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Life is in-your-face-large at the Marble Mountain Ranch.  During the dry Summer months we stage slash from tree trimmings, and ranch landscaping into a burn pile that grows to unbelievably large size during the course of the season.  It becomes a tricky endeavor not tipping over the tractor while ramping up the pile with a back-hoe loaded with cuttings.   The celebratory burn pile ignition has become a bit of a New Years Eve tradition, complete with projectile ignitions centered on critical mass fuel load cores saturated with highly flammable ignition exciters.  In other words, we make giant  smokey  fires that light up  the canyon on wet  Winter days.

Petting Zoo

The “boys with big toys” game continues into the horse arena as we clean the corral and build equally giant compost piles with our endless supply of horse manure.   The game here, is to  NOT  ignite the pile, and to stop it from even thinking about spontaneous combustion.  The Maniacal Marble Mountain Manure Movers are county-wide recognized as the record holders for producing the single largest  equine  dung debris depot.  Take a look at this years entry into the record books:

Local organic gardeners are always on the doorstep awaiting news of this years fertilizer production schedule and the Orleans Forest Service Fire Crews usually make weekly compost inspections to ensure that core temperatures do not exceed combustion thresholds.  You see, I have a reputation as a bit of a fire builder.

For those knowledgeable in equine manure production, the real concern is in the economics of the pile.  With current grass alfalfa selling at about $280/ton delivered, the production cost of this years manure pile is a rather depressing concept.   Thank goodness for the therapy of the tractor and the capacity to live and stack large as a means to find relief from the emotional burden of manure production costs and other hazards of ranch life.

Coming Next:  Therapy and soul corrections with ranch life!

Cheers, Doug

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