Shoveling Manure

Animal poop is very important on this farm.  In addition to keeping the pastures fertile, we use it as a principal ingredient in our compost pile. Sometimes I’ll also go out in the pasture and get up a load of it, then spread it directly on resting gardens.  And every year I thoroughly clean out all the sheds, stalls and coops, for composting or for tilling into the gardens.  We use the manure to enrich and fertilize our soil, as farmers have done for thousands of years.  We couldn’t farm this way without it.

Yesterday as I was getting up a load of horse and goat do-do, it occurred to me that I must shovel a lot more manure than the average person.  But do I really?  Back when I worked in an office I probably shoveled plenty too. Maybe now I do literally what I once only did figuratively.

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16 comments on “Shoveling Manure

  1. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, ha, you’re in a funny mood this morning. Your post made be belly laugh about shoveling manure. I’ve shoveled my share of it myself. We (I) shoveled it out of the barn and chicken coop to spread over the fields. Dad never used the chemical fertilizers that were the coming scientific thing back in the 1960s. Even back then our neighbor (the modern farmer) only grew corn in his fields every year. Even my old school Dad knew that was going to ruin the land. I’d say it’s better to shovel the literal than the figurative manure. 🙂

    Have a great manure shoveling day.

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    • Bill says:

      Using farm animals to help keep the land fertile is a practice as old as agriculture itself. But it’s extremely rare to find a farmer using a manure spreader these days (much less a shovel). These days its urea, ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia instead.

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  2. valbjerke says:

    I’ve often thought – a shovel and a wheelbarrow are probably the two most critical pieces of equipment you can have on a farm. And they’re both easily repaired 😊

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  3. It’s funny how some of the most mundane and seemingly menial things we do in our daily lives are also fundamental. I looked up menial to see the root of the word, and the root is Old French: mesnee, which means “household”. Really, almost everything we do in life is to the betterment or sustenance of our household, right? Isn’t it? Or maybe not…maybe there’s a whole lot of figurative menial work going on that fills our days without sustaining much at all…at any rate, I bet the shovelling on the farm feels a lot more useful and direct than the other kind used to…

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    • Bill says:

      With farm work, I always feel that whatever I’m doing is something that needs to be done. I like having the feeling that I’m taking care of the farm and it is taking care of me.

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  4. Leslie says:

    Great post. We all choose how and how much poop we shovel, figuratively or otherwise. Isn’t that how we know we are in the right place, whether we are willing to shovel the poop in our life? Every life and all jobs require some.

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    • Bill says:

      On the farm shoveling poop makes things grow. To push the metaphor a little farther, we all have to shovel poop sometimes. What matters most is what we do with the poop.

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  5. Joanna says:

    My husband gets to do that every day. Alpacas are rather neat, they have poo piles and so it makes collecting it from the field rather easy. It also stops the pile spreading across the field. Ours also goes on the gardens, the alpaca poo can be put on neat, unlike our chicken manure. Our sheep are penned up in their winter pasture, or put another way, they are busy manuring the garden for next year in situ.

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    • Bill says:

      In the summer it’s easy to get up horse poo, because the horse spends most of his day in his stall. But in the winter he likes to stay outside and the poop isn’t as concentrated. Goats aren’t like alpacas in that respect. They just go wherever they happen to be standing. I only shovel up their dropping if they’re in a barn stall.

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  6. EllaDee says:

    Shoveling poop of one kind or another is one of things in life it’s hard to avoid, but as the G.O. and I were discussing earlier today what’s annoying is when other people try to fob off their own poop shoveling responsibilities…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. And one is a lot healthier than the other. 🙂 –Curt

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  8. avwalters says:

    Yeah, but this kind you can wash off.

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