what are you spreading?

Out of context, this sign is hilarious.

When I took the picture, I sent it to a friend who was in a meeting. I said, “this is blogging.”

I never heard back.

And it was only partially right, my comment. Because the comment plays with what we usually think of manure. And I don’t write that way.

What is true is that this is a sign behind Yoder’s General Store in Shipshewana, Indiana. Not far from this space are the pipes where the Amish horses are tied. In remarkable efficiency, the pavement can be cleaned up and the manure made available for people needing fertilizer for gardens. And In the 6 hours we were in town that day, the pile got smaller, not larger.

Before you laugh, I paid $1.39 for 40 bags of manure/soil mix at the beginning of the growing season. Here it’s free. The difference is delivery, not quality. Here it looks like a joke. At Lowe’s it looks like good gardening.

And now, back to blogging.

In my reading list, I am finding much that is fertilizing my thinking these days. For example, Joanna Young wrote the other day about her theme for October. She’s going to be talking about writing with responsibility. She regularly addresses themes on her site, and many have been helpful. This one, however, has been incredibly challenging to me as I think about it. What does it mean to write responsibly? To take responsibility for your words, for the effect of your words?

I am looking forward to watching how this series of hers develops. So should you.

This writing from Joanna, from [insert your own favorite linklove here] is writing that is free. It is the kind of writing that I pay for, all packaged and processed from Amazon sometimes, but blogging has made it possible for quicker, fresher, more local delivery of ideas, with the possibility of immediate application and effect in my life.

Of course, Joanna doesn’t make any money from this writing. But some days she benefits from the vegetables that grow from well-fertilized gardens of friends.

And in the informal community of interdependance that exists behind the hardware store, and in circles of friends out here, there is the sense of an inside joke. Laugh at us all you want, our sometimes awkward signs and our less-than-polished prose.

But when you see our gardens and wonder why they grow so healthy and vibrant and extravagant?

It’s free manure, carefully applied.

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5 responses to “what are you spreading?

  1. The best veggies grow in fresh manure. A truer message has never been sent. From this writer/blogger; there are many farming allegories applied to the blogging and social media world. You have to prepare the soil(find your audience); plant your seed(an idea or goal), water and fertilize before you can harvest any worthwhile fruit from your garden.
    Once your idea comes to fruition; friends who have been helping to tend the garden will gratefully share in the harvest. Thanks for the post.

  2. and the reality is that you may not get the harvest, even as you may be harvesting what you didn’t plant.

    Thanks Virginia.

  3. Jon, this is wonderful, on so many levels, including your delicious sense of humour.

    “Free manure” has to be one of the best compliments anyone’s ever paid my blog, and I will treasure it :-)

  4. I’m grateful you take it that way, for that is how it is meant.

  5. Pingback: 10 Blogs I Read Quietly | Confident Writing