Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Duck Washing and a Loom

Well, today had its good and bad points.

The bad point was that this morning, when the ducks were let out of their in-barn pen (where they sleep at night) and encouraged to go out the door to greet the sunshine (as they do each morning), they decided to try a different route. Unfortunately, the route they chose led them straight into the pan of very dirty tractor oil that Kelly had drained from the tractor. Oh yes, I now had 10 black and grey ducks, who were formerly bright white. I had 3 black ducks who were even more black. And I had a very bad attitude about it!

We won't go into the details about whether pans of dirty tractor oil should be left open on the floor of the barn. No, we'll just ignore that factor. We will focus instead of the fact that this happened about 10 minutes before I had to leave for my morning class, so there was no fixing it at the time. The ducks were shooed outside and unfortunately had to try and deal with this problem for the day, resulting in liberal dispersal of motor oil all over themselves.

So, my task this evening, after a full day of work and school, was duck washing. Did I take pictures? No. It is best not to have a camera around an extremely wet, messy, greasy, unpleasant task. Kelly bought some "Dawn" detergent on the way home, which is apparently used in the cleaning of seabirds who have been in the vicinity of oil spills. A copious amount of Dawn was used in the washing of each greyish black duck, to transform it into a mostly white duck, with traces of grey. There was incessant quacking and splashing throughout the procedure, and I guarantee you that the ducks were NOT pleased or impressed with my duck bathing techniques.

We set up two Rubbermaid totes with water, one for the initial wash, and one for the rinse. Each duck was bathed for about 5 to 10 minutes (depending on dirtiness level) in the initial tub. Belly rubs were had by all. Washing under wings and tails was also needed, as well as bill washing, since they had oil on their bills and feet as well. After a complete washing, the duck was transfered to the "rinse" tote, in which a kitty litter bucket of water was poured over the duck and sloshed around to get all the suds off. Kelly hauled all the water and dumped the totes after every second duck. Yours truly did all the actual washing and scrubbing. About 1.5 hours later, we were finished, and the ducks were wet, but clean(ish). They are fortunate that tonight is not particularly cold - they should dry out well in the barn. Of course, it will take time for their natural oils to permeate their feathers again, but fortunately, the pond is frozen and they won't be swimming for a while yet, so I'm sure by the time it thaws, all will be well.

On to the good part of the day!
After duck baths, we finally had a chance to unload my car, which had a loom in it! I am very excited about this! Wonderful Becky at Yellow Jacket Ridge Angoras had purchased a loom a while ago, and (giggle!) kept it hidden from her husband in a basement storage area! She finally fessed up about its presence in their home, after having decided to sell it. And lucky me, I was the buyer! We had tried to figure out how it was going to make its way from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to my little farm in Iowa.

My colleague at work who gave us our original Nubian goats works part time in Iowa and part time in Colorado. He drives back and forth from Des Moines to Denver. All I had to do, was figure out a way to get it from Steamboat Springs to Denver. Originally, Becky's friend was going to transport it, but in an odd twist of fate, Becky herself was able to take it to Denver because her stepson is in hospital there, as you will learn if you read her blog. Remarkably, despite all the chaos in her life, she so generously took it to Denver and met up with my colleague Jim, who brought it here to me.

Tonight we looked over all the parts and pieces.
Unfortunately one piece broke getting it out of my car, but Kelly says he can easily fix it, it's just a "lap joint" he said. We will be studying some pictures of looms in an effort to sort out how it all goes together. It has a stamp on it that says "Rasmussen Looms, Seattle" so I will try to find pictures of that particular loom.

Accompanying the loom was a selection of weaving books and magazines which will also be handy, no doubt!

Thank you Becky, for this wonderful treat! Your check is on the way!

With all this busyness in life, I haven't been checking in to other blogs as much as I would like. I'll be catching up sooner or later! In the meantime, I'll be trying to get a little supper together here (at 9:36 pm) and then off to bed!


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who hides her fiber tools - my husband hasn't seen either of my spinning wheels, nor my drum carder!

Hafts Happenings said...

love your blog!! Oh man, that sounds like a lot of work!! Wow, so cool, the travel adventures of the loom :)

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

The duck washing sounds like quite a chore! Glad the dawn worked. Hope the ducks learned to go around oil pans in the future instead of through them! :)

Yellow Jacket Ridge Angoras said...

Oh that's good news....the loom made it. I'm sure Kelly will figure it out. I can't wait to see your weaving. I'm also thankful my conscience if clean about having that hidden from Mical for so long. Does the soul good to fess up.

Gosh darn it I would have liked to see video of the duck bathing. I'll never forget the duck baths. That was the best! Aren't you glad you taught them to swim! What a good mom you are.

Yellow Jacket Ridge Angoras said...

Okay...I never saw the name on the loom before. Never really looked since I had to sneak it in the house late one night and hide looked up that company and it's now Montana Loom Company. I'm sure you can call them and they can give you directions. That would be how to fit the loom to the table. Some of the other pieces and parts I think were either handmade and added later...not sure what they are for but someone who weaves could probably look and tell you. The one square thing with the wooden dowels the lady told me her husband made. I think that has something to do with setting up your project but, again, not sure.


kenleighacres said...

Wow, your day tired me out! I can't imagine washing that many ducks. I'm glad to hear that they are all clean now :)

Your loom is beautiful! You are going to have so much fun.

Cat said...

Wow, you had a day! Glad the ducks came clean.

I'll cross my fingers for you on the loom! Can't wait to see it in action!

Alpaca Granny said...

Oh, my, I can't imagine washing all those ducks...

Mom L said...

I wish I'd been there to see you wash the oil off those ducks! I guess I COULD have helped, but it would have been more fun to just watch you and Kelly. Dawn has always been the favorite for getting grease out - long ago a woman in line at the grocery store recommended it to me for a laundry pre-wash of clothes with grease.

Good luck with the spinning wheel - Suzanne over at Chickens in the Road just brought home some really woolly sheep to her little farm!


Sharrie said...

Can't believe that Stuffin didn't give birth then... just so you had something to keep your mind occupied.
Nice loom. Now I need to sell my floor loom and get a smaller one. This blogging thing is sometimes very helpful.

Sharrie said...

I'm surprised that Stuffin did not give birth right then, just so you would have something to think about.
Nice loom. Now I will have to sell mine and get a smaller one that fits in this house.

Karen said...

Who would have thought, an oil spill in Iowa??? I remember reading about Dawn being used for bird cleaning. I can't imagine...

Do you know how to weave? I have a daughter who would like to learn how, but can't find any classes...

Oh, and I think I know who gave the goats :)

Diane L. Dodd said...

sounds like kelly and his oil pan put him in the 'duck house'
hardy har! ok, i tried.
have fun with your loom! :)

Christy said...

I took a class once on cleaning birds that had gotten into oil spills. It was very interesting. I have a small lap loom that is great. I want a spinning wheel sometime.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Whew a fun loom 'puzzle'! hehe

What an adventure with the ducks. Glad you got them all cleaned up good as new, though.
Never a dull moment with critters, eh?


Handmade Sunshine said...

Wow, sounds like you have been busy! Well, I suppose a clean duck is a happy duck, eventually. Not so happy about the process, but maybe next time they'll take the pre-approved route to the outside.

Maybe we should have a contest to guess when Stuffin is going to become un-stuffed.

Liam said...

Hi, I have what looks like the very same loom and I'm totally at a loss to set it up. Is the stand with what looks like some foot peddles in the photo part of the same loom? I hope not because I don't have that part! I hope you get yours set up (and post how to do it)! If you find any information about this loom I'd love to hear it. Thanks, Liam

Claire said...

Hi Liam,
I tried to go to your blog through your profile but it took me to a non-existent site. :-( Maybe your link needs to be fixed?

The loom does not need the stand with the 4 pedals. That is optional legs that come with it. If you don't have the legs, you simply use it as a table loom by setting it on a table surface of some kind.

The loom is now sold (or a similar one is) by Montana Loom Company here:
The history of the Rasmussen company being sold is also on that site. I am sure they could help you set it up if it's missing parts or anything. I haven't actually set mine up yet but hope to in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!