Spending hours in front of this computer has been driving me a little bonkers and from what I’ve been reading,
sedentary life itself can be bad for health. For exercise on a regular basis I roust out my two terriers for bladder and other alimentary calls whereupon I take a turn or two about the yard. Terriers are ready for action at any moment, especially a saunter on the lawn with their master. They oblige me.
And I look for other tasks about the house, little chores I can break into smaller assignments like sweeping the Chevy side of the garage one day and the Suzuki side on another. And last winter I shoveled snow from the patio which used to wait upon the natural thaw. Trucking the snow in a wheelbarrow and dumping huge barrow-shaped hunks on the lawn proved diverting; and I had to clear a path into the yard for the wheel barrow. In that exercise I directed the routine of my pets defecation. At one point I had a virtual labyrinth of paths in the whiteness.
Soon I was realizing an entirely new ritual for me, my pups and my better health — not to mention sanitation. The ritual revealed finer points I could not have imagined. Honey dipping refers to activities in the culinary arts and sexual arts (some of them perverse in my opinion — stuff that even my terriers and self-respecting tortoises would find repulsive), but it also refers to the service of cleaning septic tanks which grew out of the honey dipper’s trade in early America. The honey dipper used to show up on a regular basis to “dip the honey” from outhouses. I presume the rates were scaled according to one, two and three holer sites. I work for nothing.
Thus, around our place, I assiduously apply “honey dipping” to cleaning dog dung from the yard. I have become quite the expert and become as accustomed to organic odors as any farmer. I began after the first heavy snowfall. Embarrasingly I confess to gleaning nearly a small bucketful first time around, but I have risen to the task since the initial backlog. An extensive challenge has developed into perfecting do-do maintenance and removal.
Proper implements make for better differences in my craft. I began with a shovel, but that required multiple trips to either the hole I had dug or to a special receptacle suitable to meet the finicky standards of our recycling company. When the hole proved unworkable in frozen ground, I started lining one of those plastic potting containers with a trash bag. Cold weather, of course, enabled me to collect matter with nary an offensive odor from the plastic bag which after each deposit I clamped with a heavy duty paper clip. However, I tired of messing with a shovel which proved cumbersome and involved a special trips to the garage. In my attention to the details of my art, I eschewed exercise. Artists get that way.
So I cut the bottom out of an half-gallon bleach container and started scooping with a small garden trowel. That worked, but did not meet my standards of tidy perfection. We’re going for a Sigma Seven quality rating here. Then in a brillant insight I thought of plastic salad tongs which my wife found a little disgusting; nevertheless, she returned with a set from the market. They worked parfaitement! They were particularly useful in the snow. Later on, with practice I have been able to develop a twisting, single motion of the wrist permitting capture of an entire pile.
All useful work is honorable and in this case a very green activity. I confess, though, in moments of irreverent, orneryness to launching one or two missles over the back fence into the weedy and brambled easement. Success in this requires getting exactly the right trajectory and releasing the tongs at the precise moment to fully maximize lift.
Like life itself the dipping of canine honey is not an exact activity. The best one can do is shoot for maximum, approximate perfection. There will always be a miniscule crumb or two that escapes my finest work. My pursuit is relentless.
If you find me an oddball in these finer pursuits, you should visit the research of a Japanese scientist seeking to develop the turd burger. I leave this pursuit to others.
Cautious and steadfast,