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September 16, 2012: The Saturday Evening (COM) Post

If I were to start a newsletter, I would call it the Saturday Evening (COM) Post. I wish my forte was horse training, but it’s looking more and more like compost is it. Best to go with the manure flow.

Yesterday, Leah, our gardening consultant, dropped by for a visit. It was raining, so we sat around our kitchen table, drank tea, and ate muffins. Talking with her rekindled my original ideas about manure management and compost marketing. I had pretty much given up on my idea of selling hand turned/hand sifted compost because of rain – the stuff that’s now on hand is gloppy, making it difficult to sift. Also, I am not a

consummate marketer. But Leah again made me see the possibilities inherent to small to mid-scale compost distribution.

She suggested that I put the hand turned, hand sifted compost in Ziploc Bags and slap a label on the bag and sell it that way. This was sort of what I was thinking before – but in larger amounts, say in food grade buckets. Leah will then sell it at farm and garden shows.

This is a brilliant idea. Sometimes follow through requires collaborative thinking, or another individual who sees that an off the wall idea has merit. Now, of course, I’m again thinking that marketing compost is a good idea.

I have four upper stations – I may turn one station a year. This I can do. And keep it covered. The stations are accessible to the goat pen and chicken coop. And of course there’s the New Compost Facility, which is now what I call an “ongoing concern.”

Pete and I resumed working on it yesterday, after Leah left. We finished putting the walls, and then put the rafters up on the frame. The rain did not diminish my enthusiasm for this project. I helped Pete some, enough to get a sense of what constructing a building entails. I now have a complete picture in my mind of how to go about this. We also did a bit better working together. I will always pound nails “like a girl,” but it’s too late to change this habit.

My mind also drifts. As I put the 2x8s in their slots, I was thinking about J.D. Salinger’s book, Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenter. I read it so long ago – I recall that Salinger had a very good sense of detail. However, he was obscure in places. Like everyone else, I pretended that I knew what he was getting at. I suspect he went into seclusion because even he could not explain himself, or what was going on in his work.

It’s raining hard today, Sunday. Pete says that we’ll put the roof on when we get a sunny day. And we’ll line the walls with metal roofing material. We’re hoping that our friend Mark Carney has some old stuff on hand.

As for production – Leah and Nick are going to take the last of the fall manure loads, and Andre will soon come and get his now full trailer. As soon as the roof is on, I will put the full five gallon buckets in the shed, so that the manure will remain dry. Otherwise, the buckets become waterlogged and heavy.

I will start dumping the manure and garden greens in the first bay at the onset of winter. I suspect that we’ll be turning the first load in the spring. The roof will keep it dry, which means that it will not freeze. This means that I won’t have to break up frozen manure come spring.

This may be the first instance in my life in which I have actually followed through on an idea. Amazing: Shit happens.

Next: 281. 09/17/12: Happy Birthday to Me