The entire goal of yesterday’s excursion was to shovel a load of horse manure into my truck and bring it back to the house to dump in our new raised garden beds. While the primary mission was accomplished, our secondary mission of petting and feeding the horses across the street somehow elbowed its way into the spotlight. I suppose the topic of horse manure isn’t all too exciting these days, unless, of course, you’re a gardener.
I’ll begin this post by displaying some photos of our prized draft horse named “Piper.” Piper is enormous and is as sweet as they come.
As soon as I drove my truck around back and right after Laura hopped out to start offering treats, Piper ran over to greet her. I’d say greet “us,” but I was too busy pulling the bins out of the back of the truck to shovel the manure into.
Piper is a very photogenic beast, but to be honest with you, he really doesn’t care for much more than treats. He just hangs his big head over the fence and waits.
After I saw him close by, I asked Laura for some treats so I could feed him as well. He’s got a big appetite, so he lunges at your hand if he knows you’ve got something in it to offer. After a few near misses, I decided to open up my palm and let him eat off that. Much better.
And just to give you some perspective of how large Piper is, I’ve got a few comparison photos. This is him compared to me. One of these days, I’m going to jump on his back and ride him around.
And this is Piper in a semi-accurate comparison photo with a few of the other horses. Look at his big feet. During a previous visit to the farm, Piper saw us at the edge of the fence and decided to gallop over to us. What a sight that was. It sounded like thunder running straight at us.
Back to the reason we went over to the horse farm in the first place – to get manure. I’d say I shoveled two plastic garbage cans full, ten of those blue totes you use when you move residences and two smaller black planter buckets. My truck was very full. I got lots of what we went over there for. The only problem was shoveling by hand. That took a while and made me sweat.
It was worth it though because I think we hit gold. The manure is completely broken down and doesn’t smell at all. It’s rich and full of worms. It’s going to be great for next year’s garden.
Did I mention full of worms? When I opened some of the more moist clumps, I found red wigglers eating up all that sweet organic matter. Red wigglers are the cat’s meow when it comes to gardening. If you’ve got them, you’re in good shape.
The manure I brought back yesterday was enough to fill our two new garden beds. I also dumped the two garbage cans full into our larger round garden that I made from some old pavers (lots of pavers). Since everything will be compressed come spring, I’m going to need some more. I’m debating if I should head back to the farm, which is about 100 feet from where we live, or if I should head over to Agway to buy a few bucket loads of lobster compost. Either one is good. The thing is, the compost is going to cost me at least $120 while the horse manure is free. It’s just labor that’s involved. Since I’m sore today, I think I’ll wait to decided what to do until tomorrow.