How to Pick Up Poopies in a Wintry Saint John Yard

All photos below were taken by E.g. and cropped by Turtle.

Two days ago, on March 29, it was actually raining in Saint John, but when we got here on the 20th it was still solidly, stolidly winter. While Fergus and Cai were light enough to run around on top of the snow in E.g.’s parents’ backyard, a human step would sink up to the knee. How to pick up after the pupsters, then? Alyson?

That’s right: snowshoes!

backyard-snowshoeing-1
One small step on yuccakind

Snowshoes are a First Nations invention. They were originally made of wood and rawhide. The ones here are aluminum and nylon, with canvascloth bindings. No specialized boots are necessary; just slip the toe of your regular ol’ winter boot into the canvas toehold and wrap the strap around your ankle, then slip the strap through the metal clip.

backyard-snowshoeing-2
Getting a grip

Their large size distributes a person’s weight to prevent sinking into the snow. One needn’t be heavy to founder, by the way; one simply needs pointy legs. After the rain softened the snow the other day, Cuca the cat snuck outside, only to sink up to his shoulders in the backyard. Differing temperatures and successive thaws and refreezes make for many different textures of snow. On the day these photos were taken, there was a thin crust that upheld the dogs but wasn’t thick enough for me. Snowshoes work on crusty snow as well as they do in deep powder.

The webbing keeps snow from accumulating and weighing down the snowshoe. It also, I think, helps to prevent slipping backwards on slopes. I’m crouching in the second picture above only because the drift is so high; the shoes stayed steady.

backyard-snowshoeing-3
Coureur de bois cancan

The third picture displays gratuitous lifting; E.g. wanted a show-off picture. It does demonstrate, however, that I could make my way through the underbrush fairly efficiently, if I needed to step over low tangles of bush and branch.

backyard-snowshoeing-4
Le petit prince

As with cross-country skis, the heel is not fixed. You walk normally — you don’t even need poles! — and can crouch to capture those elusive canine poopies. Shh now. Ready, set…

backyard-snowshoeing-5
All the better to wait on you, my dears.

Ta da!

5 Responses to How to Pick Up Poopies in a Wintry Saint John Yard

  1. almostgotit says:

    Nice series of photos, and as I’ve never used snowshoes I was intrigued to learn more about them. The non-fixed-heel part was especially interesting… I’ve imagined snow shoes as being VERY CUMBERSOME and that would certainly make them easier…

  2. Shelley says:

    The boys look like they’re say “Mom, what BIG FEET you have!”

  3. You mean that poo doesn’t just magically disappear with the snow? Hmm, no wonder the yard was always such a mess every spring …

  4. Alyson says:

    Clever girl! I’m pretty sure I’d end up with the front of one snowshoe standing on the back of the snowshoe that I’m trying to step with. You look glowingly happy J, even with a bag of poops in your hand 🙂 .

  5. lavenderbay says:

    Snowshoeing isn’t an “exciting” sport/recreation, Almostgotit, so it doesn’t get much press. I’m glad you learned something, even if you don’t need the information in Tennessee.

    You read my mind, Shelley! That’s why I put the Granny Wolf caption below that photo.

    Yes, Dennis, and it’s surprising how many dog owners believe that when brown excrement lands on white snow in a public park, the poop becomes invisible. Some sort of snow blindness, maybe?

    I enjoy tasks that I know I can accomplish, Alyson! And speaking of glowingly happy, I finally saw our new apartment today. Pix tomorrow, I hope.

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