Thursday, September 6, 2012

For The Love of Compost

I consider myself a jack-of-all-trades,
master of manure!
What I lack in brains, I make up for in sheer willpower.

So, when it comes to tractors and farm equipment...
bring 'em on!

Yesterday was manure spreading day...

me doing the loading with Dear John,

and Jim doing the spreading with Tin Lizzy.

And of course, Sammy was there to help.

Sammy has stuck by my side for the past two days, because he has his
"good boy" collar on (yes, it's back to the shock collar).

You see, I don't have to use the shock, just the "tone" is enough to tell Sam
that he'd better listen.

I know... he is the picture of innocence, right????

(And of late, he has not been listening...hence the return of the collar!)

Between loads, Sammy would jump onto the tractor to check out the view...

or just for some "luvins."

But, back to the subject at hand....manure.
If there is one thing that we are really great at producing...
it's compost.
And really great compost at that!

Manure fascinates me.
Sure, it's poop; but it's so much more.
A manure pile is a whole ecosystem, teeming with life and nutrients.
And the process of making manure is one big cycle here on the farm.
We grow the hay and harvest it, and feed it to our equines and goats.
Then we harvest their manure, and turn it weekly until it becomes luscious, soft,
black nutrient rich compost.
Then we spread it right back onto the hay field as organic fertilizer.

The process of turning manure into rich brown compost is quite fascinating.
If the subject of manure excites you like it obviously does me,
It's good stuff!

On another subject, I wanted to update you on Mrs. Wellington, Beulah May, and Edith,
the three Muscovy/Pekin cross ducks that arrived last week.
First of all, I must tell you...
ducks are peculiarly prejudiced against newcomers.

It's true.

They will swim in the same pond,

but when it comes time for just "hanging out"...
they resist mingling.

In fact, they sit on opposite sides of the pond and gossip.
I've heard it and it isn't pretty... they're as bad as the hens!

Lastly as per your request, a little blurb on how I make my hot pepper relish and sauce.

I don't use a recipe....but this is what I did.

When I make hot pepper relish, I dice a whole bunch of peppers.  I put them in a kettle and pour just enough vinegar to almost reach the top of the peppers (just slightly under).....I keep track of how many cups of vinegar I use, and then use half that amount of sugar.  Bring to a boil and simmer for one minute
 and then fill hot canning jars with 1/4 inch headspace, 
affix lids and bands, and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

To make the hot sauce, I just took an immersion blender to the hot peppers/vinegar/sugar mix and liquified it.  Then I poured it through a sieve,  and poured the liquid into a bottle....and into the fridge.  So hot!

Next time I am going to also cook some garlic with the peppers.

And, I used some mighty hot peppers.....when I clean them, I just chop off the stems and throw the whole pepper (seeds and all) into the dicer.  Seeds will add even more heat....and they get removed when you put it through the sieve.

We eat hot peppers on everything and hot sauce on everything else!!


  1. poop fascinates me too. it is so cyclic!

  2. You go girl with that farm equipment ! Yup manure is the best fertilizer ! Love the title of the book ! Hope the ducks become friends ! Our Miggy has to be reminded of her boundary every once in a while and she is the same the tone does it for her. I try to remind her when its off her neck when she chases squirrels and rabbits by yelling BOUNDARY !! that usually works ! . Great post and photos ! Have a good day !

  3. I love a good compost! We make it the easy way, just add to the pile and maybe turn once in a while. It takes about a year, but since we have several piles going at one time, we always have beautiful compost to use.
    One time a friend saw our piles and told us we were doing it all wrong. She must have read all those articles that make it so complicated. Then I saw a TV show with Helen Nearing showing off her compost piles. Just like ours! I felt vindicated. :)

  4. Good Morning, It is a good thing I know you were referring to the manure spreader Tin Lizzy and not the Quilting Long arm TinLizzie or you would certainly have a different outcome, LOL!!Can you tell I want the Quilting one. Even chicken poop makes great fertilizer for my garden. Maybe I need to send the U of O mascot over to have a chat with your ducks.


  5. Yum on the relish! I compost here too, adding in chicken manure and all kitchen scraps and grass clippings and leaves. My garden loves it.
    XO Kris

  6. You're nuts but definitely not stupid..Fun post..Poor Sammie..In the dog house again...The Mallards here are the same way..little groups here and there..Always in the same numbers..

  7. We have used the radio collars here on our place. I recommend them, so highly. But consistent discipline exercised by the human is a requirement. So, if you can't commit, save your money! If the dog becomes too 'natural' for ya'... rehome the poor thing! On a more positive note - I never realized how well the tone works on our schnauzer until... Santa left two squeaking furry mice (from Petsmart) in our cat's stocking last Christmas! I've had to put them away. They put Zucker into a state where he's not sure if he's in trouble for breathing! We now have quiet mice in this house. But they don't eat much.

  8. I can totally appreciate the art of manure. I have a small organic garden and I watch my compost turn into black gold-it is a beautiful thing.

    I love watching your life on your property. Thanks for sharing.


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