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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A tale of woe

When I went out to the stable this afternoon, my darling little horsey (Farley, for those of you who have just finished one of my posts where I rant and rave about how such a witch she is....who has now redeemed herself through her cuteness and cheerful greetings as I walk through the gate) was standing in 6 inches of water. 
This is unacceptable.
Her pen is mostly under water, which I accept because her shelter has stayed dry. 
I checked her shelter.
Shelter is starting to get muddy.  Pen has just teetered over the balance point to unacceptable. 
I threw Farley out in the turnout pasture (where she frolicked and bucked and ran, much to my dismay and secret enjoyment) and set to work. 
The pen I selected was ~50% underwater and 50% soon to be mud.  Better.  The shelter was a giant puddle.  Not good.
Time to get a shovel.
  • Fact 1:  I must first establish that I am no stranger to a shovel.  My parents made sure of that!  I have toiled many an hour away in my childhood moving dirt from one another without any clear idea of what I was accomplishing. 
  • Fact 2:  I have degrees that are suppose to guarantee that I do not need to perform manual labor in order to support my self.  (I will point out that I did MANY hours of manual labor through school to GET the degree, so trust me, my dues have been paid.)
  • Fact 3:  I want to ride in 100 mile races when I am 90.  To facilitate such a goal I am very protective of my back.  No more bucking bails or carrying 50 pound salt blocks to me!  I've invested in lots of carts and other devices to do my work for me.
....which is why, standing in her new pen, shovel in hand, I am pondering the irony of protecting my back, in order to do shovel work.  Because if ANYTHING is not good for the back, it is shovel work. 
Especially shovel work with a sub-par shovel. 
As I live in a 1 bedroom (second story) apartment with no garage and only those tools that fit in my truck tool box, do you think I own a shovel?  No.  I do not.  So I had to use the boarding barn shovels.  I had a selection including: broken handles, split spades, and lastly - a flat bottomed shovel with a intact handle.  What the HECK do you do with a flat bottomed shovel besides scrapping cow manure off a cement floor? 
You do not fill low spots or dig drainage. 
I set to work, and after an hour, the shelter was wet and muddy, but was no longer a puddle.  I decided to work on it over the next couple of days.  Clean mud (this pen has been empty for a while) is better than the water and manure slurry her last pen was. 
And this is where the tale of woe concludes.
After painstakingly finding high spots and filling the big puddle in the shelter, it was relatively dry.  I dragged a water container over to fill.  After some thought, I decided to place the water container just under the shelter, where it would be protected from the sun and algae formation in the summer.  I turned the hose on.
And you can guess what happened.
I went to get Farley out of turnout and completely forgot about it.....
I came back to the sight of the water container overfilling...into the shelter, on top of my (up until this point relatively dry) efforts at filling the hole. 
Oh well.
Intention and effort counts for everything right?


  1. I'm sorry, but I can't stop laughing about this!

    Dixie is That Spotted Yak (or Cow, in summer) when she's less than cooperative and my Beautiful Princess Pony when she's good.

  2. Hey, you got a good work out tho, eh?

    Best thing we did with our corrals in So. Cal was to put down RR ties, fill with DG, and then when it rained, the water ran around where the horses stood. Only had to do a little drainage out of the corrals. Oh, and rubber mats under the shelters.

    Hope things let up for you soon.

  3. hahaha...yes, we will give you points for good intentions. I am sure the water flowed right back out though after all your good digging. I hope you get a break in the weather soon.

  4. Bah ha ha ha! I'm evil to laugh, but sheesh. It's funny, in an unkind and twisted way.

    I hope your rainfall diminishes soon. Spring is coming (which, for us, means MORE rain, but for you means LESS rain, right?) !

    WV: trudd
    the sound you made when you discovered the "new" water.

  5. That is sadly funny and reminds me of the story my boyfriend likes to tell from work. He works at the local feed store (yep I get his discount, and yep I am really lucky!) an they have fish tanks. When they fill the fish tanks they have a rule that you cannot leave them unattended. One time someone did that and it flooded the music shop next door. The owner of the feed shop had to pay for a new floor (this guy is the biggest you know what on the coast, so he was not happy!). My boyfriend really likes that story for some reason. I think it is because he didn't do it!

    I have spent many a long hour digging ditches and laying out dry stall, sand and other various fill to try and have at least one dry spot in my paddock. I used to dig out the ditch everyday. Yes every day I am not kidding! And every couple weeks we would dig out as much hay and mud as possible and lay down dry stall and shavings so that the horses would have a dry stall area for a couple more weeks.
    Mud is a way of life where I live. So glad I have a 4 acre pasture now, there is always a non muddy spot somewhere to be found.

    Good luck on keeping her dry!

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