First off, you should be mighty grateful that you aren't a wwoofer here this week. If you were, you would be like Julia and Shelton and be tucked in your bed with very sore muscles. Poor wwoofers. We are seriously working these guys HARD...
In the last two days they have shovelled and wheeled an untold number of beautiful finished biodynamic compost and carefully laid it around the blueberry bushes.
They have also been dumpster diving for cardboard to put around the said blueberry bushes (under the compost). AND then they drove (numerous times) to my friend George the dairy farmer's dairy where they collected many (and I mean many) tons of yep, you guessed it, FRESH manure. Luckily for them, George has a great big green tractor that he used to plop the stuff into the bed of the truck. Saved a lot of shoveling on that end!
Once the truck was loaded, they drove it home (no doubt wishing it had better suspension--and ventilation) and then they shovelled it the goop off the truck and into the garden cart and hauled it around the blueberry patch to put in the paths.
Not only was this backbreaking work, it was REALLY smelly. George feeds his cows lots of grain and their manure smells like it. In contrast, Brigid who eats no grain, has lovely smelling poo. Cows were not meant to eat lots of corn, even if they love it.
On Friday (after a couple of well deserved days off) Shelton and Julia will spread many bales of straw on top of the manure so we can both walk on it while it is composting and it will help balance out all that nitrogen in the manure when it decomposes.
The whole point of this exercise is to build the fertility into the soil since most blueberry diseases (and most plant diseases for that matter) come from a lack of or imbalance in the soil fertility. We've been working hard on our soils and hopefully, this year will be the year we get the mummy berry licked. For those of you who don't know, mummy berry is a fungus that infects blueberries plants and ruins the berries. Once it gets established is harder than heck to get rid of. Our bushes were covered in it when we moved in, but it has gotten much, much better over the years thanks to a monumental yearly effort such as this.
While we've been pretty successful with our methods but it is never easy work. If we get it right we will get rewarded with hundreds of pounds of beautiful berries so we can make things like this delicious almond cake.
The second thing you can be grateful for is that you aren't here. I am sure we would love you to visit, but maybe not this week. The smell from the above mentioned tasks is well, horrid and will be for few days (weeks?) to come. Hopefully the rains will come soon and wash away the amnonia.
But what has me extra thankful (besides all this amazing help we are getting from the wwoofers) is the glorious springish night we have outside. The stars are so bright I feel like I could fall into the sky. And the frogs, they are singing, even in the cold. They don't even seem to mind the smell of manure. What a great night.