Thursday, February 18, 2016

Shovel Here and Shovel There

I've been trying to take advantage of the cool, cloudy day with a gentle wind by getting a lot of physical labor done around the ranch before we get back up into the 80 degree mark again.  We already hit 90 degrees yesterday and it is only the middle of February.  Most people are seeing white and shivering this time of year.

I essentially have three piles of stuff I have to move.  I have to move the manure pile into the trailer to take to the dump.  I have to move the D.G. pile into the barn and spread around.  I also have to move the sand pile into the low spots in the arena and spread it around.  It sounds simple enough, but there always has to be complications.

P.S. occasionally gives me a day off from shoveling manure by coming by and doing a load for me.  She had some time to also help move some D.G. into the barn afterward.  When she left, I took my shower, got dressed, started a load of laundry, and went back down the barn to move some more D.G.  Somehow in those measly 45 minutes that I was away from the barn, the horses managed to manufacture another eight piles of manure!

I'm trying to conserve my energy so that I don't overdo it and injure myself, because it will take weeks, possibly months to get all these piles moved, and I can't do it if I'm crippled.  I figured that by the time I was done moving those eight fresh piles of manure out of the way, I'd be too sore or tired to start moving the D.G.  So, I chose to move old manure into the trailer.  I got half the trailer filled before I hit wet manure that was impossible to break through.

So, I gave up and cleaned up the now twelve piles of fresh manure out of the barn and arena.  I started moving D.G. into a stall, and before I could bring another wagon load in, some horse had pooped right where I needed to dump my wagon.  Argh!

I didn't want to have to pick up that one pile and move it all the way to the back of the property, so I just tossed it out of the stall into the arena just to get it out of my way.  I dumped the D.G., went back for some more, and returned to find another pile of manure right where I needed to dump the D.G.  Then, as if to add insult to injury, a horse walked into the stall and peed a large puddle in the center of it.  I was already dragging a wagon around with a flat tire, and now I had to drag it through wet D.G.

Of course, I could lock the horses out of the stall by closing the gate, but opening and closing it behind me every time I had to dump the wagon would be a pain.  The wind was blowing the gates around if I didn't have them secured, so I would have had to make use of the latches.  I decided to just stop dumping in that stall and move to another one, but the horses followed me and started leaving presents there.

I would swear that they laugh every time they hear me say, "Are you kidding me?  Somebody pooped AGAIN???"

When I returned to the main pile of D.G., I found that the other horses had been pooping and peeing on it while I was in the stalls.  I literally could not clean up the manure piles fast enough to lay down fresh ground cover.  I think in the future I will move the majority of horses into the round pen and lock up one in a stall I've already filled.  As long as they don't fight with each other, that should keep them out of my hair.

I made sure that I sat down to rest after every few loads.  However, as soon as I'd leave my chair, the horses threw it around and tried to eat it.  I had to keep chasing them away from the chair.  Then when I was sitting in the chair, the horses gathered around me as if they wanted to sit in my lap.  One horse would be chewing on the arm of the chair, another horse would be licking my knee, another horse would be playing with the shovel in my hands, and another horse would be massaging my head with its muzzle.  I tried chasing them all off by holding the shovel up high in the air, but most of them just took that as an invitation to eat it.  They sure have no problems being brave when they are ganging up on me.

I decided it was time to pack up and leave when Bombay started chasing me as I pulled the wagon.  This was obviously all fun and games to them.  What I probably should do is rig up some kind of harness and have them pull D.G. on a sled into the stalls for me.  Put them to work so that they will stop pestering me.  The only problem is that I don't own a sled for obvious reasons, so I'd have to make one out of something.  More work doesn't equal less work.  Oh well.  It was just a thought.

Despite all the ways the horses come up with to hassle me, I do a pretty good job picking on them myself.

Hee hee hee hee!  Giggle giggle giggle.


TeresaA said...

I sometimes think that the horses think that their job is to keep us busy....

I hope that the weather is nice and hot when we are there!

Ian H said...

Why do you not pile the manure up, let it compost and addit to a garden, or make a new garden? One summer composting, and you have fantastic fertilizer.

Linda said...

You could just stand out there all day long with a shovel, couldn't you? I can't believe it's 90 degrees down there already. That's a heat wave! I do not envy you all your shoveling in hot weather.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Ian - We do let the manure pile up and compost, but the only gardens anyone has in our area are cactus gardens and rock gardens. We'd have to ship it out to people who live in areas where they can have real gardens, though steer compost does a better job than horse manure.

Mrs Shoes said...

So here's my (probably) dumb question - why not dump manure directly into the trailer instead of a pile that you have to move later?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Shoes - I'd love to do that, but the floorboards of the trailer are wood, the trailer is used, so the wood is already rotting. If we put wet or fresh manure in it and let it sit between trips to the dump, we'll have to replace the floorboards. So, we spread it, let it dry, and then load it.