Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mucking Out

We've been so busy trying to keep the farm afloat lately that we haven't been able to keep up with some of the lower-level chores as well as I'd like to. For instance, we haven't mucked out the horse paddocks in way too long.

So Ken and I got started with that this afternoon. We managed to haul out 3 pickup truckloads of manure before we got exhausted and before it started raining. There's still a lot more to do, but it was good to make a start.

Of course, now that it's raining all night, all the manure is going to be waterlogged, soupy, and extra-heavy tomorrow, which will make further progress more difficult. But it's got to be done.

While we were mucking out, we spent some time talking about the statistic I read, that says that a horse produces 50 lbs. of manure per day. With our 15 horses, that means they produce 750 lbs. of manure per day, 22,500 lbs. per month, or 273,750 lbs. (137 tons) per year. No wonder my back aches tonight!

It drizzled a little bit while we were working, but it only started really raining hard a few minutes ago, so I went outside with a flashlight and umbrella to open the pasture gate for the broodmares.

Senter has his new shelter, and the baby horses have their run-in bay of the barn. But the broodmares have no shelter. We had our neighbor come prepare a spot this summer with his backhoe so we could build them a new shelter, but then the money for building the shelter itself ended up having to all go to pay for the rising hay costs due to the drought.

So now, whenever it rains or snows, I let the mares out into the big pasture so they can go take shelter in the thick trees. Of course they usually DON'T take shelter, preferring instead to roam around nibbling grass. But at least I can sleep, knowing they have the option of shelter if they want it.

Anyway, when I went out tonight it was pitch black out, and I was this scary shape in the darkness with my flashlight and umbrella. So I didn't know if the mares would come when I whistled to them to let them know I was opening the gate.

I needn't have worried!

As soon as they heard my whistle, there was a tremendous thundering of hoofbeats in the darkness as they all galloped toward the gate. It's a little scary, hearing a herd of horses you can't see galloping straight at you in the dark!

But I waved the flashlight to make sure they knew where I was, and they poured around me and raced out into the big pasture. Despite the darkness, they galloped a full circuit of the pasture before settling down to graze.

Apparently they have no intention of sheltering under the trees tonight while there are still a few green blades of grass to eat. They may be wet, but at least I know they're happy.

1 comment:

ann said...

I know the feeling. I need to muck out several areas in my pasture. With all the lovely rain we recently had, it is slop. I am hoping it will dry some by next Thurs. and will be easier to pick up. Why couldn't we both have gotten the rain earlier when the pastures and hay fields would have benefited more.