Poo! Among other things.
I found that, although smelly, cow manure is a fabulous addition to earthen plasters and renders.
My ( not to fancy ) finish render
I plucked poo pies from a neighbors field. Good thing I asked too, he warned the cows had just had their baby calfs and get kinda wild when strangers are around – meaner than bulls. There were wet and dry patties. I was looking for the new stuff… the stuff that falls right apart in your hands in a gooey glorious way only shit could. I took whatever I could get. I tossed the pies into 5 poly-bags and threw them into the truck for transport. Watch out – polypropylene bags leak!
When I got back to my mixing station I tumbled the poo in my mixer and reconstituted it by adding a lot of water. I then let it steep over night. The next morning I mixed 16 parts sand, 8 parts clay, 5 parts manure. I found that there were still little chunks of poo that needed to be busted apart. A drill with a paint-mixing-device did that nicely… whipping it up.
The render was very nice to work with ( except for the rocks I didn’t sift out – impatience ). It shows minimal cracking and is very durable. The smooth finish is pleasing to the eye. It’s color was a little darker than the regular cob mix. In the future I will use alot more manure. I hear tell of cow manure having enzymes that make for a harder more durable mix. I tried horse poo too a while back. The horse manure was also a pleasure to work with – the fibers were definitely longer, that might be due to the horse having only one stomach, unlike the 4 stomached cow.
Collecting and working with another animals excreta is a humbling experience.
It’s free and it works well. Manure is a valuable resource! I give poo 5 stars.