This week, as I was joking about my wife trying to kill me, I saw this sight as I pulled up to the Livingston Landfill.  Yes, those are buzzards lined up and waiting for me.  I guess it’s more ominous if they’re circling over your head but it still made me laugh.

Buzzards II

A few weeks after we moved into our house, my wife’s horses arrived on the property.  For a while, they were happy in their temporary corral.  Grass everywhere, nice setting in the trees.  All was good.  Then the first couple of rain storms hit.  I grew up on a surface of clay and expected this to be no big deal.  The hard part of clay was getting grass to grow at all but since the grass was already there, I never gave it a thought.

After weeks of one down-pour after another, the horses were sinking halfway up to their knees in slop.  How is this possible?  We had some rubber mats for the barn stalls that we just threw on the ground to give them something to stand on besides more swampland.  Within a few days, the mats were gone.  Lost in the swamp.  As my wife was learning from the horse community of Virginia, a lot of people said to throw some straw down.  …OK.  That made sense.  What a disaster that turned out to be.

As soon as the barn was done, I put down a layer of rock and had to go in search of the mats in the swamp.  Somehow I found all of them.  While that was tough, it was nothing compared to getting rid of the straw and mud swamp I’d created.  Straw and mud is the recipe for making adobe bricks if you live in the desert.  HERE, its another story.  Yellow straw when left to spoil in water, mud and worse is slimy, gray and has a smell that is hard to describe.  Part of the recommended clay swamp solution was to “put down some organic matter” which I thought included straw.  It does not.  I will be tilling the soil with leaves but before I can grow grass, I knew I had to get rid of the nasty straw.  Countless trips to the dump with my wife’s F-250 pickup and my little beater Toyota loaded down, we hauled away over 8 tons of swamp slop.  Now when the surface dries enough to work the soil, I’ll harrow this and throw some grass seed at it.  What a relief that will be and what a mess I created.

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