Saturday, January 9, 2010

Well, it was a nice day for it.

Uncle Joel has a new gig. Since come spring my tenure as paid nanny will come to an end, I've been dropping words in ears that I'm looking for more work. A couple of freelance writing jobs have resulted and it would be nice if that grew into something bigger, but writing isn't a dependable income. A couple of neighbors with livestock have found the more menial chores getting away from them and asked if I'd like a twice-weekly job shoveling goat and horse shit. It's close, so it sounded good to me.

Today was my first day on that job, and they failed to mention that by "getting away from them" they meant there were several large goat pens that hadn't had a detailed cleaning in something like a month. So my 1-2 hour job stretched to five. Oy.

Mucking stalls isn't completely new to me; I shoveled up after horses and sheep when I was a kid and never found it completely unpleasant. Goats are a novelty, though: Goats seem to consider their horns an integral part of their daily interactions. The one male they keep isn't an unpleasant soul, for a goat, but he was a little difficult to work around. When we were getting acquainted he reared up and wanted to butt heads with me, a privilege I politely refused. He kept trying to get involved in my duties, and when I attempted to dissuade him he taught me a trick I didn't know boer goats had in their repertoire. With a cunning twist of the head they can hook you with those backward-pointing horns, and from there they pretty much get their way. The horns don't look terribly formidable, but I learned to respect his and after that we got along better - which is to say I was more likely to get my way. They're strong, but suckers for a twist of the collar. One thing a few years with a pack of desert dogs has taught me down to the bone is the need to stay on top. Never let'em see you sweat. It works with horses, too, (not the collar thing, but the attitude) but I already knew that. I just wasn't always very good at it.

Anyway, I'll be raking up after the animals twice a week so it should never be as bad as today. But right now Uncle Joel is very tired and sore. At least the weather was nice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joel, I hope someone is putting that manure to good use in a garden somewhere?