Smaller dreams, easier goals

This year, I am aiming lower in my “Steveaway” goals.

The warm week we just enjoyed encouraged me to do a thorough cleaning of the dog run, a priority which became more essential when the dogs’ messes melted with the snow.  I want them to use this 10 x 10 area which I have established, screened and landscaped so that I do not have to see it.  When they will not use it, my adjacent, dormant hydrangea bushes are stomped.

I admire their reticence to utilize a messy space, and I do not want them tracking mess into the house. So I pulled on my rubber boots, rubber gloves, grabbed my ice chipper and garbage can, and I went about my business.  Somewhere after all that was chippable was removed, I got the great idea to wash the area.  The base is gravel, and there is permeable mesh underneath. The stones looked dirty.  There was poo residue.

Of course, it was a disaster.

The stones rinsed nicely.  Steam rose.

Then the ground underneath stopped accepting the water.

I am an idiot.  The earth below was still very frozen.  As the day grew dark, the gravel merged with the water to form an ice rink.  There was no way a wise old dog like Mabel would skate into the run.  She looked up at me and squatted her contempt. Milly found a nice patch in my hydrangeas.

I have triumphed, though!  On Thursday, I set out for Home Depot, to procure 500 pounds of gravel.  This was not stored outside, where I bravely prowled every abandoned aisle, with no success.  I found a helpful associate inside who wondered if I had seen rats out there.  I had only seen the flying kind, pigeons, and I was glad I had been spared exposure to the slinky ones.

He guided me to the back corner of the store, and loaded 10 bags of stone onto a cart.  Soon it was in the back of my car. Had there been a flash storm, my traction would have been excellent. By this time it was dark, and my plan of action waited until Friday.

Friday I rolled each bag from the trunk of the SUV to my red Radio Flyer wagon.  I dragged the wagon into the run, which was still slick.  Then I pushed all 10 bags to the ground in a tic-tac-toe grid, with the last bag reserved for the opening.  I slashed the plastic like a a psycho killer, and the gravel practically spread itself ,with minimal heavy lifting.  I raked and smoothed, and stood back to admire my efficiency.

Then the moment of truth arrived.



I will work on my filming/editing skills. Thank you for your patience.  I count the You Tube uploading as a project, too.  I need a sense of accomplishment.

I hope the Dogs will work on their compliance.  I took a long bath in the previously mentioned soaking tub in order to prevent paralysis.  It worked.  See, it all ties together.  Honestly- the sorest part of me was my hands, from dragging the bags into the car, out of the car and into the run.  Success!

My new formula for success is smaller projects, more attainable goals.  Who knows what is next for me?  Oh, yeah- the 35 years of photographs calling my name.

“Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow, sets in this petty pace from day to day”…..I’d better get to it before it’s “out, out, brief candle” Sure, an ex- English teacher/dog run cleaner quotes Shakespeare….

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