How a bag of manure can make you cross.

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Around the farm

Some of the producers overseeing sales at the farm gate

It’s perhaps not the first time it has happened but today it has really made me cross. In the bigger picture of all things farming, in fact of all things life, it is probably not that high on the list, not even near the top, but has made me cross nonetheless. And I am not one to get cross often!

As those who have ‘surfed our website’ may know, we sell bagged manure at our front gate. It started as a bit of a lark just over a year ago. We bought a caravan (I call it a vintage van because it is nearly as old as I am) in the hope we could get away for a few short breaks throughout the year, when farming duties allowed. As we soon discovered when you own a caravan you need caravan things, so to fund the purchase of said items we started selling the manure.

To be perfectly honest (and we have been totally surprised by this), manure sales have exceeded our expectations and are more than covering our caravan expenses.  Strangely too, there are many days when it is far easier to spend an hour out in the paddock picking up manure in the sunshine and fresh air than it is to start the vacuum, clean the bathroom or do the dusting!!

Our manure sales work on an honesty system. Down at the gate, next to the bagged manure is a box attached to the post.  We weren’t sure how this would work but its nice to think that people will be honest. Sure sometimes there is an odd amount in the box. We like to think it is because someone passing by has decided to stop to buy a bag or two and cleaned out the car console or ashtray using all the spare change they have. It’s better to pay something than nothing at all, right? Besides, the money box on the post doesn’t give change.  And sure sometimes the odd bag may have gone without payment but we don’t keep detailed records on the number of bags we put out, we just like to keep the pallet stocked.  Perhaps there really are people out there who  need the manure more than anything else in the world, whose garden simply can’t live without it.  Let’s face it, it’s manure, it’s not like you can use it for anything other than gardening, it has no commercial value for anything else and you can’t pawn it for cash.

Several months ago we suspected a few losses due to what we now call ‘drive-bys’. We put up a small sign next to the money box thanking people for their honesty when they paid, passing on our best wishes for a flourishing garden. We were less complimentary to those who deliberately didn’t pay. That seemed to work……..until last night. Under cover of darkness, someone cleaned out the entire pallet. You couldn’t describe it as catastrophic, but certainly disappointing and it has made me cross.

Earlier this week Tim and I attended a Goods & Services Auction held in Axedale to raise funds for a local family, friends of ours, who recently lost their home to fire. We were proud to be donators of an item that was auctioned, we were proud to be there with nearly two hundred other people who were also making a contribution, we are proud of the organisers and the local community who raised over $22,000 for this family.

I hope the person who took the manure has done something else this week that they can be proud of.