Spring is blowing by and thankfully we’re still here.
Please accept the picture above as a more figurative, than literal, estimation of our recent past. No. It’s pretty literal.
Life has lately been consumed with preparation, and, as usual, tardy preparation. Case in point…
After lengthy research, we concluded that our pastures needed more than our sweet animals, compost tea, and keylining can give them. So we ran soil tests this past winter and, upon educated recommendation, decided to spray a mixture of calcium, phosphate, fish emulsion, and sugar.
Each ingredient presents it’s peculiar challenge.
The calcium is a white, powdery substance, which must be weighed out on a scale. This I do in a dark room, while waiting for badges of some type to break in and yell, “freeze!”
The fish emulsion is heavy and stinks.
I travelled to the wilds of mid-Alabama to pick it up and was met by one of the kindest characters I’d ever met. He told me where I could buy the best smoked sausage, maybe in the world. The problem is that I had to truck back 10 barrels of liquid fish, each weighing around 450lb and bestowing upon whomever touches them a smell so intense, so pervasive that even those who profess to love you reel at your presence.
Only those afflicted with “the sinuses,” as Caroline calls it when her nose is completely stopped by illness, or fellow fish emulsion bathers will tolerate your presence, indoors or out.
It really is strange to see someone react as if physically punched by an invisible hand when you approach 20 feet from them, because after the first few minutes with the fish, it doesn’t smell to you.
Then there’s the sugar. Actually it’s not a real problem to work with. There’s no smell and it is fairly easy to mix into solution with hot water. Though it’s sticky, it’s challenge lies in procuring it.
Don’t believe me? Go to Walmart. Get a cart when you walk in the door. Trot to the sugar aisle. Gingerly place 175-225lb of sugar – and only sugar – in your cart. Saunter to the checkout.
How many ogles did you garner? How many chuckles? What about questions about your still? Maybe someone asked you to taste some of that whiskey you’re making? Did you have to explain your serious sweet tooth? How much kool-aid did you tell them you’re making?
And that’s not even if you have a paranoid bent and keep racking your brain to try and remember if Pure Cane Sugar is one of those things people use to make Meth and will they call the cops on you for this…
But that’s not me!
I just grabbed the sugar and ran.
Wait. Then there’s the phosphate. It’s actually innocuous and even slightly pleasant. It smells like dried molasses.
No, this isn’t another weird, modern, farm adapatation of Shakespeare.
This is a real recipe which next is mixed in approximately 320 gallons of water and sprayed on pasture. The spraying part is actually easy. Once you get the fish emulsion into the spray tank, your pump handle breaks, the sprayer motor quits, you forget to open a pressure-adjustment valve, spray yourself in the face, in the face again. Now spray yourself in the back of the head. Swat the flies and buzzards now circling you and rush home to launder your clothes at least three times while scrubbing your hands with lemons.
Check out that egg picture again. Pretty mild, huh?