Little Bunny Poo Poo
Bandanas were tied, the morning was clear and the poop stood high. We donned our hats and gloves, grabbed the shovels, turned up some Willie and the Wheel and got to work.
Integral to a healthy farm system is the output of animals. Poop.
Those little pockets of fertilizer rife with nutrients and organic matter are indispensable when it comes to building healthy soil, healthy gardens, healthy trees. Plus, when they're derived from the animals that you already have strolling around your land, that fertilizer is cheaper, more predictable and more accessible than anything from a bag.
But here's the trick...when you don't have animals on your farm yet, you must find a way to bring said miracle pockets to your land.
Enter the neighbor.
If I haven't said it before, one of my favorite aspects of life in a rural community is the importance of neighbor relationships. We give each other pickles, lend bean shellers and articles about chicken tractors and drink the occasional beer in the shade on harvest day.
True, we did many of these things with our dearest neighbors when we lived in Austin or Brooklyn (save the bean sheller—didn't shell too many beans then), but there's a distinct feeling of alliance and support that comes with the rural neighbor, a bit separate from the others. Perhaps that's naïvete, and we're just lucky to have such helpful near-by folks, but let me tell you...
I'll be naive if it leads to pickled beets.
So as befitting her Helpful Rural Neighbor duty, a lovely woman down the road from us offered us the golden opportunity to take her rabbit manure whenever we wanted.
It's a unique situation when someone tells you to “feel free” to shovel out their animals' poop like they just offered halfsies on a winning lotto ticket.
However, that offer of poop is kind of like scratching off the final winning dollar sign. We need the nutrients, and she needs to get rid of some piles. Kismet.
Thus began Wednesday morning's agenda of shoveling and wheelbarrowing, shoveling and wheelbarrowing, shoveling and dumping, carefully wiping brows and shoveling some more.
The little rabbit pellets must sit and compost before we apply them to anything. In their raw state, animal manures are too "hot" to directly apply to plants because of their highly concentrated quantities of nitrogen and other elements. The time required for the manure to compost varies from animal to animal depending on what they eat, their particular digestive system, their type of manure, etc.
Rabbit poo is often touted as "cold" manure, meaning many folks don't compost it at all and just toss the little spheres amongst the fields right away. Since we sell to the public and dealing with large amounts of manure, we're gonna go ahead with the composting plan, but we look forward to the infinite good it will do for the land. With each shovelful of manure, we bring more and more red wriggler worms to our land. And those little guys are the welcoming committee for so much more.
It's one of those little farm magic bits, this whole turning turds-into-gold scenario. I love it. And so will the tomatoes.