Neither the mare nor the gelding likes carrots. Neither of them will eat the Purina treats guaranteed to be something so special they would make horses sing, dance and crochet. They are, however, crazy about apples. Fresh apples, apples with spots, apples with bruises the size of Mt. Rushmore, doesn’t matter: they love apples.
So, seeing how much the horses love apples and how much I hate wasting stuff, I created my own little recycling project. Instead of just dumping all of those pummies (apple pulp leftover from making cider), I decided that I would feed them to the horses. In small amounts at a time so that I wouldn’t founder them.
Now, one of the challenges with feeding apple pulp a little at the time is that apple pulp has a rapid degrade rate. In other words, it tends to rot fairly quickly. Keeping it cold slows down the cycle quite a bit but you can’t fit very many five-gallon buckets of apple pulp into the refrigerator. Cold storage was not a good option. But, there was an alternative.
Dried apples last pretty much indefinitely as long as they’re kept in a tightly closed container. So, I figured I would just spread out the pummies on the concrete slab by the back door. I calculated that they would dry out in just two or three days. You know, September sunshine and dry air and all that. Good plan. In fact, I made it sound so good and so simple that Randa agreed to go along with it.
On the first day, the whole hill had the wonderful aroma of fresh apples. On the second day, the wonderful aroma of ripening apples. On the third day, well, it drizzled for a few hours, reversing the drying process and enhancing decomposition, so to speak. The patio turned into Bug Heaven. Honey bees swarmed, yellow jackets flocked in, and all sorts of other bugs assembled in great caravans: black bugs, brown bugs, red bugs, orange bugs, moths and butterflies.
On the fourth day, Haven Hill smells like the backside of a small brewery.
I believe I’m going to have to rethink my apple drying process. It’s not the first failure of my life, not the first time an idea was better than the result. Lord willing, it won’t be the last. In addition to the learning, failure is also proof of effort. Giving up is often a greater sin than erring. But we should also keep ourselves open to the possibility that some things are just better meant for the compost pile rather than the feed trough.