A goat's life among the blossoms

Legolas the Goat among the crabapple blossoms - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - CO - 80521


Legolas the Goat enjoys his canopy of crabapple blossoms. The crabapple trees produced spectacular blossoms this year, which are also edible. I've also heard of people drying blossoms to use instead of dried rice at weddings because the blossoms are better for the animals and the environment.

You might also enjoy our Flower Farm photo album.

Crabapple blossoms - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521

What the manure pile cooked up

Manure pile steaming - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521The process of a manure pile "cooking" is hard to describe, but the video clip above captures the process nicely, complete with rising steam. We use the windrow composting method, which basically involves keeping the pile moist, and in our case, pushing the pile periodically with the tractor bucket to keep introducing air. You can also insert perforated PVC sewer pipes vertically throughout the pile to introduce air.

Garden plants like flowers and vegetables love this composted mixture of soiled wood shavings and manure! You can see our "end product" in the distance, a much smaller, darker section. To ensure all seeds are killed, be sure to store your "product" under a black tarp for a few months after it reaches the end composting stage to really cook the seeds under the sun. Remember, never compost your manure near water. We also use our compost as valuable fertilizer on hay fields, as fill under horse sheds, to fill low spots in the lane, and to build above-ground planting areas in old stock tanks or as stand-alone dirt berms.

If you read Gene Logsdon's book on manure and its value, which not only educated me, but made me laugh out loud several times, you will understand the book's title, "Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind". Gene Logsdon also writes a great rural living blog, The Contrary Farmer.

Brought to you by Mount Manure

"Mount Manure", our compost pile made of soiled shavings and horse manure, produces amazing plants. This cherry tomato plant was living in its pot with our raspberries in old water troughs filled with Mount Manure "product". I pulled it into our bay window room in the middle of last night's freezing rain. Planted from seed, this tomato is an indeterminate variety, meaning it should have multiple growing seasons, and is still full of flowers. I hope the grow lights keep it going through the winter! Read also, Easter 2013: Grandang's Rhubarb, which shows how we use old, leaky water troughs as planters. Grandang's rhubarb, shown below in an updated August photo, is also in a bed created from our horse output. The rhubarb produced like crazy, even after being split earlier in the spring. Arrangements can be made if you are interested in a piece of Mount Manure.

Tomato plant started from seed and fertilized with the soiled bedding in our manure pile - a mix of wood shavings and manure.

Grandang's rhubarb - August 2013 - also in a bed fed by Mount Manure - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521

You do need proper equipment to manage the manure. We use an old , tustworthy John Deere 950 for all sorts of land stewardship chores!