Thoughts from a Scattered Paddock


I ventured back to my preferential paddock for the procurement of poo this morning.

For some hours I probably spent way too much time fixated in thought on horse manure and cow manure. This was my second visit to the spot and I have a heightened sense of gratitude for good quality dung. I’ve carted trailer loads of horse manure to properties before only to find it largely full of sand. This stuff I’ve been getting requires picking up from the paddock, but it is not laden with sand and the previous collection is proving itself in the vegetable garden as the plants are doing really well at the moment.

I have also worked out a more methodical system for collecting the most manure in the time allocated. Today I left with a ute load after about 2.5 hours. Next  time I anticipate I will do even better as I further refine my method.

Deep in manure thought as I was whilst collecting the offerings from the paddock, it did have me reflecting on my current behaviour regarding the new garden.

To paint a picture for you, we are moving into more of an affluent suburb of town. We have had the house renovated and brought back to life. I would easily consider the house the very worse house on the street prior to this re-build. The very worst, run down house, but now she is a grand statement once more.

So there I am, dotting our new backyard which is openly viewed from sealed houses perched on a hill, with wood off-cuts, green waste, bags of horse and cow manure, and an absolute smattering of potted plants  dotting the place like an outbreak of measles. I’m sore and hurting from lugging plants and heavy stuff up and down the hill – mainly down! Frequently requesting of myself a justifiable reason for this apparent insanity.

As it has been pointed out to me previously, we are creating one of the most expensive gardens in town. Any other person would have sub-divided the block and either sold the back half or built units on the real estate. A part of me can see this as a way of getting further ahead financially, but another part comes back with the following reply.

The vision I’ve always had is to be able to provide as much food for my family from our own backyard as possible. Petit Paradis was the catalyst for this, though it was utilised mainly for increasing seed quantity and variety and for experimenting with some ideas. We always understood that we would eventually move to Tillellan to live, so anything done at our current house was done in an impermanent way.

Now I am ready to implement the grand design. Actually, there is a grander plan I have but it involves more land – and more land at the moment isn’t going to do us much good. We are living in town where our boys will get schooled and have extra-curricular activities. I’d rather spend time in the garden or at the beach with family than being a taxi driver in and out of town multiple times a week.

Plus I’ve felt what overwhelm can be like (it’s not nice) and I’ve seen too many large areas of land under-utilised and littered with half-finished projects that I’d rather not succumb to that myself. It always hits home when I see someone with a great expanse of land (and it need be only an acre or more…) and they can’t pick a fresh lettuce from their own backyard. I think it is tragic.

So we are making the most of the land that we have available and I am happy to postpone the creation of the rest of the backyard at the moment and instead return to my original plan. Creating a temporary vegetable garden for the summer and building the soil. Hence the accumulation of bags and bags of horse and cow manure with a light scattering of sheep poo.

I’m off to bed to dream of compost. . .


p.s  in the picture above there is an absence of cow patty. This is what was left after removing the patty from the grass. A network of earthworm tunnels and dung beetle burrows. This time around there were fewer worms present than when I came a few weeks ago. What I noticed this time was worm cocoons – so they’ve been busy breeding – some ants, dung beetles, maggots (the weather is warming up) and a multitude of other unidentifiable insects. Good stuff!



3 thoughts on “Thoughts from a Scattered Paddock

  1. We are also finding that establishing an edible forest garden (in a short time) is a very expensive exercise – but as you say, hopefully in the long run it pays back with healthy sustainable yum fresh food! Keep up the good work


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