Friday, January 30, 2009

Safe Passage


I can’t believe what I’ve been doing for the past hour. The paths to the barn, the compost pile and the pasture are so slippery that it’s ridiculous. Yesterday, I got my on-line copy of thehorse.com that had an article about taking care of horses in icy weather. They suggested that you spread the stuff in your poop buckets over the icy and let it freeze to make safer footing. When we moved here, someone recommended that I do this, but I didn’t take her seriously. In a moment of ultimate frustration last night, I tried it just between the barn and the pasture with the hope that I could put the horses out today.

When I crawled out to the barn this morning, I discovered that the path of poop and wet shavings had frozen enough to rough up the surface so I had better traction. We were able to lead the horses safely to the pasture, which is still full of snow. Then, with the horses both curiously standing at the fence ready to supervise, I spread more brown muck all over the path from the house to the barn and to the compost pile. I could see Silk was thinking, "Hey Mom, that doesn't go there. Are you too lazy to drag it to the way back?" It's just like mulch with nuggets,folks. I have to admit that my husband isn’t thrilled with this, but I volunteered to clean it up as soon as everything melts in March or April. I think it’s better than sprinkling anything on the ice, even the stuff that says it’s safe for animals, since the horses will be eating the grass under the ice in a few months.

Call me crazy, but I’m dumping my muck buckets in a new creative way proving that desperation can be the mother of invention. Some people’s paths are paved with gold. Mine are paved with horse manure.

18 comments:

the7msn said...

You're not crazy, you're just making lemonade.

I'll bet those paths will become perfect garden plots. Plant some crocus and daffodil bulbs along the edges, and lovely flowers will smile at you in springs to come as you walk out to see your horses.

detroit dog said...

Wish I could do that with the dog poop. But dog poop, I suspect, isn't nearly as healthy as horse poop -- which probably makes for great composting.

Good for you!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Isn't manure wonderful? It truly has many uses. We created a jogging path and a pole vault pit with our manure. (I know... some people are saying YUCK!) However, after a while the manure jogging path gets patted down by use, and it becomes like a soft, springy track surface - much easier on the knees than hard clay or asphalt. I'm also spreading old, moldy hay dregs around for traction and to have something to wipe my feet on since my doormat doesn't get all the mud and manure off my shoes.

M. C. Valada said...

Horse poop is wonderful for composting and makes for excellent roses and tomatoes, just make sure it's had about four months to rot or it is too "hot" to use.

Don't even think about using dog poop.

Grey Horse Matters said...

While it's not exactly the 'yellow brick road' it's a great idea! Click your ruby muck boot heels together three times and repeat after me 'there's no place like home'.

Stay warm and think of all the great flowers that will adorn your path to the barn come Spring, like Linda suggested.

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

I would say "yuck" about most substances spread out like that, but i am one of those who likes the smell of horse barns and thinks the horse manure is the best kind of manure. I am amazed at all of the horse blogs that i read, where there is still such a preponderance of snow and ice with which to deal. I hope that it leaves you soon, because it makes things so difficult for horse owners, especially.

LJB said...

Yes, old manure and shavings and hay for traction. Only downside that I've found is that they slow the spring thaw wherever they are resting. Still well worth it IMO.

We have had no January thaw, and I find I'm grateful for that. Snow falls from the barn roof when it warms, and falls INconveniently in front of the sliding barn doors. OK, I can move that snow with shovel and elbow grease, but when it starts to melt, it runs in to the barn then freezes again. Major BLEH! LOL

Mrs Mom said...

Yep. using your stall muck is a great way to save your behiney while out on your pathways. When it warms up though, rake it off as it will slow down the melting process. And we KNOW you don't want THAT to happen! ;)

When I did that same trick in Tundra Country, I found that by the time the thaw came, there was not much of it left to clear off the paths since raking it up was needed to encourage faster melting. But by the time you walk on it a lot, and then rake it, things are pretty well broken down and fade right into the lawn easily ;)

Sending warm thoughts your way, in your slice of Tundra Country!!

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Sounds like a perfect solution. Easier to clean up than hog fuel of some other things.

Lori Skoog said...

Victoria...I put any left over hay on slippery spots so it freezes into the snow, giving me texture. Whatever works. I am sooooo sick of this winter. Today I rubbed some dirt off Abbe's neck and guess what???? I had a lot of white hair on my black mitten. Could she be shedding???? Maybe we will get lucky and have an early spring.

Janet Roper said...

I agree with 7msn, plant some bulbs in the spring, it will be so beautiful!
Harmony,
Janet

Ophelia Keys said...

I'm dreaming of snow! It's been between 40 and 44C here the last few days (111F?) (I'm in Melbourne, Australia). We're also housebound! I'm not riding at all at the moment - the horses must be having enough stress during the day without being asked to work and sweat in the evening. On the plus side - it never really gets snowy here - so your talk of heated water buckets and ice seems so exotic! Hope you get an early spring (and that we get an early autumn).

Callie said...

LOL, I can't wait to see what grows there this spring, hehehe. I use straw when there is an ice issue and footing issue. The straw works well, especially once they've walked over it.

Gecko said...

Ahh, whon wouldn't want poo-paved paths? Better than gold I'm sure!!! As long as it works and makes it safer for you and your horses, who cares what it's made of!!! =)

Pony Girl said...

I did this in my horse's pasture. The two feet of snow had compacted and iced where he likes to stand near his tree. I took wet shavings out of his run in shed and sprinkled them, mixed w/manure that was around there, on top of the snowy ice. It actually made a drier, non-slippery surface for him to stand on.
I am glad we can use a truly "organic" solution that is also free! ;)

Rising Rainbow said...

LOL, paths of manure aren't a bad thing if they serve the function you require. LOL

billie said...

My entire labyrinth and woodland paths have been constructed of manure and shavings. :)

Everything composts down to a lovely black earth, and the initial spreading serves as a mulch to smother whatever is underneath that I don't want to be there.

Hope you are getting a break from extreme weather. We had 60 degrees and sunshine yesterday and then last night a touch of snow! But no ice, thankfully. Stay warm.

Linda said...

LOL - i've done the "poop path" in desperation too!