Cow Sh*t, Daffodils and Martial Strife

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that a month after we were married, my new husband arranged for the last of our wedding presents to be delivered from one of his farming relatives: cow muck for the garden.

He ordered, what turned out to be, four tons of the stuff.  The truck was so big it wasn’t able to get through the field gates, so it was unceremoniously dumped in the woods near our home, and had to be wheel barrowed through wood and field to it’s final destination: our garden.



When I turned the corner and saw the pile of steaming brown stuff sat amongst the bobbing daffodils I was horrified. ‘There’s more sh*t than garden,’ I said, but I was reassured that we needed this much.

After two hours of barrowing it in, and the garden beginning to resemble a recreation of the Somme in sh*t, it was clear that we didn’t need this much, and I lost it in good old fashioned Mediterranean style.

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I declared that his farming family were mad!  Who delivers four tons of cow muck to a residential garden?  And my new husband was an idiot for ordering and accepting delivery of such.  There were also a number of expletives, as I’m sure you can imagine…(just for the record, I love all of Jonathan’s farming family dearly).

My husband, to his credit, took it all in his stride.  Impressive and brave, as I’m not pretty when I lose it, and I can be a tad…intimidating.

Ten minutes later I decided this approach wasn’t helping, and in my usual form, decided to be part of the solution, not the problem.

So under instruction I set about building a midden (see below), which I had never heard of before and is basically a structure built from cow muck ‘bricks’, then filled with same.  It will decompose and provide us with rich composting material eventually.  I kept calling it a midi, much to Jonathan’s amusement, perhaps to sprinkle a little ‘Allison magic’ on the proceedings, and every so often I’d shout cheerily, ‘there’s another barrow done!’

My Midden

My Midden

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all smiles and cracking jokes.  It took eight hours of back breaking work on Saturday, and a further two on Sunday, just to move the stuff.  There were times when I had to stop: to weep and strop and stomp at the sheer futility of it all.

And when Jonathan left for work on Monday, leaving me with a sunny garden humming with excrement and flies, he was no longer going to work, but ‘swanning off’ to London.

Three weeks later most of it has been dug into the beds, and my working garden is starting to look normal again.  There’s still piles of the stuff in the borders that needs digging in, but we (I) will get to it in time.

Making progress...

Making progress…

As I was digging the gooseberry patch this week, I reflected that we rarely welcome sh*t into our lives but, often, when we look back, we’re thankful for it.

It’s usually the thing that spurs us on to make those long overdue changes to our lives; change our job, relationship, country, diet, career, lifestyle…for something better, different, more fulfilling.

So whilst like everyone, I didn’t welcome it when it arrived, looking back I know it’s done the garden a great service, I’m fitter for all that digging, and in the autumn we’ll be reaping the rewards of an abundant harvest.

And as for my husband, he is well and truly forgiven of course, but the next hair brained scheme he comes up with get the response, ‘is that a four ton cow sh*t idea, dear?’

Forgiven, but not forgotten…


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One Response to Cow Sh*t, Daffodils and Martial Strife

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About me

Allison Agius lives in the North East of England with her husband.  They have five children between them. 

When she’s not working or writing she spends her time riding her Honda Hornet (in the summer), running (in the summer) and eating chocolate!