Monday, July 20, 2009

An Afternoon in Marmora

This is a week late, but possibly better on reflection.

I saw an ad on-line for well-rotted horse manure in Marmora, so I contacted the advertiser and arranged to go there on a Monday afternoon to pick some up.

I cleared out the back of the CRV, flipped up the back seats, and laid in a double tarp (reuse from a lumberyard -- it had covered lumber) with the sides up in a box. I tossed in a shovel and my gloves and was ready to go.

Along the way I got gas (prices had nicely dipped that day), some cash, and made a stop at Almost Perfect (bargain frozen food and shelf stuff -- stock continually varies) on the outskirts of town, where I picked up some Jones soda for fluid replenishment as well as some de-alcoholized beer. Always make multiple stops on a trip. Marmora is about 60 km away, so I made note of places I might want to stop on my way back -- if I had the time and energy.

The place was on the other side of Marmora, but not as far as the directions had led me to believe. A teenager was in the yard waiting for me and opened gates so I could take the CRV through.

Well, the manure was not "well-rotted". Somewhat aged, yes, but mixed with clay soil. It was an improvised compost pile that was much too high to really break down. The stuff was heavy, but I did manage to get it a foot deep into the CRV. After forty-five minutes, the back end of the vehicle was noticeably down. Darker clouds had moved in and I had felt a few drops. Time to go. Gates were opened for me to get out but no one collected the $5 from me that I was supposed to pay, though I delayed in the yard a bit. Oh well, they had really advertised to get the pile down, which I had indeed made a dent in.

There was a bit of horsely smell about the car, but not bad. I opened a bottle of Jones soda.

Driving through Marmora, I noticed they did indeed have a little downtown. So I found a nearby parking lot and stopped. It wasn't even 2:30 yet, so I could "sight see" a bit.

The downtown was two blocks long. It had a bank, two dollar stores, an internet cafe, an ice cream and fudge shop with outdoor decor stuff, a sports shop, a couple of restaurants, a convenience store, a Sears catalog place, insurance agency, and a few other offices. Not bad for a village of under 3000 in population. The big grocery store, hardware store, building supply and gas stations were on the highway that ran perpendicular to the downtown street. The place was a center for farmers and cottagers in the area.

The older dollar store advertised itself as a local dollar store. After I visited the other one (which had just opened), I think they were advertising themselves as that because the newer one was part of a small chain (which I'd never encountered before -- but it did have a more diversified stock and a franchise look about it). I made purchases at both. I'd been wanting to go from heavily adhesived labels on my home preserves to things I printed off on plain paper and then glued on myself, which would be easier to remove the next season. I found glue sticks and mucilage to make that happen. I also got some parsnip and rutabaga seeds for late planting (fall crop) as well as nasturtium. We've put in a new door and were planning to paint the panel bevels a different colour than the main door and I found acrylic paint for that. Some aluminum oxide sandpaper, coloured wire and scissors completed my purchases.

The internet cafe had home-made lemon spritzers, so I had one while perusing an issue of Canadian Gardening in one of their comfy chairs. I and two lads on the computers were the only ones there. The shop next door was a computer business, run by the same folk who ran the cafe. I imagine on the weekends the place is busy, but I enjoyed the quiet of a Monday afternoon.

Then I explored the other side of the street. Normally I don't eat ice cream because of my casein intolerance, but a small cone of Kawartha Dairy ice cream (made with real cream) I could handle with a couple of enzyme pills. It was Bordeaux Cherry in a sugar cone and it was delicious!

By the time I finished the cone it was nearly 3:30. Time to go home. I went from the parking lot to the visitor center in the park next door to use the washroom preparatory to the drive back.

When I got home, it took nearly an hour to unload the manure: three garbage cans, a garden cart, two large bins and a recycle box and trug in a garden wagon. Nothing got in the car. I put the tarp over the garden wagon and pulled down to the main garden. Then I went in for some supper and ibuprofen for my left wrist.

Over the following week, I set up a wire compost bin to hold the manure so it will break down between now and next spring. I turfed out two non-productive strawberry beds and mixed in some of the manure in them. Watering and mixing daily has gotten them to a near-plantable state. I still have to move two and half garbage cans of manure (along with sand to temper the clay mixed with it).

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