Apr 1, 2019

SHEEP BALLS

I'm SO happy, happy, happy that it it's finally spring time. With a most welcomed change of seasons, I've come out of hibernation to re connect with other living beings at this wonderful time of the year. In shifting into the Spring swing of things, lots of cleaning is going on here at the farm charm cottage. Even the dogs have been enlisted to hunt for stray popcorn kernels  hiding under the sofa which were left overs from those long lasting cold winter days, where we did lots of snuggling under piles of vintage quilts near the blaze of  toasty and welcomed fire here in the little cottage.

You are probably wondering what the heck my title "Sheep balls" means. Not short on words and one that is known to go down a bunny trail or two or three, -  let me tell you a story about them. On a cold winter day, while reading a favorite blog, called Junk Chic Cottage, I ran into these adorable little laundry sheep balls which are named Little beau sheep. You can read that post right here. And while you are on Kris's blog take a look at her beautiful home, and her not to miss - shabby decor on her current Easter post. Any hoo the little sheepies were set to be shipped to a new home once she picked winners of her give away. For me, it was love at first sight, and I knew they would be a perfect addition to my tiny, laundry room that also serves as a pantry and mud room all rolled into one itty bitty space. I feel so blessed to have won them. These Little Beau Peep laundry balls are both adorable and functional and are a perfect addition to compliment my vintage farm charm cottage decor.

 As promised (better late than never)  in the comment section of her giveaway I said if I was fortunate to win the give away that I would do a post about them and tell of an old cowboy story about sheep balls, or as they are properly called - sheep testicles. You will soon see just what I mean, read on.

Mouth method: A shepherd castrates a sheep with his teeth in the TV show Dirty Jobs - these are not the two men who fell ill
Old fashioned cowboy way to castrate sheep

                                                                  
I have a dear friend and true cowboy named Marvin. Nearing his 100th birthday he is never short of amazing stories from his past. I remember him telling me that back in the day on the ranch he would use his teeth to castrate sheep. I listened intently as he described just how it was done. I had never heard anything of the like and figured he was just 'pulling my chain'.  I asked the next old timer cow boys I came across if Marvin's story was true. I was afraid they would laugh and look at me thinking I was the most vulnerable person they had ever met. As it turns out, yep it's da true real deal story  as verified by several old timers and sheep ranchers. This method was also featured on the popular TV show called Dirty Jobs. Should you want to learn more about this method of castration of lambs or see a video that explains how shepherds used their mouth to get a better grip check out YouTube or read more about the 'slippery' testicles here on this link. .

Image result for rocky mountain oysters are they from sheep
Fried rocky mountain oysters












 Rocky Mountain Oysters are enjoyed by people from all over the world? They are actually not oysters at all. They're mammal testicles and most commonly come from bulls,bison, pigs, and sheep. Marvin loves them breaded and fried with a squeeze of fresh lemon and  then topped with Tabasco.  Ah, I will pass on this delicacy
 this time around and stick with fried green tomatoes.  

And now...ta dah... Here is what ya'll  been waiting to see. Meet my flock of sheep that reside in the little farmhouse laundry room.



    Rocky on the left, Mountain in the center, Oyster on the right.






My little flock of laundry room sheep




Resting before my Aussie herds them into the dryer
For those of you who don't yet  use dryer balls, I hope you try them out. They replace dryer sheets and fabric softener. That's right.. they do the job of both while saving you a lot of money. The most important thing is that they don't add those nasty cancer causing chemicals to your home or laundry. While they bounce around your loaded dryer they allow the air to circulate and therefore your clothes dry faster. They don't have to be designer ones like these. You can pick up the plane Jane ones at Walmart or on Amazon. Just pop them into your dryer to experience the difference. Three to four for medium loads and up to six for large loads.



Oh where, Oh where did my little sheep go? 
If you like your laundry scented, just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball and then pop them into an empty dryer and turn it on for a few minutes so that the essential oil soaks in to the ball and does not stain your future loads of laundry.  I like lemon or lavender scented sheets.

Okay... you don't have to go into the dryer just yet.
Hey goof ball, I mean sheep ball - how did you get out of that basket?




I so regret buying a front loading machine. From the beginning it had a tiny drip. It takes forever to wash clothes and it is just way to high tech with a thousand options, even connecting through some sort of app to a smart phone. What is a smart phone anyway? I mean really? Who needs a washing machine that talks to a phone? NOT ME!  I still use only a home phone and most of the time one that still has a cord  into the wall. So the new front loading machine is a BIG regret. I love the simple older ones with hot or cold, heavy or light dirt options. They are simple, easy and do a great job. Sigh. See that glass wash board? I use it on a regular basis, not in the river but in my cast iron farm sink. Works better than my fancy washing machine. Does anyone out there still use a washboard?



My front loading washing machine and dryer are hiding behind the burlap sacks

A vintage wash tub holds soap, clothes pins and other laundry necessities






Small laundry folding area


Looking at this tiny laundry room area you might assume it needs to be updated. This is the updated version of my tiny laundry area. When I purchased new appliances I wanted them hidden behind burlap sacks to keep this room in a vintage farmhouse vibe. I built a counter above the washer and dryer out of old barn wood. I added upper open shelves for easy storage. It felt really closed in so I replaced the glass with a mirror in the center of the window to catch more sunlight and give the appearance that is a bit bigger space.  And of course, everything got a fresh coat of white paint.


 Back in the day many decades ago, this little room was just a covered back porch. The farmhouse had no running water or electricity, therefore no washing machine or dryer. In fact, just under the counter where my washing machine sits, was a water well. The family that lived here at the time used a rope and bucket to draw water from that well for all their daily needs. One of my neighbors remembers that he was the skinniest kid out of his nine siblings and he was chosen by the owners of this house be let down by a rope into the the well to scrape out sediment at the bottom of the well. He got paid a nickle for his work and was thrilled to make that kind of money back in the day. So yeah, this is the updated version of the laundry room. I do have some before pictures but choose not to show them as I was trying to stay on topic here...okay.. I took a bunny trail on the way.




So there you have it, a story about sheep laundry balls that are darling, useful and also remind me of my dear older gentleman cowboy friend as well as a sweet lady who braved the ridiculous icy roads and beyond cold, and definitely freezing record breaking temperatures in Illinois to get these three little sheep in the mail to me. 
Thanks Kris and many thanks Marvin for the great stories you shared with me. I will never forget them or you.

It is a wrap folks...

Reminder - It is never to late to have a happy childhood. Go play. 
XO
Tonita


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