actually, the manure was well-contained in empty kitty litter buckets and garbage bags, and she moved all of this out to the backyard by herself while I was still showering after getting back from a bicycle ride. Being the kind of guy I am, though, I decided I probably should help her dispatch the crap into the ground, so out I came with a square-sided shovel.
We then dug trenches and did the double-digging shuffle while intermittently mixing in cow compost. Amazingly, the manure didn’t smell anything like diarrhea at all. “Smells like earth,” Leah insisted.
Within half an hour of back-bending shoveling and raking, our work was complete, as even witnessed by a neighbor who certainly had never seen my lazy ass doing yard work in January. Then we went inside to watch a movie as a reward for our poop-shifting labor, a film entitled No Impact Man.
In one of the scenes, Mr. No Impact Man himself was talking about adding manure to his garden in October, to which Leah exclaimed, “See! January is NOT too early!” Whatever. I still think in any case she was a little too excited to be rolling around in manure in my back yard.
I will concede, though, that it was a pretty nice gift to the garden. The garden plot now at least looks like fertile ground for green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and peppers that we will be planting in a few months. So thank you, Leah and the Great Mooers, for all the sh*t.