Kickass and cow manure

Kickass, the doorstop dog, says the keeper suggests that only a few dog walkers could identify with the keeper’s reminisce of frigid winter mornings when his youthful presence in northwest Wisconsin was dictated by the necessity of dealing with animal waste.

Nothing so neat as a plastic disposal bag, but a bobsled with its flat platform heaped up with the daily output of cattle waste and pulled by an eager team of horses.  The mission was to transport the steamy load out to a field and then use a manure fork to spread it out over the snow, being careful not to toss a forkful into the wind.

As is the wont of farm boys, it was an important rite of passage to take over Dad’s jobs as soon as possible, and therefore, wearing Dad’s heavy winter parka, the teenaged keeper balanced precariously on the back of the loaded bobsled while Prince and Queen pulled it out to a nearby field.

The horses were into the routine with more confidence than the keeper, and they knew that once the unloading was complete they could trot back to their warm horse-barn stalls.  This meant a virtual circus act for the keeper as he tried to remain upright on the manure-slick sled platform as it bounced along behind the speeding horses. He was not always successful, which brought on a real challenge for showing up later at high school classes not smelling too much like cow manure even after a bath and fresh clothes. Dad’s long parka helped.

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