I’ve come to realize that a good portion of any given day around here includes us stepping in, touching or being pegged with shit. We don’t discriminate either; it can be guinea, laying hen, broiler chicken, dog, or cow crap. Yesterday was a day literally full of shit.
7:00 a.m. – We finished breakfast and headed out to complete morning chores prior to butchering the remaining 40 meat chickens. As we entered the chicken coop to collect their feeders I could feel the smoosh of freshly laid crap beneath my boots and I could see the flattened pieces on the sides of Steve’s boots. It felt no better when we went out to feed the cows and married chicken shit with cow shit on the bottom of our boots. I made a mental note to remember to leave my boots outside the farm shop door before getting the remaining butchering equipment.
8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. –Butchering hours. My job was to climb into the chicken pens and collect the next “volunteers”. We butcher in batches of ten or twelve so there are several trips out to the chicken pasture. After collecting each batch, my boots were caked with shit, as were my hands. The bleach towel that sits next to my workstation is all I could think about as we drove the RTV back to the barn. We always wear old baseball caps while butchering, but not as a fashion statement. The hats help protect our heads and faces from the inevitable final act of defiance, an upside down chicken giving us the biggest F-you by letting one more juicy one fly. By the end of the day, there is always a trail of dried droppings on the top and bill of our hats.
3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.- We spent those hours working with the cows. Steve and I had to move the fencing in order to open up fresh pasture. We were half way done when Steve had to meet a chicken feed deliveryman at the barn. I took it upon myself to move the gigantic hay ring. I hoisted it up and rested it on my thighs, then hips, then chest in order to stand it upright. I then noticed that I had lifted right where a freshly laid, huge and very mushy cow pile had been plopped half on the ground and half on the hay ring. I was now wearing a striped pattern of fragrant cow dung. As I moved the ring to the new site I turned to see Rebel rolling enthusiastically on said mushy pile of fresh shit. He was absolutely covered.
5:30 p.m.- Time to collect eggs and put up the chickens for the night. Funny, but I don’t think we even cared that we were stepping, yet again, in chicken shit. We were completely desensitized.
6:00 p.m.- I was fantasizing about a hot shower as I hosed off the still wet cow shit on Rebel’s back. I looked over at Steve who was sitting in the rocking chair on the concrete side deck of the barn. He looked deep in thought. I waited for what I assumed was going to be something very profound to come out of his mouth. He just looked at me and said, “You know, between us we have 13 years of college”.