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I was out in the horse area the other day “picking up” after our horse when I had a flash of inspiration. Most people look upon this as an unpleasant and menial task, so straightforward that a barely-trained gorilla could do it. How hard could it be? Scoop up the manure and put it in a barrel; simple, right?
Not necessarily. To do the job “right”, consider the following:
1. Most of the horses’ area is on a slope, so it is important to scoop from the downhill side upward in order to fill the scoop without spilling anything.
2. The barrels fit into a little caddy that has wheels and a handle that sticks out the back. Dragging the caddy around the slopes in the pasture can be difficult when the barrel gets full, so it is better to drag an empty barrel to the highest part of the area and work downhill as the barrel gets heavier.
3. Part of the area that we are cleaning is filled with relatively expensive horse bedding; it is important to shake the manure fork so that as little bedding as possible ends up in the barrel.
4. It is dangerous to leave the scoop anywhere, even for a moment, where the horses can get to it because they are curious and could step on it or chew it, damaging the fork or worse, themselves.
5. The barrels (there are 10 of them) are all lined up against a fence. In order to make it easier on trash day when I have to haul the barrels to a dumpster, it is helpful to fill the barrels in sequence.
6. Branches fall into the area occasionally. It is important to pick them up because the horses could step or trip on them.
7. Rocks occasionally surface and it is important to pick them up as well, they should just be thrown over the fence into the forest; no sense taking space in a landfill for rocks, is there?
8. When finished, I put an empty barrel in the caddy and then "park" it in the line of barrels; the handle must be turned so that it doesn’t stick out in the way of the horses when they walk by.
There’s more to consider than you thought, eh?
Here’s another example: I happen to cook a pretty darned good Cornish game hen. Part of the preparation includes seasoned salt and seasoned pepper; pretty simple, right?