BM, crap, defecation, discharge, dung, excrement, excretion, fecal matter, feces, go to the bathroom, have a dump, manure, number two, poop, shit, stool or waste. Call it what you will, thinking about it seems to occupy a major part of my day since moving to Crockern Farm.
First, there are the sheep. They’ve found their way into our yard through every neglected bit of dry stone wall. We lift the stones onto the wall, the sheep come back and knock them down. We lift more stones into place, but the sheep return. The thing about sheep is that they look so cute, and with their little lambs, they are indeed cute. But, they poop everywhere. They poop when you try to chase them out of the yard. They poop while staring at you. They poop while they are eating. They poop while walking, milking their young, and yes, while climbing over the walls. It must be an amazing thing to never be constipated.
And with that much poop, you just can’t help but step in it from time to time.
Birds of course can poop while they fly. Flying would be a great skill to have, and I’ve often wondered if I were a super hero, would I want to be able to fly or to go through walls? I think that being a shape shifter might be the most flexible super hero trait as I could become a bird (fly); ooze (go through walls); or a forklift (pick up the big stones and repair these walls more easily).
Many people believe being tagged by bird droppings is good luck. Although it is yucky, we take comfort in the fact that good luck or wealth is just around the corner. We currently have some twenty-four nests of House Martins and Swallows. They poop from their nests and it was a small learning curve knowing where to park the car to avoid their droppings. Despite the proclaimed good luck, keeping the paint on the car is preferable. The same learning curve taught us where to place things in the barn.
Sam poops and Roger and I discuss it. We discuss the quantity, frequency and yes, quality. It is a means to monitor Sam’s well-being. This is certainly a common tendency as I have heard parents discuss their children’s fecal production, too.
When I lived in a city, having a dog meant that you necessarily had to become blasé about poop. You had to scoop the poop or pay a fine. Sometimes, caught short-handed by not having a poo-bag, the fine was a non-dog person spotting me as I rummaged around a garbage bin for some old newspaper or a bag to use. Many years ago, I had a dog who would carry the newspaper in his mouth until he needed to relieve himself. I would take the paper from him, he would assume his position, and then take aim on the photos of politicians who I was unhappy with in the news. There was satisfaction with that daily political statement.
One of the worst poops is that of the fox. I don’t think I could identify fox scat on a path, but I know that my boy-dog Sam can find it anywhere. And when found, nothing brings him greater joy than dropping down shoulder first and rolling with all four legs up in the air. The smell is not at all something you want in the house. A quick jump in the river doesn’t get rid of that stench from any dog. Soap, water, and a good scrub is the only solution.
Cows are similar to sheep since they too seem to chew and poop at the same time and can also walk and poop. Horses do the same, even during the Olympic Equestrian competitions. I hadn’t thought about this topic much until my garden became nature’s toilet.
We’ve made some small progress on preventing the sheep coming into the garden. We had two wooden farm gates made and hung them where iron gate hooks remained in the granite. This has kept the sheep out of the garden area where we intend to put in raised vegetable beds. We’ve pulled nettles, started to build a small wind barrier with stones, and have researched the best way to have a raised bed on highly acidic soil. I found a site on the Internet where small holders write of their experiences. I posted my question regarding gardening on such rocky and acidic soil. A man in Wales posted back his suggestion: Raised beds should be 3 feet high, the first third filled with, wait for it, well-rotted manure. In other words, more poop!
We don’t think we are going to build such high raised beds, but will be putting in some of that well-rotted manure. Having spent weeks trying to get away from all of this poop, I am back into looking for some quality stuff. How do you go about finding a poop dealer? Maybe I will take the wheelbarrow out and start collecting locally as it is freely available. That certainly trumps heading over to a local stable, paying for “well rotted manure” and then loading the stinking mess into the back of the car.
In anticipation of the vegetable garden, we’ve built our compost bins and read up on brown waste, green waste, turning the compost, watering it, keeping the rats out, and all the important bits of creating quality compost. It turns out, one of the great things for compost is chicken poop which we have in abundance!
Just yesterday I was looking for the chickens to see what they were up to and whether they had laid any eggs. Two were missing and my heart sank, fearing that another fox had cheated and snatched them mid-day. Suddenly, two heads popped up from the compost. The hens were poking around, finding worms, and I’m hoping, pooping right on the spot. I’d like to think I’ve trained them to do this.
When we bought Crockern Farm, there was a casual mention that the septic tank needed to be emptied. We had been warned to not use the previous septic tank cleaner. We called around and found our “honey dipper”. For many, a honey dipper is a wooden tool used for taking honey from the jar and putting it into a cup of tea. In the US, someone who empties a septic tank is also known as a honey dipper. There is no mistaking our honey dipper as a serious woman. She is strong and you just wouldn’t describer her as small. As we sat around our kitchen table having a cup of tea, we learned that she was the first woman in the county during the 70’s to be part of the volunteer fire department. This was in the day when you had to carry a person up a ladder as part of your training. Looking at her arms, I have every confidence that she accomplished this with ease.
She emptied the tank quickly and without incident, the job was done and the price was fair. When asked, “How did it look?” She replied, “That tank was long over due for being emptied.” We happily paid for her work. As our honey dipper drove away, Roger and I looked at one another knowing that we had just paid for someone else’s crap.