Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.


Posted on | January 2, 2017 | 3 Comments

Well that was fun.  Kinda.  Sort of.

The best part of a year that starts off good and then spirals out of control is:

1.  It has to end eventually.

2.  You’re ready for anything by January 1st.

So when I woke after working my New Year’s Eve shift, I wasn’t too surprised to find that I had washed an ink pen in my uniform pants along with Middle’s brand new Christmas wardrobe.  Under Armour and Nike and a Sergio Aguero jersey all smeared with swaths and spots of black ink.

Happy New Year to me.

Luckily, January 1st is also my wedding anniversary so I drowned my sorrows over lunch with The Other Half at Red Lobster.  Free Red Lobster due to the gift card my parents gave us for Christmas.  And by the time I finished, ink removal didn’t seem too impossible.  Because anything seems possible after free lobster. And those cheddar biscuits.

When we got home I started in on the ink removal process.  There are lots of suggestions online.  All of them, of course, suggest that you treat the stain immediately and certainly before putting the clothing in the dryer. Hah!  My ink stains were nicely heated into the fabric by the dryer so the ink stains laughed outloud at a lot of my attempts.  But hairspray did actually loosen the stains so that they could slowly (slowly, slowly, excruciatingly slowly) be dabbed away.  Once I figured out that saturating the stain with hairspray and then holding a clean cloth over it with lots of pressure was the best way to get out the most ink, I set up a work station on the kitchen table.  Spray the stain, put a clean dog towel over, it, cover with a heavy can, let sit for 4 or 5 minutes.  Repeat, using a clean section of dog towel each time.

Thank goodness that we have lots of dog towels around here.  If you have dogs (or pets of any kind) I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  If not, “dog” towels are the old, ripped, stained towels that are used for wiping dirty dog paws  or rubbing the dogs down when they come in from the rain.  We also use dog towels for cleaning up chicks with pasty butt, sheep with bloody broken horns, and injection site abscesses on goats.  We use them to clean up newborn goat kids, too, but I’m going to admit I’ve thrown dog towels away rather than wash them after being used during kidding.  Even dog towels have a capacity limit on goo and yuck.

If you’re waiting for ink stains to be removed by hairspray and dog towels, you have a lot of time on your hands.  But, like I said, 2016 built up my resiliency.  So instead of being disheartened by such a pathetic start to my New Year, I spent that time getting things in order.  After all, if you think you’re going to “drain the swamp” you might want to start draining your own swamp first.  I’m just sayin’.

A few days ago I used up a bunch of leftover soap and lotion supplies in order to consolidate my stock pile.  This is by far the best recipe for lotion bars on the internet and I had everything I needed for the luxury lotion bars with Vitamin E.  I made 4 bars of that and a whole new jar of anti-fungal cream.  Both of these items are wonderful for winter hands and feet—smoothing dry and cracked skin.  They are a little rich and oily for use right before you walk out the door but perfect for putting on before bed.  As soon as I finished, I put away my soap and lotion supplies, but I just tossed that greasy mold in the mudroom sink.

Because I needed to test my lotion and cream and once I had smeared it into my hands and feet all I could do was sit on the couch and read for the next 4 hours.  Anything else would mess up the test.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  At some point another member of my household came along, discovered that greasy mold in the mudroom sink, and thought, “Oh, she didn’t have time to clean her lotion mold.  I’ll just clean that up for her.  You know, since she spends about 22 hours of every day cleaning up after me.”  And if you think that, then you’re still drunk from New Year’s Eve.  Don’t drive anywhere until you have several cups of coffee and a couple hours to lower your BAC.

No, the mold was still sitting there while I was filling the washer with hot water to soak off those ink stains. So I pulled out my good degreaser soap, the Dawn soap that I keep hidden away and is only used for cleaning the lanolin out of sheep fleece.  It’s good for cleaning soap and lotion molds, too, and I filled up the mudroom sink to start that process of washing and rinsing, washing and rinsing.  Since that was apparently the theme for the New Year.

With two projects going that required work and wait, I started in on the tupperware cabinet.  Is tupperware a source of never-ending drama at your house?  Has anyone else pitched a fit when they put leftovers in a container and only then realized they could not find the matching lid?  Does anyone else make a trip to the store to get new tupperware only to have the kids empty their lunchboxes and all of it magically reappears?  Has anyone else threatened to kill a family member when said family member emptied the dishwasher and just threw all the clean tupperware into the cabinet haphazardly, without any attempt to put it in the proper spot?

No?  Huh.

Regardless, I gathered a bunch of dollar store bins and containers and started in on that mess under the cabinet.  I’m hopeful that putting the pot lids and the casserole dishes into the back will help control the mess.  I rarely use pot lids because it’s sooooo much easier to just put a plate over a pot than to get out a pot lid.  You know that, right?

But I do occasionally have people over for dinner and break out my pot lids just so I don’t look like a complete redneck.  I also rarely use my casserole dishes because something about making a casserole recipe tempts people to add cream of mushroom soup.  Gag!  Cream of mushroom soup!  So those suckers only come out when I need extra pans for holiday side dishes.  Maybe you get out your china for company,  I get out my pot lids and my casserole dishes.  Because I’m fancy like that.

With those bulky items out of the way, I sorted the tupperware and corralled it into bins.  Each bin has a particular shape of tupperware and the matching lids.  You know, round with round, rectangle with rectangle, square with square.  And all those little lunchbox containers got their own bin.  Now it should be easy to find what you need and easy to see where each piece goes when putting tupperware away. If you take the time to see where each piece goes instead of just throwing the tupperware back into the cabinet.  Dollar store bins can fix unorganized, but it remains to be seen if the dollar store bins can fix lazy.  When I was done it looked…..well, it was….um, kinda, sort of….the same.  Except in bins.  Huh.

Well, the clothes still had ink stains, although they were finally starting to fade.  Which meant I had time to attack the silverware and gadget drawer.  I needed to get that drawer done because I got a new husband for my anniversary and I needed to clear a spot to keep him for the New Year.  By new “husband” I mean this:

I was at my friend’s house in Charlotte a couple weeks ago when I saw her use that handy gadget to open a jar.

“What is that???”  I asked.

“Oh, I call it my husband, ” she said.  “You know, ’cause when he’s not here I can use it to open anything.”

Brilliant.  I immediately needed one.  And apparently my real husband had to go to a million stores to find it in time for our anniversary.  Which means it deserved a nice, clean place to live instead of a cluttered, overflowing silverware and gadget drawer.  Does anyone know why the silverware drawer gets so disgustingly dirty?  The only thing that goes in there is clean silverware.  So why does it look like this when you you take the silverware out of it?

Gag!   More-than-cream-of-mushroom-soup-gag!  So I emptied out the entire drawer.  Wiped everything down.  Threw away a bunch of odds and ends.  Sorted the gadgets.  In the end, voila!, it looked…..well, it was….um, kinda, sort of….the same.  Except wiped down.  Huh.

Apparently draining your own swamp is harder than some people realize.

The clothes needed another round of hairspray.  But the mold was degreased, clean, and dry, so I put it away.  Which meant the only thing left in the mudroom sink was the seashells I had been bleaching for a few weeks.  I have a supply of beach shells in the backyard that I use as mulch around the base of one of the trees.  If seashell mulch sounds weird to you then you don’t have 4 kids that spent the last 10 years bringing you shells during trips to the beach.  Shells that they carefully picked out for you.  Shells that are too pretty or perfect or special to be tossed back into the sand.  So I bring those pretty or perfect or special shells home and use them as pretty perfect special mulch around one of the oak trees.  Where I can feel all the love that was involved in choosing those shells without them taking up all the space in the house.  And when the chickens kick those shells into the yard and then when I’m mowing the lawn and the shells get flung out from under the lawnmower in a pretty perfect special attempt to gouge out one of my eyes, I only curse a little bit.  Because the love cuts down on the pain a little bit.  A very little bit.


The shells were in the sink because I picked some out for this project I saw on the internet:

I already had the blue markers but I had been steadily spraying the shells with bleach, letting them sit, and then rinsing them in the hopes of getting nice bright clean shells for my project.  And maybe it was the years of living under the oak tree or getting kicked around in the mower but my shells were still pretty dingy.  Well, it’s a New Year, people.  Time to get things done.  I hauled those shells out to the greenhouse and gave them a quick coat of white spray paint.  Which did the job just fine.

Too bad the clothes still had ink stains when I checked on them in the washer.  I sprayed with hairspray and started another wash cycle.  Now I know what you’re thinking:  “Does this woman not have any barn chores to do?  I mean, is she really painting freaking seashells to make them white????”

The truth is that I had just been putting off my barn chores.  Because while I was working on New Year’s Eve protecting people from their own party mishaps, my Great Pyrenees were having a party mishap of their own.  Sometime during the night they broke out of the pasture.  Which I blame on the shooting and fireworks that drive poor Bruno insane.  Around 2 am, some concerned citizens called the house saying they found Bella wandering in the middle of the road.  The Other Half and Pretty rushed off to rescue her.  They brought her home but Bruno was nowhere to be found, although the citizens said he was there when they first saw the dogs, but he ran off when they stopped to catch them.  Pretty locked Bella in the kidding barn and then set off with The Other Half to find Bruno.  But he was nowhere to be seen and didn’t respond when they stood calling his name. Because he never does.  Bruno comes home when he feels like coming home and that’s not until the night is over.  By the time the sun came up, Bella had chewed her way out of the kidding barn and the next door neighbor called to say she was in his yard.  And Bruno was laying on the deck waiting for someone to let him into the barnyard and give him breakfast.  This time when The Other Half went to get Bella, she had very obviously been skunked.

So the truth is that starting the New Year by painting seashells is whole lot easier than facing your skunked Great Pyr.

But it had to be done.

With the clothes on their final (I hoped!) wash, I headed out into the rain.  I could smell Bella from the deck.  Bruno didn’t appear any worse for the wear, but he already gets glucosmine once a day for his joints.  Bella limped over to the gate, which could have been an injury to her leg from the skunk, an injury from digging out of the kidding barn, or just plain soreness from celebrating the New Year in Great Pyr style by wandering all over the county.  She had her breakfast and her biscuit while I did the other critters and checked out the kidding barn for the damage.  Then there was nothing to do except bite the stinky bullet and give her a solid once-over.

Since Pyrs are covered in 2 tons of fur, there’s no easy way to check them for injuries.  Mostly it involves giving them hugs and belly rubs and head scratches with one hand while fondling them everywhere with the other.  Great Pyrs, being the lovable sort, prefer to practically sit in your lap during this process.  It can be a bit awkward and uncomfortable.  But it’s worth it.  Because even though Bella weighs 100 pounds now and smelled like a Tauntaun (flashback!), she still looks like this to me:

There was really no hope to smell like anything less than a skunk by the time the job was done.  But the good news was that Bella didn’t have any bad injuries, just soreness.

The better news was that when I went inside, peeled off my skunk clothes, and pulled Middle’s clothes out of the washer to put in my own, his clothes were clean.  Kinda.  Sort of.  A couple of them had a few faded ink spots.  But they were wearable.  Especially considering they were going on a 13 year old boy who would probably get them covered in mud or pizza or ink spots himself within a few weeks anyway.

The best news was that there was plenty of red velvet cake and brownies that the kids made us for our anniversary.

Oh, did you think this was going to be a New Year of healthy eating and exercising??  C’mon, people, this is not that kind of blog.

I do intend to fit in some more writing in 2017.  And even if I don’t have a kidding season ahead of me, I do have those seashells to finish.  And an asparagus patch from which I am determined to get a good harvest regardless of what I have to do to get it.  Harvey the Angora Bunny is either matted or felted (depending on how you look at it) and desperately needs a trim.  Plus I’m planning on burning down the honeysuckle in the garden. (Don’t tell the fire department.)  All of that might be interesting.  Kinda.  Sort of.

So stay tuned.

Welcome, 2017.  We’re ready for you!


3 Responses to “2017.”

  1. Jill
    January 2nd, 2017 @ 2:46 pm

    That was a crazy full day!

  2. Tanya
    January 2nd, 2017 @ 3:53 pm

    I would have given you my husband if I knew that you wanted one so badly!! Ha ha!!!

  3. Lisa D
    January 3rd, 2017 @ 7:15 pm

    The ink spots would have been the end at our house. I would have been out looking for my runaway son….

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