If you have livestock for any length of time, you have to deal with manure. After all, what goes in must come out. The advantage of manure is that it composts into the most beautiful stuff known to gardens!
Since the livestock are on the wooded side of the property and eating from the feedboxes...
...the area in front of the feedboxes gets churned up with a combination of straw, mud, and manure.
This can get cripplingly deep for the poor animals, and it was getting deeper every year. This had about three winters' worth of manure mixture in front of it, and the beasties were sinking up to their knees. Time to move it out.
Don wanted to scoop it over the fence for the time being, but there was a pile of old lumber on pallets in front of the fence.
So the first job was to move it out.
The livestock watched us with great interest. Doubtless they were waiting to see if any food was forthcoming.
Then Don brought the tractor around to their side of the fence and started scooping manure with the bucket...
...and dumping it over the fence. There was a lot to scoop!
Matilda took advantage of the newly-cleaned area right away.
By the time Don quit for the day, the difference was dramatic.
And so was the manure pile!
Look at the size of the tractor for comparison. It might seem silly to get so excited over manure - a pile of poop, after all - but let me tell you, this stuff is black gold. It's the perfect combination (manure/ mud/ straw) and the perfect age (about two to three years) to spread on the garden and plow in.
And this is just one of our manure-rich areas. We have three other places (a pile in one of the pastures; the bull pen; and the corral) where the ground is rich with composted manure mixes, waiting to spread on the garden. God willing and the spring weather cooperates, we have the potential for a very productive garden next year.