The Laundry Beast

Of all the creatures that go bump in the night, most of which are not real, I can assure you that the Laundry Beast lives at our house and is alive and well. Our family of five generates a lot of dirty clothes to keep him fed. A lot of clothes.

“Seriously? You just wore that for five minutes!” gets said often. Teenagers. 

And yet, Dad is still the one with the dirtiest clothes. Barn clothes go into their own basket. Whites here, darks here, delicates there, and all barn clothes go waaay over there. All true.

It isn’t just manure that polka a dots or splotches my jeans and shirts. You also have to add iodine teat dip, mud, and grease.My friend Farmer Tim has the perfect example of a dairy farmer’s shirt.


The smelliest of all smells is actually not the cow poop, but it is silage. Now silage smells good to me and the cows, but when I’ve spent some time sweating and working up in a silo making repairs of some kind, well, the family doesn’t have to ask what kind of day I’ve had. They can smell me outside the door.

The worst dirty clothes day I can remember was about eight years ago. I got up early to go to work and when I arrived at the barn we saw the cow that we had been waiting on to calve had just calved. That was the good news. The bad news? She had prolapsed. What that means is that she pushed out the calf and continued pushing until she had pushed her uterus out, too. Hanging down and out, it quickly expanded like a balloon as it filled with blood.

The only solution at that time of day was to do the best we could to save her. We raised it up so the blood would flow out and back into her which allowed for the uterus to contract. we then were able to push it back inside. We called our vet soon after and he gave her the medical care she needed.

Now all of that sounded easy and simple, but it wasn’t. The new mom was not excited for us to be poking and prodding on her backside where she couldn’t see. The holding, squeezing, and pushing part was almost as taxing on us. By the time we were done I was soaked in sweat, afterbirth, blood, and who knows what.

Still too early for my wife and kids to be up, I snuck inside to the laundry room to undress and put the clothes in the thankfully empty washing machine. I feared one or more of them would see me, looking like a slasher movie victim,  and think the worst had happened. Luckily, my wife didn’t find me until after I had gotten rid of the dirty clothes which I did manage to save!

The laundry beast will never be put down. It will always be waiting and growing.

4 thoughts on “The Laundry Beast

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  1. your comment about cow poop and silage smells made me wonder: what are a farmer’s favorite smells? i was raised on a farm but live in town now, but my fave smells are still: fresh-cut clover or alfalfa hay curing in the sun on a perfect baling day; fresh cowfeed; that nifty smell just after a “good rain,” (petrichor i think it’s called, or something like that); and freshly turned “good dirt” or my freshly turned compost pile. –suz in farmy ohio

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