Yes, I am guilty.
I have not been blogging much. How come, you ask? Well, I live in Iowa and it’s winter and well….motivation is hard this time of year.
Actually let me be more forthright. Basically winter in the Midwest sucks, unless you’re a cold, wet, freezing, love the snow, ice and slush kind of person – which I am not.
My level of motivation tends to rise and fall with the ability to be outside (comfortably!) and that doesn’t happen as often in midwestern winters. I don’t ski, not that there are actual ski slopes in the Midwest. I won’t ice fish. I mean are these people for real? Fish, you can buy it at the grocery store and they even keep it on ice for you. No need to sit in a hut and freeze yourself to death to get it. No sledding, skating or snow shoeing either for this girl.
However, there is one thing that forces me to go outside even when the temps go sub-zero.
It is picking up the poo. I actually do like the *look* of snow, so seeing the yard littered with dog grenades makes cleanup a must. Today, as I hauled another load of doo doo to the dumpster, I was struck with an idea. How about I help all those poor souls who migrate to the Midwest from a warmer climate? Crazy fools….umm, I mean poor souls, probably have no idea how to pick up the @#% in this kind of weather.
So for anyone new to the dilemma of how to scoop in the depths of a Midwestern winter, there are 3 basic protocols:
The Inverted Grab Method.
This is the standard operating procedure. Every dog owner should know this one. Your hand goes into the plastic bag, you grasp the 💩, retract your hand while inverting the bag, then tie and toss. Simple.
However, if you live in the “I don’t need to shave my legs from Nov – May” part of the US, you better get it while it’s warm. Once the tootsie rolls are frozen into the drifts you will need to employ an alternate method of extraction.
When we must resort to other methods, there are a couple to choose from.
The Chisel and Pick Method.
As the name implies, this technique works best with the spade type of scoop. Simply use the corner of your blade to chisel around the frozen clumps. Once loosened from the snow, flip into the scoop and dispose.
Note: If you happen to have one of those one-handed, jaw scoop type apparatus, sorry my friend, but you are SOL in getting that piece of equipment to extract FiFi’s frozen feces.
*Warning: Novice inhabitants to the colder climates will be easily identified by their flailing attempts to hit the target at the correct 45° angle. This will leave no alternative other than using the rake attachment in an attempt to collect the shattered turdlets. Old time Midwesterners will be standing in their windows with a mug of hot chocolate laughing at your feeble attempts. ☕︎
This brings us to the technique of champions.
The Kick and Scrape Method
This method requires no bending, which is a bonus given that you will need to be in 14 layers of clothing to survive the windchill here. Simply aim your boot toward and slightly below the pile, give a quick, firm jab to dislodge the excrement, then slide it into your scoop pan and toss. Please see photo for proper angulation of the toe.
Alternate versions include the Heel Thrust. This is an emergency technique. Only needed by recent transplants to the Midwest, still under the mistaken belief that Birkenstocks with socks are appropriate midwestern winter foot wear. 🙄
The only one left is the Side Swipe. The side swipe is really only appropriate when the offending poo can be flung off the trail far enough that it will not interfere with the next hiker. And when wearing 🥾!
There you have it my friends. Next time your yard looks like a Danish roll factory exploded midair, you know what to do.
Ps. For those emergencies of loose stool, diarrhea and vomit: an adequate dusting of fresh snow will provide sufficient coverage until spring. Don’t worry, living in the Midwest you’ll only have to wait a few hours until the next flurries.