On cow manure and keeping your sanity

My father would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what I did today.

I bought cow manure to help get my grass to grow.

Yep, paid for cow dung.

One of my favorite memories of my father on our farm was his Saturday morning ritual of climbing onto his tractor that had the “bucket-loader” on the front end. Then for a couple of hours, he would go to the low spot in a feed lot (which is where all the water and cow pee eventually ended up). Even in the throes of a drought, the low spot was always soggy. During the wet months, it was a mess.

Literally, the cows were knee deep in cow dung.  All the cow manure a guy could ever want. Free!

My father would then begin his weekly therapy of pushing the slop around in order to help with the drainage. He would spend anywhere from 1-2 hours driving around on his tractor pushing slop around in any direction he felt like it at that particular moment.

At 15 years old, I thought the old man was crazy.

At 71, I now see what he was doing. He was getting away from life’s shit by moving around cow dung.

These days, when I need to get away, I get on the lawnmower and mow, or fertilize or do something that requires noise while doing something that requires no thought. Back on the farm, my father was working for a faltering business, keeping track of four boys, active in township politics, and dealing with a relationship with my mom. When he would come home from work, we dumped everything bad that had happened that day onto his lap, expecting a quick fix.

` Of course, I now know there were no quick fixes. My own kids have had their share of issues and there were many days that I either volunteered to go to the grocery, or got on the tractor to do something that did not need to be done. Once on the lawnmower, I am pretty sure that I did exactly what my dad did. My mind shut off and I drove around and around in little circles giving myself time to think.

My father had a lot to think about and so he pushed tons of cow manure around in his day. Wet, smelly, greasy, nasty stuff.

Today I opened a bag of cow manure and spread it on my yard, in hopes that the nitrogen would help the grass under my trees to grow before the leaves got too bad.

My guess is it will be a losing battle, and this fall I will, once again, have a yard full of mud.

Except this year, there will be a bit of cow manure mixed in with that mud. Yep, the wet, smelly, greasy, nasty stuff my dad used to push around trying to remain sane.

And I won’t mind a bit, even if there is an odor.

And the people who do mind … well, they just didn’t know my father.