This past weekend, a transport consisting of a bitch and her (many!) pups was due in, and frankly, the inn was full! Well, something needed to be done... And the HBIC has the plan (as always): Convert the lambing stall into a canine nursery. Well, that means mucking the stall, and it hasn't been done properly since... Well, a while. See, the HBIC got herself a bit broken a while back (something about tangling with an uppity ewe and a small flock of her hangers-on), and she isn't really the lift-n-tote kinda person any more. Add to that, that volunteer hours are down (where have we heard THAT refrain before..?), and well - The stall was a bit nasty.
So, I was down at The Farm, and my biggest utility, when you get down to it, is as a "strong back, weak mind" kinda person. There were dogs to groom, and adoptions to manage, and lunch to cook... Guess which I did? Yup! Actually, I don't mind at all... It's been a long time since I mucked a stall, but the skills don't exactly vanish, and it's a straightforward, fairly mindless, but satisfying job.
In I go with a hay fork, and pile up a couple loads-worth of crud. Not too nasty, really. Yeah, it's a bit damp, and the bottom layer has 'felted' into a solid sheet, but it comes up clean and easy. Then, pile it in to a wagon and haul it off to the compost pile. Small-ish wagon, so three trips. No problem!
The sheep, however, were less than impressed. A pair of ewes were clearly suspicious, and spent the morning giving me the stink-eye.
Unfortunately, the first stack of muck wasn't the worst of it... Getting into the corners, things got a bit nastier. The second large pile was, well... fragrant.
Some of the barn cats camped nearby to snicker at me. Or maybe to just observe the natural order of things, as humans work whilst they lounge in lordly repose.
Anyway, one stall, cleaned down to the deck matting. It still needed a good sweeping, but frankly, I was getting tired of taking pictures, so you'll have to do with this shot, sans sweeping. :-p
At this point, I really needed to get on the road, so I didn't get to participate in the spreading of shavings and straw, nor to the settling-in of mom & pups. Still, a fine, languid, glamorous day!
Please note - In this economy, many volunteer-run organizations are really hurting for volunteer hours. And yeah, some volunteer work is seriously non-glamorous. I've cleaned kennels, scooped poop, picked up dead rats, rewired electrical runs, mucked a stall, driven nails, and lifted-n-toted untold bags of food. Oh, and played with puppies and dogs, too! But I'm only one person, and there's work to be done 365 days a year. And it's not just MABCR, but *every* volunteer organization is hurting. If you're not into rescue, maybe there's some other way you can help someone... I'm sure they'll be grateful for whatever you can do!
And besides... If we had more volunteer hours, I might not have had to be the one mucking the stall!