Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Adding Oxygen

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A sure sign of spring being in full swing is when we finally start dealing with the piles of manure that accumulate in the paddocks over winter. Yesterday, I dug into one of the two big ones.

IMG_iP1374eWe generally build up the piles in the paddock and then ignore them. As a result, they don’t make stellar progress in breaking down. However, over time they do settle noticeably. Seeing them get flat is usually a trigger for me to take action to turn the pile.

Since the pile yesterday had been left untended for weeks, it made for a vivid example of the transition possible when putting in the effort to turn it over, reshape it and add air.

The micro organisms that do the composting will use up all available water and oxygen in the pile. If it isn’t replenished, the process stalls. In the case of this pile, the neglect had foiled things before all the moisture was removed, so it was still wet enough, but it needed some air get the process going again.

In the image you can see the old, dry, flattened portion on the right, and the freshly turned, taller pile I was turning it into on the left.

While I was working, Hunter sauntered over to visit. I acknowledged him, but didn’t stop what I was doing. He didn’t move as I maneuvered the pitch fork to toss the pile without hitting him, but only narrowly missing him. He kept inhaling loudly, absorbing the earthy smells emanating from the newly oxygenated mass.

I breathed heavily, right along with him as I worked. Soon, I noticed his eyes were getting droopy. He was just chilling near me as I toiled away.

It reminded me of the time, years ago, when I was just getting to know the horses. Hunter approached me while I was raking up the winter’s-worth of accumulated manure, and he laid down next to me. I was so shocked by his action that I called Cyndie to check on the situation. She seemed thrilled by his behavior and assured me that it was an indication he was entirely comfortable with my presence and I could simply continue to rake while he rested beside me.

It’s precious knowing he still likes to hang with me like that as I work.











Written by johnwhays

May 21, 2016 at 6:00 am

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