Two things things that have become abundantly clear to me in the Hudson Valley:
1. No matter how big your tractor is, it’s never big enough.
2. Your sh*t is never as good as it might have been had you only heard the Legend earlier.
Each year I spend way more time thinking about sh*t then anyone in their right mind. I spend hours in the library pouring over books on the subject. I thrust my hands in it. I make tea out of it. I sprinkle it lovingly over my vegetables and dig it in by the spoonful around my melons. But no matter how much time I spend reading, spooning, caressing and coddling sh*t, it’s never good enough.
Any good gardener will tell you, your vegetables (herbs, flowers, fruits, yada yada) are only as good as your soil, and your soil is only as good as your sh*t. Try as I might, each year I am plagued by the nagging feeling that I didn’t get the best sh*t. The good stuff. Black Gold. Texas Tea. Somewhere, somehow there is better sh*t to be had.
So sometime around early March, I have this guy drop off a big pile of it back behind the barn and my heart starts thumping. This guy, I’ve been told, is The Guy. “The Guy’s got the best sh*t,” one of my neighbors, Wayne, had said to me the year before. “Rotted down…” Wayne added the magic words with a knowing glance off into the horizon. “…two years, maybe more.”
Now with the imposing, warm heap just yards away from my shovel, I can barely contain myself. Like a kid on Christmas morning. “What great sh*t!!” I giggle to myself as The Guy pulls away and Dark. Rich. Sweet. Crumbly. Oodles of worms wiggling around beneath the surface.
Exactly what sh*t should be.
But come just a few days later, when The Guy is long gone, and wheelbarrows full of the stuff have been lovingly tilled into my beds, and I’m standing back, sweaty, my muscles aching, my skin sunburt, sipping an ice tea and admiring my work, my other neighbor, Keith, wanders out from the woods, takes one look, shakes his head and says, “You should have gotten your sh*t from My Guy down the road,” he says. “Rotted down. Ten years,” Keith adds with relish. “Sheep sh*t. Way better than cow. It’s the only sh*t I use.”
So I am left wondering all summer long. When my strawberries aren’t quite cutting it. When the beans look a little wimpy. When my harvest of four-thousand sugar snap peas seems like it could be a little plumper, a little more full of peas…
WHY DIDN’T I GET THAT OTHER SH*T?!
…Rotted down. Ten years. Sheep. The Sh*t that legends are made of.