Friday, December 31, 2010

Wet, soggy mess

You may have noticed less than usual blog posts from me this past week. I've been sick (I'll post about this in a future post), and just as I was no longer contagious, I spent a few days visiting my parents and siblings in the Chicago area. While I like to believe I hold my own in the country, it is true that many of my growing up years I lived in the suburbs of Chicago (I moved there when I was 11 years old, and only left when I went to college, that's what brought me to Michigan). Every time we make this trip, I'm reminded in another way how country my kids are. This trip it was a comment by Zack: we were going out for lunch and Zack said "oh, are we going to town?" People in the suburbs don't talk that way :) It's a good cultural experience for my kids, given this is the only place they have lived, it's good sometimes to get off the farm.

We woke up this morning to the sound of rain, lots of heavy rain. I knew if it was raining in Chicago, that rain was headed to our home in Michigan. When I called home to check on how J and the farm were fairing, J reported that most of the snow was gone from all the rain that had fallen here.

I know not too many people unpack their car after a trip and then rush out to scoop alpaca poop, but that is exactly what I did. I came home to a terrible wet mess of fog, mud and huge poop piles. The girls were also waiting their grain feeding:

In the distance the fog was setting over the pastures:

Twilight as a wet mess:

and Challenger was quite the wet mess too:

My usual routine with cleaning the pastures of alpaca poop is to scoop the girl's poop daily. I find if I do it everyday, then it's about 3/4 of a wheel barrow full. If I wait 2 days or more, then I have to make more than one trip with the wheel barrow. I prefer one trip, a quick chore each day. However, in the winter, when it's below freezing, often much of the poop is frozen to the ground. In years past I would dig it up, scrap it up, spending lots of time hacking away at the frozen pieces. Last year I decided that was a waste of time, and instead only scooped up what wasn't stuck and frozen. It did mean that when a thaw came, I would be really busy with all the piles that finally unfroze. But, overall this method seemed to work best. So, here I was, just home from a trip with thawed out poop piles in a muddy foggy pasture.

I ended up cleaning out 4 wheelbarrow's full of alpaca poop:

It was a wet muddy mess. But the temperatures are supposed to fall again and freezing temps will be here soon. I didn't want all these piles to re-freeze, I wanted to scoop them up quick while I still could.

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