Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Watch Your Step

I had hoped to read my novel from beginning to end without distraction or interruption to look for contradictions since I wrote the manuscript off and on over many, many years.  I read all day Tuesday and only made it through the first quarter of the novel.  It's not that I read slow.  It's that the novel is that long.  Like War & Peace long.  Okay, it's not that long, but it's too long to read in one sitting.  I like Dean Koontz style of writing between his ability to keep things suspenseful as well as humorous, and I like that I can read his novels in one sitting without putting them down.  I try to emulate him in some ways, but I think his stories are considerably shorter than mine.

Anyway, I had hoped that today I could pick up reading where I left off last night, before I forgot too many details, but this entire day has been all about storm clean up, obnoxious animal behaviors, sh*t, sh*t, and more sh*t.  You see, I can't successfully clean up dog poop and horse manure when it's wet, so things piled up over the past couple of days.  I was frantically trying to clean up all the p**p, but the dogs and horses were cra*pping faster than I could shovel. 

I'd be outside shoveling manure and get so discouraged every time another mare walked up to me and cr*pped in my space, or worse yet, left a fresh pile right where I just finished cleaning, that I'd run in the house to get away from all the horse p**p only to run right smack into a pile of dog cr*p on the carpet.  I'd clean that up, take all the dogs outside, and no one would do anything.  I'd put them inside, and suddenly find another fresh pile on the carpet.  Somebody even p**ped on the kitchen floor this morning, and nobody has ever messed with that room.  The dogs lick that floor, for Pete's sake.

This is all bad behaviors as a result of storm phobias.  The dogs get stressed out by the sounds of wind, rain and thunder, and they become afraid to go outside.  They can't relax enough to relieve themselves outside.  They also don't like walking on wet dirt, so every bodily function winds up getting eliminated indoors.  Lovely. 

I even left them outside in the dog kennel for a couple of hours, but they just barked to be let back into the house because they had to go to the bathroom so bad.  For some reason they won't p** or p** in that kennel, even though that is what I bought it for.  I give up.  I'm an epic failure when it comes to house training dogs.  I've tried every potty training technique in the book and even came up with a few innovative ideas of my own, but nothing has worked.  I've been working on Stewie for eight months now and he's no better than he was as a six-month-old puppy.  At this point, I'd like to just have some gifted dog trainer come live with us for a couple of weeks to whip this problem out of my life.  It's no fun being surrounded by sewer smells.

The mares have also been obnoxious, p**ping and p**ing in my face.  They very deliberately walk up to me, turn their butts toward me, and let loose.  It's as if they are saying, "Here janitor, clean this up for me, will ya?"

I finally got so sick of that rude behavior that I sprayed Lostine with the hose to get her away from me.  I happened to have the hose in my hand when I turned to find yet another waterfall of urine splattering me while I was attempting to clean the barn.  Lostine scurried off with her wet tail between her legs and gave me this look that said, "Don't be expecting me to give you a ride anytime soon unless you want to wind up face first in the dirt."

Between coyotes, stray dogs, people walking their dogs off leash and letting them p**p on my property, and toad t*rds, my driveway feels like it is rigged with land mines.  Careful where you step.

The manure situation has been getting out of control all summer, and I've just been waiting for it to cool down in order to deal with it.  We bought a flatbed trailer and are having sides put on it so that we can start shoveling manure into it and making trips to the dump.  The only problem is that the landfill fees are six times more expensive here than they were where I used to live.  At my old place, we used the manure to fertilize the lawns, and we had a lot of lawns, so we actually only needed to take manure to the dump once or twice over the 12 years we kept horses there.

The round pen footing has gotten nasty with having horses running around in there all summer, so I have been raking up all the rocks their hooves have kicked up, prying boulders out of the ground, and then laying down a layer of soft manure once the rocks are out of the way.  It's a grueling process, especially in the heat and humidity.  In years past, my kids helped with those kinds of chores, so we could get it all done in a couple of weeks, but this time I'm on my own.  I'm worried that this project could take months.  I basically go out and do a little of something each time a cloud passes in front of the sun.

I'm so up to my elbows in p**p that I now let out a sigh of relief whenever one of my horses p**ps on the trails, because that's one less pile I have to clean up.  When I rode in the Eastern Sierra, I'd get off and kick the manure off the trail into the bushes, because the trails were very narrow, sandy, and man made.  Hikers frequented them, and hiking clubs maintained them, so I didn't want the horseback riders to wear out their welcome or worse yet, be banned from using the trails due to leaving too many messes behind.  However, p**p disappears in the desert pretty quick.  I don't know if it's the heat or the wind or animals scavenging, but the manure just isn't much of a problem out there.

There were many moments today where I thought about hopping on a horse and just heading out to escape the non-stop p**page, but I suspect I'd be navigating mud puddles and temporary lakes everywhere I went.  One thing that is good about all this rain besides the obvious of getting much needed water during a drought is that raking up the rocks is easier when the ground is moist.  I can just rake the rocks out without taking the good footing with it.  Well, I'm off to do more raking and shoveling.  Wish me luck, a nice breeze and some cloud cover.


Water Girl said...

When you have time, actually having a dog trainer come out may be a really good idea. I raise guide dogs, so a lot of my time is spent working on obedience and of course housebreaking, except the pups not only need to be house broken, but now how to relieve on command.
Anyway, sorry if you don't want suggestions, but mine would be to find a good dog trainer and actually have them come and work with you and Stewie. I've had very good fortune in getting help from trainers when I've been in a jam.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Water Girl - Getting Stewie to relieve himself on command would be a dream come true, because his biggest problem is not being able to focus. He gets distracted by every little smell and noise and forgets why we are out there despite me saying, "Go potty."

How Sam Sees It said...

Try putting some of the dog poop in the kennel and leave it there. It worked with us. We'd change it out when it got to dry. When one of them finally adds a poop, don't be too quick to get rid of it. Good luck!

fernvalley01 said...

I have no suggestions, sounds rough

Cut-N-Jump said...

I've been cleaning stalls all along at the new place and the heavy rains washed it all away. What once was my nice soft round pen footing is somewhere in the neighbors yard, 3 streets over... Right now I just hit the high spots and call it good.

I'm currently waiting for things to dry out more, but in the meanwhile, I am moving dirt to build up the low spots. Lot's of damn work! but I know it will pay off in the end.

I agree with Sam about leaving some crap in the kennel. If there's some in there, they know they are to go in there and it's ok. Heck, that even worked on my gelding long ago. I started throwing all of the wet bedding in the run outside. It worked twofold. It softened the ground for him out there and it was able to dry in the sun. Before long, he just started going out there instead of in his stall.

Water Girl said...

Oh my goodness, I know what you mean. My puppy has been hearing the words "Get Busy" since she was 2 months old and it can STILL be a challenge to get her to focus long enough to just go pee! If Stewie responds to his name, it may help to use him name before the command. Potty training dogs is absolutely infuriating. The only advice I can offer is to stick with it. I know dogs that picked it up from day one and others that took FOR-EVER. My pup is like Stewie and gets very distracted. Sometimes the only thing that seems to work is repeating loudly enough for the entire neighborhood to hear, "Jazlyn GET busy," a minimum of 15 times.