I get tired of the poop in my everyday city life. Our most used bathroom (with litter box) is a half bath just off the kitchen. If the door was closed, you might think it was a pantry. Cleaning the litter boxes is never an exciting chore. And Matilda has been smearing extra rude turds about the house while adjusting to a dietary change. Then there are the mouse droppings in the kitchen which have been particularly infuriating, though cayenne pepper has really helped with that problem. There’s not that much poop to deal with here, but it’s too much.
Yesterday, I went to Wintervale Ranch, which is about a 50-minute drive from home. That’s Elysa’s parents’ place. At Wintervale, there are four horses, three chickens, a cat, a dog, some wildlife passing through, and a healthy community of several types of trees. I guess there are some nice native grasses there too, but I haven’t gotten very excited about them yet. While walking the trails and checking in on the various critters, I came across a pile of turds that I apparently found interesting enough to snap a photo.
Someone suggested they might be rabbit poop, but it seemed a little too large for that. My best guess is that it was deer poop. But I think the most important thing for me to take away from that situation was that I found the poop interesting enough to warrant kneeling on the ground, inspecting it, and photographing it. And now I’m writing about it. Examining turds is a good way to learn about who has been dropping by.
Horse poop is the best though. It doesn’t usually smell bad, and it helps us grow impressive crops. We took home a good load of composted horse manure. As a gesture of appreciation for the compost, I gladly scooped up the small amount of poop that was lying around in the paddock. John gave me a great compost management tutorial while he helped me empty the crap cart. Horses produce an impressive amount of poop, so manure management is a big job, even with a small number of animals.
Learning about how much time is spent working with poop on a farm has brought me back to an experience I had in middle school that finally makes sense to me. I attended an extremely conservative Christian school. During the winter, we got to go ice skating sometimes, in the flooded field on the other side of the parking lot. One time, Mrs. B slipped and fell on her butt, and shouted, “Shit!” We all looked at her with shock and disbelief. She defended herself, saying, “What? I grew up on a farm.” I always thought that was a ridiculous excuse, but it finally makes sense. Rural poop is different from city poop, and when you spend so much time moving poop around, you need more than one word for it.