Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.


Posted on | November 24, 2013 | 5 Comments

Well, the boys went to the football game.

But I’m the one who scored.  After an afternoon spent working on the fence and raking leaves, I wanted to get off the farm for a bit.   Since the places I could go in my ripped and stained barn clothes were limited, I settled on a quick trip to the dump (cheaper than a trip to Lowe’s Home Improvement or the feed mill, which are the only other appropriate places for ripped and stained barn clothes).  Excuse me, the solid waste convenience center.  Which is conveniently open only 3 days each week.  Usually I choose the weekday option in order to avoid the weekend rush and, by default, my neighbors seeing me in my ripped and stained barn clothes.  But I was feeling bold and looking for excitement so off I went.  Yeah, I know, you wish your life was as interesting as mine.

Anyhoo, the dump was as full as expected.  So full that the guy who’s supposed to make sure you’re not throwing away recyclables in the trash was more of a valet parking attendant.  So full that I had to stop and wait on the main road for a few minutes until some people exited before I could come in.  Let me tell you, there are few things more exciting than being stopped in the middle of a country road, around a curve, waiting to be struck from behind by a logging truck going 65 MPH.  And you thought trips to the dump were booooring.

Since there were no neighbors in sight to chat with, I dumped my trash, tossed my recyclables, perused the free junk pile, patted the heads of the dogs hanging out car windows (who also think a trip to the dump is a nice way to break up a slow Saturday), and headed back to the my van.  Which is when it happened.

A man dressed in a plaid barn coat, a John Deere cap, and work boots pulled up in a big shiny truck.  He unloaded his trash, and while I was leaning on my door waiting my turn to exit, I saw him pull 3 bales of straw out of his truck bed.  Which he put right next to the dumpster.  I figured he needed to reach some more trash in the truck bed.  But he didn’t unload anything else.  He just started heading for the cab and getting out his keys.

“Um, excuse me,” I said, pointing to the straw  “Are you throwing that away?”

He smiled.

“I just knew someone at the dump could use that.”

What????  I was shell shocked.  I looked at him closer.  Now that I was paying attention I saw that his boots did not have any scuff marks.  His truck did not have any scratches.  I was beginning to doubt that his hat had any sweat stains.

“You don’t want it?” I attempted to confirm.

“Nope.  My wife used it to decorate the yard for fall.  I just knew someone could use it on their farm.  You know, to feed their horses or somethin’.”

Awww.  How cute.  I remember when I didn’t know the difference between hay and straw.  Back when I had never pulled out a goat placenta manually.  Or emptied a chicken’s impacted crop.  Or picked my sheep’s testicles up off the barn floor a few months after he was banded.

Oh, to have one’s innocence back.

“You’ve got horses?” he asked me, seeing the greedy way I was eyeballing those bales.

I smiled.  I knew what he was thinking.  I remember when I thought this was what a farm looked like:

Instead of this:

“If you don’t want them, I can definitely use them, ” I replied.  He nodded and I threw open the van door.  Which is when he looked worried.

“Um, you’re just gonna put them in there?”


“You wanna go home and get a tarp first?  Or a blanket or somethin’?”

“Nope,” I said, giving the stink eye to the old man who had just climbed out of a beat up truck, wearing a faded barn coat, and sweat-stained seed company cap.   He was eyeballing the straw bales, too, and slowly creeping closer.

“It’s OK,” I reassured the guy.  “The blanket doesn’t really help.  Gotta sweep it out regardless.  Plus, the bits of straw keep the old french fries and the juice box wrappers from getting lonely.”

At that comment, he leaned forward, peered into the backseat of my van, paled considerably, and quickly hopped in his shiny truck and drove away.  Guess he concurred that there was nothing 3 bales of straw could do to damage my vehicle’s interior.

Turns out the bales fit perfectly.  Kind of.

And although there were many uses to choose from (mulch the brassicas?  planting beds in the greenhouse?  add to the compost pile? seats in the kidding barn for the upcoming season?), I settled on fresh bedding for the bucks in their new barn.

And I still have 1 bale left.

It may not be second row seats for a 99 yard touchdown….

….but it’s still a score for the home team.



5 Responses to “Score!”

  1. Andrew
    November 24th, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    Hay, (get it?), you gonna use that last bale?

    His reaction is probably the same one the oncoming crews had when they opened the truck side-doors to find my collection of landscaping rocks and 50-lb bags of Starbucks coffee grounds.

    Did you at least get his phone number (or give him yours) so that you might save him a trip to the dump next fall?

  2. Terry Golson
    November 24th, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

    Ahem. We call our center of the community, the “transfer station.” Where, yesterday, my son scored a $500 computer. Just needs to get a $10 part for it to get it going. Though, I have to say, I’d rather have 3 straw bales.

  3. Anne M
    November 24th, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    I found three sterling silver candlesticks and a serving tray in the CH salvage shed recently. They are ornate, very tarnished and vintage-looking. I plan to use them on Thanksgiving Day.

  4. Dawn
    November 25th, 2013 @ 5:48 am

    Hubby and I consider that our “date night”…going to the “convenience center” once a week! Nope, life isn’t boring around the farm! Love the laughter your posts bring and reminds me I’m not the only one having all the fun.

  5. Rich
    December 12th, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    This one had me ROLLING! April and I are still clinging on to our innocent perception of farm/country life, but reality is definitely creeping up on us.

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