Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Manure Removal and Flat Tires

Today was my first day back to work after being off last week for Thanksgiving.  I figured the email inbox would be full of nonsense tasks, but it wasn't too bad.  I had a chance to plan riding for the week and take care of some maintenance around the stable area. 
One on-going task I have, is getting rid of all the manure that we produce each week.  I spread it in the riding arena to mix into the sand and help keep the footing soft.  I compost the manure first, so I'm not spreading fresh manure and the parasites and weeds that go with it.  The manure pile generates its own heat, so it breaks down and kills all the nasty stuff hidden in the manure, if you leave it alone for a month or so. 
I have a small manure spreader that is just big enough to take one bucket full from the front end loader on the tractor.  I pull the spreader around the arena with the Gator which does a pretty good job.  If I have some help, the job goes pretty quickly, but if I'm alone, I have to jump back and forth between the tractor and the Gator.  I can get about a dozen loads of manure spread in about an hour by myself, not counting equipment prep and clean up after. 
I knew I needed to get the manure spread today as we are forecast to have bad weather the next couple of days.  You can't really spread wet manure, so it was today or not at all.  Of course, both the Gator and the tractor had flat tires.  Fortunately, the tires could be aired up so I didn't have to get them replaced.  It seems that I'm always dealing with some sort of tire problem. 
The composted manure was mostly broken down into dust, so every time I turned the tractor into the wind, I got a manure shower.  I wear sunglasses, hat, and bandanna over my face to keep it out of my eyes and lungs, but it is still nasty.  It spreads nicely though, and when I drag the arena, it will essentially disappear.  It's a lot of work though, and ends up killing a couple hours of the day even when you don't have flat tires.