I WAS driving to work the other day when something caught my eye near the racetrack.
No, not the remnants of Nathan Tinkler's equine empire.
Although some could make the connection with what I'm about to address.
Or make that top dress.
Because what I saw as I flashed by Broadmeadow way was more alluring than George Clooney.
Before he got married.
More overblown possibly.
Because what I spied was free horse manure.
Bagged up and steaming by the stables.
Une cheval de poop. Brown gold.
And I knew there and then I had to pull over and load my vehicle without delay.
Because fresh horse poo is prized by vegie gardeners this time of year.
And even though I was dressed in my good work clothes.
And even though it was going to make my vehicle sing louder than Freddie Mercury (because, indeed, the mercury was rising that day).
And even though eight hours parked at King Edward was going to take it to another level, it had to be done.
For not only would it take the poo to another level, but so too my standing in the eyes, and perhaps nose, of my lady.
The goddess of the vegie garden.
A lot of my life I get accused of not listening when she talks guano.
But I hear her, particularly in spring.
"If only we had some" is the general refrain. But it ain't like there's cows or horses free-ranging round where we live.
And it might be nostalgic to think back to those trips out to the country with Pop to fill the boot with cow poo, but that took commitment. And Pop seemed to have a fair bit of spare time. Not to mention one of the greatest vegie patches of all time.
But modern families don't have time for poo runs like that.
We rely on wonder drugs from hardware stores to revive our buffalo.
They reckon you can't kill that stuff.
But I give it a good go each year. With love. Unlike the clover and bindis.
Sadly, we must discriminate against some life forms.
And not just because they put burrs in our feet and look unharmonious next to our neighbour's couch.
There's just something ritualistic about September and getting out in the front yard with chemical-warfare backpacks, doing your best to take out everything but the roses . . . like last spring.
The globe is warming, the icebergs are on the move and the last thing you want is wind drift. It's a killer.
But's that amateur hour for the vegie gardener, if you get another kind of drift.
Vegie gardeners don't really care about propagating over-rated, non-rotated, superphospated monocrops, like Sir Walter. They just care if it's mowed.
What really matters to them is life force. From the paddock to the plate. The vegie garden of Eden.
Born out of countless hours watching Gardening Australia and listening to the hosts talk to adults like they're on Play School. Talk about on the verge.
And nothing says Gaia as loudly as guano. Even to deaf people.
And there it was that sunny, getting-kind-of-hot spring day that we've been having lately.
Chocolate meth for green thumbs.
Something to really get the party started in the herb patch.
And I knew good shit when I saw it.
Three amigos of goodness just crying out "Take me, big boy".
And it was going to be one of those quickies I'd enjoy. Because I wouldn't have to shovel it. Unlike last time I hit the racetrack.
And I'm not talking about a bad day on the punt. Because as we all know, horse poo on the garden is a sure bet.
But it's not easy shovelling shit - accurately, at least.
And last time I was at the racetrack, I also hit my feet a fair bit.
There was collateral damage in the car too, leaving a nostril echo right up there with local government planning decisions.
But someone had already done the job this time. Tagged, bagged and ready to roll.
Carpe manure - seize the poo.
If only it rolled.
Each bag was, in fact, quite heavy.
And difficult to lug to my vehicle.
In my good work clothes.
Without smudging those good work clothes.
And the action of movement compressed the hessian-like bags the stuff was in.
And indeed there proved to be much moisture.
And it oozed out if you squeezed.
Like making cheese.
Red rind cheese, or Blue Castello.
On to your good work clothes.
But hey, what finer way to make good work clothes better than by hunting and gathering for the vegie garden?
My praises would be sung.
And ooh yeah, talk about singing.
By the end of the day when I got back to the car, it was Poohemian Rhapsody.
Freddie Mercury, eat your heart out.