In Our Spring 2017 Issue
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
The Legend of Good Sh*T
When the warm winds blow in and thaw my snowy hilltop like a slushie, when the fat winter flies go belly-up on my windowsill, when the floor of my writing-office-cum-potting- shed gets strewn with seed packets and the oddball detritus of my garden planning, when the frosty earth finally gives way to my daily poke, I know it’s here: spring.
Two Universal Truths once again become abundantly clear to me:
1. No matter how big your tractor is, it’s never big enough.
2. Your sh*t is never as good as it might have been had you only heard the Legend earlier.
Each year I spend way more time thinking about sh*t than anyone in their right mind would. There are the hours in the library poring over books on the subject, the online articles, the endless searches. I add my finest kitchen scraps. I turn it into tea. I dig it in by the spoonful beside my vegetables. But I’m always plagued by the nagging feeling that I didn’t get the best. I’m left with an aching sense of regret; somehow, somewhere, there was better sh*t to be had.
Any good gardener will tell you that what you grow is only as good as your soil, and your soil is only as good as your sh*t. So in spring, I have a guy drop off a big pile of it behind the barn. My heart starts thumping at the sight. “This guy,” my neighbor Wayne tells me, “is the guy. He’s got the best sh*t. Rotted down . . . ” Wayne adds the magic words, “two years, maybe more.” I can barely contain myself. “What great sh*t!!” I giggle to myself as Wayne’s guy pulls away. It’s dark, rich and crumbly. Oodles of worms wiggle around beneath the surface. It’s exactly what good sh*t should be.
But then, days later—when Wayne’s guy is long gone and wheelbarrows of the stuff have been tilled into my beds and I’m standing back admiring my work—my other neighbor, Keith, wanders out from the woods. Keith takes one look at my garden. “You should have gotten your sh*t from my guy down the road.” Keith’s tsk, tsk is audible. “Rotted down. Ten years,” he waxes on, poetic. “Sheep sh*t. The only sh*t I use.”
And with that, I am left to wonder all summer long—when my strawberries aren’t quite cutting it, when the beans look a little wimpy, when my harvest of sugar-snap peas lacks luster—why didn’t I get that other sh*t, the stuff of which legends are made?
-Jennifer Solow, Editor