Poor Man’s Manure

As the granddaughter of teacher #1, daughter of teacher #2, wife of teacher #3, and mother of teacher #4, sometimes I waste a lot of time trying to approach my life in a half baked academic manner to please all of them. Like the last hour I wasted reading internet archives from 1971 about why farmers call spring snow, “poor man’s manure.”

What I learned was a lot of “experts” have different theories about “poor man’s manure,” and like to bandy about words including sulphur, nitric acid, soil saturation rates, metric tons, and ammonia while explaining their theories.

My conclusion? I have no idea why it helps the gardens, but am nonetheless very grateful that it is one manure I don’t have to spread myself. In fact, the snow, hail, and sleet this weekend gave me a wonderful excuse to stay inside and read a trashy book by the fire while all that manure was being spread.

This was much easier on the hands than my shovel had been, and when teacher #3 and #4 came in and found me wasting my time with said trashy book, I pretended to be having a lot of wise thoughts about manure, but really I was just thinking about the heroine of the Georgette Heyer regency romance I had clutched in my wonderfully warm and dry hands.



Spring is about many things, for many people. But for me, one major focus is piles.


This is the Rose Garden whose gorgeous face graces the top of almost every page on the web site. To have it look as lovely as it does in June when that photo was taken, in April I need to:

Haul manure from the manure pile to put on each Rose.
Haul compost from a well composted compost pile to put on all the Flower beds in the garden.
Make piles of the weeds and Rose suckers that I have weeded out of the garden.
Haul away these piles of weeds and Rose canes and add them to a new compost pile.
Haul mulch from the native bark mulch pile to cover all the exposed soil in the garden.
Come inside at days end to find a pile of dishes.


Is it any wonder that I am missing Emily, who last year came home from college in April to be my pile partner?

This year, while Lizzy, Deb, Sophie, and Jess manage the office piles of orders and packages, I am in charge of the outside piles, because for Emily it is still


while for me, it is dawn breaking over the biggest pile of bark mulch yet.


April First!

Well its nine in the morning here and I have already pulled Deb’s leg with an enormous immensely complicated fake order!

I sent the order to her by email from one of the kid’s miscellaneous accounts asking for very vast quantities of strange things to be sent overnight- Then I went into see her reaction to the order. She was so cheerful about getting us geared up to fulfill an order which would have taken Hercules seven days!

So then, I called her and pretended to be the woman who had placed this order, determined to make it more complicated until she realized it was a joke, BUT she remained unflappable in the face of everything I could throw at her!

The joke was definitely on me!

Finally, I confessed and we all got a good laugh and she has returned to the usual bustle of normal orders- which with all the bad press that products like Frontline are getting has certainly included some epic sized orders of late.

Meanwhile, I am going outside for a bit to move a mountain of my own, a pruning pile from the grape arbor- and maybe think up my next joke!


And before I forget, the Animal Wellness brochures are here. We have them in two versions, one with our ordering information and one without. Call or email if you’d like some and let us know which version you want. Early feedback is good. Mishka supervised my unloading of the boxes and indicated that they met her exacting standards.