Scooping poop on the farm (even though it is a small farm) is very different from scooping poop when I was growing up. Scooping poop used to mean taking a small shovel and a plastic grocery bag and cleaning up after the dog once a week so my dad (and later I) wouldn’t step in anything nasty when we were mowing the lawn.
On a farm, there are two major differences between what I dealt with as a kid, and what I have to deal with now.
The first big difference is that we have a riding mower. So we don’t much worry about stepping in the poop. (And by we, I mean John, because I don’t mow the lawn anymore.)
The second big difference is cows. With 15-25 cows on the property at any given time, scooping poop has a meaning on a very different level now.
This is our feed lot. And by that, I mean that this is the place where the hay is all winter long. That means that this is where the cows are, pretty much all winter long. You can imagine the kind of things that build up here.
So, come spring, John gets on his trusty skid steer and, well, scoops the poop. (And the dirt, and the mud, and some hay.)
I wasn’t too sure what he was trying to accomplish here, except make a short, fat pile into a tall, skinny pile.
Because right after he dumped that load, I thought he was finished.
But I was not to be disappointed. (Uh, I don’t think that’s the right phrase to use here. Disappointed? About poop? What has happened to me?) He was on the hunt for more.
And boy, did he find more.
So what, you may ask, is done with all this poop?
(Good question. I asked it myself.)
Some of it gets spread on our vegetable garden in the spring.
This will get mashed up and mixed in a whole lot better before it’s ready for planting. I’m told the mashing/mixing process is called “plowing” and “discing” and “tilling,” depending on what stage of the mash/mix you are in. I will not be participating. This takes a tractor. I do not know how to start, let alone drive, any of our tractors.
The rest of the pile will stay there until the fall, when it will get spread/mashed/mixed onto the garden after our big harvest (of sorts).
I know, I know. You’re worried about the smell. Ever have a compost pile? Basically the same thing, but on a different scale. With the mud and hay mixed in, and in an appropriate pile, it really doesn’t smell much at all. And, it’s hidden behind the barn, so that helps. (Out of sight, out of smell?)
Ever have a kid complain about having to pick up after the dog? Send them here.
(Well, don’t send them. Bring them. John can play with the tractors and your kids, and you and I can socialize over coffee in the house. Unless you want to help me work on the basement?)
We’ll show them what real manure clean up is all about.