Monday, July 14, 2014

A New Way To Handle Manure

The truck is in heavy use and so it just isn't conceivable to fill it with manure and get it unloaded in time to use the pickup for the next urgent project. I've come up with another solution. I fill every bucket I can find and I've got 19 of them. Some are buckets I've collected from others like the Wind Fresh laundry detergent bucket. There are so.... many good uses for these things and I wouldn't mind having more. 
 
I went twice today and filled buckets to work an area to put in Egyptian Onions that were a gift and a spot to transplant the three volunteer gooseberry plants from around the yard. I'm hoping to find someone who has volunteers of gooseberries that wants to share so I can have at least twelve plants. The past few times I've hauled loads it was to put under existing plants. Kind of handy to just grab a bucket and shake a little natural fertilizer here and there under plants instead of lugging around a wheelbarrow. I figure the more manure I get hauled this summer the less I will have to haul later. The stuff is old and so it is being used more as humus more than fertilizer. The ground is a bit hard and needs it badly.
 
The manure pile is on the neighbor rancher's place just down the hill from us. There horses make plenty and I'm sure glad as I intend on putting good use to it. The ranchers are happy to be rid of it so it is a mutual appreciation deal. I keep the gates as I found them as no one wants to hear that the bull got into the neighbors cows or that their horses are on the road. It is a lesson my dad drilled into me from the time I was little.  
 
The other thing is to always look carefully where you step. Before I get out of the truck I look down. One never knows what they might accidently step on. It might not be pleasant. What I didn't expect the other day when I went for a load was the huge surprise buried INSIDE the manure pile.
 
It was evening and Kirk and I had gone for a load to put on the potato plants. I'd scooped four, four- gallon buckets worth from a small area when my shovel uncovered a slithering surprise. I admit, I squealed. Not screamed but let out that all too familiar sound of "O.....h in a tone my husband has come to know all too well -- ME TOO! It means I've been unpleasantly surprised. Why oh why is it always ME that finds them? For once can't someone else discover the snake first? Last fall when we were looking at places to buy I almost stepped on a rattlesnake as I walked carefully through the tall grass. I say almost because if I hadn't of watched where I was going, I would have. It isn't like I don't keep my eyes peeled. That snake was laying hidden stretched up against the cement covered in tall grass.
 
This time Kirk was shoveling too so why wasn't it HIM that found the water snake? No... it always has to be me. Like spiders, do they bite my husband, no, they just bite me. As a matter of fact I still have a four inch area under my skin that is very sensitive to touch from the recluse spider bite the beginning of May. The sore on the outside is healing nicely.
Then a couple days after the water snake we were walking in the field behind the house and this is what we found. A snake skin. They are better than the real McCoy but still. It is evidence that they are lurking about.
 At least it was a bull snake skin. How can we tell. Look where Kirk's finger is pointing. See how narrow the tip of the tail piece is? That means it is a bull snake not a rattlesnake which would have a broad tail. We are too far up the hill from the creek for water snakes. The snake skin was pretty good sized though and so I hope to never see it in the mowed area of the lawn. The chickens should take care of that. They hate snakes.
As for this, see the snakes. Okay, maybe not snakes but if you ask our two year old grand daughter she will insist they are. She loves snakes --- strange child. I didn't care if they weren't snakes, I still  wasn't too happy to see these almost three inch things in my garden. Nasty things!!! Don't know what they are but they couldn't of been up to any good.
 
I'll have to tell you about last night's coyote episode but it is time to milk so I'd best be at it and save that story for another day.

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