Sunday, September 7, 2008

Glory Days

On Saturday mornings I go through my normal routine (feeding, turning out, mucking, preparing for evening feeding) and then I clean up wasted hay from around the feeders. Although I'd save myself some work by doing this daily, I prefer to let the hay build up so that Tonka and Raven ingest minimal crusher dust throughout the week. But yesterday the weather looked promising and I skipped the hay-cleaning step so that we could go hiking with some friends. Here is Watson appearing obedient and eager-to-please by some trick of the lens:

Today turned out to be the most beautiful day we've had all summer. While I was getting the hay raked up David was wrestling with a very wet burn pile (we compost manure and burn wasted hay) so that it was smoldering away by the time I finished. Sweaty, smelly and covered in flies I parked my wheelbarrow in the smoke (a trick I learned from an FFF reader) and climbed aboard -- what luxury! Legs up on the handles, bum tucked into the back corner and head resting comfortably on the upslope at the front. David brought me a latte and I enjoyed a fly-free hour in the sun. Then I had a shower and took our Miata to town with the top down to fetch horse and human supplies. I thought about taking Raven for a spin when I got home, but things at work have me tightly wound right now and she doesn't cope well when I'm stressed out. We did some ground work and called it a (glorious) day.


EvenSong said...

I also compost manure and I INCLUDE the wasted hay (along with the little bit of straw bedding I use for new mamas and foals). It nessecitates some stealth measures so the horses aren't tempted to eat the really old stuff--some piles are simply where the girls can't get to them; or, once I have enuf volume, I can make sure the hay is well under/inside the pile. You're the biologist, but my understanding is that the green material is good for the compost (nitrogen, I think). It does take a little bit longer to reduce to crumbles, but I pile all winter, tun=rning the pile about once a week, and spread on my pastures in the spring. I had some GLORIOUSLY RICH black gold last spring.

dp said...

By itself manure (with no bedding or wasted hay) has about the perfect carbon:nitrogen:phosphorous ratio for composting. Including wasted hay is most likely of benefit because it helps to keep the pile aerated. Our pile does compact too much for my liking, so I have started putting in a bit of hay each day. Thanks for the tip!