Drawing a line in the fumier

Our yard is split between two trainers. We are not friends, but we each do our work and generally don’t get in each other’s way. We do, however, have to share the fumier – the big pit behind the south wall where the droppings are dumped. The fumier is a cement-lined enclosure, about three meters wide and 10 meters long, sloping down to a depth of about three meters in the back. When it is full, a truck with a clam comes and empties it. Simple enough system, but sometimes the truck doesn’t come around as often as one would like, and since we have to pay for removal, we try to cram as much into the fumier as possible so that when he comes, it’s worth it.

Needless to say, fumier maintenance has often been a bone of contention between me and the other trainer, because one has to keep pitching the shit to the back to make maximum use of the space available, and the other trainer is not particularly adept in the use of a pitchfork. I, on the other hand, am an Olympic-level shit slinger. The situation turned serious when we found out about two weeks ago that the truck would not be back until the end of December. That was when my assistant, Agata, became obsessed with the fumier.

The morning we received this news, Agata went back to the fumier and impeccably manicured half of it. She created a terraced landscape, a veritable shit palace with a border up the middle to signify who could dump their shit where. The other trainer ignored the message, but this changed after the first two days, when Agata unceremoniously pitched all the shit from their boxes onto their side. Their pile started to creep forward, while ours just grew in height and stature.

Finally, after about a week, the girl who does boxes for the other trainer took up the challenge. I came around the corner with my wheelbarrow after night stable one night and almost fell over at the magnificent site of twin shit mountains. Mark, an owner  who comes to help with the boxes when he can (no one in France has owners as good as mine!) was not to be outdone, and our side continued to outpace the other in height.

“How’s the shit chateau?” I asked Mark one morning, not having yet had time to look.

“I’d say it’s more like the Matterhorn,” he replied. He was right. the pile had grown to an impressive four meters or so. I started to wonder about the potential of spontaneous combustion that might turn the Matterhorn into an active shit volcano. I mentioned this to Mark. “How cool would THAT be!” was his reply.

It remains to be seen whether we can last until the end of December. The mountain is growing. Meanwhile, if you hear of any seismic disturbance coming from Maisons-Laffitte, you’ll know where it came from.

10 thoughts on “Drawing a line in the fumier”

  1. I can’t get “Climb Every Mountain” out of my head now – it may well be sounding from every hill and dale in the fumier tomorrow. Ah – the visual…

  2. Thanks to Mark for passing this on to me and I will pass it on to Christopher. He is taking finals this week…we’ll see if he “volunteers” to help the Matterhorn grow to new heights!

  3. Thanks for the laugh. I was hoping to see a volcano erupt in Iceland. Now it looks as if I will have to go to M-L instead.

  4. Are there no farmers in the area who could come and take some of this ‘off your hands’? You’d think there’d be a decent market for racehorse shit!

  5. I have been considering it, actually, for wintering the planting beds. Family might not appreciate the transport of urine soaked straw and manure in the family car, however.

  6. Mark gave the toast at my wedding in 1984 back in the US of A. Glad to hear he can shovel with the best talent in France.

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