Thursday, July 21, 2011

Better than Water into Wine

Just last week I pulled off the alchemist feat of the year when I turned manure into wine. I had my neighbors laughing and possibly a little jealous, and it only took a few minutes.

But let's back up a bit. Earlier in June I was speaking in Hillcrest, Alberta and just before I arrived to give that talk I noticed a horse had left his calling card on the street during the town's parade. I was jealous, I told the audience. Things like this never happen in my hometown of Calgary. If I need horse manure I have to find a farmer and go get it. It never just falls into my lap that simply.

Back home I found myself quietly weeding in the front yard when a neighbor strolled by and mentioned a problem. He said another newer neighbor had been entertaining and the guests had left a horse trailer on the street overnight. But that's not the worst part, he said. In the morning they had cleaned out the trailer before moving it. "What?" I asked. Where did they clean out this trailer and how long ago was that? Surprised by my response he pointed across the street and I ran to get my bucket and shovel.

I am not sure how I missed this manna from heaven but with the recent rains triggering lush weed growth I had been doing catch up and had little opportunity to check out much beyond my own yard. Free fresh manure for the compost seemed like a miracle. My neighbor saw me scooping poop and called me over to see how much I had "retrieved". While he was checking out my disappointing less than a bucket full - barely enough to make a difference to my compost - two new neighbors joined the fray and quickly spilled the beans.

It was their fault the manure had been dumped, they said. Something about a visiting friend and a bed that needed to be moved. They felt bad that I had cleaned up their mess. They wanted me to have a bottle of wine - BC VQA- no less. No, NO, I insisted. I want this manure. It is no problem. No, they insisted back. We want to give you this wine.

So I strolled home with my two prizes. You just can't invent a story this good I was telling my husband later by phone. He was out of town and had missed the whole event. I had turned manure into perfectly good wine and got a boost for my compost at the same time. Trouble is- I had no one to share it with. Until now.

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