I earned my B.S. degree in fertilizer in the mid 90's, when I had my first "real" garden. I went to the home improvement center and bought composted steer manure in 1 cu.ft. bags for 69 cents each.
Then in the late nineties, I discovered that compost could be purchased by the yard, if one had a pickup truck to haul it in. I begged my home teacher for the use of his rusty old Chevy, and began work on my M.S. (More of Same) in Manure Management. Soon thereafter we acquired a trusty little Ford Ranger pickup truck, and I was happily hauling my own manure -- from local farmers and the county composting facility.
This year, I needed more than a couple of yards of compost. It was time to get serious. Monday afternoon I achieved my PhD (piled higher and deeper) in bovine excrement. I bought some compost--fifteen beautiful black yards of composted dairy manure. It was delivered in a big dump truck, and made a mountainous pile on the sidewalk.
For FHE, Tom was on lesson and I was on activity. Our lesson was about the value of family work, and the activity was shoveling manure. We had some wonderful family togetherness while we shoveled, wheelbarrowed, and generally spread crap all over the place. It was so sublime, at one point I got a tear in my eye. It's possible it could have been caused by my son's "accidentally" pitching a shovelful of manure at my head. I can't really be sure.
As the sun set and my happy worker dwarves (sarcasm here) skipped off to their reward of ice cream with 'chocolate' dust (I told you you should have washed your hands first!), I stood gazing at the still rather substantial pile -- we'd barely made a dent -- and worried aloud that someone might come by in the night and steal from my beloved manure mountain. I was actually considering setting up a tent to guard my black gold from marauding neighbors when my husband lovingly reminded me that few people place as much value in a pile of dung as I do.