There were times this winter, as I trudged through bone-chilling early morning winds and snowstorms to feed the cats and donkeys, that I wondered if deep insanity had prompted me to adopt these money-burning parasites or if I had merely been prey during a weak moment. Today, however, I was reminded why I took on housing of the donkeys, Ding and Dong. It was all about their poop.
I trust that many of you who read this blog followed your normal Sunday routines this morning, perhaps coffee and paper with a loving spouse, or time spent in pursuit of spiritual knowledge or experience. ProfessorRoush, however, was not engaged in such high-minded or polite endeavors. I was loading donkey crap into a cart shovelful by shovelful (as pictured above) and then, as any self-respecting rosarian would, unloading it in measured fashion as more shovelfuls onto my roses. Four carts of donkey dung were distributed among approximately 200 roses by early afternoon, interrupted only by a minor drip in the basement ceiling and by personal time to rehydrate. I threw donkey poop onto the feet of 'Charlotte Brownell' and 'Maria Stern'. I cast manure onto 'Queen Elizabeth' and at 'Madame Hardy'. I even tossed a little donkey crap on 'Jeri Jennings'. I should apologize to the latter since it is entirely possible she could run across this blog entry, but Jeri is an outstanding rosarian of great reputation and I'm sure she will understand my transgression.
Four heaping carts of donkey crap may sound like a lot of work, but I'm a long-time feces-slinger. When I was the tender age of 12 or 13 or so, at the end of our first year with registered Polled Hereford cattle, my father decided the barn needed cleaning and bade me to load the accumulated manure into my grandfather's 2-ton manure spreader. "It'll only be a couple of loads," he said. Two weeks and 28 tons of manure later the barn was clean and Dad and I had reached an understanding that he was going to buy a front-end loader for the tractor. Today's job was not nearly so taxing as that, and this afternoon I have a garden that looks like the bed pictured at the left, roses surrounded by piles of donkey poop.
There were learning opportunities today, as always. After some period of applying donkey-based fertilizer, it dawned on me that Mrs. ProfessorRoush was not going to be happy about the aroma in the vicinity of our house after the predicted rains later this week. Additionally, based on personal experience, I can now recommend that those who shovel donkey excrement into the face of a Kansas wind gusting up to 41 mph should take care never to exert themselves to the point of breathlessness and open-mouth breathing. Such inattention to detail may have dire consequences, the least of which is the likelihood that Mrs. ProfessorRoush, upon reading this blog, will subsequently withhold any affections until she forgets or at least stops gagging at the thought. The latter is, as stated, the least of my problems because after shoveling, unshoveling, and aspirating dust from four cart loads of donkey muffins, I could frankly use the rest.