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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tackling the Acorn Problem

It's not a very glamorous project to start on the weekend when all my agility friends are at the Kiln trial racking up MACH bars and/or Double Q's, but all last week I was home dealing with the Acorns Galore problem I wrote about earlier.  And grappling with a hard truth -- the wall-to-wall acorns in my training yard won't disappear on their own, and my dogs won't run on this "sea of marbles".  Because the acorns have quit raining down like hail and most of the leaves have fallen off our trees, I'm thinking NOW is the time to reclaim my training space.  Whatever it takes, I HAVE to do it.
What's left AFTER the mower has sucked up
all it could.
I started by running the push mower with vacuum attachment over the training area , (about 80' x 60') very slowly vacuuming up as many leaves and twigs as I could.  Then I mowed over the whole area again, even more slowly, picking up more debris and exposing those devilish acorns, which, it turned out, still had no intention of being sucked up by a lawnmower!

Disappointed but undaunted, I called to my husband, "Bring me the shop vac and a 100' extension cord".  We have a big one with a 3" diameter hose and mightly sucker attachment, and I felt empowered -- like Napoleon.  Then it got too dark to continue.

Next day, shop vac on full blast, I attacked the problem, and in about 15 minutes was only able to tease up the acorns nestled in a 3' x 3' patch of grass.  At that rate I calculated it could take me 2 months to cover the whole yard, plus which the vac kept clogging up with twigs and a few times I had to turn it off due to the smell of something burning.  All I did was 3 wee patches before I was feeling like Custer towards the end of his last stand.  John later reported the vac bag was full.  Not the anticipated victory.

The only method left was the dreaded leaf rake/push broom/flat shovel method and after 5 hours of raking, raking, raking the yard into piles (over 3 days) then shoveling them into large wheeled trash cans, we ended up hauling 14 cans of acorns out into the woods.
 
It was a nasty job, with acorns continuously needing chasing as they popped out thru the tines, making me momentarily question the joys of living in the woods under majestic oak trees.  But now that the blisters are healing, my back isn't aching any more, and I've successfully reclaimed a useless yard where I now have a Backyard Dog course set up, with great shade to practice in, back on track again with my training program, and getting ready to compete in Mobile a few weeks from now, I'm feeling victorious.  We do what we have to do, and work with what we've got, right?  It feels good to know I have some grit left in me.

Not to mention, I'm able to work with the new papillon puppy, now re-named Honey Bear, who yesterday raced Maxie thru the 15' tunnel over and over without the slightest hesitation, has brilliant recalls from 50' already, and is coming along nicely with It's Yer Choice games, clicker training and the wobble board.  I'm working on a video of that for my next post.  Puppies!  What joy.  They are amazing!

Upwards and onward!

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