Butter Up!

Anyone know how to get butter and chicken shit off shoes? If so, email me, I am running out of options. And shoes.

I found out the hard way that Pyrex measuring cups not only break, on special occasions, they explode. The special occasion in this case was precipitated by my laziness. I found this great recipe for a “really simple” apple dumpling that required only butter, crescent rolls, apples, sugar, cinnamon and ginger ale. Easy peezy. I thought that would go nicely with my famous apple squash soup (famous because it has been positively reviewed more than once by people not related to me on Allrecipes). I had the squash simmering, the onions sliced and frying. I peeled apples for the soup and the dumplings. Rolled them around in the sugar/cinnamon mix and wrapped them in roll mix. The next step was to melt a stick of butter in a pot and add the sugar/cinnamon mix- but it was already in the pot. Rather than get another pot dirty, I tossed a stick into a one-cup Pyrex measuring cup and then into the microwave. On high. One minute. Figured I’d get to the melted butter long before that, but the onions needed attention and before I knew it the timer buzzed.

Innocently, I opened the microwave door, triggering a joint butter and cup explosion. Butter and glass shards splashed everywhere- on me, the floor and entire surrounding area. Stunned, I simply stood there, until I realized that my two big black dogs were running towards the promise of butter heaven. But this butter was studded with sharp shards of exploded Pyrex, so I whirled in their direction, waving my arms frantically and yelling, “Back! No!” This was a poor decision on my part as the melted butter had turned the kitchen floor into a skating rink. My feet were flying in two different directions like a cartoon and I clawed at counter tops to stop myself from falling. When I came to a stop, the dogs were simply staring at me. They turned away and I could swear they sighed.

The mess was so huge I didn’t know where to start. The dumplings needed 45 minutes in the oven, and the onions were almost done, so I decided to finish the food prep and clean up later. I got another stick of butter and another, bigger Pyrex cup. Figured, what are the odds? And so I placed them both in the microwave and set the timer.

No, it didn’t happen again. Well, the part where the cup explodes didn’t happen again, but the part where the opening of the microwave door triggers a melted butter explosion? Yep. I stared at the inside of the microwave and the empty cup. Large icicles of butter dripped slowly from the ceiling.

I now had almost two sticks of melted butter covering just about everything in the kitchen, including myself. The dogs didn’t even bother coming. I started laughing so hard I was crying, and forgot I still had onion on my hands when I tried to wipe my eyes. Now I was crying, and blind, and trying to navigate a buttered floor. I couldn’t see the paper towels that I needed to wipe my glasses so I could see what the hell I was doing. Which obviously wasn’t anything good.

By the time my husband got home I had pretty much managed to finish the dinner and was in the process of stripping off my clothes and figuring out the best way to clean up the mess. Naked and buttery, in the kitchen. He shook his head. He offered to help, but one pair of buttered shoes is enough. He looked relieved and quickly disappeared.

Several moppings later I had most of the mess cleaned. I was sure I would find spots I’d missed for the next several days. I then Googled “head to toe butter removal”. No hits. Huh. Apparently you can’t Google absolutely anything. The best advice I got for the clothes was Lysol. They still sell that? And who knew it was once touted as a douche?

The next morning, my husband woke me before leaving for work to tell me a raccoon had slept with the chickens and was still hanging out in the coop and could I check later to see if he left,  and then let the chickens back inside? I promptly forgot, figuring he was just messing with me. Sometimes when he babbles like that my brain just switches to puppies. Or sleep.

But when I got back from a trip to the store for Lysol, which it turned out should have been Lestoil, he called for a wildlife update. Great. Nothing like a cornered raccoon. I grabbed a flashlight and the dogs for backup. To my surprise, the gate was wide open. Apparently finding a raccoon in the hen house (and NO dead hens!) shook up my hubby more than I’d realized. He never leaves the gate open. I was surprised and most pleased that none of the chickens had escaped. I grabbed a hoe, opened the main door and stuck my head inside for a peek. From behind I heard a noise, turned and WTH…?! A crazed critter was headed straight for my head. The raccoon! I screamed and waved the hoe in crazy circles until I realized it was just a chicken. A pissed-off chicken who wanted back in her coop. I waved her away with the hoe and opened the inner door.

My husband had seen the raccoon hiding in a small space near a back door that he had propped open in hopes he would use the rear exit (the raccoon, not my husband). I wasn’t taking any chances on another surprise attack. I flashed the light above me, around me and into every nest. Nothing. I moved slowly towards the back, banging the hoe and yelling “Huh! Huh!” in raccoon. Nothing, except maybe chicken laughter. I finally got to the door and confirmed that the intruder had gone. I went to close the door but the hook stuck. I jiggled it. Harder. Harder. BAM! It slammed down so hard it startled me and I fell to my knees. In chicken shit.

Cursing, I headed back outside to open the front coop door. That’s when I realized that six chickens were on the wrong side of the outside fence. Suddenly dogs as backup became dogs as chicken lovers. As in “yum”. I raced to get the dogs in the house with rash promises of rides and cookies. Lies, but it worked. Now I just had to herd six chickens.

Now chickens are really really really stupid. They will keep running into the fence wire, as if they can will themselves through to the other side. If you hold out something long, like a hoe, they think you are a super-wide big scary thing and will run where your hoe guides them. But six chickens never run in the same direction, so the guide for one causes another to run the opposite way (see: really really stupid). I chased them around the entire span of the coop, getting just one to run back inside each time. Four trips and I still had two loose. I was concerned that others might run back out while I was chasing those two, but I had no choice but to leave the gate open in order to herd the runners back in. At this point a big black hen decided to run for daylight instead of around in the big loop and headed into the woods. I silently wished for a fox to wander by and grab a quick lunch. The other outlier was still running all around the coop, trying to get in through the wire. I leaned on a tree and sighed. I turned slightly and noticed the poison ivy within inches of my face. I went after the runner.

It’s hard to sneak up on a chicken. It’s impossible to sneak up on a chicken in New England in October. I gave up and hoped the fox would appreciate the gift. I refocused on the stupider one, now banging her head against the wire. I hoed her towards the open gate, where she was greeted by about a half dozen of her coopmates, who had all wandered out to see what all the excitement was about. At that point I went kind of mental, waving the hoe like a crazed axe murderer. Wisely, the chickens opted to run back inside (or at least attempted to- there were a few banging away at the wire, but I scooped them in.)

Five down, one to go. I wandered nonchalantly deeper into the woods, deliberately making no eye contact with the runner. (Note: Making eye contact with a chicken is actually kinda hard to do.) I sauntered around behind her, whistling. Before she had time to make a further escape I ran at her, screaming and flailing the hoe. She practically passed out. Within seconds she was flying towards the door and into the coop. The others gathered around her, fussing and squawking. I wonder what they talk about at night.

Me, I was done. I headed back to the house., left my jeans and shoes in the laundry room and grabbed a cold bottle of wine from the fridge. I poured myself a nice big glass and crashed on a chair at the kitchen table. As I lifted the glass to drink, a blob of butter gave up its hold on the ceiling and splashed into the wine.


3 thoughts on “Butter Up!

  1. I saw on Alaska (Oxford) the Last Frontier that Eiven & Eve herded up their chickens by tying some fabric to the end of a long pole & then waved it over the chickens’ heads. The chickens, with their vast intelligence, decided the fabric was a predator and ran (like chickens) into their coop. Sort of avoids the whole dancing-in-the-shit thing.


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