Adventures in Poo

Today’s post comes from Ben.

When we first had children Kelly and I made an agreement: She’d take care of the poop and I’d take care of the vomit.

Course that doesn’t always work, but when it does it was great. She didn’t like vomit and I didn’t like poop.

Driving to Plainview today I saw this:

Poo smiley face

If you can’t tell, it’s made with manure. And it’s harder than you think to make that. (The face, not the manure).

I think he had to make the mouth and eyes first and then go around the outside making the circle. Otherwise there’d be tracks back out.

So is this art? Yeah, I think so.

And it got me thinking about my dealings with manure.

Any time you work with large animals you are going to be splattered, smacked and smeared with poop at some point in time.

I’ve been hit in with face with poopy tails. I’ve had my hands in it to fix things.

In the winter with the cows in the barn most of the day, we had to clean the gutters every morning. Dad did it by hand using a wheelbarrow and running up a 2” x 12” ramp to dump it in the manure spreader. If it was raining, It was slippery and you had to be more careful. I wasn’t always.

I was just getting old enough to handle the wheelbarrow when he put a barn cleaner in. So now It was easy. As long as it worked.

In the winter we always checked to be sure the chain wasn’t frozen down before starting it up. Because fixing a broken link involved forking out a lot of manure to get the chain back together. And hopefully I HAD the replacement link.

Being cold, it was a good idea to check the apron of the manure spreader before

you loaded it up with manure. Because fixing that was a hassle too.

One of our family stories is the year my dad had bunions cut off both feet. He had this done in the middle of winter figuring it was the best time to do it. Yeah, for HIM. Not for us doing chores. We had arranged for a guy to do the milking and chores while Dad was recuperating in the wheel chair.

The guy didn’t last long however and his last day was a cold dark day and he broke the manure spreader apron chain with the spreader still half full and he simply parked the spreader back in the shed and went home.

Mom and I had to fork off the rest of the load and then we lay under the spreader trying to fix the chain while dad yelled instructions to us from the Living room window.

However many weeks into recovery dad was, he was back in the barn the next day with bread bags slipped over the casts on his feet.

Below zero days I had a few simple goals; no broken water pipes, the silo unloaders worked, the tractor started and I got the barn cleaned and the spreader unloaded without issues. If that all worked it was a good day.

As for home and kids and poop and vomit… I don’t remember so much about that. I know there were messy diapers. I know there was vomit. I remember trying to catch it in my hands once or twice…

I myself remember throwing up in 5th grade. Went to the teachers desk and said ‘I don’t feel good; can I go to the nurse?’ and puking into his wastebasket right there. He jumped up, the class recoiled and I recall him saying ‘Go! Just Go!’

Team Vomit or Team Poo.  Which side are you on? 

 

87 thoughts on “Adventures in Poo”

  1. Hilarious post, Ben. Reminds me of the Saturday we were on our way to Iowa and stopped in Belle Plaine because John Edwards (vp candidate in 2004 for those of you who have tried to forget) was appearing. Scott County is not especially blue and some enterprising farmer had chosen that morning to manure their fields.

    Worked as a nurse’s aide in my misspent youth and pretty much did all the non-daycare diaper changing myself (never thought of that before, but it is true). Put me on Team Poop.

    Not that much experience with vomit. There is something traumatic about that, not a normal part of everyone’s day and a sign something is wrong rather than that “all systems are ‘go'”.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. i can be the vomit guy because my wife has such a problem with it, the last thing a sick kids needs is to be made to feel guilty because the vomit is either making a mess or grossing out the mom. i can deal with it no problem. i remember getting flack form flack from one kid for telling her to chew her food more as she was throwing up.
    i am so thankful to have the pump in my pumping station working again. (i just knocked on wood) it is amazing what a stigma poop has about it. for a phenomina that is so prevelent it certainly has a a gross out factor. after working in the sewera t my house for way too long it loses its impact.
    barn life would do it for sure. your farm kids know about the stuff we all should deal with just to remember how the planet works

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Morning all. As a single parent (and owner of several pets), technically I’m Captain Poop AND Vomit. While Young Adult has always been healthy (so not much spewing), Thorin, my big fluffy Samoyed, had a sensitive tummy so he made up for it in that department.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. If I could choose (which mostly I can’t, because Husband’s stomach is weaker than mine), I would go with Team Poo. There was a memorable night when Miss S was a wee babe – one of my first evenings out without needing to rush back to be the food source – all went well until Miss S had been in bed for a bit. Then I got a call asking where something was because there had been “an explosion” (in the diaper sense). Child and crib got cleaned up and all was fine. For about 90 minutes. I think Husband stuck it out until explosion #3…then I got a very weepy call asking if I could please come home. He was out of clean sheets for the crib, Child was wailing and his stomach was about to go from the stink (see above: weak stomach). Not how I intended to end my evening, but duty called. That was a night we were glad we had at least double-sheeted the crib (2 layers of mattress pads and sheets) and contemplated adding a third layer once everything was clean again.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My cats are pretty well-behaved with their litterbox habits, not so much with the throwing up. Cats always seem to have a distinct preference for throwing up on a rug, no matter how much bare floor there is in the house. Fortunately cat vomit doesn’t smell much and usually isn’t too tough to clean up.

    My littlest guy has some sort of medical issue that makes him throw up more than the typical feline. He eats a large amount of dry food, then decides he’s thirsty and drinks several ounces of water and then throws everything up. I try to feed him canned food, as it seems to stay down better. I can’t just leave out a bowl of canned food all day for him, though.

    The ickiest thing I had to deal with was one time when my laundry tub overflowed into the litterboxes that are situated underneath it. The litter was the scoopable kind and it turned into a slimy gray sludge with the water pooled on it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ew. Yeah… that doesn’t sound fun at all.

      Our newest dog, the 77lb puppy Humphrey has been puking lately. It’s OK; I’m on it!
      And he’s been to the vet. He had a minor GI bug; he’s better now. Yogurt has been good for him.
      Except we think the pills he’s on are making him fart. Terrible, stinky farts. Really bad, terrible, horrible, stinky ones…
      PU

      Liked by 3 people

      1. What are you feeding Humphrey, Ben? If it’s dried dog food, check the list of ingredients. I discovered that even expensive, prescription dog foods sold only at the vets office, often contain ingredients that are harmful to your dog. If you find Ethoxyquin on the label, quit feeding it to your dog. Ethoxyguin is used as a preservative, but it’s also a pesticide. It almost killed one of our dogs some years back.

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  6. I’d take Team Poo – there are lots of containment policies for poo – and products like diapers, toilet paper – and it’s planned for, expected. Vomiting is often a surprise, and you have no time to plan… unless you’re at home with the flu.

    I’m amazed to see some people who are very afraid of touching a little bit of poo… the germ factor I guess. To my mind, you just wash your hands well and get on with your life.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Rise and Excrete Baboons!

    Oh, my, this gave me a BIG laugh to start the day. I am on both teams– I dislike both, and I am capable of coping with each. The manure smiley face is a form of art, temporary as it is. I suggest a Baboon jury to judge this particular art form. It seems peculiarly Baboonish to me.

    Many of you know that each year for my mother’s Christmas gift, I make a book out of stories Mom wrote when she participated in an Iowa Writers Workshop class on memoir in 1984. This year the topic is– living on a Depression Era farm without plumbing. Of course, then, the topic includes poo, pee, laundry and bathing. The topic is combined with my grandmother’s very Victorian attitude that you never talked about it, while living it out every second of your life.

    I found myself trying to explain both Victorian rules of conduct in combination with my mother’s experience of living without modern plumbing. All this to attain the goal of allowing her descendants to understand her life.

    A manure smiley face would be an easier task! How do I find myself knee deep in manure?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My mom tells how they got married in 1948 and only had an outhouse. Pregnant with the first child in 1949 and STILL using the outhouse and she was not pleased.
      First indoor bathroom got installed before the 9 months was up.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. My mother always referred to manure spreaders as Honey Wagons. So do I. I think I am on Team Poo. Our dear departed Ginger, the orange cat, had terrible stomach issues and hurled on a daily basis for years. Then we got grain free cat food. Some friends of ours, pug owners, have to be careful not to take the pugs to the inlaws because mother-in-law likes to feed the dogs sauerkraut juice, and the resulting farts in the car home are not to be believed.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. “I smell money” That’s what they used to say about the sulfur smell from the paper pulp mill in Cloquet…luckily the prevailing winds were from the west blowing the smell east away from town.

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    1. I sympathize, Renee. And I sympathize with dogs that are fed food their constitutions cannot process. It isn’t the dog’s fault. My grandparents had a Boston terrier with that problem. When he farted, they would hold their noses and say, “Ohhh, Skippy! Stinky, stinky, stinky!” And poor Skippy would slink out of the room, his head down in shame.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I am sorry to say that dry food was always a challenge, and that he tolerated canned Nutro naturals grain free soft loaf Duck food the best. It had to be the soft loaf type, not minced or sliced. He died of urinary complications, though. His sister has similar issues, but she tolerates the grain free dry food in the shiny blue or green bag with the lynx on the cover. I can’t remember what it is called.

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    2. I know the that term too. But I thought it was the round, sealed spreaders used for more ‘liquid-y’ type manure as ‘Honey Wagons’.

      It was a big deal when we got a spreader with an end gate.

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  9. The last time I vomited was August of 1972, so I clearly don’t qualify for the Vomit Team. Not even as a junior varsity member.

    But I make up for that shortcoming with my impressive performances at the other end of the alimentary canal. I believe I am the only outdoor writer to have published a story about an attack of diarrhea while outdoors. Actually, I’ve published two vivid diarrhea stories, one about trout fishing and one about pheasant hunting. I can only add that if your lower tummy turns riotous while trout fishing, your first priority is to get out of your chest waders.

    If the Outdoor Writer’s of America Association were ever to commission a statue to celebrate my contributions to the profession, I know what the pose would be.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. A trout fishing friend had an attack of diarrhea one night while fishing the Rush River, just into Wisconsin. He got his chest waders pushed down around his ankles just in time. Then he learned he had made his deposit on the waders. Decades later he was the butt of jokes (pun intended) about his lovely brown wader suspenders.

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  10. Good morning. Of course, I would be glad to let some one else take care of both poo and vomit. However, I am equally capable of handling both. I would be very glad to let another person take care of a very mess of runny poop and the same holds for a particularly bad pile of gross vomit. When it comes right down to deciding, I would take vomit over poo if we are talking about excessive amounts of one or the other.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great post, Ben! The slipping and sliding through cold manure is a vivid image.
    Like Jim, I’m fine with products from either end. I have a strong stomach and can easily breathe through my mouth.
    I have wondered if some people can’t or don’t think of doing that.
    Washing hands or wearing gloves take care of the “touching it” problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can handle a lot of stuff coming out of cows. But after they calved, if they didn’t ‘clean’ properly and there was afterbirth hanging there, Oh my…. touching that when it was COLD with my bare hands…. even thinking of it now brings on a shade of green.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. i had a friend who worked in the maternity ward and had cleaning up afterirth as part of his job description. said it always mede him hungry. he laughed about that

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  12. Years ago I helped our neighbors by milking their cow and cleaning barn on winter mornings. There also were a couple steers to clean up after. Perhaps that is why I chose to get and milk goats with their dainty little pellets I rather like the smell of horse manure. Not so much chicken, dog or cat poo. Definitely NOT human manure. But if I have to choose which team to be on, I do deal with poo better than urps. (Though when I was teaching day care, I was sure to steer clear of the babies…preferring the toilet trained ages.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I believe I have mentioned my Great Uncle Albert who just didn’t bother to muck out his barn, so the cows either couldn’t get into the barn or had to duck so their heads didn’t hit the top of the entry way to get into the barn. My dad said Albert was the laziest farmer he knew. He just wanted to play the fiddle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A couple of weeks ago we helped move a friend into an assisted living facility in our neighborhood. At his old house he had a chicken coop inside his garage. He had four chickens, that quickly took over the entire garage. Chicken poop everywhere, in the rafters, on the floor, on everything. The stench of ammonia in that place is so strong – from having never been cleaned out – I can’t imagine that anyone will ever be able to rid it of the smell. I believe Steve wrote about one of his relatives in Iowa who had chickens inside his house; that would be hard for me to imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Toward the end of their lives Albert and his wife Ella had one cow who would let Ella milk her while she was standing out in the pasture. It was pretty close to the house and Ella took a pail and a stool and just started milking while the cow stood still and patiently chewed her grass.

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  14. Another Trail Baboon landmark post! Hat’s off to farmers and farm kids everywhere, they’re made of different stuff than most city slickers. Nicely done, Ben.

    Poop and vomit I can handle, blood is another matter. When we agreed to take in Daisy, our old lab that we inherited from friends who immigrated to Australia, we were told that she had a sensitive stomach, tended to have diarrhea, and that she loved raw veggies. Unfortunately, all those raw vegetables made it pretty impossible to be in the same room with her, a problem they had solved by banishing her to the basement. We didn’t have the heart to do that, so I tried to find another solution. I started cooking dog food for Daisy, and within a few days, her stomach troubles were over.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Bernie is doing great. He’s really such a sweet little guy, loves to snuggle, and tries to initiate play with Martha. He loves the dog park, and gets along famously with everyone. He’s a keeper.

        At this point, I think we’ve managed to block all of the escape routes from the back yard, but we have to be vigilant that he doesn’t get out without a leash on. He seems determined to explore the neighborhood, and he’s fast, and because of his size and coloring, it’s easy to lose track of him. He really needs to learn to come when called, something he, so far, refuses to do.

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        1. I’m fine with rewarding him when he comes. The trouble is, when you want him to come and he doesn’t want to, he just flops over on his side and sticks all four legs in the air. I’m certainly not going to reward that. For instance, if I’m going somewhere and I’m not going to take him along, he’ll ignore my “no” and “stay” commands and scoot out the second I open the door to the porch. There he capsizes on the mat inside the front door to block my exit. No amount of coaxing or commanding makes him move, I have to physically pick him up and put him inside. Any suggestions?

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        2. an electric for under 100 dolalrs will allow him to have free reign of the yard. the instructions tell you to bury the wire but you dont need to. you can set it on top of the ground and stake it with whatever and it will give him boundries he can not get past. let me know if you have interest and or questions

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  15. Like most of you, I’ve had my share of encounters with poo and vomit, but Ben, I bow before your expootise.
    When our girls were babies, we used cloth diapers, so in addition to diaper changes there was the dunking and rinsing of the dirty diapers before wringing them out and depositing them in the diaper pail. None of us in our family has been especially susceptible to stomach flu or distress of that sort, so I don’t have any clear recollection of cleaning up vomit. I threw up once in 1971, but that was food poisoning and I wasn’t the one to clean it up.
    Our pets over the years have provided a rich and colorful poo experience. With the exception of our current cat, Bella, not so much in the vomit department. Bella is a liberal and generous puker, but, as Linda has said, kitty puke is largely odorless.
    When I was in college, several of my work-study assignments were janitorial. Nothing like a little janitorial work to inure you to other people’s excretions. These days I assume the thorough cleaning of the main floor bathroom as one of my domestic responsibilities. Extra points, I figure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Somewhere in one of Garrison Keillors books is a passage about the nun going to the third grade room and asking who wants to be a nurse when they grow up.
      And then taking them down the hall to the spot where someone had puked and they could begin their training there.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Oh, man, the memories! I once was the janitor for the women’s restroom. It was a small room that served the needs of many large women whose lineage mostly was German. Cleaning up their messes did a lot to cure me of romantic notions about women in general or the Master Race in particular.

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      1. The German farmers around Menno SD tell young men “If you want to be happy,find yourself a big German woman to marry. She will keep you warm all winter and work hard for you all summer”.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. i worked in a nursing home in high school as a janitor but quickly became involved in the people end of the business cleaning p folks as well as their rooms.

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  16. im skimming and will come back later but i am wondering if other find enhanced experience with either vomit or poo if there is corn included in the equation. i find corn always makes life interesting

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    1. Cows too. And it’s an educational opportunity to discuss their ration. Too many kernels in the manure means different processing before it goes in.

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  17. When wasband and I first moved to the Twin Cities, we lived for a year in a small rented house on Nawadaha, a short one-way street facing Minnehaha Park. The house didn’t have a basement. After we had been there for a while, the house began to smell, and in no time at all, it was a very unpleasant place to be. The smell seemed to come from the kitchen, or more specifically from a small closet that you could enter from the kitchen but which at the back abutted the bathroom.

    Upon investigating, I found that a pipe leading from the toilet, under the floor, had ruptured and was emptying into a crawl space accessible only from the kitchen. I made this discovery a few days before Christmas, and no plumber was anywhere to be found, and the landlord wasn’t of any help. I ended up, on my stomach, digging out all that poop. It me several days. For my trouble, the landlord presented me we a basket of artificial orange flowers. Not one of my fonder Christmas memories.

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  18. I also believe that I have mentioned before that one of my strange therapeutic specialties is helping children with encopresis (pooping when and where you shouldn’t). For some reason every child with this problem in our region seems to end up in my office. There are a surpising number of kids with his issue. I am pretty successful in treating it, but, goodness, it seems I talk poop all week!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Positive reinforcement for potty behaviors in the bathroom, little or no attention for potty behaviors outside the bathroom, parent education on toilet training, getting parents to stop putting their child in pull ups, and coordination with the pediatrician for stool softeners and laxatives. Some kids will work hard if you give them a dollar for every successful potty experience.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. my mom recalls that i would hide out at age 2 and poop in the bushes and the yard as a show of independance. it was one of the last ways to show i had some control while the nazi adults were telling me all day hwat not to do. i have memory of a picture with me over the fence with a belt attatched to a dog leash to keep me form getting out of the yard. i was crawling over the fence and instead of landing on the other side i was stopped short of feet hitting the ground luckily it was attatched in a way that made the picture priceless rather than police file material. my mom was a nice but chatty 27 year old bride who got all her child rearing advice form her mother who botched it 5 times all with girls.

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  19. This is actually my neighbor’s story, but involves my yard….

    When his son was about 11-12, the dog mania was wild; every day came a new request for a dog. So that summer, he (father) told me that they’d like to take over the yard care for one weekend that we were out of town. He had his son do the yard duty; after a weekend of poop patrol, Andy decided he didn’t want a dog so badly after all. My neighbor still tells this story!

    Liked by 4 people

  20. OMG, Ben — this is hilarious! What’s even funnier is how much everyone has to say about it. Though neither one is attractive, I’m not terribly averse about the appearance of them. If I had to choose, I would take Team Poop. At least it’s a relatively natural occurrence, whereas vomit is unexpected and varies widely in appearance, smell and texture from humans. Great stories today, folks!

    Liked by 3 people

  21. With either of our indoor dogs, Allie or Humphrey, it’s not the loud ‘hacking’ or coughing you have to worry about.
    When they throw up the only sign is them quietly smacking their lips afterward.
    Odd.

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  22. I’ve written before about the Saint Bernard puppy we had when I was about ten. Bobo turned out to be too much dog for us to handle. One of his exploits was to eat the whole contents of one of those large Folgers coffee cans (the 16 ounce size) that was filled with crayons. I’d guess there were 100 crayons in there, and Bobo ate them all. For several days Bobo excreted doggy doo that was unbelievably beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My first hound ate a box of birthday candles, which was colorful on its way out. Ditto the brightly colored underthings that she made a little more risque for me (though when those came through I had the same thought you did before you remembered your Twizzlers…and me my underthings…last pair that bright I ever bought). Barney seems to stick to bland colored, if tasty, things like baked goods.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question. My guess is it’s a spreader with a side discharge at the front. (rather than the older style of spreading out the back). These things are built to throw it many many feet.
      So with this type spreader he could make the eyes by just dropping a bit, then making the mouth, and then around the outside keeping his PTO (power take off) speed low so it isn’t spreading very far and making the circle.
      Kinda sorta like this spreader:

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Team Poo. Except when it’s particularly nasty. Then I would rather stay out of the game and watch from the sidelines (or better yet, go somewhere else entirely). Human vomit makes me vomit. The most memorable vomit story I have is the night all three of my daughters moved into a new bedroom – the only room in the house that was carpeted. Two older kids were in the bunk bed, youngest in the crib, when the oldest – in the top bunk – sat up, said, “I feel sick,” and immediately puked. That stuff was on the carpet, on her bedding, on her sister’s bedding, on the wall, hit the crib, and worst of all landed all over middle daughter who was sitting on the edge of the lower bunk. So not only did every bit of bedding for three beds have to be washed and dried, but at least one kid had to be bathed. And, of course, I was trying my darndest to not puke all over what I was trying to clean up. Parents, you know that feeling of relief when you get the kids settled for the night? Talk about a cruel joke….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh you have my sympathies. I recall being told as I was tucking Miss S in for the night, “I don’t feel well,” and managing to get a waste basket under her just in time (also a carpeted room). Ish da.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Since she was on the top bunk, she got it on her bedding, and the lower bunk’s bedding (via her sister’s head) plus the crib was close enough that some got on there, too. So, yes, the bedding for all three beds needed to be washed. Then there was the carpet and the walls and the bed frame. She was very thorough!

        I’m not sure which was worse: the actual cleanup, which seemed massive, or the aggravation of almost having all three kids settled for the night and then having bedtime disrupted so completely and postponed until at least some cleanup was done. Laundry, baths…I don’t think I had enough spare bedding to completely change all three beds, so had to wait for washer and dryer to run through a cycle. I was fortunate that I had a washer and dryer; that would have been a very, very bad time to run to the laundromat.

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  24. I’ve been at the college for concert rehearsals tonight. Kelly tells me Humphry’s farts are making her eyes water…
    I think it’s the medication he’s on for his GI issues and he’s got 10 more days of that.

    I’ll check the ingredients when I get home PJ. Thanks for the tip.

    Like

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