Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When Doing a Shit Job is Good for the Garden

Harley, the 15yr old placid pony, loves to eat. He would much rather chomp on green grass than raise a sweat to carry a rider off to wherever they wish to go. This greediness poses a problem as if left to follow his heart’s desire Harley would eat so much he would make himself very sick and founder. This is supposedly common in ponies and once they have overeaten they need to have their food intake very closely controlled.
The good news for us, or particularly our 10 year old horse-mad daughter, is that meant we have the loan of a great little horse in exchange for being the ones that keep a close eye on his feed. This fantastic lush spring has meant that there is little option for Harley than being kept in a small well-eaten paddock. The solution for his feed is to give him a bale of last year’s hay. Plenty to eat but with almost none of the sugars in the hay that would give him a pain in the neck and sore feet. The problem with Harley having plenty to eat is that he shits a lot. Too much poo in the paddock will sour the grass.
So today’s job is to scrape up all that horse manure and bag it. Most we give to a neighbour who helps us out a but some is destined for the compost heap. It’s great stuff for fertilizing and probably the only type of poo that children will get excited about cleaning up. The two youngest girls are still na├»ve and keen enough to volunteer and the horse-loving daughter has no choice or Harley might find a new home where someone loves him. With a team of four on the job it gets done fairly quickly and then we escape inside to cool down with an icy pole each.

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