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  • Writer's pictureAlec Peche

What I do between books, or why I’m ankle deep in bull s**t, umm... cow manure


Red Rock Island is schedule for publication on August 1, 2016. The manuscript is presently down under in Australia with my editor for final edits which will be returned to me next week. Amazon requires your final manuscript be on their system for ten days prior to publication. I think that’s to give them time to look for any banned material and perhaps to check for plagiarism.

As part of my refreshing my imagination for the next book, I find myself doing a major home improvement project between each book. I’ve installed tile floors in bedrooms, painted all the shelving in a large kitchen, and my most recent project while my book is in Australia has me ankle deep in cow manure.

California cities place varying degrees of water restrictions on their residents. In my city, I’m allowed to water twice a week for a maximum of 15 minutes. Needless to say, it ain’t doing it for my thirsty lawn. So I decided to do the good environment thing by removing two-thirds of my lawn for a garden of water wise plants. I consulted the Master Gardeners in this community on what to do and they said simple, “Just cover your lawn in cardboard ,add 2 to 3 inches of mulch and after 6-8 weeks, the lawn will be dead and the cardboard decomposed into one big happy compost pile”. When you’re talking about more than 800 square feet of lawn, it would take an entire lifetime of shoe box cardboard to cover that size of ground. I spoke to some local businesses and was able to take a few ‘back of the SUV’ loads of large sheets of cardboard home for this project.

For the compost, my town is the mushroom capital of California. I’ve never liked them as they feel weird between my teeth, but they provide jobs in this town. Mushrooms are grown in greenhouses in sterilized cow manure. There’s another reason not to eat them… ..

One of the local mushroom growers sells their compost for $25 per pickup truck load. I’ve now wheel barreled two truckloads of the stuff into my backyard to be dumped on the cardboard. Once I’m finished next week, I’ll wet the whole mixture and cover it with plastic and hopefully once I finish the next book, I’ll be ready to plant my new water wise garden.

My puppy had taken to eating the cow manure. He apparently finds it more tasty then his Kirkland puppy food. The puppy is also why I’m covering the smelly mess in plastic as given the chance, he’ll track as much of it inside the house as possible. Last night as I entered my bedroom, I smelled poop in the room. I turned the lights on looking for a pile of puppy poop. There wasn’t any thankfully; it was the ‘eau de manure’ waffling in from outside.

I’m included some pics of my backyard after the two truckloads of manure. I’ll be ready and refreshed to dive into “Castle Killing”, book 7 of the Jill Quint series next week once I finish their manure project. I set the book aside in March in order to write Red Rock Island. Once that’s done, my compost pile should be as well. I’m looking forward to the fall when I can move on from this mess.

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