I Love My 4X4 But...


| 2/11/2011 8:41:05 AM


Tags: Gardening, manure, soil supplements, Cam Mather,

I’ve decided that now that CBS has a TV Show called “Sh*t my Dad Says” I can get away with using that word too. My neighbor Alyce, who provides me with horse manure, is not prone to swearing but even she will use that word on occasion. I get a load of manure from her every week or so, so one could rightly conclude that I take a lot of sh*t from her. And I’m happy to do it. We try and barter for it. I try to remember to give her some of our vegetables during the summer but I’m not always consistent. But we have a paddock with nothing of our own in it these days, so she’ll often use it to board horses or cows that she wants to keep separate from the rest of the herd.

I am growing on a very sandy soil. Think of a sand box. If I dig down about 6 inches that’s what I hit. In many places the sand is closer to the surface than I’d like so for more than a decade I have been trying to build up my topsoil and horse manure has been key to this. Alyce uses wood shavings mixed with her horse manure so it’s a great supplement to my soil.

 manure 

For nine months of the year it’s no problem hauling the manure trailer in to where I want to spread the manure, but when there’s snow on the ground it can be a real challenge. When I first moved here from the suburbs I bought Alyce’s old truck, a Ford Ranger. It was 2-wheel drive. Two “rear” wheel drive. Our other vehicle is a Honda Civic and we put snow tires on it. Thanks to the front wheel drive I’m able to drive that sucker through snow deeper than the undercarriage. I’ve really never been stuck in my Civic. But the old Ranger - what a nightmare. If I had a buck for every time I got stuck in the snow dragging a trailer full of manure with that truck, well I wouldn’t need to be hauling manure.

 why I need 

Early in the winter when the snow wasn’t yet deep, I’d be able to get in to the gardens. I would cut a few live poplar trees, which are really heavy and grow like weeds around here, and put them in the back of the truck for weight to help with traction. But once the snow got deeper it would get progressively worse. I’d try and keep a trail packed down, but if it was a heavy load and the truck got pulled out of the ruts, it was game over. My usual Sunday activity used to be moving the truck 3 feet at a time. I’d put a metal traction plate under the rear tires, spread some sand, move a few feet and repeat. Over and over again.




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