Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forking Manure

Life is much easier with a good manure fork. Glad I bought one yesterday.

I posted that staement on Facebook this morning and received all sorts of comments from an assortment of friends. Some of my horsey friends noted the value of a good manure fork. Here's the fork I actually bought:

This fork even has a 10-year-guarantee. See?

Some non-horsey Facebook folks commented, too. One suggested that "Life is much easier with a good manure fork" sounds like a book title. Another said, "I think your statement applies to several areas of life so I reposted it as a quote for today!!"  Another said, "Those are words to live by."

Some of my writer friends weighed in. Meg Medina said, "You know....that applies to so many scenarios...." and Sharyn McCrumb said, "Excellent advice for editors, Becky."

So, I suppose my statement can be either literal or figurative. Best to recognize manure when you see it—in whatever form—and deal with it. And here's the literal form I deal with: 

It helps to look at both literal and figurative manure with a critical eye—possibly right at its source. Then start forking it out before it piles up too much:

And it can pile up. Here's a two-month accumulation:

If this were a manuscript, it would definitely need some editing. But it's our garden spot. In the spring, this manure will be plowed into it to enrich the soil. Take a look at the bigger picture and try to imagine this as a spring garden:

Years ago, I wrote a kinda crappy poem about manure:

Lesson Learned from Keeping a Horse

by Becky Mushko

One of the things you have to endure
About owning a horse is shoveling manure.
This is a fact (I know it astounds):
A horse produces about fifty pounds!
I don’t mean in a week; I mean in a day,
And when you’re shoveling, it sure ain’t hay.
Well, actually it is—along with grass and grain
That nature decides to recycle again.

The best way to deal with manure, I’ve found,
Is not let it pile up but spread it around,
For manure can be used (I’m so much the wiser)
As an excellent source of cheap fertilizer.

Life is funny this way: In all probability,
An asset at first might seem a liability.
The difference lies in how you think.
Do you use stuff productively,
Or let it lie there and stink?

Into each life some manure must fall. But it helps to have a good fork.

And boots. I bought some new barn boots yesterday, too.




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