Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Help Thy Neighbour

Most of us are trying to sell something. My absentee neighbours have been trying to sell their historic stone cottage with two well kept acres for yonks. 

One frost free Sunday over the winter, I decided to do some passive front gate selling myself.  I piled up horse poo in the front paddock, shovelled it into empty Tux dog biscuits sacks and tied them securely with green binder twine snipped off hay bales. It was eco-mama-recycle-Michael and green-waste-for-cash all in one.

The kids refused to help. They sat inside checking facebook while watching TV. Thankfully one relented and painted a sign for me in vibrant red. So I finished the job by arranging my wares beneath the posh navy blue real estate sign on our shared driveway.

Sadly, like some of my other creative marketing pursuits this horse poo malarkey has not been a big earner. It didn’t help that the kids bolted up the drive and hurled my five sacks, into the nearby ditch, if any visitor of note was due. Potential boyfriends, birthday party guests and the like. 

On more than one occasion my wares were obscured from view, languishing in a muddy drain for weeks at a time.

However, last Thursday three months after going on-sale, four sacks went missing. Holy Toledo. Had the kids hidden them completely or had some urban gardener decided my horsey poo was the gas. Looking under my cast to one side sign I discovered to my delight two damp $5 notes. I promptly put them in our, ‘family travel’ jar. 

Then I grabbed four empty horse feed sacks and raced over to a pile of HP in the orchard. Glorious stuff. It had composted its cloddy clompy self over winter. It was like that pure black powder you pay $15+ at the garden centre for. Hells bells, I didn’t know if you just left mini mountains of manure in time out, it turned into liquid gold.

By now the premium real estate sign at the gate had popped off its frame, only one thing to do; make an attractive HP arrangement to prop it up. Pushing the thought that it may have been the neighbour who’d caved in and bought my four sacks to tidy up le grand entrance. Never.

We’re a sell sell situation. Luxury poo, luxury real estate. I wondered for a moment about putting my prices up but didn’t want to get done by Fair Gate Trading or a Consumers R Us watchdog.

Talking of advertising gimmicks, initially I’d wanted to call my manure, ‘Witchie Poo’. I always like to be original. Plus there is a lot of equine compost roadside where I live which catchy nomenclature like, ‘posh pony plops’ etc. However, I thought the addition of the word, WITCH might confuse my potential green fingered customers. 

Plus I didn’t want the 46 cats that live at the end of our road, opposite the Cat Rescue lady’s house (another story entirely) to worry there was a real life sorceress boiling up her cauldron nearby. Nor did I want to frighten the young children next door (well only for a moment).

Now that I’m a professional photographer. My rep will help their rep and so on and so forth. Kidding kidding. I’m not really a pro. Although I have just banked a cheque for a photo sold to a glossy magazine. (See October issue of North & South). And professional does mean: ‘taking part in an activity...as a means of livelihood.’  

Well it all adds up. Lively hood aside.

Lastly, for any gardeners not converted to the benefits of adding HP to their soil, check out the size of this baby:

I’m am now so enraptured with the benefits of this, fat-worm-filled humus-rich grass waste product I am currently curing a 100% PURE no dig potatoe and kumara patch. 

Oh yes. Watch this space!


  1. Yvette Carol said :

    Sigh! If only you lived closer, Jane - this time of year, I go down to the local Kings garden centre and pay $20 a bag for sheep doo!!
    p.s. good on you :-)

  2. I haven't been able to give the stuff away, but now methinks I'll hoard its magic.


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