As a smallholder I conceder myself to have a pretty unsqueamish nature when it comes to farm yard manure. I’m far from faint hearted in the face of faeces and don’t get deterred by detritus. In fact, I am one of the few sheep owners who can still enjoy a bag of chocolate covered raisins without the slightest feeling of unease. But yesterday however, I met my match!
When it comes to poo, I prefer the nice healthy normal stuff like the black and shiny or the fresh smelling and firm. I’m also unphased by the fibrous and flaky or the slightly sloppy and starting to set. But the stinky, soup-like dollops of revolting nastiness which greeted me this morning had me on the ropes.
The recent heavy rains, fresh grass, broody hens and visiting ducks have all conspired to result in wretched pools of grey/green smelly sludge just about everywhere I looked. I chuntered to myself as I scraped it all together for the muck heap and hosed off the sloppy stuff - then decided to take a breath of fresh air in the garden.
It was a beautiful day and the vivid pinks and purples of the rhododendrons stood out against the yellows and greens of the new leaves on the shrubs and hedges. The striking red of the ornamental poppies and crisp white of the lilac trees in the border contrasted nicely with the dark leaves of the copper beach and glossy green and cream of the variegated ivy in the distance. Everything looked so cool, fresh and inviting and it made me smile to think that all this colour, scent and beauty is in many ways thanks to the muck heap.
So here’s to the humble but essential FYM. Be it firm or flaky, fresh or fetid, solid or slimy, or dry and disintegrating. It puts food on our tables and flowers in our gardens, posies in our vases and grass in our meadows. It may be occasionally unpleasant but it’s always essential.
Now...where did I put those chocolate raisins?