Composted Wealth

I have been building a compost pile for a few years now, waiting to have enough to justify a full day’s rental of a spreader for the tractor. I think the heap is just about right.

Wealth can be measured with many different standards.  But a mound of loose, sweet compost surely deserves recognition as a kind of wealth.  I find myself sifting it through my fingers the way a TV miser pours gold coins between his hands.  And of course, keeping it in a pile is a kind of miserly hoarding.  To make the wealth something truly valuable, I need to spread the compost and let it be incorporated into the soil.

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”

― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

5 Comments on “Composted Wealth

  1. Dave,
    your comment about miserly hoarding made me remember this poem I wrote years ago:
    I’m not much of a poet, but hope you enjoy!

    Compost tea made with 27 things,

    Full of promise, friable and loose.

    Shall we put the compost on the grass in the spring?

    No let’s wait a little longer so it’s not used up.

    Shall we disc the compost into April oat fields?

    No let’s wait a little longer so it’s not used up.

    Shall we plow the compost into May corn fields?

    No let’s wait a little longer so it’s not used up.

    Let’s stir the compost, let’s examine the tea.

    It’s stronger and smaller, but it still smells sweet.

    Shall we fertilize fields after hay’s put up?

    No let’s wait a little longer so it’s not used up.

    Shall we spread on new seeding after straw is made?

    No let’s wait a little longer so it’s not used up.

    Shall we sprinkle on pastures before an August rain?

    No let’s wait a little longer so it’s not used up.

    Everything is brown and harvest is complete,

    Let’s put it on the fields before the snow is deep.

    O farmer, tight farmer, you have waited too long.

    The compost shrunk and the compost is gone.

    • I plan to apply it on our poorest pasture. We have one field at the back of the farm that historically was probably too far from the barnyard to conveniently spread manure on it, so the many years of haying it without adding nutrients make that field a stark contrast to the others. I’m excited to see what changes come from the compost application.

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