Monday, August 3, 2015
Summer on the farm is not the casual, laid back affair that many folks imagine. It is akin to participating in a triathlon. There are the crop related chores, the yard care related chores, and the canning/preserving and all other chores.
We stay busy. I’ve mentioned that before. As we approach the end of the summer, the task that seems to cause the greatest angst is the annual shredding of the compost pile. This is dirty work, and Dad LOVES it. With a passion. The worry is that it won’t be completed by the beginning of the State Fair, which happens to be at the end of August. And, the one thing that would get in the way of completing this job…….rain. A wet compost pile would be a bugger to shred. Even though we have not had rain in weeks, and rain is not in the foreseeable future, it appears to be a worry. Everyone needs a job, and within the Daisie family, we have a professional worrier. I will say no more. You can draw your own conclusion as to who that may be.
As for this compost situation, it seems that a little background information is in order. Throughout the year, we weed and prune things. All this plant material is first shredded and then put in a compost pile. The pile decomposes from September through August, when it is once again run through a shredder and left to sit until spring when it is used as mulch on the fruit trees. The first shredding helps to break things down so that decomposition occurs a little faster. The second shredding serves to cover you in dust, and create a smell that lets you know you are living the farm life. Although it contains no manure, it produces an aroma consistent with a cow barn, and the earth, and a cow barn. The resulting mulch, has a fine consistency, and in the 6 months it sits in a pile, goes from a large hump in the field to a small pitcher’s mound. It seems to be fairly high in nutrients, and the fruit trees seem to thrive, so in addition to the recycling aspect, it’s a good thing.
The actual shredding activity is one that, in past years, was reserved for Dad and Craig. This year I opted to assist. I have a minor role of rake and pitchfork use. Dad is the one who actually runs stuff through the shredder. Craig uses the bucket on the tractor to scoop compost and raise it up so that Dad just has to push it into the hopper of the machine.
In the matter of keeping the peace, Craig also uses the pitchfork, and a shovel to scoop up what has gone through the shredder and add it to the pile. So, he is jumping on and off the tractor for the 2 hours that we shred.
Yes, we have set a daily time limit to this activity as Dad mentioned that many years ago, when he had first purchased the shredder, he was so excited to shred that he shredded ALL DAY. The next day, he had a heart attack. German. Work. Ethic. It happens to be one of those things that clouds sensibility, and reason.
Speaking of such things, this shredding business produces a lot of airborne particulate, lets say. Craig and I religiously take our allergy medicine when embarking on this chore and wear dust masks, safety glasses, ear muffs, and gloves. Dad, of course, refuses the dust mask and, as he is already wearing glasses, sees no good reason to wear yet another pair. And, as for the allergy medicine, he “doesn’t have allergies,” so why would he bother with that? He does wear gloves and hearing protection, but OSHA be damned, who needs the rest? And there you have it. A day in the life…….