Wednesday, May 27

New term proposed for horse manure

There is a mis-perception about the number of words Eskimos have for snow. Supposedly they differentiate the many states of being of snow, from falling, on-the-ground, fluffy, icy—giving each form its own name. Well, it turns out that they have about as many terms describing snow forms as are found in standard English. Also, the word Eskimo applies to many different cultures, which could account for the large number of terms used.

How many different English-language terms describe the variety of forms taken by horse manure? I haven’t run across any that differentiate hot and steamy still warm to the touch from old, bleached, dried out, crumbly. Smothered with flies describes a very brief state. And of course there's shredded by squirrels looking for undigested oats. Naturally scattered could be differentiated from kicked by a bored cowboy.

The only slang term I'm familiar with is meadow muffins, which refers to both the intact original pile and the scattered pieces. That and the term, which I will politely call H.S., pretty much sums up the entire lexicon in use around here.

I propose adding one more term. Horses are not choosy about where they relieve themselves. When the urge comes, the horse goes. On our strolls along our road, Karla and I run across many places where the horses have "gone." Over time, our vehicles flatten the pile they left, and it usually sticks together, increasing in diameter while losing height. I think those piles should be called road tortillas. This description is in line with meadow muffins; both are food items. Makes sense to me.

Some folks may argue that they should be called road frisbees, but I've found that they rarely make even a single flight without spinning apart.


Avis said...


Pete S. said...

Tom, I remember decades ago when you used the term "sail cat." You were speaking of an expired cat in the road that had been flattened by car tires and then dried. It would sail in the air if you threw it like a frisbee. (It was a theoretical discussion. There weren't any sail cats around for demonstration).

Tom Hurley said...

Thanks for the reminder. Sail cats worked best if you cut off the tail, which caused wobbling flight.